Wait, is this another review?! *gasps* | Book Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer​

Wait, is this another review?! *gasps* | Book Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer​
Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Publication date: June 27th, 2019 
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 374
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

TW: discussions of suicide, discussions of abortion, teen pregnancy, parental abuse

– My Thoughts –

After reading A Curse so Dark and Lonely, I was eager to read more of Brigid Kemmerer’s books and many blogger friends recommended Call It What You Want. I was supposed to pick up this book in 2019 but I kept putting it off; however, this wholesome YA contemporary was exactly what I needed after reading a horror story.

“I’m not lost. I want to do the right thing.”

“Most of us do,” she says ruefully. “The problem is that it doesn’t always look the same for all of us”

Rob Lachlan was once THE popular guy in school but now, he’s a nobody. His father stole half the towns investment money and people think that Rob was in on it too. If that’s not enough, his father committed suicide and Rob saw it all.

Maegan was a good girl but she cheated on the SATs and nothing been the same since. Her classmates blame her for getting caught and forcing everyone to rewrite the tests all over again. Maegan’s dad is also a cop and definitely won’t like it when his daughter is friendly with the son of a criminal.

Maegan and Rob are paired up as partners by a teacher, one of my favourite YA trope! At first, none of them wants​ to each other’s partners but later, they realise that their project meet-ups provided a welcome escape from their complicated families. This unlikely relationship between them was so beautiful to read; both insecure and presume the wrong things about each other at first. There were so many other lovable characters in the book: Owen, Owen’s mom, Sam, Mr. London.

The main theme here is how anyone can be misjudged and that we truly don’t know what is going on in their lives. Either we ignore them or treat them like garbage. Also a slight paragraph about racism was included through a character called Drew, when he says that at least people aren’t Rob like a criminal. Even though Drew’s delivery came off rude he was right, Rob got off easy because of the colour of his skin. If a black kid like Drew’s dad would have committed such a crime, the punishment would be far worse. Another representation comes from Owen who’s gay and it was so amazing to see his mother asking him to keep his door open when Rob was alone with him; a contrast to Mr London’s parents who wanted to get “rid of the gay” in him.

“Other people don’t have the challenges that we have, Owen. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.”

Overall, I would highly recommend this. If you loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely and want to read more of the author’s books, then you won’t regret picking this contemporary up. I loved the Robin Hood easter egg in the story and way male friendships were portrayed. I was a bit miffed about the lack of female friendship in this book and I would love it if Brigid wrote a more present female friendship in her next book.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). A full-time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband, her boys, her dog, and her cat. When she’s not writing or being a mommy, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell. 

Thank you for reading! Have you read Call It What You Want or any of the author’s other books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Anticipated 2020 book releases on my list | a post after 27365535 years

Hi everyone! It does feel more than a million years since I last posted on here. I’ve been writing blog post ideas but never could I get my fingers to type up one. Will I do better at posting in 2020? Who knows..but I’ll try my hardest. While I was away from blogging, I was posting on Instagram so follow me, if you’re there!

I had a list of 2020 releases written up but I lost it, so I had to compile another one and uhh..this is not a Top Ten list as that is way too much pressure for me.. SO, here are some book releases I’m eagerly awaiting and this is only Part I!

Without any further ado, here are some Book Releases I’m Anticipating in 2020..

Book Releases I'm anticipating in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Summer '19 TBR

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery 

Give me a combination of an own-voices Indian fantasy + knock-me-dead gorgeous cover and watch me how fast I add it to my tbr. It’s about the daughter of a star and a mortal. Sheetal, who needs the help of a full star like her mother to save her injured father.
“Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut.”

Evie Dunmore

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery 

Bringing Down the Duke‘s one of my favourite books of 2019 and when I read a sneak-peek of the next book in this extraordinary series, I had to have it(but of course, I have to wait until SEPTEMBER!!)

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

A Heart so Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery 

Since I loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely (where I think Grey should have totally ended up with Rhen), I didn’t think twice about adding AHSFAB to my tbr.

The Gravity of us by Phil stamper

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery 

This is a contemporary YA set around NASA’s first mission to Mars. Cal’s a a successful social media journalist who’s father is on the mission along with another “Astrokid” Leon’s parent.

