Genre: Contemporary


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

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Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers
The Go Between
Veronica Chambers
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: May 9th, 2017
by Delacorte Press

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Fans of Jane the Virgin will find much to love about this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Veronica Chambers, who with humor and humanity explores issues of identity and belonging in a world that is ever-changing.

She is the envy of every teenage girl in Mexico City. Her mother is a glamorous telenovela actress. Her father is the go-to voice-over talent for blockbuster films. Hers is a world of private planes, chauffeurs, paparazzi and gossip columnists. Meet Camilla del Valle Cammi to those who know her best.

When Cammi s mom gets cast in an American television show and the family moves to LA, things change, and quickly. Her mom s first role is playing a not-so-glamorous maid in a sitcom. Her dad tries to find work but dreams about returning to Mexico. And at the posh, private Polestar Academy, Cammi s new friends assume she s a scholarship kid, the daughter of a domestic.

At first Cammi thinks playing along with the stereotypes will be her way of teaching her new friends a lesson. But the more she lies, the more she wonders: Is she only fooling herself?
-A copy was provided by Delacorte Press for review-

The Go-Between is part fluff and part social commentary. It is this incredible feel good book about a girl has to leave her home country behind to move to America because her mom has landed a roll in American TV. What The Go-Between really tries to break down intersectionality and explore various privileged and oppressed identities.

How does Cammi’s life change when she moves from Mexico City to LA? Her family still has enormous socio-economic privilege but her life does change. The way her classmates interact with her changes and the way she is perceived and stereotyped by her classmates completely changed. Without even getting the chance to introduce herself, her new rich, white classmates craft an identity for her based on racist stereotypes.

And yet even though for the first time in her life Cammi has to deal with oppression and racism, she still have socio-economic privileges she has always taken for advantage and continues to take advantage of when her family moves to LA. She plays along with the poor, scholarship kid that works multiple jobs identity that has been crafted for her while undermining her classmates who are actually poor and have to have a job.

Her transition to LA is more than just her becoming aware of what its like to be Latinx in America, its about her realizing the enormous socio-economic privilege she does have and balancing her various identities.

The Go-Between is a thought-provoking book and yet I feel like the writing falls just a little short for me. The book is quick and easy to read, and maybe it is because I read an arc and not a finished copy, but I feel like the book needs so much more polishing. There are ragged sentences and some minor plot arcs that aren’t quite wrapped up within the book. I usually don’t even notice editing/writing things (hell, I am probably not going to be proof reading this post because I am exhausted all the time and need sleep) but it really stood out to me with this book and I think it did dampen the reading experience for me. But do remember that I read an ARC and for so many books, the ARC and finished copy are worlds apart so who knows what changes were made.

Overall, I do think The Go-Between is a book worth taking a chance on (especially since it is #own voices) and one that many people will enjoy.

 

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Posted by on 05/12/2017 • 1 Comment

Sometimes there are books you read and you love and then sometimes there are books you read and FUCKING LOVE. As you might be able to gather given my subtle opening line, That Thing We Call a Heart falls into the latter category for me.

I honestly don’t even know how to express all the love I feel for the book into this review because I doubt that is even possible. Perhaps I might use this gif:

Or I could use words but as I told my prof the other day when he suggested I do a creative writing project, I am not a writer so if this review is completely incoherent, know that I honestly tried.

That Thing We Call a Heart is a book that needs to be in…

The Infinite Variants of YA: The One Where Erin Gough Has to Choose Between Being Lost at Sea or in the Woods

The Infinite Variants of YA: The One Where Erin Gough Has to Choose Between Being Lost at Sea or in the Woods

Posted by on 04/20/2017 • 0 Comments

HELLO and welcome back to this fancy feature that Nick (Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist) and I are collaborating on! This month I am sharing a fun interview with the delightful Erin Gough! RAISE A GLASS TO (freeedoooommm) to ERIN GOUGH!

1. If you could be any color in the world, what color would you be? 

Green. It’s the colour of nature, not to mention the Wicked Witch of the West. Kermit is green, too, and that frog can dance.

2. Who does Delilah consider to be a person who has everything put together?

Rosa Barea, definitely. From a distance, Rosa seems smart, talented and sure of herself. Of course, when Del gets to know her better, she realises that she’s not as together as she seems.

3. What song would Delilah think…

Different in a Good Way: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

Different in a Good Way: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

Posted by on 04/07/2017 • 2 Comments

Motorbike clubs is always a good way to get a person’s attention but I honestly did not expect what I got from Done Dirt Cheap. I assumed there would be an element of fluff to the book but instead, what I got was a complex, thoughtfully crafted novel with words that just jumped off the page. There are some books you finish that will oddly make you feel nostalgic for something you don’t even quite remember and Done Dirt Cheap was that book for me. In some ways it was reminiscent of the contemporary YA novels I grew up on.

I think part of the nostalgia for me came from the focus on female friendships in this book. Like both the main characters have their love interests and those relationships are important (and…

Timely and Important: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Timely and Important: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Posted by on 03/30/2017 • 1 Comment

Saint Death is one of those books you are going to want to hurl across the room, not because you hate it but because its too painful. Or you could do what Joey does and put scary books in the freezer for another day. The release of the book is so timely and I hope that it will reach the hands of many because it is such an important book. Right now, the conversation surrounding immigration is one of the most politically charged ones. People feel like immigrants are ruining their lives and that the answer is to throw up metaphorical and literal walls between countries. To this I respond with:

I am going slightly off topic and that’s fine because Saint Death is a book that is going to start…

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

Posted by on 03/27/2017 • 2 Comments

You’re Welcome, Universe is an incredibly special book and one I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to read. It’s eye-opening, heartwarming, angsty and just a whole lot of fun. Julia is a main character YA has been waiting for and will be made all the more better by her presence.

Julia is a deaf, Indian graffiti artist. She is incredibly talented but also just tired of graffiti not being taken seriously as an art form. She is tired of all the people who give graffiti a bad name and she is tired of it being seen as vandalism instead of ART that has the ability to make a point and to make people think. She gets kicked out of her school when she covers a slur about her…

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Posted by on 03/23/2017 • 2 Comments

It’s in the title of this review post but I am going to repeat it anyway: Amina’s Voice is one of the most important books published this year and has clearly not gotten the hype it deserves. It’s a middle grade book and I know a lot of people shy away from reading those because reading tastes vary but please don’t overlook this book. Amina’s Voice is such a wonderful, heartfelt book and deserves and infinite amount of love from everybody.

I should take a moment to say I am neither Muslim-American or Pakistani-American but Amina’s Voice still resonated with and I found myself nodding along and feeling Amina’s struggle with her cultural identity on a spiritual level. I grew up feeling similar struggles and even though it wasn’t ~my story~, it felt really…

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…