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ARC Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Summary

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants—and frequently does. But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.

Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.

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Review

My rating: red3-5

Hi, everyone! I’ve just finished reading Top Ten by Katie Cotugno and I just had to talk about it! It’s pretty enjoyable overall, but there were some parts I just couldn’t get into. It’s funny, but I didn’t expect myself to get as invested so quickly as I did with this book! Now if only the chronology of the story was a bit more linear…

Like i said, I had an issue with the chronology. At first, it was fine, with a flashback explaining the foundation of Gabby and Ryan’s friendship. But then it just got super complicated for me when there was a huge gap in time, only to go back in time again to fill in the blanks. Not only did I know exactly what was going to happen, and basically had the book spoil the book for me, but I felt really confused about why the author was playing with their time line. It seemed as if there were a reason for it, yet I didn’t know why. If someone could explain it to me, now or in the near future, I’d be eternally grateful! 😉 However, once I got past that part, I started to enjoy the book again.

I think Katie Cotugno did a really good job with her main characters, Gabby and Ryan, though. They seemed fully fleshed out on the page to the point where I don’t think I preferred one character over the other, but liked them both, which is rare for me. Usually, I have a favourite character in dual POVs; not this time, though! And that’s nice. To me, it shows that the author didn’t develop one character over the other, or try to make the readers sympathetic to one protagonist. Did I think there were moments where these characters could be a bit much? Yeah, but since both of them were a bit much at times, it didn’t really matter in choosing a favourite character. The only thing I could say that was missing from this book character-wise is more inclusion of the secondary characters. Sometimes, they’d drop off the face of the Earth, only to resurface without any explanation or summary of where they’d been.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Top Ten by Katie Cotugno! I liked it, but not enough to get passed what happened in the second half of the book… If you’re looking for a book with great protagonists though, this would be the one! And for those of you who are wondering, Top Ten comes out on October 3rd, 2017. Any other questions about the book that you might have are welcome in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via HarperCollins Canada and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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ARC Review: Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Summary

The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

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Review

My rating: black3

(3.25 stars)

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hey, everyone! Another day, another book to talk about! And today, I’d like to express my thoughts on Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. Now, Lily Anderson has already written a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and Not Now, Not Ever is her second go at another retelling, this time of The Importance of Being Earnest. What really drew me into reading Not Now, Not Ever was the camp aspect of it all. I always love reading about summer camp and thought that this book would be no exception. Except it kind of was…

Now, when I say kind of, I mean that I liked some parts of the book and wasn’t much a fan of other parts. I’d have to encourage myself to read the book instead of wanting to read it on my own at times. There would be moments where nothing would happen, and then wham – the plot thickens. While those latter moments were great to read, it didn’t make up for the fact that I was previously bored and, for a good chunk of the book, wanted to  move onto something else. Then there was that ending, which left me more confused than not. The book’s conclusion just left me with more questions than answers to the point where I wasn’t at all satisfied with it.

Also, I didn’t really like the protagonist as much as I thought I would. In the beginning, I couldn’t really relate to her and the choices she makes, but I did warm up to her nearer to the middle. By the end though, I was back to square one in not understanding her decisions again. I preferred reading about other characters though, like Leigh, Jams, Hunter, Meg, even Trixie and Ben! Sure, Elliot/Ever could be really fun sometimes, but I thought she was way too rash and in the end, I didn’t witness much character development from her.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. I know that a lot of people loved this book, but, for me, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I would recommend it for people who like retellings as there are a whole bunch of references from the book’s primary source, The Importance of Being Earnest. If you have any thoughts or questions about the book, I’ll be happy to answer them in the Comments Section below. And for those of you who are wondering, Not Now, Not Ever is released on  November 21st, 2017. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens

Summary 

As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee.

But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a nagging sadness as she realizes that she is also in love with Woods…and maybe with Janie Lee, too.

Always considered “one of the guys,” Billie doesn’t want anyone slapping a label on her sexuality before she can understand it herself. So she keeps her conflicting feelings to herself, for fear of ruining the group dynamic. Except it’s not just about keeping the peace, it’s about understanding love on her terms—this thing that has always been defined as a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple.

