Review: Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

Together at Midnight
What does it really mean to be kind . . . and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing in the world to do? High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City during the holiday season. Racked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets.

Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?

Usually I’ve always enjoyed Jennifer Castle’s books, and whilst Together at Midnight was most certainly an okay book, it wasn’t what I have come to expect from such a brilliant contemporary author.

The issues that I really had with this book stem from the multiple points of view that this book offers, which really threw me off from my concentration. It just meant that I never really connected to the characters at all... Kendall, Max? Nah, I came away from this book really not caring about them at all. The only characters I did like were the ones who appear in their own Castle novel from a few years ago.

I also felt that the ending of this book was very... lacking. I don't like endings that are nicely wrapped up, nor do I like endings that are so open and rushed like I felt Together at Midnight was.

The thing is, this book will not put me off any future Jennifer Castle books since she has impressed me before. However, I can't say I really enjoyed this book.

Book released 2nd January 2018 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Angel and Bavar by Amy Wilson

Angel and Bavar

After the death of her parents, Angel has a lot to get used to: a new home, a new family, a new school. The last thing she’s interested in is making new friends. Until she meets Bavar, a strange boy who slips through the shadows, a boy who might understand her nightmares.

But Bavar doesn’t want to let anyone in. Everyone—and everything—in his enchanted house is already urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift and the fearsome monsters traveling through it, a responsibility he wishes he could ignore.

Then Bavar discovers that the monsters are the same ones that killed Angel’s parents. Determined to stop the creatures for good, he reluctantly accepts Angel’s help. Together, Angel and Bavar must find the courage to stand up for each other and themselves to repair the rift between worlds…before it’s too late.

Ok. I'll admit something before I write this review.

I failed to realise that this book was middle grade when I downloaded it on Edelweiss, so I started it expecting a slavic inspired Beauty and the Beast. However, whilst the fairytale inspiration is there, the fairytale romance that I wanted was not. Not a bad thing, and completely my own fault, but not what I expected.

When I did get past that, I started to enjoy this book. There is a lot of depth there - something that MG books tend to lack - and Bavar especially was the type of broken character that the genre lacks. The friendship between Bavar and Angel was heartwarming, and that - I think - is the main point of this book. It's very well done.

That being said, there was a somewhat rushed feel about this book that stopped me being so into it. I would have loved Wilson to have taken a step back and used a little more time to flesh out the world and the characters. Kids like to imagine, and they need more description to do that.

Overall, Angel and Bavar was a lovely book about friendship and one of the better Middle Grade titles when it comes to characterisation. That being said, I do feel that the pacing was a little off and the descriptions were lacking which meant this book didn't quite become everything it could have been.

Book released 6th November 2018 by Katherine Tegen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)


Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Oh no, Jodi Meadows. Why oh why do you insist on doing this to me.

An author as renowned in the YA market as you, and you insist on writing and publishing a book that - in my opinion - is a step back for inclusivity in YA.

I am not a black woman. I have no right to comment on how this book may represent black women in a way either positive or negative. I am, however, someone who has suffered with mental health issues for as long as I can remember and I do not feel that this was well represented in this book.

Mira has panic attacks... then her anxiety is not mentioned again for a while. Then she suddenly has an obsession with 'counting', but then this isn't really elaborated in. What is Mira's 'thing', Meadows, because I am seriously not sure who she even was.

This book is about a character who goes through lots of bad things, and whilst we are meant to see he grow throughout, the only time I saw this growth was right at the end of the book... and as awful as it is for me to say, by this point it was almost too late for redemption.

If there is one pro for this book, it's that the writing is gorgeous. No question that Jodi Meadows is a brilliant author, she just tried too hard with Before She Ignites, I think... I think maybe she just sort of lost direction.

Book released 12th September 2017 by Katherine Tegan
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

The Secret of a Heart Note

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

Sweet, holy love of cute boys. Someone find me a Court, and fast.

I like to think that I am past the point at which I fall in love with teenage boys in books because - let's be real, at my age it's a little creepy - however Court is the lovely, non-stereotypical YA boy that I needed to read when I was in my teens.

Like don't get me wrong, Mimosa and Dahlia were great characters too, but I just adored Court - and obviously the romance between him and Dahlia.

Let me just put this out there. This book is light, it's cute, it's downright adorably awkward at times... but it also cover topics like racism and alienisation, it takes these topics and writes about them in a way that feels fully integrated into the plot and not at all forced.

