How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes

23603597Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The movement is all that matters.

For as long as Samantha can remember, she’s wanted to be a professional ballerina. She’s lived for perfect pirouettes, sky-high extensions, and soaring leaps across the stage. Then her body betrayed her.

The change was gradual. Stealthy.

Failed diets. Disapproving looks. Whispers behind her back. The result: crippling anxiety about her appearance, which threatens to crush her dancing dreams entirely. On her dance teacher’s recommendation, Sam is sent to a summer treatment camp for teen artists and athletes who are struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. If she can make progress, she’ll be allowed to attend a crucial ballet intensive. But when asked to open up about her deepest insecurities, secret behaviors, and paralyzing fears to complete strangers, Sam can’t cope.

What I really need is a whole new body.

Sam forms an unlikely bond with Andrew, a former college football player who’s one of her camp counselors. As they grow closer, Andrew helps Sam see herself as he does—beautiful. But just as she starts to believe that there’s more between them than friendship, disappointing news from home sends her into a tailspin. With her future uncertain and her body against her, will Sam give in to the anxiety that imprisons her?

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

Even though I’ve never danced before I’m really fascinated by ballet and thus, I really wanted to read How It Feels to Fly since it revolves around a ballerina with weight issues.

Sam, our heroine, is sent to a summer treatment camp because she suffers from panic attacks and anxiety. She started having these issues when she gained weight and now Sam is struggling with her body image.

You cannot help but feel for Sam since she’s dealing with a lot – she hears this nasty voice in her head, telling her mean things all the time – that she’s fat, that she’s weak, that she’s ugly – and she believes all this stuff, so it’s really hard for Sam to accept her new curvy body or to open up to people about her problems.

And it’s no wonder that Sam is afraid of telling people about her issues, after all, her own mother urges her to lose weight and has told her indirectly that she’s fat.

The panic attacks felt very real, as well as Sam’s thoughts and her anxiety. Sam acted like a real person, and not just a fictional character. Therefore, the author did a great job developing such an authentic main protagonist.

I liked the fact that Sam made new friends at the summer treatment camp because she really needed supportive people in her life, people who understood her and listened to her.

There was a little bit of romance in this book, but I won’t talk too much about it since I don’t want to spoil you. All I can say is that I saw it coming and that I am glad things worked out for Sam in the end, even though things didn’t quite work out the way she was expecting them to.

All in all, How It Feels to Fly was an emotional read with a deep meaning, and I recommend it to everyone who likes ballet or likes books dealing with mental health.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me this great book for review!

Andie

Unplugged (The Wired, #1) by Donna Freitas

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Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The first book in a provocative new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas—Feed for a new generation.

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

I requested this book from the publisher because I read and enjoyed the author’s other novel The Survival Kit . Unplugged is very different though since it’s not a contemporary, but a dystopian / sci-fi novel.

Skylar was a likable character and I really sympathized with her because she felt alone in the App World since she missed her real family. I liked that she was brave enough to leave the App World even though it was very risky and dangerous. And Skylar continues to be brave throughout the book and to do the right thing, and that’s why I admired her.

Skylar’s love interest was okay, but I felt that there were still a lot of things about him that we don’t know and I just hope that we’ll get to know him better in the sequel.

The world building is a little complex because of these two different worlds, but I really found the idea of the App World intriguing and I wanted to find out more about its emergence.

The plot was suspenseful and there were definitely some interesting twists and turns, as well as an ending that leaves you wanting more, but I still felt that the story wasn’t really unique. Nor was it addicting. Or maybe it’s just me, maybe I just read too many dystopian / sci-fi novels and suffer from dystopia  / sci-fi fatique, who knows? All I know is that Unplugged couldn’t fascinate me 100%.

Still, it was entertaining and suspenseful, and it really made me curious about the sequel.

So if you’re a die – hard dystopian / sci-fi fan I totally recommend this book to you because it deals with a very interesting topic and makes you think about certain matters.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me this book for review!

Andie

 

 

Telll Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

V23 new typeface tagline.inddEverything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

I discovered this book on Instagram and I immediately wanted to read it since I’m a sucker for cute covers and mysterious stories.

And I’m so glad that Tell Me Three Things was not only beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside. I totally loved this novel and I am so glad I was not disappointed.

Jessie has lost her mother two years ago and she still grieves a lot because she still misses her mom. And the fact that her dad remarries and Jessie has to move to California all of a sudden makes it even harder for Jessie to come to terms with her loss.

Therefore, I could totally feel for Jessie, could understand her frustration, her anger and sorrow. The author did a great job creating a main protagonist that seemed real, and not one-dimensional. Jessie’s grief felt real, her emotions seemed genuine and that’s why she felt very authentic to me. Moreover, Jessie is really likable because she is humble, smart and hard-working. You can’t help but root for her and SN.

SN is someone who emails Jessie and offers her advice regarding her new prep school and fellow students. At first, Jessie doesn’t know if she can trust SN, but then she begins to chat more and more with SN and she soon realizes that she’s falling for him. There’s only one problem – Jessie is afraid that SN might be someone she doesn’t really like in real life.

I loved this whole mystery revolving SN. I just adore such ideas because I like to guess and see if I’m right. And most of the time, I am. I had my theory regarding SN and what can I say – I was right. And I am so glad I was because like Jessie, I would have been so disappointed if SN was somebody else.

There are several guys who could be SN, but still, there’s no love triangle (or should I say love square?) in this novel. And I loved Tell Me Three Things so much more because of this fact. The romance in this book is so sweet and swoon-worthy, and I just loved everything about it. Altogether, this novel is so cute, so emotional and heart-wrenching that you’ll want to hug it multiple times. At least that’s what I did.

Overall, Tell Me Three Things was such an adorable YA novel featuring a strong heroine who grows as the story evolves. It’s an intelligent book filled with depth, but it’s also funny and sweet at the same time. A perfect combination, I’d say.

So now that you know how amazing this contemporary is, I’ll tell you three things:

  1. You should totally read this book.
  2. The ‘Dear reader’ note at the end of the novel is very emotional.
  3. The waffles on the cover have several significances in the book.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars

Andie