My Top 5 Favourite Under-appreciated YA Books | Blogmas Day 1

While thinking about what topics to do for Blogmas, I realized that there are several YA books that I really love, but which seem to be either unpopular among bloggers/booktubers or simply have lower than I would have expected ratings on GoodReads. So, I decided to make a list of those! Let me know if you have read any of these! :D

Anything Could Happen

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton Genre: contemporary, romance, LGBT+ Tagline: When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen. My review: Perhaps, some readers might consider this book a bit cliched. But for me, it was sweet and realistic, and the plot was very well executed. If you liked "Simon vs Homo Sapiens Agenda", you will enjoy "Anything Could Happen". However, this book has more real-life problems in it, which I really appreciated. My rating: 4 stars GoodReads link Buy this book





Hero by Perry Moore Genre: drama, superhero, LGBT+ Tagline: To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he'll have to come to terms with his father's past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be. My review: This book broke my heart a bit. Mostly because of Thom's father. The plot switches between contemporary drama and superhero action, which can seem a bit jumbled, but it is well-written overall. Sadly, this was the only book by Perry Moore. Since it was published in 2007, I feel as if few people know of it. My rating: 4 stars GoodReads link Buy this book



The Abyss Surrounds Us

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
Genre: dystopian, sci-fi, pirates, LGBT+
Tagline: Cas has fought pirates her entire life. But can she survive living among them?
My review: This book has amazing sea monsters that are reminiscent of those in Pacific Rim. Plus, pirates. Plus, badass girls. Definitely, a must read! I had some issues with the writing at times, but it is a solid book for a debut. It is book one in duology, but I am yet to read the sequel.
My rating: 4 stars



Made of Stars

Made of Stars by Kelley York
Genre: contemporary, suspense/thriller, LGBT+
Tagline: Even the stars are lies
My review: I loved this book! I read it almost in one sitting, and I couldn't put it down. Told from the three perspectives of three characters, don't let it full you that it is going to be a fluffy contemporary romance. It is not. It is realistic, thrilling and the ending broke my heart. (How could you, Kelley, how could you?!) I have been wanting to re-read it for a while, but I am terrified to.
My rating: 5 stars



27 Hours

27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) by Tristina Wright
Genre: dystopian, sci-fi, LGBT+
Tagline: Hour zero means war.
My review: I have read and reviewed this book on my blog (LINK), and it is a new release. However, I am adding it here as it has not enough (in my opinion) positive reviews for such an amazing book. It is definitely one of my favourites of 2017.
Read it and have Beatles' "Hey Jude" forever stuck in your head.
My rating: 5 stars
Here are all of my under-appreciated (in my opinion) YA books, and hey! All of them have queer characters! ?

More of my Blogmas 2017 posts

More of my book reviews

**Some of the links might be affiliated.

Movie/book review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

"Everything, Everything" Movie  

"Everything, Everything" Movie review


I am one of those bookish people who have to read a book before the movie. It doesn’t always happen, but I strive for it. The only movie franchise that I have ever watched without reading books (not for the lack of trying) was The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. And I loved them a lot!


I admit it, I am a book snob. I always think that books are better than movies. Sometimes it is even hard to compare the two as movie scripts inevitably bring changes to the plot, and not always to the best effect.


It was one of the reasons why watching “Everything, Everything” the movie was very low on my priorities list. I am not very fond of romance stories, and even though I loved the book, I didn’t feel compelled to watch it on screen.

Thank goodness for transatlantic flights: I am ready to watch “Madagascar” movies for the upteenth time just to distract myself!


So, after watching The Boss Baby (which was cute), Smurfs: The Lost Village (which was fairly stupid) and rewatching “Penguins of Madagascar” (because they rock), I settled to watch “Everything, Everything”.


The movies has only one, rather unimaginative, tagline on IMDB: “A teenager who's spent her whole life confined to her home falls for the boy next door.”; and an average rating of 6.4. I didn’t have much hopes for the movie, as I knew the plot, but I hoped to be entertained by the characters, and sure I was!