Readers will be drawn to Billie as she comes to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and friendship, in this John Hughes-esque exploration of sexual fluidity.

Sourced from Goodreads. 

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Review

My rating:

blue4 copy

Hey, everyone! First review in a long while but I’m ready to get back into writing more of these. 😉 Anyways, I recently read a book that I consumed in one sitting- Dress Codes for Small Towns– and I have to say that it’s pretty amazing!

First of all, Billie is a protagonist I loved reading about. That’s always a good thing because most of the time, the protagonist usually drives my love of a book. Not in terms of whether they’re good or bad, but whether I think they’re good, in terms of being either believable, relatable, or just plain interesting. And Billie is no doubt a great protagonist. Whether it’s with her friends, her dad or herself, you know that Billie has a big heart and will do what she thinks is right in the end. It doesn’t matter that she has a few mishaps on the way. She’s become so endearing to me that I was rooting for her all throughout the book!

I liked reading about the secondary characters and their complexity, too. These characters made the plot super engaging! You couldn’t help but love every single one of them! You can feel the love Billie has for her friends and the love they have for her back. I think what helped was that the story wasn’t in just Billie’s POV, but her friends as well. You not only get a better sense of Billie’s friends, but Billie as well, through their eyes.

Overall, Dress Codes for Small Towns is a nice contemporary novel that challenges views about gender norms within society while keeping a sort of lightness to it. I thought that it was pretty enjoyable read and would definitely recommend it to others. Well, that’s all I have to say about it for now. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Dress Codes for Small Towns has been out since August 22rd, so feel free to check it out when you get the chance! Thanks for reading! 🙂

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Summary

Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought.

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Review

My rating:

pink4.5.png

Hey, everybody! I just finished reading In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody and couldn’t wait to talk about it! Now more often than not, if I take a while to finish a book, it usually shows my disinterest. That certainly wasn’t the case with this one! Every time I picked it up, I was intensely interested in the story and what was happening to Kennedy. Even when things got really dire and mysterious! My only problem was that I didn’t have enough time in the day to read it quickly enough!

I remember saying in this week’s #ARCstravaganza that I really liked the story’s concept and I stand by that statement. The idea of choices leading you on multiple pathways is not an old one, but one that used a lot in today’s media. But at the end of it all, right or wrong, Kennedy learns that people have to live with their choices and make the most of it.

I also liked how this book explores the other characters in relation to Kennedy. For instance, although Laney isn’t a main character or seen often in this book, In Some Other Life does revolve around Kennedy’s crumbling relationship with her best friend, spurring her into action and the plot of this book. And all the while, Kennedy is given a chance to reexamine her friendship and realize a couple of things about Laney. Other than these two, there are a whole bunch of characters enriching the book and making it so much more enjoyable!

Well, that’s all I have to say about In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody. If you like a lot of contemporary with a bit of scifi, then this is the book for you! Now I really want to read Jessica Brody’s other books, like A Week of Mondays! It sounds right up my alley at the moment! So if In Some Other Life is a book you’re interested in, get ready, because In Some Other Life comes out soon on August 8th! Oh, and all comments and questions are welcome in the section below! Have a restful Sunday, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Summary

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

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Review

My rating:

black4

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust. I remember a while back when I mentioned how excited I was for this title in an #ARCstravaganza post. Ever since, I’ve been itching to read it. Now that I finally have, I can say without a doubt that Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a unique and well-written story.

I think what I liked most about this book is the way it subverts the Snow White fairytale. At times, you can see a little easter egg of the older fairytale, but there are twists that make it almost unrecognizable. I’m a huge fan of that kind of retelling. Sometimes, I come across the opposite, where the retelling doesn’t really do anything new with fairytale other than setting or different characters, so it becomes predictable. And in some cases, I find that to be really problematic because we’re either given the same flat characters or we’re given messages that do not represent our time or what we are striving towards. Overall, I can honestly say that Girls Made of Snow and Glass isn’t like any other Snow White retelling I’ve read.

