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April 7, 2015

Review: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

The Queen of Bright and Shiny ThingsTitle: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things

Author: Ann Aguirre

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Source: Netgalley

Release Date: April 7th, 2015

Goodreads Summary: 
Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

Is there something going on with sticky notes this year? It seems like a lot of covers have been featuring pastel sticky notes. There's this one, All the Bright Places, and The Last Time We Say Goodbye. One for almost every month this year...this could be the new "girl on the cover" and I am oddly okay with it. There's never enough pastel sticky note covers. Give them to me! Okay, enough of my rambling, on to the actual review. I enjoyed this story for the most part. There were some problems I had with it and there were other parts that I thought were very well executed. So it was a very middle ground book for me.

The writing, unfortunately, was one of the things that didn't work for me. I know that was I read was an ARC, so I'm not going to touch on all the grammatical errors throughout, I'm going to hope those get fixed before the final copy. The writing itself was just not for me. I found the transitions to be a bit jarring. The story didn't flow very well. I don't know how to explain it but things that could have been introduced or presented at another moment or in a different way were kind of just thrown out there. The chapters also ended very anticlimactically. It was just like the chapter was getting too long so they decided to just break it up and start a new chapter. This is probably just me being super picky but the writing wasn't my style, or maybe I should say the plot organization wasn't for me.

The cover made so much sense after actually reading the book, and like I said before, I love it so much. Sage leaves post it notes for some of her classmates with encouraging thoughts or compliments and I thought this was absolutely adorable. It's such a nice idea that would probably make high school a more decent place for a lot of people if it happened in real life.

I really liked the two main characters, Shane and Sage. Some people might find the romance to be very insta love. I didn't think that. Her instant attraction to Shane bothered me a little at first, but then I realized it's just that. She's excited to have a crush on a guy. We all do it, at least I do. When I find a cute guy I want him to notice me. It doesn't matter if I end up dating him or not, I obviously don't love him by any means, but there is that attraction.  They've both gone through such intense things and to have someone that truly understands what the other one is going through, that's not something they typically find. So once they find it they want to hold on. There was a moment where I questioned how far Sage was going, but it I wasn't that bothered by it. One big problem I had (and I guess this goes back to the writing) is that Sage is extremely repetitive about her past. I don't know how many times I could take her saying that she came from a place where no one cared for her so that's why she tries to care for others. I would say that it's mentioned at least once every 5 pages. I think the book could have been condensed and the impact of the story would have been the same. The point could have gotten across in less than 300 pages.

Something I want to commend, that we don't see in young adult a lot, is the great parental figure. Sage's aunt Gabby checks up on her all the time, makes sure she's safe riding her bike around with reflective tape, wants to know where she's going and when she will be home. It's something refreshing to read about because my mom is the same way. I can never relate to those stories where the kids just walk out of their houses at 1 in the morning to go to a secret party in the woods and their parents never find out. My mom would have checked up on me and noticed I was gone. I like when 16 year olds in books have to call their parental figure to tell them what they're up to. It's realistic. I also want to commend the friendships in this book. Ryan, Lila, the sophomores and even the freshmen (you'll know what I mean if you read the book) are the best. Of course there's some conflict, how realistic would it be if there wasn't? But they're there when it really counts.

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things definitely has some sweet moments. One particular scene with some post it notes had me tearing up at 3am. I recommend this if you're in need of a serious book with some very cute moments in between. This book covers everything from bullying and abuse to family dynamics and friendship.

★ ★ ★.5/5

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