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Mini-reviews: Famous in a Small Town + The Gilded Wolves

pub 1/15/19 by Henry Holt
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received from pub for review
Sophie loves her small hometown, her four best friends and the Arcadia High marching band. So when the latter is selected to march in the Rose Parade in L.A., she decides that it’s up to them (specifically her) to get them there. She convinces her friends and the cute guy who moves in next door that they need to reach out to Megan Pleasant to join their annual fundraising festival. Megan is a famous country singer whose first hit single was a love song to their town Arcadia, the problem is — she refuses to come back. But the book is about so much more than a fundraiser or a marching band. It’s about Sophie’s personal fears, particularly of the future. It’s about her tight-knit group of BFFs and the many ways in which they support and love one another (I enjoyed their group texts!) as they all deal with their own things. It’s about first loves and heartbreak. As usual I liked all the themes in her book and Mills’ writing continues to be super engaging, but this novel didn't quite impact me the way her previous ones did. Usually her books leave my heart feeling full and instead I felt oddly detached.  I think there was almost too much going on this time around and I wish she would’ve doubled down on the friendships and even Sophie herself instead.

Do I recommend? I still liked it! If you want a quick, compulsively readable book, you really can’t go wrong with Emma Mills but this wasn’t my favorite.


pub 1/15/19 by Wednesday Books
Young Adult - Historical Fantasy
Received from pub for review
The Gilded Wolves is my favorite book from Roshani Chokshi. It does historical fantasy in a way that feels distinctly hers while introducing us to an amazing cast of characters. And did I mention it’s set in 1800s Paris? It’s an elaborate book with a lot of clever details so it’s honestly difficult to sum it up in a matter of sentences. But in this world, the Order of Babel is an all-powerful society who seeks out the help of treasure hunter Severin Montagnet-Alarie to track down an ancient artifact and in exchange, he’ll be offered a chance to claim his true inheritance. He agrees to do so with the help of his crew – Tristan, Enrique, Laila, and Zofia – who each have their own distinct skills. This crew was hands-down my favorite part of the book! I loved their banter and the obvious way in which they’ve become a family.  This job is a dangerous one but also an adventure that shows off their capabilities and why it’s so important to each of them. My other favorite part of the book was the world itself. It was just so unique. I loved how Chokshi mixed fantastical elements with actual history and cultural nods (all the Filipino references made me so happy). Plus my jaw definitely dropped a couple of times at the various twists and turns the plot took. The Gilded Wolves is a strong start to Chokshi's new series and I'm excited to see where she takes the characters next.

Do I recommend? Yes! I know a lot of people have compared it to Six of Crows and I certainly got that vibe too but only on the surface level. The heart of the story and world sets it apart and I’m looking forward to book 2.

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