ARC Review: You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

 

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You Asked For Perfect

Pub. Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire  
Format: Digital
ISBN: 9781492658276
Source: Netgalley

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Plot Summary: Seventeen-year-old Ariel has only one goal: To make it into Harvard. As first chair violin, community volunteer, and to-be valedictorian, he is doing everything he thinks he needs to do to be the perfect college applicant. Failing Calculus was not part of the plan, so Ariel scrambles through sleepless nights and reluctantly seeks out Amir to tutor him. Sparks fly between him and Amir, but can Ariel afford to add a budding new relationship to his long list of commitments?

Sophomore novels always make me nervous, but Laura hit this one right out of the park. This book contains a very honest, raw portrayal of academic pressures and the ridiculous performance standards that come with it. I’ve always maintained that there isn’t enough money in the world to make me repeat high school, and this book captures exactly why. Laura strategically uses all the subplots to press on the central conflict, layering the tension as we go through the story. While I wasn’t a valedictorian or even one of the high ranking students in school, I definitely related to the close-knit community that Ariel was placed in, and the never-ending pile of things one commits to when living in such a community. I honestly don’t remember how I managed to juggle them all, and Ariel’s growing stress and inability to say no to his family or friends resonated with me. I’m also glad that the romance wasn’t the central conflict and didn’t take over the central conflict, and the story retained the weight of the struggle. The climax and resolution of the conflict were very satisfying as well. As far as representation goes, Laura continues to do an excellent job with seamless inclusivity without it coming off as tokenism. It warmed my heart to see the close family, sibling, and community dynamics, as well as Ariel’s interaction with faith. A lot of it reminded me of my own childhood, and I’m glad this book exists for teens today. 

Overall a highly enjoyable book with a gripping storyline and well fleshed-out characters. I’m ecstatic to say that I’m still in love with Laura’s writing and storytelling, and can’t wait to read more of her work in the future. 

 

 

 

Hi, is this seat taken?

Hello friends, it’s been a while. Suffice to say that 2018 was a clusterfuck, and 2019 has been off to a rocky start. I sort of fell off the face of the reading world towards the end of last year, mostly because I didn’t have the capacity to hold space for books, reading, and the book community. Truth be told, I thought the blog was done. Mostly because I didn’t know what I wanted to blog about. There are so many wonderful bloggers out there who take the time and effort to do well by their authors and readers, and I just haven’t. This isn’t to chastise me or to seek validation, it’s just a statement of fact.

But as I slowly creep back into reading, I realize I miss it. I don’t just miss reading, I miss talking about books. I miss yelling about favourites on the internet, I miss my friends. I miss the community. I miss gushing incoherently in long form about upcoming releases. All this to say, I think, inconsistency and all, I want to retain this blog. I want this space to exist, not just for fellow nerds or authors, but for me. My regular life has so much writing stuff happening now, and I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do here besides reviews, but I’d like to have this corner of the internet to kick back and chat about books with you once again if you’ll have me.

 

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Source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/reading-quirks

 

 

 

August 6, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

bookdate

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Heyo!

I sat with my planner first thing this morning, and already everything I’d slotted for this AM has been juggled. It’s not even noon on a Monday, but if these past few hours are any indication, this week is going to be…interesting. Dear universe let this not be representative of my entire week, thanks.

Let’s chat books. I did finish one ARC for #ARCAugust– The Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith, which was quiet and magical. I listened to Rainn Wilson‘s book on audio but I wasn’t impressed. 

This week I plan to finish:

It’s been exactly a year since surgery today, and it feels a bit weird. It’s easy to think about progress physically but I’m still discovering that there’s a bunch of things the whole experience did to my mental health that I’m still navigating a year later. Some days are hard, and I’m reconciling with pain being a part of my life, but the truth is, I just got really lucky a year ago for things to happen when they did, where they did, how they did and most everything since. I’ll take that for now. 

Talk to me about your reading lives, friends!

-J

 

ARC August 2018!

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The wonderful bloggers at Read.Sleep.Repeat are back with their annual ARC August, a month long reading challenge to read and review as many galleys as you can. If you’re like me (well nobody is as bad as me), you’ve definitely hit that point where you’re struggling to keep up with all those advance copies and review requests.

This kind of challenge is perfect for me – I probably won’t catch up, but I would like to make a dent in my enormous unread pile and amp up that pitiful Netgalley percentage. I’ve got a lot going on in August with respect to work, but thanks to this challenge there will be not one, but two readathons this month, of which I can participate in at least one. Just check out their announcement post for all the details.

