ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fantasy, Other

Mini Book Reviews: July 2020 – Part 1

*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Internment by Samira Ahmed, Bloom by Kevin Panetta, and Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno


» Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo



5-Star Rating System

Another 5-star read from Elizabeth Acevedo!  Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ll read anything she puts out.WhatILiked» Told in verse, Clap When You Land is a heart-wrenching book about loss, complex family dynamics, betrayal, identity, and forgiveness.

» Unlike Acevedo’s previous books, Clap When You Land follows two main characters: Camino & Yahaira.  I really enjoyed watching Camino & Yahaira’s journeys both separately as individuals, and together as sisters.  I was invested in each sister’s story, and my heart ached for each as they both experienced intense grief over their father’s death.

» This story was inspired by a real aviation accident, the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, in November 2001.  251 passengers, in addition to the 9 crew members & 5 victims on the ground, perished that day.  90% of the passengers were of Dominican descent.  I had never heard of this tragedy prior to reading this book, which is hard to fathom since it is the second-deadliest aviation accident in U.S history.

» A running theme throughout each of Acevedo’s books is resilient teens overcoming adversity.  I also love how she chooses topics that we don’t see much of in YA because they tend to be taboo topics: parents forcing religion/beliefs on their children (The Poet X), teen parenthood (With the Fire on High), secret families (Clap When You Land), etc.  Acevedo likes to focus on familial relationships in her stories, which is another thing I appreciate about her books.

» I enjoyed that Clap When You Land was set partially in New York and partially in the Dominican Republic.  Acevedo does a wonderful job painting a picture of these two vibrant settings.  I loved how Acevedo draws strong parallels between these two places: the rich cultures & strong communities, but also the dangers that lurk around the corners.

» I say this with every Acevedo book, but I’ll say it again, I cannot recommend listening to her books via audiobook enough!  Listening to her own narration makes the story come alive.

› Recommended to ⇒ poetry fans

Trigger/content warnings ⇒ plane crash; death of a parent; sexual assault

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo


» Internment by Samira Ahmed



5-Star Rating System

*3.75 Stars*WhatILiked» Need a timely & relevant YA dystopian in your life?  Well here it is!  The scary & unsettling thing about Internment was that I could actually seeing this come to pass here in the U.S. under our current political leadership.

» I loved watching Layla’s character growth from the beginning of the story to the end.   In the beginning, Layla is very naive and impulsive, putting herself at risk.  By the end, Layla really grows into her own.  She’s strong, brave, and unyielding.

» I loved the friendship between Layla & Ayesha.  Can I say how much I appreciated that there was no drama between them?  It is rare where you see a positive female friendship where there is not some type of drama or conflict between the friends.WhatIDidntLike» Layla’s obsession with her boyfriend, to the point of putting herself & family at risk, was annoying.  While I could understand this more towards the beginning, this is something that persists until the end.

» Jake’s character was never fully developed, nor did we get clear motivations for his actions.  This impacted the climax of the story.

› Recommended to ⇒ YA dystopian

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ Islamophobia; xenophobia; torture

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija


» Bloom by Kevin Panetta



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» Bloom is a wonderful coming-of-age YA graphic novel featuring a M/M romance.  It includes themes like parental expectations, toxic friendships, new love, betrayal, and forgiveness.

» Ari, our main character, goes through a tremendous amount of growth over the course of the book.  At first, Ari is on a journey to figure out what he wants to do with his life.  He wants nothing more to leave his small town and family business behind.  He’s self absorbed, impulsive, and unlikable.  By the end, he learns to appreciate all the good in his life.

» My absolute favorite part about this graphic novel is Hector.  He is kind, passionate, hard working, responsible, and just a sweet little cupcake.

» At its core, Bloom is an ode to the love of baking.  I highly enjoyed this story centering around a family-owned bakery.  Warning, this graphic novel will make you hungry!

» I thought the artwork was beautiful.  I really loved the blue color palette carried out through the entirety of the book.

› Recommended to ⇒ M/M romance fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ toxic friendship; fire

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ What If It’s Us (What If It’s Us #1)by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera


» Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» Summer of Salt is not going to be for everyone.  Magic realism can tend to lean toward the odd and bizarre, which was also true of this story.  If you don’t read much within the magic realism genre, you should keep this in mind.

» Despite what the cover would lead you to believe, Summer of Salt is NOT a light-hearted YA contemporary.  The tone of this story is ominous and eerie.  This would be a good book to pick up on a rainy day.

» While Summer of Salt includes a romance, it is not central to the plot.  The heart of this story is Georgina’s devotion to her sister Mary, and how she will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.

» This book gave me The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender vibes, so if you enjoyed that book, you’ll probably also enjoy this one too.WhatIDidntLike» I wanted more build up prior to the events of this book.  I would have liked to spend more time with Georgina, Mary, and their mother to feel more invested in their story and to have a better understanding of the magic system.

» There were side characters that I wanted more character development in, Mary, Prue, & Harrison in particular.

› Recommended to ⇒ magic realism fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ *highlight between arrows to view warnings ⇒ sexual assault

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton




Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: July 2020 – Part 1”

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