Review: What Does Consent Really Mean?

 

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Title: What Does Consent Really Mean?

Author: Pete Wallis and Thalia Wallis

Illustrator: Joseph Wilkins

Publication Date: November 21, 2017

My Rating: 3/5

As soon as I saw the title of this book I immediately knew I wanted to review it. We all know the importance of teaching our children and youth the importance of 1.) understanding what consent means, 2.) Learning “no” means “no” and 3.) knowing the importance of consent. What better way to illustrate this to our children and youth then with a graphic novel of our own youth discussing among themselves?

The whole graphic novel consists of a group of high schoolers discussing consent, what it means, and how you know if you received consent.  The graphic novel begins with a new girl in the local high school who, as rumor has it, transferred schools because she was a sexual assault victim. This sparks conversations among the characters about sexual assault and consent.

The conversations begin with the characters feeling somewhat confused and bewildered about what consent means. However, throughout the story, this group of friends bounce their ideas off each other about consent, which leads the characters to having a good understanding about consent by the end of the story.

I was impressed by the topic of the book, but I was not impressed by the content or the dialogue. I feel as if the writers could have done a better job with the dialogue, because it did not seem like a real conversation teenagers would have; you could tell that this graphic novel was written by adults. There is a lot that needs discussed to our children and youth about consent, so I would argue there is more content that could have been added to this graphic novel to really get the importance of consent to the readers. I do not think this graphic novel did as good of a job as it could have. Though this graphic novel is a great starting force for getting the discussion of consent out there (we have to start somewhere!), there were ways to enhance the content of the graphic novel and making the dialogue more realistic.

I would also like to note that this is not a graphic novel meant for younger children, because of some of the explicit sexual content, the graphic novel is directed towards students who are in high school. But by this point, high school kids should already know what consent is. I think this graphic novel would have had more of an effect if it was written with less explicit content and directed more towards those children in middle school.

All in all, the graphic novel had an excellent topic that is well need in the literature world, but it was not perfect and could have used some improvements.

I would like to express my appreciation towards the authors of this graphic novel for recognizing the important of sharing what consent means. I would also like to thank the publishing company Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Singing Dragon for allowing me to review this book. This publishing company works towards publishing works with themes like autism, education, mental health, spiritual development, and wellbeing. I plan to read more books from this publishing company in the near future!

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Starfish Review

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Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Starfish

Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Bio: Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

My Thoughts: If you were to ask me what piqued my interest about Starfish, my answer would be both the social anxiety representation and the Japanese representation. I have never read a book that had a Japanese character, so better late than never to get a jump start on this type of specific diverse read! If you know me well, you know I love reading books with a mental health theme, so it is no surprise that the social anxiety rep in this book caught my eye. Kudos to the author, Akemi Dawn Bowman, because she created and wrote both themes very well! (Well, the social anxiety at least- I can’t personally speak for the Japanese rep, but to the best of my knowledge she wrote it well.) It is always reassuring when you just know that the author has the understanding and knowledge of what she is writing about; it was evident throughout the book that the author knows first handedly or has done her research about what it is like to be biracial or suffer from social anxiety. Thank you, Akemi!
I felt a lot of STRONG emotions toward three of the main characters: Kiko, her mom, and Jamie.
Kiko’s mom… aka, the worst mom I have ever encountered in a YA book. There is not one single good quality about her: she is a narcissistic, narrow minded, and unfeeling character. Some of the things she did to Kiko and her brothers rose my blood pressure while getting my blood boiling. When you feel such strong emotions toward a character, you know the author is doing his/her job successfully. Few characters have angered me like she did, which I believe was the purpose of the character,
Kiko is just a beautiful little soul who I just wanna hug and reassure her how worthy and lovable she is. Her dedication towards her art left me inspired for the creative work I do (writing, blogging, drawing, etc.) Meaning, I wanna be as talented and cool as Kiko. I relate on a personal level to the social anxiety she experiences, so this left me feeling empathetic toward her struggles with her mental illness. The fact that she finds her happy ending in the epilogue of the book will leave me satisfied for the rest of my life… that may sound dramatic, but oh my god it is so true.
Jamie…oh, my heart. It has been a while since I had a book character crush, because lately the male characters in my book just have been annoying and incorrigible. However, if I had to pick a boy for my friend Kiko to love, it would be Jamie. He is gentle, dorky, goofy, handsome, and compassionate. He was always helpful and understanding of her anxiety. I appreciated how the author depicted Jamie as a perfect guy for Kiko to date, but gave Kiko the awareness that she can not solely rely on Jamie to make her happy.  I want a real-life Jamie, please.

