Am I missing something here? | An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American MarriageRoy and Celestial had only been married for 18 months when Roy is falsely accused of rape. Despite Celestial’s testimony that he had been with her all night, Roy is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. 12 years is a long time and Celestial and Roy both have to come to terms with what this sentence means for their relationship and for them as individuals.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

TL;DR – In a book where the characters are super important, I found Celestial and Roy both to be mildly unlikable.

I really feel like I’m missing something here, guys. I’ve only heard good things about this book! Now don’t get me wrong, I thought the writing was good (probably even great) but I just found Roy and Celestial both unlikable and was not a fan of their relationship. Even from the beginning.

Roy is a confident man–maybe too confident for my liking. To me, he just seemed immature, manipulative, and entitled. And he doesn’t seem to have any qualms about flirting with other women–even going so far as to get their phone and room numbers (even if he doesn’t actually go their room). It’s just…disgusting to me. How can he claim to actually love Celestial if he’s pulling crap like this? The entire book he’s setting himself up as this victim–and to an extent he is–but sometimes I just wanted him to own up to the other stuff.

When I really think about it, what happened to Roy is clearly awful–I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I also recognize that going to prison would change anybody, but I had such a hard time pitying him because of his attitude. He’s going around like everyone in his life (especially Celestial) owes him something and I don’t feel like they do? Am I just a horrible and callous person?

Celestial, while more sympathetic, is no more likable to me. Both Roy and Andre describe her as being this super strong and admirable woman, but I feel like the reader doesn’t get to see any of that. She doesn’t ever really stand up for herself and she let’s both Roy and Andre tell her what to do. In the end, she chooses the path of least resistance and it’s just so frustrating to me! There were so many times when I wanted Celestial to show a little backbone, but she always ended up disappointing me.

In the end, I just couldn’t get over my dislike for the characters. Secondary characters were pretty good–I liked Andre and both Roy and Celestial’s parents. I liked how Roy’s time in prison was told through letters, but I wish that there had been dates maybe? Sometimes it would skip a few years and you wouldn’t find that out until halfway through the letter. I thought the ending happened suddenly and it felt too tidy and convenient to me. I feel like there was no win-win situation here, but somehow the author created one. I don’t know…I just feel like I’m missing something.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Pin this!

An American Marriage review.PNG

Advertisements

TTT | I WILL go down with this ship

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Favorite Couples In Books

1) Iseult and Aeduan from the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard

I just finished Bloodwitch and I love these two together! They will find each other no matter what. I believe it.

2) Cress and Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

These two are so sweet together! I love every scene that involves them in the series.

3) Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Wes was probably my first big bookish crush. I love their dynamic at Wish Catering and their entire truth game.

4) Kaz and Inej from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

These two are so low-key, but there’s also so much underlying tension–so good.

5) Lupin and Tonks from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

RIP

6) Karou and Akiva from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor

This is an ultimate Romeo and Juliet type relationship. They’re up against so much opposition, but their love is so pure.

7) Khalila and Dario from The Great Library series by Rachel Caine

Even though these two aren’t the “main” couple of the series, I still love their relationship. I love that Dario is so protective of Khalila and she lets him even though everyone knows, she doesn’t need protecting.

8) Amy and Roger from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Cute couple on a road trip! Such a good slow burn romance.

9) Bailey and Porter from Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

I don’t really know why I loved this book so much, but I did. Bailey and Porter have a great hate-to-love type thing going, but actually they just like each other the whole time.

10) Kitty and John Ambrose McClaren from the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

Okay, so I know this couple doesn’t actually exist, but just listen. Lara Jean clearly does not deserve John Ambrose even though he is literally the most perfect boy ever. She would obviously be upset if Kitty started dating him, but Kitty wouldn’t care. She would appreciate John Ambrose’s perfectness and John Ambrose would appreciate Kitty’s spunk. Plz Jenny Han let this be a thing.

Who are some of your favorite bookish couples? Do you disagree with any of my picks?

Pin this!

TTT Bookish Couples


Recommended from this post:

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy [ARC]

Jaycee’s brother Jake died the day of his high school graduation and every year since then, Jaycee has revisited Jake’s favorite hang-out for a macabre homage to her brother. This summer, she finds a map left behind by her brother with a list of dares and she decides to complete each of his dares in order to feel closer to him. What Jaycee doesn’t count on is the people who decide to tag along and the truths that she will discover along with the dares.25679559

I was not expecting this book. McCarthy deals with some heavy topics such as death, abusive relationships, and uncertain futures. The characters in this book are much deeper than I usually see in Young Adult fiction because a lot of the time the plot is the main focus. The book switches off between five different perspectives so we really get to know three of the characters very well. Only three because Mik’s chapters are graphic novel-esque and Bishop’s feature a piece of art that he’s created. I just want to say that I LOVE the variation in the chapters. I enjoyed reading the book, but I also felt really eager to reach one of Mik or Bishop’s chapters.

