Friends With ARCs | A Constellation of Roses + The How & The Why

pub 11/5/19 by HarperTeen
Young Adult - Magical Realism
Received e-ARC from pub for review
A Constellation of Roses is the companion to Miranda Asebedo's debut novel, The Deepest Roots, but I think it stands firmly on its own two feet. The magical realism aspect is the same in both books and that's more or less the only connection between the two. What ultimately made me enjoy A Constellation of Roses more though had everything to do with the characters and the relationships portrayed. We meet Trix McCabe who has been using her gift of stealing and never getting caught to take care of herself after her mother walks out. But then she's found by social services and given an ultimatum: go to jail or go live with her long-lost family in Kansas. She chooses the latter, thinking she just needs to wait until she's legal and then she can leave. But this long-lost family turns out to be exactly what she didn't know she needed. Her aunt Mia bakes pies that literally evoke emotion (and have clever alliterative names), her cousin Ember can learn a person's secret with a single touch and her great-aunt can read palms. Together, they're 4 different, wonderful women and I loved the dynamic between them all. The family aspect and the close friendship that forms between the cousins was my favorite part.

If you had Aunt Mia's power, what would your pie be? | Motivational Mango pie for those days when you don't have the motivation to go to work. (Basically, I'd be eating this pie every morning for breakfast.)

pub 11/5/19 by HarperTeen
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
This new contemporary novel from Cynthia Hand took me completely by surprise! It was moving and made me much more emotional than I expected to be. It was just a beautiful portrayal of family, friendship and self-discovery. It alternates between the present with Cassandra McMurtrey who has wonderful parents and an amazing best friend but is admittedly going through some personal issues right now, such as questioning the identity of her biological mother and where she came from. Then in the past, we get to know Cass' mother through a series of letters she had written to her then unborn child while she was a pregnant teenager. Even though each girl's story is told in different ways, I felt like we got to know them both so well. With Cass, she's a scared, flawed, young woman who loves her family and friends. There was just something so real about all the different emotions she was dealing with. And the same can be said for her biological mother. Her personality shined in the letters through her words and sass. The plot is definitely driven by being in the heads of these two different girls but I enjoy character-driven stories so it 100% worked for me. I thought it was so well-told that I found myself wanting a little bit more at the end (I normally don't say this but epilogue one day, please?). I highly recommend this one!

Cass (and her BFF) both love theatre/drama. Have you ever been in a play and what was your role? | In my elementary school, there was always a huge (and mandatory) production during 8th grade. We had to practice on the weekends and everyone had to play a part. My class put on South Pacific and I was cast as Ngana, which was thankfully a very minor role but I still dreaded it!


Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

1 comment

  1. I was so pleasantly surprised by both of these books! They're quieter YA contemporary releases (for sure, as I haven't heard a lot about either online), but they both pack a punch in the BEST way.

    Also, I could definitely use some of that Motivational Mango pie just about now...


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