Here’s some of my ARCs I plan to catch up on during this challenge:

Just use the hashtag #ARCAugust throughout the month to share whatever ARCs you’re reading, the hosts have some neat prizes if you sign-up. 

If you’re participating, let me know in the comments, and what you’ll be reading! Good luck!

-J

July 29, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

bookdate

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Hello!

It’s 7 AM on Monday morning as I type this, which is the only free hour I’ve probably got this entire week. Either my recovering body is just slower than it used to be or I’ve just forgotten what it is like to have work things to do. Whoo boy time has definitely been getting away from me and I’m still figuring out how to juggle all of my various commitments. 

Since I was last on here, there has not been just one readathon, but two! Yup, we have 24in48 followed by Dewey’s reverse readathon, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. Read a bunch, hosted some, and ate SO MANY SNACKS. These are a couple of my favorite events, and both were glorious. 

Some highlights from all the reading these past couple of weeks: The Wrong Way To Save Your Life by Megan Stielstra (touching memoir), I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown (searing), A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Elsie Chapman and Ellen Oh (magical), The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan (poignant), The Windfall by Diksha Basu (funny and hit close to home), and Not That Bad by Roxane Gay (it still hurts). 

I truly don’t know what I’ll be reading this week. August is going to be a whole bunch of book-related work things but how much of that I’ll have time to read I don’t know. My focus this month is to restart reading my ARCs that I’ve neglected and dust up reviews to post on here because those weekly Netgalley check-in emails are anxiety-inducing and serve as a good reminder to make it happen.

On the life side of things, I’ve started swimming again! I’m having many feelings about this that I have jotted down somewhere, maybe I’ll post about it sometime. Right now, I’m trying to soak up all the good feelings that are stemming from bringing back swimming into my life. 

Okay, my hour is up, and I have to bounce to tackle whatever this week has in store for me. Meanwhile, talk to me about what you’re reading!

-J

#24in48: Summer readathon time!

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Summer readathon season is upon us, and we’re kicking it off with #24in48 this weekend. It’s pretty straightforward: Read for 24 hours of a 48 hour weekend

I was travelling during the last round of #24in48 a few months ago, and while I read for 24 hours, I didn’t really get to engage in readathon mode (books, social media, beverages, snacks, etc ). I haven’t effectively done a reading marathon since, so I’m celebrating the departure of my reading slump by hunkering down with my books and snacks for some good old fashioned reading marathon time. 

In the interest of getting to some books I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, here’s my stack:

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If this is your first time here, or your first time participating in a readathon, I recommend checking out the FAQs page for tips, start times, and such. Oh, and sign-up. Definitely sign up. 

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You’ll most probably find me all over social media for this – Instagram, Twitter, Litsy. Cheering is a huge part of the weekend- so don’t hesitate to find readers on the hashtag and drop motivating words, memes, or GIFs. 

July 21-22. Midnight on Saturday to midnight on Sunday. Join us. Happy reading!

-J

 

 

July 16, 2018: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

bookdate

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

Hello friends!

It’s been a couple of weeks since we last chatted, and I am FINALLY reading again! Cue the confetti, pop the champagne, it would seem I am back on the bandwagon. Basically, me @ all my books right now: 

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What helped, you ask? I really don’t know. I’ve been in the mood for primarily nonfiction in the last two weeks, so I’m leaning into that. I’m also not forcing myself to read anything that’s not getting me excited, so galleys will have to wait for a bit. I finished reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (super informative), Sick (absolutely devastating), A Wizard of Earthsea (entertaining), Alex and Eliza (quick and sweet), Bruja Born ( thrilling and as good as the first; I love Lula), and So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know (has its funny moments, not memorable).

I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be reading again- people often snort at my stress about not reading or not wanting to read (“Oh you’ve still read more than most people”, “watch something instead”, “you read enough” are just some of the reactions I get), largely because they underestimate not just how much it ties into my identity but the role it plays in my mental health as well. Books anchor me, sustain me. In the middle of depression, anxiety, dysphoria, it’s the thing that holds me together.

Anyway, now that I’m back to it, here’s what I’m reading this week:

Like I said, all nonfiction. I’m not questioning it. Fiction will be waiting for me when I’m ready. 

Talk to me about your reading lives, friends. What’s new in your world?

-J