The plot itself was fairly fast-paced and kept me eagerly flipping each page, which is not a commonality in my reading. I grew connected with the characters and storyline enough that I never wanted to put the book down. The author had several plot twists that kept me reading past my bedtime. (Again- not a commonality in my reading!) The last few chapters in the book left me on the edge of my seat because so much stuff happened!
This will be one of those books I will recommend to each and every reader out there, especially if they are interested in books centering around mental illness because this book depicts mental illness with a more positive outcome. Kiko works towards overcoming social anxiety and fully understands that the capability to “conquer” her fears is within herself. Even though Jamie is absolutely wonderful and helps Kiko, Kiko is aware that it is still within herself to successfully overcome the hurdles she faces. I personally believe this is something each and every person should understand.
The author does a beautiful job with the story telling and character building in this novel and I look forward to reading more of her work! If you are looking for a riveting, fast-paced, and diverse read, this is the book for you.

 

Books Read in July!

Hello all!

July was a particularly fun reading month for me- though I did not read as much as I had wished (IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!)  I still got a few great books in!

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon was a beautiful, lovely, heart warming read. I really loved Dimple and Rishi’s culture and how different they were in regards to it; Dimple, while she does embrace her heritage (not as much as Rishi, of course), she still manages to dance to her own beat without feeling forced to marry young. Dimple also prefers to think of herself as more than just a woman with looks- she values her intelligence and talent when it comes to the world of coding and app building and all that tech-y stuff I wish I understood.

Rishi follows his parent’s lead verbatim while always doing what is expected of him. He plans on going to college to be an engineer because it is a realistic decision in this day and age. He wants to marry young and immediately start on his “forever” with a girl (preferably Dimple.)

Throughout the book, Rishi teaches Dimple to embrace her culture more as well as appreciating her parents. Dimple encourages Rishi to “step out of the box” and purse an art career. Basically, they are both just perfect for each other.

I loved Rishi and Dimple’s relationship. It is clearly portrayed that they are best friends, as well as obviously a couple. They highly support and encourage each other. The relationship may get a little too gooey for me, (so much kissing in front of Rishi’s brother???!!) but, hey, it is a beautiful love affair.

I highly recommend this book to any romance/contemporary YA lovers! Though the large book was somewhat daunting, the story really did flow by quickly.

Ah, Scarlet! #2 in THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer. Here’s a secret: I actually started this book last August but finally finished it in July. Oops, yeah…but I am still counting it towards my books read in July!

So, like most people who have read The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Scarlet are super cool. They are two people who I would want kicking some ass by my side!

While I did enjoy Scarlet (despite my mega-long break from reading it), I still think I enjoyed Cinder more. I really enjoyed Cinder and Kai’s relationship, which you see a lot more of in Cinder. Not only that, but I think I just enjoyed CInder’s personal story more. The fact thats he is 1.) a mechanic 2.) a cyborg. The fact that she is- well, basically bionicle- is super cool and unlike anything I have read before.

Though Cinder’s story is my favorite so far, I did enjoy the relationship between Scarlet and her grandma as well as Scarlet’s fierce dedication towards saving her. There was just something about Scarlet’s attitude that kind of “irked” me a little more than I had wished. BUT! That’s just me, and I know a few other people who actually really love Scarlet’s story! Probably cause she is a badass, independent woman and who can say no to that kind of woman?

I am hoping to start the third installment in the series, CRESS, within the next month or so because I am highly anticipating finding out where the story goes! (And I need more of Cinder and Kai, please!)