Stacey Lee's writing style is so real. When she was describing tastes and scents I felt like I was experiencing them along with Mim. It was so well done and so deep and I can't fault it.

In fact, there is so very little that I can fault in this book. If anything, I might have to say that sometimes when Lee sometimes wrote about the scents, or the history or things like that I was pulled away from the moment we were in, but other than that tiny little issue... I loved this book! 

Book released 27th December 2016 by Katherine Tegan
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen

Love and Other Train Wrecks

A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love...and the course of their lives forever?

One of my all time fave books ever is The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I just adore serendipitous, fateful meet-cutes that lead to two characters feeling connected to one another. That's probably a big contribution to that fact that even though I didn't adore 'Love and Other Train Wrecks', I still enjoyed it on the level of a cutesy love story.

It took me a while to read this book because I knew I needed to be in the mood for it. The mood in this case being a cold october evening, heating on, under my duvet with hot chocolate. I think that all added to my enjoyment of this book.

Look, this isn't the deepest of reads. The writing isn't outstanding - Leah Konen does have an authenticity in her dialogue that is sometimes missing, but as far as writing style goes it doesn't stand out. The characters were neither awful or awesome, they just were...

That being said, I still really enjoyed this book, and I can't really even say why because nothing was outstanding, but I found myself smiling as I read it from start to finish and being happy when the ending was tied up in a nice little bow. It was a quick, fun, cute, shallow read, and it isn't winning any literary awards, but it was super fun while it lasted.

Book released 2nd January 2018 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review:: Here so Far Away by Hadley Dyer (DNF)

Here So Far Away

Feisty and fearless George Warren (given name: Frances, but no one calls her that) has never let life get too serious. Now that she’s about to be a senior, her plans include partying with her tight-knit group of friends and then getting the heck out of town after graduation.

But instead of owning her last year of high school, a fight with her best friend puts her on the outs of their social circle.  If that weren’t bad enough, George’s family has been facing hard times since her father, a police sergeant, got injured and might not be able to return to work, which puts George’s college plans in jeopardy.

So when George meets Francis, an older guy who shares her name and her affinity for sarcastic banter, she’s thrown. If she lets herself, she’ll fall recklessly, hopelessly in love. But because of Francis’s age, she tells no one—and ends up losing almost everything, including herself.

You know what?

I'm not even bothered that this book is about a seventeen year old girl dating a twenty nine year old man, even though age gaps that big in YA books always make me squirm.

No, the issue that I had with this book was that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't connect with any of their characters, not even enough to second guess the poor life decisions they were making.

I'm sad to say that this book was a DNF at around 35%, however I've seen many complimentary review of this book. It just didn't connect for me.

Overall Rating:DNF

Book released 20th March 2018 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

I so wanted to enjoy this book more than anything. The premise - a confused boy struggling with abuse - sounded so interesting and heartbreaking so I opened this book expecting my heart to break. It didn't.

It sounds awful to say this, but I feel like the way Surmelis wrote Evan and his romance with Henry was too heavy-handed. In fact, I might even go as far as to say it's almost dangerous. Let me remind you that abuse is not romantic, it's not something you can just fix with a kiss and it goes away. Evan has had a tramatic childhood, and in barrels his friend Henry with his obsession with Evan, and he barely gives the boy time to breathe. Henry has moodswings that are almost scary, and whilst sometimes he has his moment, I just kept thinking that I can see no way that Evan is going to come out of the other end of this any less broken than he was at the start of the book.

Now that I have that off my chest, I'll elaborate a little more on why this book did not work for me.

When I first started reading YA books, I was in my early teens and all-consuming romance plots seemed great for me. Now, ten years down the line I am twenty-six years old and as much as aI still love true love and whatnot, I hate seeing a character who is nothing woithout it. This whole book was for me about how his budding relationship was going to heal Evan, his entire development was based on that.

It's annoying because this book had so much more potential.

I'm sure younger readers may not see the same issues that I saw - I am well aware that I am now growing out of the target audience for YA novels and my opinions may differ from that demographic - but for me, this book just didn't hit the spot, I'm afraid.

Book released 30th January 2018 by Balzer and Bray
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole

A Conspiracy of Stars (Faloiv, #1)

Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.
For all of my criticising that I do over books with no worldbuilding, I kind of wish that this book had less. I am an impatient person, and even when reading I am impatient. I don't want to grow to like a book, I want to like it straight off the bat. Even the most amazing book won't seem that amazing if the pacing is even slightly off.