I think that Amandla Stenberg is a perfect Maddy. I loved her acting and her sweet nature. She was, honestly, the best thing about this movie. I was not as impressed by Nick Robinson (Olly) as I felt that he was not gritty enough, if you will. I liked how their text conversations were translated into face to face conversations on screen. The presence of an astronaut was a nice touch. But otherwise the movie was not very visually imaginative. The books has some cool illustrations, that were missing from the movie.


I think my biggest disappointment with the "Everything, Everything" movie was that it failed to deliver a punch at the end. Everything showed on screen was sort of mellowed out, in my opinion. Maddy was less sick, her mother less obsessive, Olly less intriguing. I loved Olly in the book, but in the movie he was a bit mediocre, unfortunately. The imperfections and inconsistencies in treating serious illness are more visible on screen than in a book format too. (E.g., Maddy's mother or her nurse enters the house and goes through decontamination, washes her hands but then grabs the bag and brings it in? That looked very improbable.)


When I read the "Everything, Everything" book, I gave it a rather high rating of 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, it was sweet and resonated with my personal experience of being subjected to an obsessive care by a relative. However, since then I did read some reviews by people who pointed out that even though Maddy’s disability was not correctly portrayed and this representation is actually harmful. I admit that I did not think about the representation of serious chronic illness or disability when I read the book as it always held a bit of an unrealistic touch for me. As in, this is a mysterious disease and nobody knows what it is (which is actually not true, but it was my interpretation of it). Obviously, I can not speak on behalf of people who struggle with serious chronic illness or disability, but as my mother is severely allergic to animals (we are talking about not being able to share a space with an animal for any period of time), I do understand how this representation seems unhealthy and deems the character's situation as not serious enough. Especially, since the message is that it is okay to risk everything (family, health, life) for the sake of love.


Nope, don’t do that, kids.


I am not going to change my rating on Goodreads for this book, although I do now think that 4.5 stars was a bit too generous. However, I did enjoy "Everything, Everything" and the writing style, and still think that it was a great debut novel. Nicola Yoon is also a total sweetheart - I met her at BookCon in 2016. Too sad that the movie flopped for me.


Overall movie rating: 2.75 stars


"Everything, Everything" Book review


"Everything, Everything" Book


Written: November 2015


personal rating: 4.5 stars


This book deserves all the love and hype surrounding it! It is a very cute story about a girl who is allergic to everything. One day, a new family moves into a nearby house and she befriends their son.


I liked everything about this book. The way it is written. The fact that it is interrupted by illustrations and notes written by Madeline. The fact that this book has some similarities to "The Fault In Our Stars" but only it is way better and lighter and happier. (And also, HAWAII!)


The characters are unique and have very distinctive voices. I loved both Madeline and Olly. I loved the setting of the book. I loved all the descriptions.


I also loved the twist and the way the story resolved itself, even though I did suspect something like this would happen. (It also quite unexpectedly resonated with my own experience, which was a bit surprising.)


Can't say more but this book gave me rather happy, warm and fuzzy feeling. Even though it mostly about illness. Nicola Yoon has achieved something that John Green failed to do for me.


Read it. You will love it.



More book reviews



Book review: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (audiobook)


I had never heard of this book before it started to consistently pop up in my YouTube feed. For some reason I thought that it was a new release, and then was confused when I realized that it has been on sale at BookOutlet for awhile. Everyone seemed to rave about it, which, as always, makes me apprehensive. And then this title appeared on my Netflix feed. I was getting annoyed.


And then I saw that Emma from emmmabooks did a review of the tv show, and I was like, okay, if Emma has read it, then I should read it too as I trust her opinions when it comes to sensitive topics.


But a warning first: this book deals with abuse, rape and suicide. If you are triggered by either of those, do not read it and skip the tv show. I am serious.


I did not want to read the physical book because I find it hard to concentrate on contemporary YA, and I also thought that this book will work well in an audio format seeing as the major part of the narration is done via audio tapes. I got the audiobook on OverDrive and, to my biggest surprise, flew through it.