So, if you don’t already know, I read ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS, in May after receiving it in my OwlCrate box and I absolutely loved it. Naturally, I had to go read Francesca Zappia’s other book, MADE YOU UP- which, you better believe it!, includes a character with schizophrenia! I absolutely adore books with a mental illness theme, and I am intrigued by all things mental health, so I was very excited to read this book.

(I do not have schizophrenia myself, nor do I personally know anyone else who has it so I am unaware on how accurate the author’s details about this mental illness is.)

I really enjoyed Alex as a character and I appreciated her effort in trying to have a normal high school career in spite of her mental illness. Miles was a dreamboat, to sum it all up. When he finds out about Alex’s schizophrenia, he is very chill about it and does not treat her any differently, despite Alex’s fears about the aforementioned.

In addition to Alex’s story with her dealings of her schizophrenia, I enjoy Miles’ story as well. He is a complex character with, basically, a lot of feelings and a lot of darkness in that mind of his. His home life is not ideal whatsoever, which really makes me feel sad things for him. He experiences something most of us could probably relate to– feeling alone, like no one cares for you, like you do not have any friends. But, he learns- as most of us hopefully do- that there are people out there who love and care for us.

The characters in this book are just so well created, and the story itself reads like a contemporary but will spontaneously hit you RIGHT IN THE FEELS out of the blue. (I literally dropped the book and gaped- mouth wide open!- for at least a whole 3 minutes.)

Anyways- Francesca Zappia is an awesome person and writer and, so far, I have enjoyed everything she has done.

 

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Well, obviously the reason this book is on this list is because this past month or so I have become completely obsessed with Hamilton. (Which says A. LOT. because I rarely become *this* obsessed with anything.) So of course, I had to read the love story of ALEX AND ELIZA and Alex is a wondrous intelligent man and Eliza is who I aspire to be.

Obviously the book had some differences from the musical, but that did not bother me as much as I know it had bothered others. I am always astounded by how ahead of her time Eliza was- I appreciated how she did to put too much effort into her looks, or even finding a husband for that matter. Her dedication towards the revolutionary war and taking care of the injured soldiers says a lot about her character and her empathy and it is just. beautiful. Eliza Schyler is someone any girl can look up to; something I will forever be in awe of.

I like how in the book you really get a deep look into Alex’s deep love for Eliza, which is something you do not really get to see much of in the musical (in my opinion.) It would have been nice to have more history with politics and that sort, but I guess that is what the musical is for– the book is for the romance.  😉

Sometimes I forget how much I love historical fiction.

Definitely a recommend for Hamilton fans who love Alex and Eliza’s relationship as I do!


Here is hoping August brings a lot more great reads! Leave a comment below and tell me what you read in July and if you have any historical fiction recs!

Brandi Attempts BTAT 2017

Hello all and welcome to my BRANDI ATTEMPTS BTAT 2017 post! If you don’t know what BTAT is, it stands for booktube-a-thon! It goes from July 24 to the 30th, and basically you use the time to read all the books you can! This was created by Ariel Bissett, who is an awesome booktuber and basically the coolest person ever for creating this!

This will be my first read-a-thon EVER, so I am not putting high expectations on myself. I also get my wisdom teeth taken out Wednesday, so I am highly sure that will put a damper on my reading! (Hello, sleep!) Nevertheless! I wanted to take part in all the fun!

There are seven reading challenges and here are my picks for them!

1.  Read a book with a person on the cover

I bought this book recently at Half Price Books because I heard nothing but amazing things about the story! So, naturally, I was eager to pick this to read for the read-a-thon.

2.  Read a hyped book

…and, the whole reason I bought this book was because of it’s mega-hype, so it conveniently fits two challenges!

3. Finish a book in one day

I am not that confident in myself of finishing a normal size young adult novel in one day, especially considering my wisdom teeth surgery and work the days before. So, a good pick for this challenge was of course a manga– Sailor Moon!

4. Read about a character that is very different from you

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: a book centered around a sixteen-year-old boy, Simon, who is gay. Basically, Simon is a boy, I am not. Simon is gay, I am not.  Two simple differences between us, but different enough to count for this challenge!

