Sunday, 27 January 2019

Batch Reviews #11

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe (✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 384

My Review: From the epigraph alone, I could tell that I was going to enjoy Philippe's writing. We follow Norris, who is a French Canadian teen, who recently moves to Texas because his mom got a new teaching gig. He is at first determined to hate it, and spends him time thinking about going back to Canada where he can be reunited with his best friend, Eric. The guidance counselor gives Norris a notebook and he treats it like a little guide book where he writes down his findings about various highschool tropes and stereotypes. He slowly finds himself making unlikely friendships with Liam, Madison, and Aarti, and he even starts up a little hockey team! I have to admit that I found Norris kind of insufferable at times, but I liked that he was able to demonstrate real growth in the text. My favorite character was definitely Maddie. She is just an all-around good human being. There are great Canadian references that I really appreciated, and most of all, this book reminds us of the very important rule of not to judge things and people solely based on appearance, because they will surprise you, and sometimes in the best way possible. This was a great debut from Philippe, and I can't wait to see what he writes next.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - KindleBook Depository
Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.* #IndigoEmployee 

The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli (✮✮ - 2/5 stars)
Publishing Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352

My Review: Based on the premise alone, the book sounded like it had a lot of potential. I quite enjoyed the beginning learning about Raina and her relationship with her grandmother raising her. It takes place in Toronto, and while Raina is still getting over an ex, she finds herself catering to her grandma and going on dates to meet suitors that her grandma has chosen. I liked the idea that the various dates were given separate chapters, and as a list maker myself, how lists were used in the book. That being said, this book quickly angered me. There's a moment in the text that Raina pretends to be gay so that her grandmother will stop pressuring her to go on dates. It spirals out of control, and worst, Raina keeps this lie going on for quite some time. Although she laments over it, and admits that she was a coward for not changing the narrative sooner, this really bothered me, and I don't even know how someone who identifies as gay would approach this. Raina as a character was extremely unlikable. She would attempt to justify poor behavior or just half-ass apologize for certain things. It's really hard to enjoy the book when you, as a reader, ultimately don't root for the protagonist. With so much potential, I found the instance of sexuality, and character growth poorly handled.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper (✮✮ - 2/5 stars)
Publishing Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 256

My Review: I always enjoy reading a good celebrity book and I particularly enjoy ones from 'funny people' - I've seen some of Kemper's work from The Office, and some movies, so I knew of her. I was quite excited to learn more about her from this book, but I found it quite dragging about 1/3 of the way in. I found myself reading mostly for references to The Office, because the other parts didn't really hold my attention unfortunately. Sure, Kemper's funny, but it was more of a ha-ha funny, and less so much laughing out loud funny. Perhaps it's the writing style, but unfortunately this was not my cup of tea. I think those that maybe have watched Kimmy Schmidt, might enjoy it more? The story that I enjoyed most was titled "Hero" about her school teacher named Ms. Romanoff, and the gift of the plush toy.

Available for Purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Audible -  Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

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