I wouldn’t call this my favourite story. It is a horrible and a very realistic story of abuse at school, rape, and other circumstances that resulted in a suicide. The book is told from the first point of view of Clay Jensen, the boy in high school, whose first love, Hannah Baker, took her life. One morning, two weeks later, he receives a package with audio tapes, recorded by late Hannah, in which she talks about thirteen people that had affected her life. Clay is compelled to listen to them, not only because of the threat of the second copy being made public if he doesn’t listen and then pass on the tapes, but also because he wants to know what part he himself played in Hannah’s death.


This book is perfect as an audiobook. Hannah’s narration gets more raw and candid as the story progresses. I enjoyed both narrators and I think they did a great job with both characters. The story has a bit of mysterious, almost suspenseful, air at the beginning, which made me think that there might be more to the story than it seems. Unfortunately, even though the story does have some unpredictable moments, it was not the case. I managed to guess some of the twists right off the bat, as they were rather obvious. The way the story was narrated, however, was very compelling, and I couldn’t stop listening to it.


Funny thing about this book - I kept forgetting that Hannah was dead. I kept thinking that this is going to be the moment when she would be okay. And after I watched Emma’s video review of the book and TV show, I found out that she had the same feeling while watching it. But no - Hannah Baker is dead, but she is so alive in this audiobook, that it is easy to forget this fact. I liked both Hannah and Clay. I felt really horrified by everything that Hannah went through, and I think that the author did a great job describing abuse and depression, and how all of those small things just add up. I was appalled by the fact that nobody could see what she was going through, including adults (which is a very real and common thing, unfortunately). It is a very believable, realistic and terrifying story.

I felt that the ending of the book was a bit weak, seeing as the book had a great build up, but I was let down a bit as the ending didn’t feel as cathartic as I expected. Also, I felt that the reasons behind some of the people’s actions were never properly explained. People can be cruel for no reason at all, but I felt that it made some of the characters a bit cliched.


I didn’t have any intention to watch the tv show, but after Emma’s review, I am starting to think that I might actually like it better than the book. I did enjoy the book but I felt it lacking for the reasons mentioned above. To my surprise, it seems like the tv show addressed those weaknesses and made the story more dimensional and elaborated. As a matter of fact, if you watch Emma’s review (and she gives away everything including the ending of the show, so beware of major spoilers!!), it feels as if the tv show might even be extended, which gives the story a different perspective (if it does get the second season, I might be even more compelled to watch it, because I want to see how everyone is dealing with the aftermath, as we are not shown that in the book). Honestly, her review makes me want to watch the show as I want to know more about those characters, although I don’t like the idea of watching Hannah suffer all over again.


“13 Reasons Why” is not a light read, nor it is the best book I have read this year. It is, however, an important read - a reminder to everyone to be kind to each other and that there might be people around us who are suffering in silence.


Plot: 3 stars

Narration: 4 stars

Overall rating: 3.5 stars


Affiliated links:


13 Reasons Why  

Book review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


Personal rating: 5 stars

Nothing could have prepared me for this book. In spite of a promising title, it turned out to be more real and less happy than I expected it would. There are a lot of coming of age (and coming out) stories out there right now in YA, but this one has a gritty and realistic feel to it that kept me nailed to the ground all the time. Poverty, drugs, violence, mental health, suicide, death - all of that is not sugar coated but that left out in the open as it is, forcing you to deal not only with the mounting affection that you feel towards the characters but also the gnawing worry that this story may not have a happy ending.

In the internet talk of nowadays, the books gave me THE FEELS.

And I am okay with that. I am okay with recurring "no homo" catch phrase (which usually makes my eyes bleed); with the violence and pain; with futuristic "magic pill" that will make you forget who you are and the reasons WHY you needed to forget in the first place; with the fact that my heart started to disintegrate piece by piece from the page one - to the point that by the end of the book I was ready to sign up for a Leteo procedure myself.

This book is not what it seems at first glance. It is deeper, more touching, more serious, more personal. Don't let those smiley faces fool you. You will crying by the end of it, whether you want it or not.

Well done, Adam! I can't wait to read more books by you.

p.s. I got this book from the library, because I wanted to read a hard copy, even though I got an ebook copy on Kindle when it was on sale some time ago.