I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

i see london i see franceI looooove it!

I was drawn by the cute book cover (Isn’t it cute?!) but I stayed because of the places. Travelling, especially to foreign countries, is ultimately one of my goals in life and is currently my frustration. I haven’t been outside my country but hopefully soon I’ll be able to do so. Crossing my fingers.

I think Europe is in everybody’s bucket list, with all it’s history, castles, richness, and glamour. This makes me love the book even more because it was set in not just one place in Europe but in 11 places! It feels like i was also touring Europe alongside Sydney and Leela.

The story is about Sydney’s summer vacation in Europe which she spent with her bestfriend Leela and somewhere along the way with her other bestfriend Kat as well. It talks about their adventures both in the travel itself and in the romance department when they bumped into Jackson and Matt (Leela’s ex-boyfriend or whatever). There is not really much to tell about the story. It’s sort of a game of tag but the players have a wider playing field (Europe!). Sydney and Jackson felt attraction but then there’s Matt and Leela’s relationship problem and Sydney’s mother’s agoraphobia to think about. Sydney was not even sure if she’s in just for a summer fling or further develop a relationship with him. But everything seems to be taken kinda lightly in the perspective of their travelling. The travel served as a way to go ahead and think about things, about what she wants, and what she needs to do. With the help of her friends, everything seemed to worked out fine.

It’s one of the best YA romance travel books I’ve read so far, although it kept me hanging in the end, wanting for more coz i feel that there should have been more. Aside from that though, it sparked my want to really travel Europe again. It makes me want to fall in love even more than ever. I want also a Jackson in my life!

It’s a fun, light read if you want something to pass the time with and squeal here and there.

 

 

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

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I’ll go ahead and now start what i really intended to be one of the main staples of this blog – book reviews!!! Yey!

Let’s start with Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne for no apparent reason aside from it being the book that i just finished reading literally a few minutes ago.

The book has been on my radar for quite some time now but it’s not until yesterday that i’ve given myself the chance to read it. And I’m glad i did. It’s definitely different from the usual YA romance novels that i’m reading since most of them are just cutesy types or heavy dramas but romance is still the main point. Am I Normal Yet presented in the summary at Goodreads reeled me in because it gives the impression that romance still plays the biggest part of the story but the book uncovers a different world, tackling mainly mental health issues, OCD, and feminism and romance was a just a thing caught in the bigger story. Nonetheless, i’m still grateful i had the chance to read it.

Evelyn Crane, Evie, has OCD but all she wants to be is “normal.”But what is “normal?” For Evie, the last thing she needs to check off her checklist is to be in a relationship and everything will go well again. Everything will be back to once they were. Everything will be normal.

More than the boys Evie got tangled with, the book emphasizes more on the inner struggle of Evie coping to be normal again, the OCD manifestations, relapses, friendship, acceptance. The book was not able to delve much into the main characters’ background and premise such as why the boys in the story are such douchebags, except for Oli. But then we also weren’t given a background as to why Oli Oli or even Evie Evie. Why Jane, Lottie, or Amber do things they do.

If there’s anything that the book left me, it is the impression that we cannot define normalcy. Who are we to judge what is normal? We are all broken in one way or another. We have different ways we cope with it. Who are we to judge others?

Tears literally streamed down my cheeks towards the ending of the book. Imagine yourself reading the book at the wee hours of the morning, in your room (i wanna say alone but nope, i have a roommate sleeping in the lower bunk), lights off, feeling all the emotions of the story, plus listening to Logic’s 1-800-273-8255. Who wouldn’t tear up in that situation?

Am i Normal Yet is not your typical YA romance novel, i don’t even want to consider it a romance novel since the focus is not there but it’s a good read. Perfect if you’re contemplating about life and wanting to add more feels to your already existing feels.

Are you normal? Coz i know i’m definitely not. Cheers!

P.S. Here is Logic’s 1-800 song link. Watch it. Maybe it will create a difference to those suffering.

LOGIC 1-800

 

 

 

 

 

Top 12 Recommended YA Romance Novels

If you’ve asked me a year ago what kind of novels I am reading, I would probably tell you that I’m reading “Graphic Novels” which is most probably not the kind of novels you are looking for (but that’s the only kind i read, at least at that time). I can tolerate reading then as long as it includes pictures, and  a whole lot of them.

Somehow, someway, though, around a year ago, I became hooked to reading novels, like novels novels. Without pictures, just words. Romance novels to be exact. Blame it on the scarcity of my own romance wherein my daily dose of manga is already not enough. I want more. It started with the more “mature”ones, but then got tired of them coz chapters mostly are just devoted into sex without much of the story.

