Shorter musings of some recent reads.
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Margot's voice is perfectly teen. She is self-absorbed yet open to learning more about the world around her. She is consumed by petty goals and desires yet has a real desperate need to figure out what she's truly meant to do and live for. She is both shallow and deep. She is incredibly real and the situations she finds herself in are very much typical teen problems. The cover makes this book seem like it might be edgier than it actually is. Margot's family has some serious problems, and part of her journey is learning to navigate those as well as her own social circle's dramas. It all comes together very well. Highly recommended.
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
I was pulled into the beginning of this one. I enjoyed Maya as a main character and found myself really looking forward to her journey and the use of Indian folklore and mythology. The middle got to be a bit tedious for me though. This partly due to personal taste. The lush, descriptive language used here is not my favorite and it got old. I also think it is partly because the story is longer than it needs to be. The end drew me back in, but I didn't end up loving the whole thing as much as I expected to. Amar as a hero never became a real fully developed person for me. Not the way Maya was. I am still going to read the companion novel (A Crown of Wishes) because I'm very interested in Gauri as a character.
When We Collided by Emery Lord
This is a tough book in many ways. The main character, Vivi, has bipolar disorder. Not having any personal experience with that, I can't speak to the representation here (though I've heard good things). Vivi is the type of girl who has the potential to be labeled as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. And honestly, if this book had been written by a man, that is most likely all she would have been with some tragic end to teach the boy a lesson. Lord is more careful in her handling of Vivi and her personality, stressing how important it is that Vivi have the treatment she needs and that her manic personality when not on her meds is not healthy for her or the people around her. This is about Vivi needing and getting help. The way that plays into her relationship with Jonah works well. He is a good guy with his own serious issues. He doesn't really need to be taking on hers as well. His father died, his mother is depressed, and he is taking on a lot of adult responsibilities. But they help each other at a time they both need it most. This is very much a summer romance and I was happy with the way all the different elements were resolved even if some felt a bit rushed (while the book also felt a tad overlong). This not the type of book I typically enjoy reading, but it does what it sets out to do well.
The White Road of the Moon by Rachel Neumeier
I enjoyed this so much. It felt so much like Neumeier's earlier works, but with more and it was fabulous. The world is complex and the reader has to figure it out as the story unfolds. I love it when an author trusts readers enough to that. The characters are all wonderful and layered. This is a great story of female friendship and I loved watching the girls fight together and for each other. I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves high fantasy with political intrigue and stories about amazing girls doing great things.