At the same time, this retelling is trying to convey a message that women shouldn’t be trapped in a system that doesn’t serve them at all. That women shouldn’t be admired based on an idea, but who they are. Throughout the novel, Lynet and Mina suffer from this as Lynet is never seen for herself but merely an imitation of her mother. Mina has to pretend to be something she’s not in order to keep her place in society. But it’s grating at them both until they finally come to a resolution, no matter how hard-earned it may be.

I also really liked how fleshed out the characters were in this novel. Even the secondary characters, who are sometimes never heard from, have depth to them and makes you want to know more about their thoughts and motives. Plus, the flashbacks were amazingly vivid and had relevance to the story at hand, particularly in Mina’s case. The only character that didn’t have the opportunity to be fleshed out is Gregory, the magician and Mina’s father, although I think that’s on purpose, so I don’t mind it as much…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust. Are you excited to read Girls Made of Snow and Glass!  For those of you who are interested, Girls Made of Snow and Glass comes out on September 5th, 2017, so mark your calendars! If you have any other thoughts or questions about this book, feel free to leave a comment in the section below! Have a nice day, everybody!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

ARC Review: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Summary 

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

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My rating:


Hi, everybody! Another day, another review! This time, I’ll be reviewing Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman. Now, I’m going to be honest here. When I first got this book, I wasn’t too eager about the cheaing aspect of it. I was more interested in the characters as individuals rather than a couple. I wanted to see their development and I think that affected how I read this book. It was an okay read but far from my favourite contemporary. 

First of all, I didn’t get into the book until past halfway. It’s just that I couldn’t really relate to Jill until she tried to be a better person. Don’t get me wrong; she was an awful person. I sympathesized with her when it came to familial issues, but as a person, I couldn’t get on board with what she was doing. She was basically helping Max cheat on his girlfriend. That’s how I felt in the beginning. But by the end, I thought that it was admirable that after all that, Jill has a desire to do the right thing. She wanted to be better, and makes an effort to do so. The second part of the book goes more into character development, where I believe that the first part sets the scene.

Anyways, other than that, it was kind of your average Contemporary YA novel with your stock characters like the best friend, the mean girl, the girl next door, etc. In some cases, thus actually stopped characters from becoming fully fleshed. I feel as if Becky, Max’s girlfriend, suffered the most from this. She had no motives or desires other than being Max’s girlfriend, from what I could tell. Even if she was a mean girl, I would have liked to have known more about her and the possible underlying reasons for that. 

But I did really like the dash of baking the book added! In fact, whenever the book got to talking about Jillian’s passion for baking or her confectionary masterpieces, I probably gave it my full attention, at the same time thinking, I must check to see if there’s a recipe for that I could bookmark for later…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman. While I didn’t find the beginning to be all that intriguing, by the end, I liked it a bit more. I think this book is your standard contemporary, so if you are looking for that, I’d suggest adding Kissing Max Holden to your reading lists. 😉 And for those of you who are interested, Kissing Max Holden comes out on August 1st, 2017. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the section below. Thanks for reading, everybody!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Summary

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

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My rating:

black3

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being on Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman. First off, I’ll be honest with you; I read this book in the hopes of expanding my reading horizons. For a while now, I’ve been trying to read outside my comfort zone in case I find something I wouldn’t have otherwise, like The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid. I heard a lot of good things about this book from other bloggers, and I’m really sorry that I couldn’t share their enthusiasm for this novel. But after barely finishing this book, I can say that it just wasn’t meant to be.

The thing was that I got interested in the book at first, making me want to read more. But then I fell into this pattern of interested and bored throughout reading the novel. Granted, it could have been the parts without action or character development, but still. I noticed this happening a lot while I was reading and it kind of irked me. I’d rather be fully invested in a book by this point or at least know early on that I’m not going to like the book so I could DNF and move on. But by the time I got disinterested again near the end, I couldn’t just put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen to them. Speaking of the ending, I didn’t like how the story left things. Even though the story is set in the Wild West and there are dire consequences for actions, I felt like the last part of the book didn’t live up to the potential set in the first part. Overall, I liked the idea of the book, especially when reading in the beginning, but by the end, I was ready to move onto the next book.

