Two Book Tuesday – BONUS EDITION!

The releases on March 9th are just *chef’s kiss*

This is probably my favorite TBT (+Bonus) in a really long time.

Title: Perfect on Paper
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buy it Here

Goodreads Summary:

In Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?


Darcy loves to help people with their relationships, despite never being in a relationship herself. On a whim—and to make some extra cash—she sets up an anonymous love advice by way of an abandoned locker at school. Besides her sister, no one knows it’s her—until she gets caught by senior swimming star, Alexander Brougham. So that he keeps her identity a secret, she agrees to help him win his ex-girlfriend back. Things start to go awry as Darcy lets her personal feelings get in the way of her anonymous advice when her best friend—and biggest crush—gets a girlfriend.

I really loved this, and not just because a date scene takes place at Disneyland! This is an inclusive and well-represented story about friendship, love, and when to know if you can judge a person by their advice-seeking note. Right off the bat, Darcy and Brougham have incredible chemistry and banter. They challenge each other and don’t back down when questioned on their beliefs. The blossoming of their relationship felt really genuine and authentic. I loved the relationship Darcy had with her sister Ainsley. I can’t wait until we get to the point where I’m not surprised when the fact that she’s trans isn’t made into a plot point; it’s still something I note.

This a really important queer book that explores the struggle and stigma that comes from identifying as bisexual. Cis and queer people seem to feel very strongly about bisexuality and its role in the queer community—almost as if there is an internalized biphobia. People can feel that they aren’t queer enough, or on the contrary, not straight enough. Just because someone who identifies as bi dates—or even marries—someone of the opposite sex, doesn’t make them any less bi. This book opened up a really great conversation through Darcy’s own internalized questioning. A great companion book to this would be Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: When We Were Infinite
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Buy it Here

Goodreads Summary:

All Beth wants is for her tight-knit circle of friends — Grace Nakamura, Brandon Lin, Sunny Chen, and Jason Tsou — to stay together. With her family splintered and her future a question mark, these friends are all she has — even if she sometimes wonders if she truly fits in with them. Besides, she’s certain she’ll never be able to tell Jason how she really feels about him, so friendship will have to be enough.

Then Beth witnesses a private act of violence in Jason’s home, and the whole group is shaken. Beth and her friends make a pact to do whatever it takes to protect Jason, no matter the sacrifice. But when even their fierce loyalty isn’t enough to stop Jason from making a life-altering choice, Beth must decide how far she’s willing to go for him—and how much of herself she’s willing to give up.

From award-winning author Kelly Loy Gilbert comes a powerful, achingly romantic drama about the secrets we keep, from each other and from ourselves, perfect for fans of Permanent Record and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.


***TRIGGER WARNING***

Change is a scary thing and there is nothing more life changing than the transition after high school.

There was nothing that Beth loved more than her group of friends—she knew what it was like to have no one. Not even graduation and college can tear this group apart. I love a great friend group, and this group was really spectacular with everyone having unique relationships with one another. They want to help Jason so much but are at a loss. Beth is convinced that what happened to Jason was her fault, if only her and her friends were paying more attention.

Readers get to know Beth’s internal character so intimately; we feel everything right there with her. Beth’s anxiety and desperation to hold on to her friends cut so deep. She rationalized that there must be something wrong with her—she couldn’t hold on to her father and keep her parents marriage together. Beth was SO insecure in her relationships that she was constantly questioning the meaning of every word or action, especially from Jason. I just wanted to give her a hug and try to calm her anxiety.

This was excellently written. The prose was so complex, it almost knocked me off my feet. The tension was continually building as the story progressed, I felt it in my chest. I was always on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt that this did take some time to get acclimated in Beth’s psyche. However, once it was over, you get to fully appreciate the journey and development the characters go through.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: American Betiya
Author: Anuradha D. Rajurkar
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buy it Here

Goodreads Summary:

Fans of Sandhya Menon, Erika Sanchez and Jandy Nelson will identify with this powerful story of a young artist grappling with first love, family boundaries, and the complications of a cross-cultural relationship.

Rani Kelkar has never lied to her parents, until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in–his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art–make him her mother’s worst nightmare. 

They begin dating in secret, but when Oliver’s troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give, desperately trying to fit into her world, no matter how high the cost. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself–and what’s really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

Winner of the SCBWI Emerging Voices award, Anuradha Rajurkar takes an honest look at the ways cultures can clash in an interracial relationship. Braiding together themes of sexuality, artistic expression, and appropriation, she gives voice to a girl claiming ownership of her identity, one shattered stereotype at a time.


***TRIGGER WARNING***

This was a dramatic and angst filled romance that only a great YA novel can do right. The conversations that were brought up during this read were really captivating—themes of female ownership, sexuality, cultural appropriation, artistic expression, and gaslighting create this soul crushing debut centered around a young woman discovering herself in a relationship, in her religion, and from within.

Rani and Oliver fell hard and fast. I don’t think I’ve ever read an interracial relationship done so raw in YA before. their chemistry was palpable on the page, setting up a passionate and thrilling relationship journey. I loved learning about the different Hindu traditions and customs. Rani’s closeness with her community was actually really positive, despite her not being able to divulge into such a huge part of her life—her relationship with Oliver.

Rani made it plenty clear from the beginning that her parent’s could never know and there had to be clear ground rules. Oliver was so charming and understanding—the perfect feminist dreamboat who absolutely adored Rani as much as she would let him. They connected on a deeper level, finally someone she could confide in when it came to her art. Once she couldn’t give him what he needed in terms of more access to her life and family, he retaliated with manipulation. She loved Oliver so much, even though the things he said sometimes felt tone-deaf in regards to her culture, total microagressions. Not until she was in too far did she realize that his comments and remarks were him objectifying her culture, fetishizing her for his artistic gain.

I still can’t believe this was a debut novel. The writing was so sophisticated, you would think this came from a seasoned author.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

There is so much more that could be said for every one of these books. PLEASE check them out!!!

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