The characters were well thought-out and I liked that nobody and nothing was black and white. There were some “bad” characters, but things also weren’t as simple as they may have seemed on the surface. McCarthy has the reader dive into each of the characters and as the book progresses, each character learns something(s) about themselves. The character development in this book is CRAZY and even the secondary characters have depth. Characters did have a tendency to be a little immature at times, but not necessarily in an unrealistic way.

The settings in this book are excellently described and it makes me want to do a little bit of urban exploring myself. The different places that the group visits match the mood of the overall book and the characters themselves in a haunting way.

Overall, I thought this book was a good read that dealt with some important themes and issues. There was quite a bit of content, however, and because the issues are so heavy I would only recommend this book for older teen readers.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Heavy
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. Several scenes throughout with teenage drinking.
Sexual Content: Heavy. Nothing too explicit, but a big part of one of the story lines (talked about a lot).

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK TAG: The OTP Book Tag

I was tagged by Deanna @A Novel Glimpse.

1. AN UNPOPULAR OTP THAT YOU SHIP

I seriously cannot think of anything for this one. Sorry!

2. AN OTP THAT YOU DIDN’T SHIP BUT NOW YOU DO

****SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE ENTIRE SELECTION SERIES****

America and Maxon. I really liked Aspen at first and was kind of ticked when America started to have feelings for Maxon. In the end, though, I really like them together.

3. YOUR MOST HATED OTP

Etienne St. Clair and Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know why.

4. AN OTP THAT TOOK WAY TOO LONG TO GET TOGETHER

Cinder and Kai. We all knew it was going to happen, so Cinder just needed to let it happen!

5. YOUR FAVORITE NON-CANON OTP

****POSSIBLE SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T READ P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU****

I don’t know if this counts since it was part of the love triangle, but Lara Jean and John Ambrose. I like them together WAY more than Lara Jean and Peter.

6. YOUR FAVORITE BROTP

Ryan Chase and Max from  The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.

7. AN OTP YOU ADORED IN THE BOOKS BUT NOT AS MUCH IN THE MOVIES OR TV ADAPTATION

Four and Tris from the Divergent series. I don’t particularly care for these movies in general (even though I really liked the books) but their relationship in the movie just feels really stiff and fake to me.

8. A POPULAR OTP THAT NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY YOU JUST CAN’T SHIP IT

Alice Garrett and Tim Mason from The Boy Most Likely To. Okay, I don’t know if this is actually classified as “popular”, but it’s all I could come up with. I just don’t really like these two together.

9. YOUR FAVORITE LGBT+ OTP

I guess Alec and Magnus?

10. YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE OTP

Cress and Thorne. Do I even have to say anything else?


 

I tag anyone who wants to participate!

The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord

In her small Indiana town, Paige is known as the girl whose boyfriend drowned. It’s been over a year since Aaron died and even though they only dated for a couple of months, Paige still doesn’t feel like she can move on. But it’s the start of her Junior year and if there’s one thing she can do, it’s make a plan. So Paige creates a list of five things that she wants to do and she calls it “How to Begin Again”. 1) Parties/social events; 2) New group; 3) Date; 4) Travel; 5)Swim.

41ds3cq4zql-_sx331_bo1204203200_First let me say that I know this is not the most common cover, but this is the cover that was on my Kindle and I kind of fell in love with it. Anyway, there are hardly words for me to explain how much I loved this book. We have a quirky main character who just seems so real. She has this realistic conflict going on because she feels guilty for being happy when Aaron’s never going to have another happy day. She also feels guilty because she doesn’t feel like she has as much of a right to mourn him as his parents or friends since she and Aaron dated for such a short amount of time. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in Paige’s shoes. Your boyfriend dies in a freak accident? That’s hard to deal with at any age, but Paige has to do it while she’s still in high school.

I love that our main character is smart and has a unique talent/hobby/interest (screen-writing). That only serves to make her more real in my book. I also loved that she joins Quiz Bowl. If this was any other book (or movie for that matter) about high school she would have gone out for cheerleading or drama or something that would make her awesome and super popular all of the sudden. Again, the fact that she joins Quiz Bowl instead makes her more real to me. I also liked that several scenes in this book are set in a bookstore(/coffee shop). We need more bookish characters!

I absolutely love the secondary characters in this book! Every secondary character served a purpose and felt well-developed. I was having serious envy over Paige’s relationships with her grandma and her three girl friends. First, I love that her grandmother was her confidante and the advice that Paige receives is always spot on. Second, I am basically in love with these four girls. I love how in sync they are and that there was no extra/unnecessary drama between them. It’s obvious that they all really care about and support each other despite their differences. I LOVE THEM.

The overall plot was great and I felt that the characters developed in a realistic way. There was nothing that I was forced to suspend my belief about and that made this book so much better to me. Lord did a great job of dealing with death and grief in a respectful but realistic way. I really appreciated that she wasn’t flippant about certain details. It felt like every serious moment in this book had appropriate weight if that makes sense.

