December 2021 Mini-Reviews

Review: How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

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Moon Fuentez spent her whole life feeling like the ugly duckling compared to her sister Star’s Disney Princess aesthetic Then Star is chosen to go on a tour for Fotogram influencers and Moon is forced to go along and sell merchandise.

Everything about this tour is a disaster. Star is a total bitch after arrival and will do anything to humiliate Moon. Moon’s fellow merchandise seller Santiago is the absolute worst. Plus, Moon is still dealing with the trauma of having an emotionally and physically abusive mother.

But Moon is determined to focus on herself and her future. She got accepted into a prestigious college program and her online art is booming. Maybe things won’t be so bad after all.

We we’re unsure of this book when it started. We found the beginning difficult to read because how horribly people treated Moon. However, part way through it really picked up for us. We loved seeing Moon thrive and fall in love.

We appreciate that the author took the time to write about abuse and how it affects kids. She also took the time to explain the discrimination against different races, genders and abilities.

Even though Star had some redemption, we spent most of the book wanting to shake her for being so selfish. She had a lot of work to do to win back Moon’s trust.

Overall, we enjoyed the ending and how Moon learned to love herself and the world she created. She deserves to be successful with her art and in her love life.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review: The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund

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Keely Collins is tired of being the last virgin in her friend group. Before leaving high school, Keely wants to lose her virginity. But she knows all the guys at her small high school in Vermont and she’s not interested in them.

Enter Dean: who looks exactly like James Dean, rides a motorcycle and actually seems interested in Keely. She thinks this is the perfect opportunity to date a hot older guy. But she’s afraid Dean will find out how inexperienced she is and will dump her.

Keely hatches a plan involving her best friend Andrew. She asks him to sleep with her, so she’ll know what to do with Dean. If only thing were that easy. When unresolved feelings get involved, Kelly finds herself in the middle of a love triangle.

The Best Laid plans was a funny and quick read. We read the entire book in a few short hours. While we liked the book overall, there just wasn’t much substance to the characters.

Keely didn’t even like most of her friends, she only hung out with them because it’s a small town. Dean was self-absorbed and a total elitist. To top it all off, Andrew lied to Keely about something big during their friendship.

While Keely did learn a lot about herself along the way and the ending was very cute, we still wish more of the characters had been likeable. Lund talked about the pressures to fit in and the harm of toxic masculinity, which we appreciated.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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Tessa Lowell hasn’t been back to her hometown of Fayette, Pennsylvania in years. When Tessa is forced to go back and stay with the Callie, Tessa’s former best friend, old wounds arise.

Right before Tessa left, Callie’s cousin was murdered and the killer sentenced to prison. But as more details of that night come back, Tessa and Callie worry they helped put away the wrong person. To make things worse, another killer is at large in Fayette when a teenager’s body is found.

With two possible killers out there, Tessa and Callie reluctantly have to work together to stop this insanity and learn the truth about that horrible night that also ended their friendship.

Like Thomas’s other books, we enjoyed the suspenseful mystery of The Darkest Corners. We found ourselves in the middle of an exciting plot with a layered mystery. The small town was creepy, the characters were dynamic and the reveals were unexpected.

We couldn’t believe how dark the book got near the end when Tessa figured out the truth about that night and how she’s more involved than she thought. Plus, Thomas added an extra shock that we never saw coming, but somehow made total sense.

The one thing we wish we got more of was the ending. We wish Thomas told us more about Tessa and Callie’s post-investigation life.

Overall, The Darkest Corners is perfect for small town mystery fans.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

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