Bite-Sized Reviews of The Upside of Unrequited, The Unlikelies, Dead Ed in My Head, and Bang

July 5, 2017 Coyer, Reviews 24

I know I’ve been relying on bite-sized reviews a lot lately, but I feel like it’s the only way I can get them all in. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Upside of Unrequited, The Unlikelies, Dead Ed in My Head, and BangThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 11th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Discussions of sex, Language)
My rating:
4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

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This book was all sorts of adorable and it reminded me of me as a teen. Though I didn’t struggle with weight issues, I was very afraid to let a boy know I liked him—much better to avoid being hurt or embarrassed, which is exactly how Molly feels in the book. My friends who have struggled with weight issues have said that they connected to this book even more deeply—Molly thinks about her weight a lot, and in some ways, she lets it define her. Her insecurities lead to a complete unwillingness to take chances. She leaves the risk-taking up to her twin sister, who is daring enough in the area of romance for both of them.

But, at its heart, this story is less of a romance (though it certainly is that) and more of a tale about family relationships. Molly is afraid that she’s losing her sister, the one person in her life that she’s always been closest to. She sees their relationship changing before her very eyes and it terrifies her. Molly isn’t ready for change and she certainly isn’t ready to let go of the most important person in her life, but she sees the inevitability of family relationships changing as she gets older, and it makes her incredibly sad. I felt for her and enjoyed her journey of self-discovery.

I thought that this book was touching and sweet, and it easily gets 4/5 stars from me.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Upside of Unrequited, The Unlikelies, Dead Ed in My Head, and BangThe Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
on June 6th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing shown, but talk of sex and prostitution)
My rating:
4 Stars

One good deed will change everything.

Sadie is not excited for the summer before her senior year. It will be her first without her college-bound best friend and (now ex-)boyfriend by her side, so Sadie braces herself for a long, lonely, and boring season working at a farm stand in the Hamptons. But things take an unexpected turn when Sadie steps in to help rescue a baby in peril and footage of her impromptu good deed goes viral.

As she’s recovering from “the incident” and adjusting to her Internet fame, Sadie receives an invitation to a lunch honoring teem homegrown heroes. The five honorees instantly connect and soon decide to spend their time together righting local wrongs. Sadie and her new friends embark on escalating acts of vigilante Good Samaritanism, but might be in over her heads when they try to help a heroin-addicted friend. Are good intentions enough to hold unlikely friendships—and an even unlikelier new romance—together?

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The Unlikelies was not exactly the book I was expecting it to be, but in some ways it was better. I was expecting it to be mostly a story about how Sadie and her friends are trying to right wrongs in their community—and it was about that a bit, but really it was more about Sadie discovering that she can move on after she loses the things in her life that she defined herself with—mainly her relationship with her best friend. Sadie hadn’t expected to find anything new in her town the summer before her senior year. She hadn’t expected to move on—just to mope. She also has to move on from the fear that surrounds her after being attacked. She tells people she’s fine, but she really isn’t past it all. In some ways it makes her braver, though—she doesn’t want to shrink back from helping, no matter what.

The one issue that I had with the book was that Sadie and her friends put themselves in some very dangerous situations in order to help their friend with the drug addiction, and they don’t really ever see the consequences of that. I kind of wanted to scream at them to smarten up a little because helping doesn’t have to mean taking extreme risks—not when there are other options. Still, I loved that Sadie and her friends aren’t willing to just leave well enough alone. They fight back when most people would just sit back and complain. For that, I applaud them!

This book was a bit of a more serious read than I was expecting, but that was just fine with me. It was still fun in parts and really highlighted friendships, something that’s needed more in YA. Plus, the romance was sweet and easy to root for. Overall, I give this book 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Upside of Unrequited, The Unlikelies, Dead Ed in My Head, and BangDead Ed in My Head by Barbara Catchpole
Published by Raven Books on May 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 160
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, but discussions of sex)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

Tod, the hero, is in Year 11 of school. He is an angry boy with relationship issues with his father who has left home to set up with That Little Tart From The Office and with his mother who is nine months pregnant. He deals with his anger by behaving badly and shouting. As if that wasn't enough for any teenage boy, his head becomes invaded by the undead spirit of a wannabee Rock Star (Ed). Ed grows into Tod's brain, even trying to take it over and being quite frankly no help at all. During the story Tod meets his bossy girlfriend and delivers a very smelly younger baby sister together with gaining insights into why adults are so useless. It is a funny book about the disadvantages of having anyone else share your head.

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This is such an incredibly odd little book that I almost don’t know what to say about it. It’s full of quirky characters and even quirkier British humor. The story is told in a style that’s almost stream of consciousness, but it works. I found myself really enjoying it most of the time (and also sometimes wondering why!). The majority of the book is in Tod’s voice, but we occasionally flip to another POV so that we can learn more of the story behind the story. Tod is kind of what you might expect of a teenage boy—he’s a bit of a dope, honestly. But you can hardly blame him once you meet his parents, who have their own slew of issues. When the old man that Tod has befriended dies, he sets up camp in Tod’s brain and doesn’t really want to let go. Ed is a bit of a character—once upon a time he was living the rock star lifestyle—and he has a few secrets in his past that he needs to deal with before he can even begin to move on. He tries to help Tod out sometimes, but honestly he mucks things up as often as he helps.