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibańez

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Gorgeous cover and an own voices Latinx fantasy described as, A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.? Count me in!

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

A YA historical fiction set during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea? Say no more!

Of Curses and Kisses(St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.” Even though I haven’t read any of Sandhya Menon’s books yet, I’ve heard good things and the synopsis makes me hopeful that it’s going to really good!

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about this YA romance on Twitter(irony) and I’ve got an eARC too!

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed

Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.
I’m both excited and anxious about this book!


Thank you for reading! What about you? Do you have any of these books in your TBR? If you have some other books on your anticipated lists, then let me know in the comments below!

A Book (not-)so Dark and Lovely | ARC Review: A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Looking for a thriller recommendation? | ARC Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

LINKS

Looking for a thriller recommendation? | ARC Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
cover(Goodreads)

BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY


SYNOPSIS

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Should You read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer?

I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.

― Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Retellings are such a popular genre in the bookish industry right now that if you love reading them, you will be spoilt for choice. I love retellings because I see badass, unsure but still fierce(badass) heroines as the protagonists, even better if they’re a person of color and/or a neurodiverse rep or an LGBTQ+ rep..In A Curse so dark and Lonely, I saw a badass heroine named Harper Lacy, who has cerebral palsy and she OWNS the show..well, the story.

This book is described as a modern Beauty and Beast retelling minus the awesome library. WHY ? *cries* I wanted another fantasy library to dream about. Anyway…Harper and Prince Rhen are the protagonists and the story is told from both of their POVs. This is my first Brigid Kemmerer novel and I was amazed by the way she took “a tale as old as time” that portrays an abusive relationship and turned it into something beautiful..something I’d like everyone to read and re-read.

The story starts in Emberfall. Prince Rhen is wiping blood from his hands and there’s his Guard Commander Grey who is apparently Commander only by name as there’re no men to command anymore. Rhen also asks his Grey of the whereabouts of a girl and he replies that she’s gone. Gone where? Apparently it doesn’t matter to either of them as Grey sets off to find another girl for Rhen..This is not the only thing that creepy here in Emberfall. Rhen remarks that he doesn’t care about what kind of girl begins or how much blood is shed as this season will repeat itself again and thus, he will be eighteen for the three hundred twenty-seventh time.

Then, we’ll move on to Washington DC where we see Harper acting as the look out while her brother’s out on a dangerous job. Harper catches Grey carrying a girl and Harper attacks him which ultimately leads her(and Grey) to Emberfall.

In Emberfall, Harper is horrified to discover that she isn’t in DC anymore and Rhen expresses his “regrets” and tells her that he can’t let her until after the season is over. When Harper manages to escape from the castle, she discovers the plight of Emberfall. A kingdom where a curse has managed to wreak havoc on the people and Harper is Rhen’s and Emberfall’s only hope to save it. 

“This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush. If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.” 

You’d think that since it’s a Beast retelling, you’ll only see the Beast as the villain but you’d be so wrong. As I’ve said before, Harper is almost everything I love to see in a female protagonist. She has cerebral palsy but she doesn’t let anyone see her as uncapable and weak, instead she educates the people and Rhen on celebral palsy. However she isn’t a character without flaws and neither is Rhen or Grey.

Rhen was a spoiled prince before the curse but for hundred years, he suffered abuse for the sake of his people. I loved that he didn’t make a big deal out of Harper’s physical restrictions and acknowledged his mistake in underestimating her strengths. Grey is loyal to Rhen and even it breaks him, he will continue to stand by Rhen because he has vowed to do so.

I loved the pacing of the book and the flawed characters. It was incredible to see such relatable mental health representation. I loved the friendship between Harper and Grey and Rhen. I loved the slow-burn romance between Rhen and Harper. It was not the focus of the story and there were other stakes like saving Emberfall and Rhen from the curse and foreign invaders, protecting the people from the Beast, and saving Harper’s family. The ending was perfect which leads me to confess that I’m now addicted to Brigid Kemmerer’s writing and eagerly waiting for the sequel to this fantasy and her upcoming titles.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you’re a Brigid Kemmerer fan, love retellings, strong but flawed characters, neurodiverse rep, beautiful friendship, and slow-burn romance.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT:

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Do you think you’ll read A Curse so Dark and Lonely? Have you already read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!