A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

4 STARS

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Review:

Alright, so overall I did enjoy this book. It is a retelling that has been done, so some of the elements were predictable. Harper is from our world, and dealing with quite a lot. What I love about her is that she is always standing up for what is right, even when she finds herself in the world of Emberfall. She has a lot to deal with and I think she does it well.

Rhen and Grey are both likable in their own right, but I don’t feel like I got to know enough about them. There is a lot going on towards the end, and then there’s a nice kicker at the end that has to do with the male leads.

Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, and while I respect the fact that the author clearly wanted to have some ability representation, I also felt it could have been executed a little better. I have lots of opinions, but I don’t want to spoil anything, so feel free to connect with me to chat about it!

Overall, I think that this book would be great for YA fans that love fantasy and haven’t read Beauty and the Beast retellings before.

Special thank you to Bloomsbury for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Add it on Goodreads here.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

4.5 STARS!

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Review:

I loved this story. While there were multiple elements of Pride and Prejudice, I enjoyed the modern twist that brought up very important issues. Our experiences and circumstances shape us in a way, whether we are trying to fit into our environment or trying to purposely stand apart from it. While we may share parts of our cultural identity with others, that doesn’t always make us the same. This book took on thoughts around cultural identity, socioeconomic status, and what we think it means to be black, rich, etc. How we judge whether someone is enough, or whether they meet our standard of a cultural identity. There is also this underlying idea of accepting and being proud of who you are, but also not being afraid of change that is inevitable.

Another topic I thought was beautifully handdled was the many facets of gentrification. This is a real and relevant issue, because many of us disregard what is different, or  history that may not include us, yet is still so important. We tend to just want to improve things the way we think they should be improved (which is not always the best for everyone else).

Which leads me to one of my favorite parts of this book, the family dynamics of the Benitez’s. They celebrate their culture identity, and the history of their neighborhood. They treat neighbors as family, and truly care about others. They support each other in such a beautiful way. Honestly, the connection is just inspiring. I would definitely recommend this book!

 

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

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Synopsis: 

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

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Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want PLOT SPOILERS!

 

Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional: Family: Multicultural Family, Black Families, Low Income Family, Rich Family, Friends as family, Neighbors as family, Strong sister bonds, Celebration of Cultural Identity Social: Socioeconomic status differences, Social expectations, Mending Friendships, Empathy, Change, Judgement

College/Career: College Bound, Fulfilling College Requirements, College Application/Essay, Scholarships

Academic: N/A

Happy Ever After (HEA)