The hijinks that ensue are entertaining and sometimes even thought-provoking. Tod learns a lot of lessons along the way and even teaches Ed a few of his own. If you’re looking for something a little different, this might be right up your alley. I give it 3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Upside of Unrequited, The Unlikelies, Dead Ed in My Head, and BangBang by Barry Lyga
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on April 18th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Themes of death and suicide)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

One shot ruined his life. Another one could end it.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

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The concept of this book is incredibly heartbreaking, but I’ll confess that it didn’t really tug at my heartstrings the way I expected it to—at least not at first. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like it, but for some reason I just wasn’t blown away or wrecked like I’d expect with this sort of book. The first three-quarters of the book were almost … cute. The possibility of budding romance between Sebastian and Aneesa was sweet—and I loved that he started to see worth in his life through her. I also appreciated the perspective that Aneesa gave to the story as a Muslim (it was especially interesting that her mother was not Muslim because you certainly don’t see mixed families of that type very often). But I just didn’t feel particularly emotionally moved and the book took me a little while to get through …

And then there was the final quarter of the book, which is amazing and blew me away. Sebastian is suddenly forced to stop avoiding his reality and face everything, and as a reader I was also forced to take note. There were a few twists that I wasn’t expecting, and the emotional depth of the story skyrocketed at the end. I was suddenly very connected to a story that I had just been cruising along with at first. Since it took me three-quarters of the way through the book to get there, I settled on 3.5/5 Stars for my rating, but this book was well worth the read!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

24 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of The Upside of Unrequited, The Unlikelies, Dead Ed in My Head, and Bang”

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    Sorry the latter half of Bang was more enticing than the first part. I really need to get The Upside of Unrequited – it’s one I hope to read soon.

    -Lauren

  2. Kathy @ My Nook, Books & More

    Great reviews and I just added The Upside of Unrequited to my TBR. It also reminds me of me in high school. I didn’t have a weight issue but I had a lot of secret crushes lol. I can’t wait to read this.

  3. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

    Something about Upside of Unrequited just resonated so strongly with me. I’m glad you liked it. I’m curious about the Lyga, having read the I Hunt Killers trilogy last spring and really liking them. Dead Ed in my Head is a terrific title; almost worth giving it a try for that alone!

  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    GAH I just left this big old comment and then WP was like “nah, just kidding, we’re going to erase ALL of that, ‘kay?” I am angry. It was mostly me talking about how much I could relate to Molly because I would never tell anyone I liked them ever, and how I do not understand how the human race can go on, and if it was all people like me, it wouldn’t have, because I’d have been too afraid of rejection to speak to my fellow cavepeople. AND I thought I was a super fatty in high school (spoiler: I wasn’t. Not in college either, but I was convinced that I was ginormous, go figure) so I fully related to ALL things Molly. And then I talked about the other books, but I am tired now. Thanks WordPress, this is why we can’t have nice things.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Ugh! Sorry WordPress is annoying! I don’t get what’s happening with my comments lately. Someone else told me that it was being SUPER slow for them, and the linking up a post doesn’t seem to work anymore. I should probably contact Ashley, but that takes effort… and you know how I’ve been feeling about that lately.
      I could relate to Molly too. Basically, if I hadn’t had a best friend who literally pushed a boy down the hallway and forced him to ask me out (and then two weeks later convinced me to break up with that boy to go out with my future husband), I’d probably still be hiding from the opposite sex. I was good at that.

  5. Greg

    The Upside of Unrequited does look nice, and The Unlikelies has ice cream on the cover so that’s a plus in my book. Seriously though I like that it is a little more serious than it might look, and even though the excessive risk- taking might be a b it much it sounds like a really good read. I might have to get that one!

  6. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    after a loooong wait at the library it was turn for the Upside and since I was on vacation I didn’t download it in the 72 hrs window and now I’m back on the waiting list!!! [sobs loudly] vacations are awesome but they DO mess up with a bookworm life 🙂

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Some cool books on here. The Upside of Unrequited was brilliant for all the reasons you said. It really did remind me of being a teenager as well. I have been eyeing up The Unlikelies and you’ve definitely helped me reconsider reading this. I had kind of thought I wouldn’t bother but maybe I will now.

  8. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Great mini reviews! I’m glad you loved The Upside of Unrequited, the family aspect was definitely a big highlight for me, too! I love the cover of The Unlikelies and Dead Ed in my Head, both sound interesting!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Glad that you feel there’s enough substance to these. I always struggle with whether to do bite-sized or full reviews, but I find I just don’t have the time and energy to do a full review for every single book I read. I could drive myself crazy!

  9. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    Loved The Upside of Unrequited. So much. I connected to Molly on many levels (teenage Tanya and teenage Molly would have been soulmates). I loved the focus on family, I loved the romance, I love the growth in Molly… total win for me. 🙂

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