But it wasn’t completely a loss, though. I basically read for Kate at certain points because I thought she was great! Well… mostly great. I thought she was a pretty round character, focused on her vengeance for her father, but at the same time, it doesn’t turn her into a stock character. In fact, I thought that her emotional struggle with grief was depicted well. I may not have agreed with everything she did or thought, but I could honestly say that I sympathized with her.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman. While I don’t think I’ll be reading a Western again, I’m glad I got the chance to read at least one. Have any of you read Vengeance Road? What did you think of it? If you have any thoughts or questions about this book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a lovely day!

– Sumaya

ARC Review: Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Summary

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

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My rating:

blue4 copy

(3.75 stars)

Hey, fellow readers! Another day, another review, today’s being on Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza! When I first heard about book, I knew I had to read it! A femship based on fandom? Yes please! As I read more and more of the book, I grew to love its characters, from Kat and Meg to their families and even the friends they make along the way!

First off, I loved reading about Kat and Meg! The way they just clicked at times made reading this book so worth it. It wasn’t just my need for more femships in YA that made me like them, although that was a factor. It was the fact that as they got to know each other, they achieved this level of comfortableness that they haven’t had with any other person. And they wouldn’t have done that without their shared interest in the YouTuber Lumberlegs or the game Legends of the Stone! I liked how Kat and Meg just accept each other for who they are but not so much that they don’t overcome obstacles of their own. They care for one another but they inspire each other to be brave at the same time.

But the book was pretty slow for me at times. I couldn’t wait for them to warm up to each other. Or to fast forward when I knew something bad was going to happen, but it took a long time to happen. And there were certain parts that were just left without coming back to it, like Kat’s brother and their relationship. I would have liked to seen more from them, but after a certain point, we don’t really hear from him again…

But other than that, I really enjoyed reading this book! Plus it’s set in Canada, which is a bonus for this Canadian after reading so many books set in the US. 😉 In the mood for a Contemporary YA about femships, fandoms, and mental health? Then look no further than Anna Priemaza’s Kat and Meg Conquer the World! If you have any thoughts or questions about this novel, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading everyone. And for those of you who are interested, Kat and Meg Conquer the World comes out on November 7th, 2017!

Take care, everyone! And keep reading!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.

 

ARC Review: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Summary 

An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texan high school in the new novel from Jennifer Matheiu, author of The Truth About Alice.

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

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My  rating:

pink4

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since my last review. It kind of took me a long time to read Moxie, but not because it wasn’t interesting, because it was! I was just a bit busy this week. But I’m back with a brand-new, shiny review! With every chapter, I wanted to know what happened next in Vivian’s small town and high school. Will things change? Will they stay the same? Does the zine Moxie stand a chance against the high school population, enacting people to relate and calling them to action? In the end, it was such a great read!

What I really loved about Moxie were the zines! They were amazing! Made me wish I was a Riot Grrrl so I had access to those zines… For those of you who don’t know, zines are like mini magazines or newsletters that the Riot Grrrls of the nineties used to make. They called people to action who would have otherwise just accepted that this were the way things were. I loved Vivian’s plan to place these zines in girls bathrooms too, allowing access for girls, first and foremost. Throughout the book, Moxie grew in popularity to the point where it didn’t matter who started Moxie, everyone was using it to call people to action, and to successful results.

As for Vivian, I thought she was great as the novel’s protagonist. In the beginning, she wasn’t as brave as she was by the end. But that’s okay. I actually liked her more because of her development. She wasn’t one you’d think would try and make a scene even, but for her to feel the anger and injustice of her high school, it makes her seem more epic. Like it doesn’t matter who you are; we can all be brave. And by the end of the book, I pretty proud of her, too!

Well, that’s all I have to say about Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. Definitely recommending this book to anyone I know It’s coming out on September 17th, so mark your calendars if you plan on reading it! And if you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day everyone! All I have to add is “Moxie Girls fight back!”

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

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