Quick Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

dimplePlot in a sentence: Dimple’s dream is to make apps and she resists her parents attempts to set her up with a good Indian boy, she is thus less than pleased when her acceptance into a summer programming class turns out to be another match making scheme.

Recommended age: 13 and up

Diversity:

  • Race: Dimple and Rishi and Indian and many races are represented in the cast.

Who will love this book:

  • Romance readers seeking more diversity and strong modern women.

What I liked about this book:

  • Dimple is a smart geeky woman in STEM who knows herself and her goals.
  • Dimple’ romance with Rishi is fun and touching and defies stereotypes. I fell in love with them.
  • Menon opposes tradition and modernity in her heroes while treating both positions with respect.
  • I loved Dimple’s passion for her app and Rishi’s for his comics.

If you liked this book, read: Saints and Misfits by S.K. aLI for another sweet romance in an unconventional and diverse novel.

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Quick Review: Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

alex ElizaPlot in a sentence: Eliza is the second daughter of the illustrious and impoverished Shuyler family and Alex is an aide to Washington during the American Revolution with no family to speak of. This is their love story.

Recommended age: 13 and up

Who will love this book:

  • Readers who are obsessed with the Hamilton musical and need more.
  • Fans of Pride & Prejudice style romances

What I liked about this book:

  • This is a sweet love story, troubled by misunderstandings and scoundrels that reminds me of Pride and Prejudice.
  • The Schuyler sisters are strong, independent young women who I was happy to get to know better.

If you liked this book, read: Hamilton the Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter to read more about Alex and Eliza’s love affair.

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Quick Review: Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams

grandpaPlot in a sentence: Jack’s grandpa was a pilot during world war II and as he ages, the more often he forgets that he is no longer that young pilot. When Jack’s parents send him to a terrible old folk’s home, Jack must help him plan a grand escape.

Recommended age: 8 and up

Who will love this book:

  • Readers who feel difficult topics should be treated with humour.

What I liked about this book:

  • Walliams writing and Ross’ illustration never fail to put a smile on my face.
  • The book deals with serious topics, alzheimer’s and WWII, with honesty but also gentleness and humour.
  • It is a grand adventure that no one is too old for.

If you liked this book, read: The Fourteeth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm another fun novel about a grandfather with alzheimer’s.

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Quick Review: Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

saints-and-misfits-9781481499248_hrPlot in a sentence: When Janna’s is sexually assaulted by Farooq, she fears no one will believe her over the pillar of the community that he is, but she finds it impossible to move on as he finds himself in every aspect of her life.

Recommended age: 13 and up (discussions of stalking and sexual assault but nothing graphic.)

Diversity:

  • Race: The cast is racially diverse.
  • Religion: Most of the characters are Muslim or Hindu.

Who will love this book:

  • Readers who want more diversity in their realistic fiction.

What I liked about this book:

  • The internalized guilt and the fear caused by sexual assault by a prominent person in your community is painfully realistic.
  • The diversity of Muslim characters, both good and bad, none of them stereotypes and most exploring what their faith means to them.
  • The Niqabi Ninja’s. I want so badly for this vlog to really exist.
  • Janna’s uncle’s charming answers to the moral questions posed to him on his website.
  • Janna’s heart warming and sad friendship with the elderly Mr. Ram.
  • I feel like I’ve been spoiled for male romantic leads lately. I didn’t used to ever like them but that’s been changing and Nuah is another great one.

If you liked this book, read: Does My Head Look Big in This? by while this novel doesn’t deal with as heavy issues, it’s another good portrayal of a complex hijabi main character.

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Quick Review: The Upside of Unrequited

the upside of unrequitedPlot in a sentence: When Molly’s twin sister gets a serious girlfriend, she begins to feel isolated. This loneliness leads her to risk acting on a crush for the first time (out of 27 crushes) and there seem to be two willing boys to choose from.

Recommended age: 13 and up (some sexual content)

Diversity:

  • Fat: The main character is fat
  • LGTBQ+: Molly’s mothers and her sister are gay
  • Race: One of Molly’s mother and her baby brother are black.

Who will love this book:

  • Hopeless romantics and fans of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (soon a movie!)

What I liked about this book:

  • I basically was Molly, feeling unattractive and too afraid to approach anyone I was interested in. I wish I had given myself a chance too.
  • I feel in love with kind, nerdy Reid.
  • It is a great story about sisters growing up and growing apart and the pain of these changes.
  • Albertalli writes such fun stories with endearing characters. She’s quickly become a favorite of mine.

If you liked this book, read: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is just as fun and endearing. It has queer parents, twins and a crafty heroine.

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Quick Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

all americanPlot in a sentence: When a shop owner mistakes Rashad for a thief, a cop brutally beats him, landing him in the hospital. The community, especially a white boy named Quinn who witnessed the beating struggles with their response to the events.

***STARRED REVIEW***

Recommended age: 13 and up (though there is one brutally violent scene)

Diversity:

  • Race: Half the cast is black and it deals with the black experience in America.

Who will love this book:

  • For socially conscious readers.

What I liked about this book:

  • Like The Hate U Give, this is such an important and timely novel, touching on a difficult topic in a deft and entertaining way.
  • I felt this book viscerally, parts were like a punch to the gut. It’s something I think white people need to feel if we are even to begin to understand the problem of race in North America.
  • The two viewpoints, Rashad and Quinn, black and white brings extra depth to the narrative.

If you liked this book, read: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for another powerful novel about police violence against black people.

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Quick Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Theres-Someone-Inside-Your-House-Stephanie-PerkinsPlot in a sentence: Makami doesn’t want to talk about the incident that had her exiled to her grandmother’s home in Nebraska but she fears that it has made her the target of a serial killer.

Recommended age: 15 and up (some sex and lots of graphic violence)

Diversity:

  • Race: Makami is biracial.
  • LGTBQ+: Makami’s best friend is a trans boy.

Who will love this book:

  • Fans of unconventional romances.
  • Readers who like bloody thrillers.

What I liked about this book:

  • This book successfully combines Perkin’s incredible skill with romance (I actually fall for her romantic male leads, which is rare, and Ollie is a great one) with an exciting thriller.
  • The characters, Makami and Ollie in particular, have a lot of secrets and the buildup to the reveal is as interesting as the reveal of the killer and their motivation.
  • The dark sense of humour. There are several scenes that left my horrified and chuckling at the same time.
  • The characters, including the murder victims, are complex and multifaceted with equally complex relationships. They feel like real people.

If you liked this book, read: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga for more serial killers and a main character with a complicated past. Makami definitely has the better grand mother though.

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