Bee Mini-Reviews Two YA Contemporary Books

Posted April 4, 2017 by Bee in Reviews / 11 Comments

Bee Mini-Reviews Two YA Contemporary Books

Our Own Private Universe

by Robin Talley
Published on January 31st 2017
by Harlequin Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley

Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex.

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.

2.5 Stars

Things I Liked:

Aki is bi & POC. This is awesome! We need more of this kind of diversity in YA so I applaud it lots. Though it’s not own voices and as a someone that’s not POC, I don’t know how accurately this is repped. I CAN however vouch for the bi part. Sort of. Almost. I am happy it’s repped, I’m not very happy with how it was executed…

♦ The author doesn’t shy away from sexy times between two girls. YAY for that! I also want more of this in YA. Desperately. So I wildly applaud the author for having the guts to do this. Also yay for them discussing safe sex.

♦ The topics this book brings up and also the very diverse cast. Hurray for both!

Things I Did Not Like:

All That Drama. SO MUCH OF IT. And a lot of it so very unnecessary and it frustrated me a lot. I did not care for any of it.

Most of the characters are very annoying and I did not connect to any of them whatsoever.

Biphobia/Homophobia, bullying, AND AGAIN SO MUCH DRAMA. Do not like. I know the MC is 15 but come on… Really? I was never that dramatic at that age.

The writing wasn’t my thing. I just could not get into it. I read this in one sitting only because I knew I’d never pick it up again if I didn’t finish it immediately.

Where’s the plot?? Honestly, there wasn’t much of a plot outside of the stupid pointless drama. Which is annoying. Because I kind of like books that have an actual plot. A good one at that. But I did not find one in this book.

Overal this one was very much a nope for me but it does have some great points. Though unfortunately they were not enough to save this book for me. I do encourage you to try it out and form your own opinion of it.

Bee Mini-Reviews Two YA Contemporary Books


by Ashley Poston
Published on April 4th 2017
by Quirk
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3.5 Stars

This was really cute! I honestly didn’t know what to expect of this and I was a bit hesitant because there are SO many Cinderella retellings out there already that it’s hard to find one that brings something new to the table. But I found that this one did a good job of giving the story a fresh spin. I just wish there was a bit more to it than what I got.

What I Liked:

♦ I really liked all the fandom stuff. It makes it so relatable because I am part of several fandoms. Some are just amazing communities and I love that. And I love that this book got that feeling right.

All the nerdy stuff. So much nerdy stuff and references and yay! It spoke to the nerd in me.

I liked the spin on the original tale and how the author made it relavant to modern times. Very contemporary. I really enjoyed that.

I liked Elle and Darien as main characters. They were both fleshed out and distinct enough and I liked their dynamics. They miiiight have been a tad stereotype-ish?? But it didn’t bother me.

The banter! I love the dialogue in this book. Such lovely sassy banter. Especially between Elle and Darien.

What I Didn’t Like:

Sometimes it just got a bit too… young? A bit overly dramatic and the stuff with the stepmother and stepsisters was a bit over it at times and I just didn’t really feel it.

Aside from Elle and Darien themselves, the other characters didn’t seem very fleshed out at all. I wanted more from the stepsisters and stepmother and Elle’s friend Sage. And Gail. Just more.

♦ I also don’t think much was resolved by the end?? Could be just me. But there were some open threads at the end that left me wondering what happened with those things.

♦ It just didn’t FEEL very special. I wish there had been more to it overall. It felt very standard at times, which is unfortunate.

Overall, despite my irks, I did enjoy this book. I just wanted more from it. But I do recommend it if you like light and cute contemporary.


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11 responses to “Bee Mini-Reviews Two YA Contemporary Books

  1. I am so sorry that Our Own Private Universe wasn’t a win for you! I agree that too much drama can absolutely ruin a book, so that is a shame, especially when the potential (and the diversity!) was there. But I also agree that even at 15, that doesn’t mean that a character has to be dramatic- especially if they ALL are, because that is kind of unrealistic. Sure, maybe a few, but everyone? Nah. As for Geekerella… I keep hearing good things, but I also wonder if maybe it is too fluffy for me? I like things… a little grittier, perhaps. But I am glad it was cute! Great reviews!

  2. I recently read Our Own Private Universe and while I thought it was super important, I didn’t connect with the characters very much so I gave it a 3.5 star rating which is an okay rating! I am also super excited to read Geekerella and it seems like such a cute read!

  3. Nathan

    Well with some of the drama in Our Own Private Universe, when it comes to bullying, based on what I have seen in the news, that can get extreme, as can homophobia & biophobia. But to much of that can be a turn off and make a book hard to read. It sounds like it has promise, but too much drama? Books with a lot of drama need to be spaced out because they can be hard to read. I have not read this book so I won’t judge it further. I hesitate with Geekerella. I admit first off, I could have been classified as a geek or nerd once upon a time, but I am not sure I would connect to the story now and can you tell a fairy tale written originally so long ago and set it in a contemporary setting with no magic and have it still work in our times? The world has changed so much, hasn’t it?

  4. I’ve definitely heard problematic things about Our Own Private Universe (and Talley’s books in general), which is such a shame, because the premise sounds amazing. Biphobia and homophobia are a huge “no, thanks” from me, and the lack of plot sounds irritating, as well. But yay for f/f sex on the page in YA! I’m currently reading Geekerella. I agree that it’s adorable and the banter is great, but I see what you mean about it reading a bit young at times. I’ll update you with final thoughts once I finish, ha. 🙂 Great reviews, Bee! <3

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