Now, do not get me wrong here, it wasn't a bad book. It just took too long to get interesting and then it was just that - interesting. It wasn't amazing or brilliant or shocking, it was just a good book, that would have been less 'meh' if it hadn't taken so long to get into.

There is so many good things in this book, and Octavia was definitely one of them. She starts out eager to please, eager to throw herself in and become something, as the book develops and she realises that things aren't at all what they seem, she begins to become more inquisitive and question more until eventually she becomes her own person. it's handled in such an authentic way that I really liked her as a character. I also love the messaged that this book handles - it doesn't even try to veil the messages with regards to colonies and the damage they can do.

In fact, if it hadn't been for the awful pacing I would have really loved this book, because there are very few flaws that I can find. My issues was that I just did not get dragged into this book because of the awful pacing so I didn't really connect with it on a deeper level.

Overall, A Conspiracy of Stars was a long read. The plot and characters were well planned out, I just really struggled to drudge through the slower parts of this book.

Book released 2nd January 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. 

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it. 

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

Lauren Oliver has written some brilliant books - I really enjoyed Delirium, though the rest of the series wasn't great. Panic was really enjoyable as well - I think standalones are Oliver's strong point. Broken Things cemented that for me.

I wasn't sure what to expect from that blurb - I didn't know if this was a thriller or a mystery or a fantasy what, I didn't really know what was going to happen at all. I really enjoyed the direction that this book took. 

The strength of this book was the characterisation. We start off with this 2D idea of who Brynn, Mia and Summer were - of who Mia and Brynn now are, and over the course of the 'then' and 'now' part of the books we realise that Summer wasn't the pretty perfect princess, and was actually troubled and very toxic. We realise how she hurt Mia in their own ways, and we come to terms with what happened to her and by the end I didn't even mourn for her any more.

The main issue that I had with this book was that the snippets of the source material - The Way Into Lovelorn, and the fanfiction written by the girls, Return to Lovelorn got very samey. For material that inspired madness, it wasn't particularly inspiring. It felt like a plot hole, in a way.

Everything also tied up very nicely, like wrapped in a little ribbon as well. It was all a little too neat and convenient - the plot was great, just a little... too neat.

Overall, I did enjoy Broken Things - it was enjoyable. I did feel at times a little underwhelmed by the material and some of the snippets in the book but in the end I was hooked into it.

Book released 2nd October 2018 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review
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Review: Damsel by Elena K. Arnold

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

This is not the book I wanted to read, but it was a book that was important to read. 

Damsel is not the strongest book plotwise, the plot itself is very simple. Girl wakes up, she's been rescued by a prince and is not his betrothed, girl learns secrets about herself, the end.

But not quite.

The strongest point of this book is not the plot, it's the things that happen between the lines. It's the character development that Ama goes through. At the start of this book she is a blank slate, and it's hard to watch her slowly go from this strong optimistic person to this beaten down, fearful person. It's dark and deep and painful and in this #MeToo world that we live in, it's also way too real. Ama is abused, mentally and physically and sexually. Arnold does not write these things lightly, she doesn't cower from the details. This whole book is sexual and dark in a way that to more conservative readers may seem... tactless. To me, it seemed important.

There's very little that I can say on this book other than the above. It's not a love story, it's not a fairytale, but it has a very heavy meaning. The ending was as satisfying as I could have hoped, and yet the whole thing left a bitter taste in my mouth. 

It's hard to rate this book. As a fiction novel, I would call it underwhelming. As a cautionary, important social commentary, I cannot rate it highly enough.

Book released 2nd October 2018 by Balzer+ Bray
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless (Everless, #1)

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

I hadn't realised that this was a fantasy - I thought it was a sci-fi like the movie In Time. Thankfully, this is a real life fantasy book - evil queens and lore and intrigue and mystery with a little bit of time magic thrown in.

Holland created this rich, deep world without a single infodump which is hard enough with a simple fantasy world, let alone one with this really in-depth blood currency system. I applaud her for that. That being said, when the big reveal happens towards the end of this book, there were soooo many questions left unanswered and rather than them being left open for the sequel I think they are more just... plot holes.

Like don't get me wrong, I loved the turn the plot took and hadn't even expected it - especially what it meant for the romance the book had been working towards - but some bits of it didn't make sense to me, and that sort of took away from a book which had otherwise been pretty close to perfect for me. The only other thing which detracted from the utter greatness of this book was the way that Jules didn't really seem to grieve when she lost someone very close to her in the middle of this book. She just carried on being strong and daring. I didn't feel like the grief shone through at all.