5. Finish a book completely outdoors

Since You’ve Been Gone is written by Morgan Matson, who writes the most perfect summer books. This was a perfect fit for this challenge! But if you know me at all, you know I am not a huge outdoors person, so this will probably be a difficult challenge for me… oops.

6. Read a book you got because of the cover

Believe it or not, I actually do not often buy books because of the covers- I really solely on Goodreads ratings. A super added bonus about me buying When Dimple Met Rishi was the absolutely stunning cover! So, here it is for yet another challenge because I guess I am kind of a cheater.

7.  Read seven books.

Seven books in seven days: can I do it? Probably not, but that’s okay! To make my final book count up to seven books, I added three graphic novels to the mix! Giant Days 3 and 4, my favorite graphic novel series and Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 2 because Jessica is the coolest superhero!

 

If you have read these books, leave in the comments- what do you think? Are you doing BTAT17 too? Link me to your BTAT TBR!

 

Pokemon Go Book Tag

Pokemon-Go-Book-Tag

Taken from: readatmidnight.com

If you’re reading this, I tag YOU to join in on the fun! And send me your answers so I can see them!

Pokemon-Tag-01Starters

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I had read many books before I initially read this one, but this is the book that made me realize how much reading could help with my anxiety.

Pokemon-Tag02Pikachu For me, I pick A Catcher in the Rye. It’s such a raw, real-to-life book that I loved from the moment I was forced to pick it up for school. I think it is my favorite book I read per curriculum throughout high school.

Pokemon-Tag-03-ZubatMy answer for this is Me Before You. There is so much hype around the book and the movie, I even started reading the book myself. BUT, I never finished it. I just didn’t get completely drawn into it, plus I had the ending spoiled for me so….. :/

Pokemon-Tag-04-Ditto

Well, I know there is lots of controversy after this series, but I am going to choose The Mortal Insturments. The basic premise of the fantasy theme is very similar to other fantasy series, but I still love it.

In consideration to the controversy surrounding Cassandra Clare, that is the reason I still have yet to pick up CoHF & Lady Midnight. I don’t want to talk much about the controversy in this post, because it’s not the right place for it right now, but if you would like me to go into more details we can chat in the comments.

Pokemon-Tag-05-Snorlax

The Percy Jackson & Olympian series and the Heroes of Olympus. Not necessarily the size itself…but… SO MANY BOOKS!

 

Pokemon-Tag06-Gengar

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas- though it wasn’t my favorite of her books, for some reason it creeped me out  and I actually had a nightmare about it.

I’m weird, I know.

Pokemon-Tag07-NidokingQueen

I am sure ALL YOU BOOK LOVERS OUT THERE AGREE WITH ME WHEN I SAY….

 

Ahem, drumroll, please…

Rhys and Feyre.

Pokemon-Tag08-Rapidash

The Unexpected Everything. I BLEW through this book, and it is currently sitting in my top 3 favorite books.

Pokemon-Tag09-Eevee

Unfortunately I can’t come up with an answer to this one, probably because I’m not really into spinoffs of books..

BUT I LOVE EEVEE.

Pokemon-Tag14-Magikarp

Okay, my answer won’t completely fit the description:

The Immortal Series by Alyson Noel. The first two books were surprisingly good, but the rest of the series… not so much.

Pokemon-Tag12-Legendary

I am going to go with a few answers for this one:

  1. The Red Rising Series
  2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  3. The Lunar Chronicles (which I literally just started today.)

Pokemon-Tag15Mew-MewTwo

Eleanor & Park! It’s one of my favorite books ever (also at my top 3) and I am hoping to get the collector’s edition for my birthday!

Pokemon-Tag10-Egg

I am excited for the day I debut my own novel.

Does that count as an acceptable answer?

Pokemon-Tag11-Lure-Module

Lauren Oliver.

Cause she is the person that made me fall in love with writing.

Pokemon-Tag13-Server-Down

I just really want Replica by Lauren Oliver… so badly.

 

heart b