Posted in Hue's Reviews

Hue’s Reviews: Wrecked

During a party, Jenny accuses rape by Jordan. Its aftermath leaves friends, acquaintances and a college swaying towards fact or fiction and what’s best for Jenny or Jordan. Verdicts lay in the corners of both students, leaving us all wrecked in its path.

Wrecked offers an unflinching look at sexual assault within our college campuses. Rape, rape-culture, victimization, and perpetrator alignment receive a trial throughout this story’s pages. Told between two perspectives, not of the rape survivor, but her roommate and her roommate’s love interest as readers, we see how we play a role in bolstering or chipping away at this hurtful societal ill.

Padian paints her picture via a believable plot with well-developed characters and dialogue. Furthermore, she flips gender roles. Haley’s the jock and Richard’s the lovelorn fellow trying to figure himself out. You witness discussions with college students without the use of hyper-aware language (Take note, Josh Whedon!). In other words, eighteen year-olds sound reasonable and not as though they’re thirty-somethings trapped in younger bodies. The two observers, see murkiness in the situation – most of which they present themselves. Doubt permeates each page. However, victim-blaming never receives a welcomed vibe from the go. Good.

Furthermore, I appreciate how Padian set events leading to Jenny’s rape in specks in-between each chapter. Dread speckles with each turn as you know what’s about to arrive, and when the moment comes, without gratuity, you feel the emptiness and sadness she encounters before, during, and after. It’s heavy and will not let go, as sexual assault refuses to do in reality.

You will feel anger at Jordan, Haley, Richard – even misplaced at Jenny because you want to prevent the inevitable. Her helplessness becomes your own.

With all books, cons present themselves. Two such cons are the one-note Carrie character (the “Angry Feminist/Social Do-Gooder”) and an inappropriate love story (while not Insta-love, which I detest, the subplot builds).

Con #1: Carrie’s angry, justified, of course. But, as readers, we often do not see glimmers of anything more, unless you count jealousy. However, what’s jealousy without anger attached? I would have preferred moments of joy or indifference. In a way, the Mona character could have splintered into Carrie.

Con #2: The inappropriate love sub-plot of Haley and Richard. Yeah, I get it. Living life includes moments where you move on, despite negativity rimmed around you. I felt dirty though as I witnessed a scene where consent teaching came off as jokey. You may feel otherwise. Yet, I can’t shake that feeling.

Regardless of those two cons, these story deserves a read. Padian writes a realistic telling of the all too familiar course many college stories unwittingly registered for in their matriculation. Verdict: 4 out of 5.

*This book happily sits on my bookshelf from my own wallet.*

Posted in Hue's Reviews

Hue’s Reviews: The Hate U Give

Sixteen year-old Starr Carter wears a mask daily: one in her poor, black neighborhood and one in the rich and predominately white neighborhood where she attends an elite school. But, for unbeknownst to those around her, masks tire and tighten with each passing day. The balance between managing the tightness and fatigue comes to a head after witnessing the shooting death of her friend, Khalil, by the hands of a police officer during a traffic stop.

Once his death makes headline news, she battles assumptions from those ignorant of who Khalil was as a person. Everybody has an opinion – some good, some bad, others clueless. As those opinions come to a head, Starr wonders just how long she’s willing to walk the tightrope others desire her to teeter.

My soul’s on fire.
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Posted in Hue's Reviews

Hue’s Reviews: Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – two delicious items one can get in Italy. While I’ve enjoyed both in Venice, this story takes place in Florence.

Quick wrap-up

Pros:

1. Quick pacing

2. A character that’s pretty likable. She’s not dim-witted (though at times she was rather unobservant). Her confusion throughout her short and empathetic journey. She’s grieving her mother – a woman with secrets and facets unbeknownst to her daughter. While she loves her mother, she sometimes feels as though she never knew her.

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Hue’s Reviews: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Do not worry. My mug of tea sits beside me as I type this review. Jenny Han’s novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before invokes frustration and side-eyes from other planets. I promise to keep my feelings civil, even when the book urges me to forget civility.

We live in society pushing various books, songs, and movies as “must-have moments”, despite a myriads of said items swathed in mediocrity. Average is the popular kids’ table, while exceptional lingers in the bathroom until the lunch bell. May I push this book onto the popular kids with its cute cover and engrossing book blurb? Yes, I may, given that neither fit in the actual book’s plot, dialogue and characters.

How do I sum this story?

Small wonder tells a story about writing three love letters in middle school back in the day (She’s a high school student) to three or four crushes and how they’re mailed to them years later. She convinces us to stick around for seventy-two – yes, seventy-two chapters of lethargic drama and emotionless dilemmas.

Hence, the Small Wonder reference. Okay, I’m aging myself. But, I have 1980s and 1990s references out of the wazoo. Bear with me. They compel me to use them.

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Hue’s Reviews: The Sun is Also a Star

Does fate exist? Can we meet someone one day that will change us for years to come? What measures would we travel to change course? The Sun is Also a Star considers these questions.

Meet Daniel, a Korean-American kid dealing with immigrant dreams placed upon him before birth. He wants to attend college, major in English, and write poetry. His parents want him to attend Yale and become a doctor…even if Yale’s the second best school (He’s older brother attends Harvard).

Meet Natasha, Jamaican-born and American since eight years old, she dreams of becoming a data scientist as she adores science and facts. Yet, science cannot change the fact that she’s being deported by night’s end.

In one day, their lives collide, changing course for them, their families, and their futures.

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