Then I encountered a couple of young adult novels, sure, it still has a little bit of sex but I find them more enjoyable and easier to digest.They have better plot lines too! (Why am i even blabbing about this when i should just focus on my recommended YAs already?)

So enough of the backstory why i got into reading, I am no professional book critic as you can see and I’ve only read 188 books so far (yes, i’m counting) and am no expert in providing reviews but I’ll list the top 12 books that I have absolutely come to love. Maybe due to familiarity, maybe due to the way it was written, maybe because i just love it.

This list is for someone looking for young adult romance novels (mostly categorized as young adult as per Goodreads and other sites but I think it’s more teensy most of the time which is not really a problem for me) who enjoys both (sometimes) sappy and cheesy, and also heavy and slice of life novels.

Here it goes.

12. What’s Left of Me Series by Amanda Maxlyn

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What’s Left of Me is the debut novel of Amanda Maxlyn and tells the story of Aundrea and Parker. It has the POV of both characters so you’ll be able to understand them better. Aundrea is an 18-yr old girl, who, suffering from relapse of cancer, believes that she should not deserve happiness after what she’s putting her family through, until she met Parker – her one-night stand turned boss the next day guy – who taught her what love is and how to embrace and fight for life. It’s a pretty much heavy novel because of the Big C life being described but it didn’t stop the author from making it a hot novel as well.

I enjoyed the novel, probably because it was all new to me (it is one of the first novels I read) and the novelty created an impact to me more than the usual but I enjoyed reading it. There is a sequel novel titled “What’s Left of Us?” which I read months after the first one, simply because I don’t want to read a heavy novel when my reality is heavy enough.

 

11. I Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

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I actually enjoy most of Sophie Kinsella’s novels I’ve read . They are the rom-com type and just the breather I need to briefly escape the reality.

I Got Your Number is Poppy Wyatt’s story and how her life changed dramatically because she got Sam Roxton’s assistant’s phone she picked up in the bin after losing her own in after a chaotic hotel scenario which also caused her her engagement ring. While reading, I forgot how things were back in the early 2000s where the novel is set. I forgot that internet is not yet as wildly popular and everything. Reading the novel is fun and you’ll never stop laughing at the adventures of Poppy, of how she is trying desperately to find her engagement ring only to find out that it was not actually, totally now lost in the first place. If you need a quick read, I highly recommend this.

 

10.  Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

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Adorkable is simply adorakable! It is also a debut novel released in 2016 but definitely contains cute elements that readers will enjoy. The story is not at all original per se. You know, fake boyfriend, childhood cursh, i-love-my-bestfriend-but-he-does-not-know type but it was fun to read nonetheless. If you’re looking for a quick, adorable, funny, teensy, ready then this one’s for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Cinderella Screwed Me Over by Cindi Madsen

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What i liked about the most in Cinderella Screwed Me Over is how it was told and the analogies of the exes to our favorite childhood prince charmings. Darby Quinn lost faith in happily-ever-afters after having one-too-many bad experience with her ex-boyfriends. Determined to take on the single life, she “reviews” what went wrong in her past relationships (via her record book, yes she records and analyzes her relationships) to fight the persistent attempt of Jake, her neighbor and owner of her favorite restaurant, to win her heart.

What can I say, when happily-ever-after is for you, you’ll get it one way or the other, although sometimes you might be burned more than what you think you can take to appreciate what you will have.

 

 8. Confess by Coleen Hoover

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Colleen Hoover is one of the authors I really admire (I might blog about authors I like but that’s another story). I love how she incorporates societal issues into her works but still focus on the the romance itself. I love also that in this saturated world of romance novels, Colleen Hoover still can make her work unique, either with characters or with elements of the story.

Confess is a story about confessions, of Aubrey and Owen, who at the young age they’re in (if i remember correctly, they’re 19 and 21 respectively), has already experienced LIFE and by life i mean they have already struggled in how to survive. Owen is an artists who paints and draws inspiration from other people’s confession. Aubrey, desparately looking for a job, conveniently knocked on Owen’s studio applying for the assistant job. As they got to know each other and feelings grew, everything is being threatened to break if they know the other’s secret.

This is a heavy drama but i really love it, although i love her other works more. 🙂

 

7. Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

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Jesse’s Girl is a light and cutesy novel (part of the Hundred Oaks Series) who follows Maya Henry who shadows the popular  teen rockstar idol, Jesse Scott, as part of Hundred Oak High’s shadow day. Misunderstandings about each other and struggling to fight what’s just seen in the surface tugs at my heart. It is a simple story but somehow I have become attached to it.