Overall, this book completely shattered my expectations. You know when you just pick up a book randomly to have something to read and then you actually start reading and are completely blown away by how good a book it is? That just happened to me in a major way. I will DEFINITELY be reading more from Emery Lord. Welcome to the #instaread club.

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Mild
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R Kling [ARC]

Hazel has her entire future planned out. She and her boyfriend are going to get into the same college, then the same grad school, and then they’ll have 2.5 kids together and live in a house with a white picket fence. At least that was the plan until he cheated on her with her best friend Kimmy. Now Hazel doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone else does. Felix the Player of La Playa (also Kimmy’s older brother) has a plan for revenge.

518w2bi66fml-_sx331_bo1204203200_This book had so much potential. I really mean that. The premise of this book was great, but the execution was not. The whole book is very surfacey. I felt like there was the potential to go in depth several times with the characters (since Hazel’s dad had died and Felix’s was out of the picture) but nothing ever happened. The book just stayed on the surface when it could have been so much deeper. The story really would have benefited from some character development throughout, but I feel like all of the character development (and there wasn’t even very much) was packed into the last few chapters of the book. This made it hard for me to really care too much about the characters. They didn’t seem deserving of my feelings.

Another thing that seriously bugged throughout was the multitude of inconsistencies that this book had. First Felix’s eyes are blue–glacier blue. Then they’re “sweet chocolate brown”. Next they’re green, only to end up turning back to brown by the end of the story. Other inconsistencies: Does Felix have his surfboard or not? When did they get out of the car? Did Hazel see Felix waving from the shore or not? Does Hazel see Felix while he’s standing by the punch bowl or is the first time she sees him out on the dance floor? Just A LOT of inconsistencies that made it hard to lose myself in the story. I ended up having to reread certain pages to make sure that I didn’t miss something that was there. It almost seems like the author had the beginning and the end of a scene planned out, but then forgot about what she had planned while she was writing the middle. Just very frustrating as a reader.

The last thing that I was so confused about was the relationship between Felix and Kimmy. Okay, we know they’re siblings and we find out pretty early on that Felix is older than Kimmy. But at the same time I thought Kimmy and Hazel were the same age and we know Hazel is a senior…so does that make Kimmy and Felix twins? But that’s never mentioned and I feel like if they were twins, that would have been said at least once. Finally we find out (very near the end of the book) that Felix is older than Kimmy, but he was held back a year so they’re in the same grade. I just feel like this should have been explained much earlier in the book. Or Kimmy and Hazel should have just been juniors or something.

Overall, I was not happy with this book. As I said earlier, there was so much untapped potential! Based on their family situations, Kling really had the opportunity to make us care about these characters but she didn’t capitalize on it. I just feel really frustrated as a reader because I can see what this book could have been but wasn’t.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

HW Assignment: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Note: This post was used as a homework assignment and 23009402may contain spoilers.

First let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love Sarah Dessen. I have read all of her books and loved almost all of them. This book is definitely no exception. I feel that Dessen defines her audience for this book best with her dedication: “For all the invisible girls” (dedication page). I do feel like this is a book that “invisible girls” will relate with, but at the same time, I think there are some aspects to it that are unrealistic.

Throughout the book, Sydney often thinks about how she’s invisible—especially to her parents. It comes as a shock, then, when the Chathams seem to notice her. This is essentially the aspect of the book that I have an issue with. There are plenty of invisible girls out there, but very few of them come across a Layla Chatham. This is the description that the reader is given of their friendship (emphasis added): “If I was the invisible girl, Layla was the shining star around which her family and friends revolved. We didn’t form a friendship as much as I got sucked into her orbit. And once there, I understood why everyone else was” (pg. 77). Layla chose to be friends with Sydney. Meanwhile, Sydney didn’t have to do a thing. This is not realistic! I wish that Dessen had made Sydney a little more proactive with making new friends and un-invisibleizing herself. I like that Dessen has relatable characters in her books—they really seem like normal girls—but more often than not they have a perfect friend who comes into their lives at the most perfect time. This might teach readers to be more complacent than they should be if they want to develop the kinds of relationships that Dessen writes about.

With all that being said, I really did love all of the friendships portrayed in the book. I was extremely effected when Layla moved her air mattress to block the door at that first sleepover—this is not your everyday kind of friendship. I also liked seeing that Sydney was able to maintain a relationship with her old friends.

Throughout the book Sydney’s dad is kind of a non-factor. Where Sydney’s mom has thrown herself into Peyton projects, her dad has thrown himself into work and has chosen not to be as present with his family. There are times, though, when his relationship with and feelings towards Sydney are apparent. I thought it was so perfect that Sydney’s dad is the one to save her from Ames. There are too many YA books where the love interest is the one who saves the girl and I love that Dessen chose to make that “savior” her dad instead.

I would recommend My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick as a read-a-like. It also features a girl meeting and being “adopted” by a family. Another good read would be Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park which deals a bit with sibling dynamics and potential feelings of inadequacy in comparison. Saint Anything got me thinking about the different saints. For anyone else who was curious, you can look them all up here (and yes, there is one for librarians/libraries).