Saturday 27 May 2017

Mini Reviews: Contemporary Romance I LOVE

Royce RollsTitle: Royce Rolls
Author: Margaret Stohl
Source: Purchased
Pages: 400
Rating: 5/5
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce is the wild child of a super-glam reality TV dynasty. She has it all – designer clothes, a fancy school and an actual Bentley to drive around in. Her ambitious mum Mercedes has dragged the family from trailer park to Hollywood stardom. But Bentley wants out – she wants to go to college, escape her own storyline, be NORMAL – but Royces don't do normal (or college).

Rolling with the Royces is running out of ways to keep viewers hooked and suddenly the show is threatened with cancellation. Bentley faces an impossible choice. Without the show, she could live the college dream – but her family would crumble (they are already twenty million dollars in debt). Bentley Royce has a mission. She must use her brains to save the show; if she saves the show, she can save her family – and she'll do whatever it takes …

Honestly just so much better than I was even expecting! Bentley was such a wonderful character to be in the mind of and I adored all the side characters as well. The plot developed in a way I NEVER expected and did not see coming. I just really wish Rolling With the Royces was a real show cause I would 100% watch it. 

If you love reality TV, or even if you don't actually, this is a perfect tongue in cheek, send up yet homage to the whole reality culture. It's so hard to describe but as someone who takes an odd sort of delight in reality shows I was able to laugh at all the behind the scenes drama but also came away feeling a glowing feeling from how hopeful and loving the family were. 

In the end this is the perfect depiction of a family. Crazy and weird and messed up but loving each other more than all of that. I just adored this book and definitely recommend it.

The Upside of UnrequitedTitle: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Source: Purchased
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 stars
Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she's lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can't stomach the idea of rejection. So she's careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie's orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly's cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.
There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Oh guys. Guys this book. OK, just to get a little personal for a sec - I'm bisexual and it's enormously rare that I get to read anything about bisexuality (or in the case of this book pansexuality) so that was an immediate draw for me. 

Molly, our MC is so wonderfully relatable for me. It's hard to review this book without getting personal if I'm being honest because so many of the things I loved about this story and these characters are, at least partially, personal for me. I loved that Molly had anxiety, and was on medication for it and that, it was dealt with so well. I know there's a lot of controversy around medication for mental health sometimes but as someone who has tried being on and off meds and found that on definitely works best for me I appreciated seeing it as a normal thing for a character. 

I also appreciated how the book dealt with weight and body shaming. Because really, if you're healthy and comfortable with yourself why should it matter what dress size you are? But see as easily as I can say that I will still find myself getting insecure when a dress doesn't work for me because of my body shape, or when I have to go a size up in one store (for a load of high school I refused to shop in one store because there sizes ran just a little bit smaller than everywhere else - and I loved their clothes but I hated the way it made me feel). And Molly was such a perfect mix of this. She doesn't hate her body. But she is painfully aware of what other people say or think about her. And I related to that so much.

ANYWAY, outside of all that there's also a super-cute romance (so, so adorable) two actually if you count Cassie and her new girlfriend (which I do because duh they were SO CUTE). And a lovely family plot, the sister part of which really hit me because Ann and I have such a close relationship now and it terrifies me the thought of losing that - which is kind of how Molly and Cassie feel. 

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  1. I've heard nothing but great things about The Upside of Unrequited and how cute and wonderful it is, so I am so glad to see you enjoyed it so much too! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Thank you so much!! :) And YES cute and wonderful! I highly recommend it if you love contemporary!

  2. Brilliant review as always Clare. Eloquent. A master wordsmith.

  3. Hi, Clare! I ABSOLUTELY adored Upside and am glad you did too. There's just something painfully relatable about Molly, right? Like, at first I thought it was just me indentifying so hard with her, but then I kept seeing on people's reviews that they, too, found bits of themselves in Molly's story. Have you read Becky's debut? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you haven't already. Also, I haven't read Royce Rolls but I subscribe to this podcast called First Draft and Sarah Enni did an interview with Stohl, where she talked about this particular book. I thought that might interest you.

    1. There's so many parts to her that just resonate with so many people I think! Almost anyone could find something relatable in her and that's what makes Upside so incredible!
      I HAVE read Simon!! Loved it! It was one of my favourite books of last year and I now really want to re-read it - that glimpse of Simon in Upside just made me so happy!!!

      And yes that sounds super interesting! I'll definitely have to check that out!

  4. Great review. I'm currently reading this and am really enjoying it so far!