 

 

 

 

6. Ugly Love by Coleen Hoover 

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Perhaps the only novel by Coleen Hoover so far where both the characters are not in high school or college that i know of. Tate Collins and pilot Miles Archer has undeniable mutual attraction and the sexual tension between them is always at boiling point whenever they’re near each other but Miles’ past makes up their ugly love. How can you get over the trauma of a past love that’s been haunting you for 6 years? The complicated past creates a wall between the two of them not knowing whether they can move forward or just keep on hanging when it’s obvious they love each other.

Such another gripping story by Coleen Hoover that tackles taboo love, family, trust, and hope.

 

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna and the French Kiss holds a special place in my heart. Probably because, it is one of the first novels I’ve encountered that I really enjoyed how it was written, how each characters were presented, and how the story line progressed.

It follows Anna (duh?) and her experience in Paris where she had been shipped to her senior year. When you’re shipped to a far away place, alone in a new continent with new school and everything, you’ll expect the worst, right? That is until someone comes along. Anna met Étienne St. Clair who is the definition of perfect. Smart, witty, a ball of sunshine, beautiful, and has the perfect relationship or so it seems.

I am a sucker for romance (if you haven’t noticed it yet) and I root so much for Anna and Etienne to finally be with each other all through out the novel which did not disappoint. I love that the setting is in Paris, it’s like a breathe of fresh air from the American setting that i gotten use to read so far. It’s a perfect book to pick up when you’re in for some light romance and full on trip to Paris.

 

4. Isla and the Happily Ever After

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After reading Anna and the French kiss, I immediately searched for other books by Perkins and thankfully Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After were already published by that time (by that time i mean like two-three months ago). I like Lola but not as much as I like Anna and Isla.

Isla and The Happily After follows Isla and her unqrequited love for Josh who was a side character in Anna and the French Kiss. Maybe because I can relate to Isla’s hopeless romantic personality but I do remember the grin on my face and anticipation of what’s next when I read the book.

 

 

3.  Slammed Trilogy by Colleen Hoover

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Slammed is the first book I have read written by Colleen Hoover which is also the first book that she has written. And I don’t have any regrets I started with it. At first I was hesitant when I read the synopsis and a few spoilers here and there (I don’t dig teacher-student relationship that much aside from manga). But, oh boy, glad that I picked up the book and read.

The Slammed series (Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl) revolves around Lake and Will who, one day, suddenly became neighbors and quickly fell in love with each other not knowing that Will is a student teacher at Lake’s new school. The main protagonists are full of baggage, so heavy to bear for a teenager. (Hell, i’m already twenty-something and all the time when I was reading the series I could not imagine it happening to me). However, the baggage they are slumped into forms the backbone of the story, coupled with the beautiful slam poetries placed in some of the chapters of the series, I was hooked. This also became my re-introduction to slam poetry and ignited my desire to learn more about it since. Although heavy and sometimes, I could not help but think that Lake is such a child and so immature, this series is one I will definitely treasure even in the future.

 

2. Hopeless Series by Colleen Hoover

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I am not kidding that Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors. Hopeless and Losing Hope is about Sky and Holder, about kidnapping, child rape, and so much more.

What I love about Colleen is that she never fails to go ahead and make interesting concepts for her novels, not only tackling or incorporating social issues (coz let’s be honest, the book is not a 101 guide on how to avoid child rape and kidnapping but rather the concept is the building block of the story) but also seamlessly getting it woven to the totality of the book. Hopeless and Losing Hope are not exceptions.

Hopeless and Losing Hope is definitely about two broken young ones who, amidst all the brokenness in them and the shit life gave, were still able to go ahead and find a semblance of peace and closure at the end.

 

1. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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This book is the book that almost broke my phone (I read it as ebook) because I threw my phone a couple of times while reading it. It was that good for me. You know when you are rooting for the two main characters – Fallon and Ben – then something will came up and prevent them from having their happily ever after. I swore a lot of times reading this book and I could not not pick up my phone after I threw it because as much as I hate what is happening, I want to see what the end will be for the characters I already came to love. Of course, Coleen Hoover delivered yet another unique way of writing the story wherein it revolves around one day, November 9, year after year after year, and the growth of Fallon and Ben on this day.

 

Kita Kita: The Unpopular Opinion

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Kita Kita (I see you) is a 2017 Filipino romantic-comedy movie starring Empoy Marquez and Alessandra De Rossi.

