Publishing Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: PRH Canada Young Readers
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise from the Publisher: "Poppy used to be an optimist. But after a photo of her dressed as Rosie the Riveter is mocked online, she's having trouble seeing the good in the world. As a result, Poppy trades her beloved vintage clothes for a feathered chicken costume and accepts a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. There, Poppy meets six-year-old girl Miracle, who helps Poppy see beyond her own pain, opening her eyes to the people around her: Cam, her twin brother, who is adjusting to life as an openly gay teen; Buck, a charming photographer with a cute British accent and a not-so-cute mean-streak; and Lewis a teen caring for an ailing parent, while struggling to reach the final stages of his gender transition. As the summer unfolds, Poppy stops glorifying the past and starts focusing on the present. But just as she comes to terms with the fact that there is good and bad in everyone, she is tested by a deep betrayal" (PRH).
My overall thoughts and review: This was my first time reading something from Heather Smith, and I can definitely say, she now has a fan for life. I love her writing. There's more emphasis on dialogue and the character's internal thoughts, but I still found the world building quite good. I could easily picture the school, the restaurant of Chen's Chicken, the bridge, and the houses. The story follows Poppy, who used to be a big 40s lover, but when someone photoshops a hamburger on her Rosie the Riveter photo as part of a fat-shaming subreddit, she loses her confidence, and even quits derby, which was her passion. While working outside of Chen's Chicken, as the chicken who holds the sign, she meets a young eccentric girl named Miracle, and Miracle introduces Poppy to some people who live under the bridge, homeless people. There, she meets Buck, Thumper, and Lewis. She's immediately drawn to Buck, and they form a relationship, but she learns quickly, that he can be quite mean when he drinks. She also finds herself drawn to Lewis as well, who walks her home from the bridge time and time again. In a way, the relationships she forms with these people, brings out her old self again. All the while, she's finding herself struggle with her twin brother, Cam, and how she thinks he should be. I really loved their relationship and their cute little puns. I think it felt really authentic in terms of the struggles you may face with your siblings (this coming from an only child, but I grew up with cousins, so I can relate), and what happens when you do something you think is right for the people you love, but you may end up hurting them instead. This book is on the shorter side, but it's highly readable. I found myself unable to put it down and finishing it in one sitting. It definitely packs a punch. There's so much present here in terms of themes, but the big focuses are on anxiety, body image, and sexuality. As someone who regularly struggles with body image, this book felt like a good friend reminding me that it's not what others think of you, but rather what you think of yourself, and what makes you as a person feel comfortable. That comfort can be found in many ways, but it's also a firm reminder that it can be found in the people you love, and that love you. If you are in the mood for a wonderful YA contemporary read that focuses on identity, friendship, family, and love, this is definitely the one for you!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars
Available for pre-order/purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository
Author Guest Post - On Writing
My writing process involves the three M’s: motivation, music, and movement.
Motivation: The first thing step to any writing process is finding motivation. For me, motivation comes from within. When I have a story brewing I get antsy and the only way I feel settled is when I’m writing my ideas onto the page. That said, sometimes procrastination is stronger than motivation and getting myself into my writing chair can be a challenge. That’s when routine comes into play. Every morning, once my house is empty, I sit down to write. Enforcing this self-imposed rule was tricky at first – there always seemed to be other things that needed to be settled away before I started my work day. To combat this I gave myself a start time –10 am. This simple decision did the trick. My writing day starts at 10 am and that’s all there is to it. I’ve been doing it for so long now it’s a well-established routine – I’d be lost without it.
Music: Some people need silence to write but my creativity is greatly improved by music. Plugging in my earbuds puts me in “the zone.” Each project has a different soundtrack and each soundtrack is curated with songs that move me in some way. Music churns up a variety of emotions, and writing while being moved emotionally can churn up a lot of interesting things in your storytelling.
Movement: As with music, my creativity is greatly improved by movement. Breaking up my writing day with a walk or a run always sparks a new idea or two. I don’t know how many stories I have “written” while out in the fresh air. Just as different soundtracks can affect the creativity of my ideas, so can the weather. I like to get out in all conditions – whether it’s windy, rainy, snowy, or sunny. Like music, the weather can churn up different emotions that can impact storytelling. Sometimes, the most miserable days can spark the most interesting ideas.
Thanks so much for swinging by and sharing that, Heather! Music is definitely a big aspect just for getting work done and it's cool to learn how soundtracks played into your work.
There are many other stops on the blog tour, so be sure to stop by the other blogs for more content from Heather!
Monday, February 25
Vicky at Vicky Who Reads
Lisa at Remarkablylisa
Jaaron at Worn Pages and Ink
Tuesday, February 26
Malanie at malanie loves fiction
Chelsea at Twirling Pages
Alexa at Alexa Talks Books
Wednesday, February 27
Nancy at Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Kaitlyn at Midsummer Night’s Read
Wendy at A Cupcake and a Latte
Thursday, February 28
Summer at Butter My Books
Christine at Padfoot’s Library
Olivia at The Candid Cover
Friday, March 1
Kate at Snarky Yet Satisfying
Taylor at A Book Nerds Paradise
Zuhra at Venus Reads
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.