Let's step away from that, and lets talk about the things in this book that had been perfect. Friendship done right - check. Ina and Jules were great characters and I was not expecting to like Ina but I did love her. Brooding but protective prince - check. Handsome and smiley price - check. Lack of an obvious love triangle - check. Amazing writing that draws you in and makes you imagine the world in such depth that you can feel it in your bones. One massive check. Yes, this book had so much going for it.

In fact, if it hadn't been for the few drawbacks above, this would get an A+ without a second thought, but there were some things that pulled me away from that, but this still get's a pretty respectable rating:

Book released 2nd January 2018 by Harperteen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire, #1)

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

If For a Muse of Fire had been 60 or so pages shorter it would have been the perfect book for me. heck, even at a whopping length of over 500 pages it was still immensely good, I just felt like this book felt a little longwinded and the pacing was a little... awkward.

What makes this book so good is the fact that there was no infodump, the world building was so natural. I was a little frustrated sometimes that the answers to my questions never came fast enough but they did come. The world was so interesting, a mixture of far eastern and french colonialism, magic and necromancy mixed in with war and racial tension. It was pulled off so well as well.

There were so many things that made this book special, but without a doubt Jetta's magic and powers and the shadow puppetry was a highlight for me.

I'm not really going to cover a whole lot on the mental illness side of things. All I will say is that it was very subtle, and it was never explicitly stated only implied. I found that so well done, I don't feel qualified to say much more about how authentically it was portrayed.

Overall, For a Muse of Fire was a well written, well developed novel that really gripped me. I do feel like it was too slow in places and definitely too long and it won't be many people's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.
Book released 25th September 2018 by Greenwillow Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Can't Wait Wednesday - Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Once & Future (Once & Future, #1)
Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta - March 5th 2019 by little, Brown and Company
When Ari crash lands on Old Earth, and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she becomes the forty-second reincarnation of King Arthur. Merlin awakes to find that having aged backward over the last forty-one Arthurs, he is now-wretchedly-a teenager. Ari may be Merlin's final chance to complete the steps of the cycle: 1) Train Arthur 2) Defeat the greatest evil in the universe. 3) Unite all of mankind. No pressure. 

I don't know about prophecies or kings, but I do know this: Mercer is evil. They've imprisoned my parents, enslaved worlds, and now they're after my friends. I'm done hiding. 

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

 My thoughts:
I cannot put into words how excited I am over a Sci-fi version of the King Arthur

Review: Looking for Group by Rory Harrison

Looking for Group
Dylan doesn’t have a lot of experience with comfort. His room in the falling-down Village Estates can generously be categorized as “squalid,” and he sure as hell isn’t getting any love from his mother, who seemed to—no, definitely did—enjoy the perks that went along with being the parent of a “cancer kid.”

Now that Dylan’s suddenly in remission, all he’s left with is a lingering OxyContin addiction and a hunger for something—anything—but the life he’s known.

His only escape has been in the form of his favorite video game—World of Warcraft—and the one true friend who makes him feel understood, even if it’s just online. Dylan met Arden playing Warcraft, and now he wants to take her on a real mission, one he never thought he’d live to set out on: a journey to a mysterious ship in the middle of the Salton Sea.

But Arden is fighting her own battles, ones that Dylan can’t always help her win. As they navigate their way west, they grapple with Arden’s father (who refuses to recognize his daughter’s true gender), Dylan’s addiction, and the messy, complicated romance fighting so hard to blossom through the cracks of their battle-hardened hearts.

Pre-warning: This may be a short review. It may also be ranty.

I am an MMORPG player, and for quite a while I was a World of Warcraft player so I love seeing books set in online games. Stupidly, I thought that may be a main point of this book. It wasn't.

As an online relationship/road trip book, this may have worked.

I just really struggled with the way Dylan and Arden were portrayed, and I really hated the way Dylan described Arden. For a book which is meant to be true and meaningful and educational about trans teens, it felt immensely offensive and misinformed. The was a big put off for me. I persevered, hoping the plot would make up for it. I think that Harrison wrote about Arden's struggles with her family poorly, and Dylan's addiction as well but the plot and the issue with the LGBT+ part of the book was just immensley poorly done. 

Book released 25th April 2017 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review