Mostly shot in the beautiful city of Sapporo, Japan, it tells the story of Lea (Alessandra De Rossi), who experienced temporary blindness after discovering her boyfriend cheating with one of her friends. She then have her heart hardened afterwards.

Enter Tonyo (Empoy Marquez) who came to the rescue as the energetic, bubbly, neighbor, who kept on talking, bordering annoying, to Lea every single day. Lea finally went along, and the two got close within the span of two weeks, going out places, touring around Hokkaido, and softening Lea’s walls until Tonyo’s untimely (and might I add, stupid, who crosses the street when you know there’s a rush of cars approaching?) death. Lea then discovers that Tonyo had already known her beforehand as she went to Tonyo’s house with the key he previously gave. Tonyo narrates in a letter he was to give to Lea that he was the homeless she was giving all those cabbages to, the banana that complemented her heart the evening it was broken by her boyfriend skipping their date, and the one who rescued and was there when she fell to the ground when her vision started getting blurry and lost consciousness.

The following is just my opinion. I am no movie critic by a long shot. I just needed to put in text what I felt.

I enjoyed the film. There is no doubt in that. It was funny with all the punch lines and witty banters of the two main characters. However, at the back of mind, I could not help but think that this is a fine example of a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” concept to some extent, only, it’s not the girl character who exhibits the characteristics, but the boy instead.

“A Manic Pixie Dream Girl or MPDG, is a term coined by film critic Nathan Rabin after seeing Elizabethtown. It refers to “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” A pretty, outgoing, whacky female romantic lead whose sole purpose is to help broody male characters lighten up and enjoy their lives. ”

– Urban Dictionary

Tonyo (Empoy Marquez) is a deviation from your usual leading man – hunk, buff, rich, and famous. He is not that good-looking if you look at him from the society’s POV. He is not rich (although I wonder how much he has saved up to afford all those trips he had with Lea when he was practically jobless at the time). What he is, is a funny (the characteristic you associate, usually, with side characters), chatty, kinda creepy and stalker-ish guy, who helped Lea survived her temporary blindness phase and get back on with her life, and who conveniently disappeared (or died) seconds after Lea got her vision back.

So forgive me for otherwise thinking Kita Kita as a movie with a fresh take on the romantic side wherein the leading man is not a Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Curz, Paulo Avelino, or insert-name-of-who-is-popular-at-the-moment), it was a movie that actually exploits the stereotype for the funny-but-not-good looking male characters. It sure is different from your usual rom-com formula, but the difference is on the expense of another character.

I get that it became wildly popular because the leading man is a funny-but-not-good looking-guy who gets to be the leading man nonetheless but does it change anything?

No, because in the end, the funny-but-not-good looking guy still DID NOT GET THE GIRL.

 

P.S. Here’s a slam I really love describing Manic Pixie Dream Girl from Olivia Gatwood.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Olivia Gatwood

The Origin

This is the post excerpt.

I’m the upper bunk kid.

The one always on top.

When i was a kid. It seems like an honor, a privilege, who doesn’t like being on top? So I fought with my sister to win the space on top when our parents first bought a double deck in elementary (We have a younger brother but he always gets the solo, coz he’s a guy and all).

Eventually, I learned that being on top is such a hassle. It’s so tiring to climb down every morning when you wake up. It’s so annoying when you forgot something when you’re already down and the thing you forgot is way across the far edge of the upper bunk (although it drives your creativity when you’re lazy, haha).

I stayed on top until our parents, my mother specifically, decided to pull another of her “new-year-new-arrangement” motto which is like her subtle version of “room-is-dirty-we-need-to clean-up. But I have never silently thanked her that time because now the double-deck was sawed into two single beds so nobody will be on top, nobody is considered the bottom.

Fast forward, college time, starting 2nd yr specifically, I’ve once again found myself spending three years of college life as the upper bunk kid, and it seems not enough. Even right now when I am already working, as I write the origin of why I titled my page “The Upper Bunk Kid,” I’m stomach-faced, legs dangling, sprawled at my current upper bunk.

It may not be a big deal but realizing this inspired me to start this blog.

And just to let it have a deeper meaning (chos!), maybe I’ve always spend my time on top, and by on top, it does not necessarily mean that I am good at everything, coz i’m so far from that. On top, in this context, is having the “illusion” that everybody’s focus is me, where my every move, every decision I make will be judged and compared to others. I perfectly have it in my head that it’s no use comparing my Chapter 1 to other’s Chapter 20, but I still couldn’t help it. Although, I am trying hard to do so.

 

So yeah, this is me, the upper bunk kid and here is where I’ll share my story.