Hey there! ✨
Long time no post from me, huh. So here are two “mini” book reviews of books that I got from Netgalley and are both January releases. I know the reviews are kind of late, but whatyougonnadoright.
These two books have different genre, Ida is a YA Sci-Fi that has a time-or-parallel-universe-travelling concept while If This Is Home is a YA contemporary with great family and coming of age themes. I really enjoyed both books, I gave both of them 3 stars and just read on to know why.
Ida by Alison Evans
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?
Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.
One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.
How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?
‘Ida’ is an intelligent, diverse and entertaining novel that explores love, loss and longing, and speaks to the condition of an array of overwhelming, and often illusory, choices.
I requested for this book because it’s all about travelling between parallel universes which was a concept that really intrigues me. So it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered how incredibly diverse this book was.
We start of with our main character, Ida, she’s bisexual and biracial. Then we have our supporting characters: Daisy (her partner) is genderqueer, Frank (her cousin) is transgender, and two other genderfluid characters that I’ll tell you more about later. I loved every representation in this book, it worked so well and you know how sometimes some diverse characters feel force (like they’re just there for the sake of being diverse), well it wasn’t like that here.
So going back to Ida, she has this ability where she can go back in time and change her past decisions. Well, that’s what she thinks she does but because I already read the synopsis and in there it clearly states that she can travel across parallel universes, I already knew that that what she was doing. Basically, as a reader, I already knew something that the MC didn’t know. This may sound cool and fun, it was at first, but then I discovered the plot was very focused on Ida discovering this. When she started seeing doppelgangers and losing control of her ability, she was confused because she thought that she was only time travelling but I knew in fact that it has something to do with parallel universes.
That’s one reason why I only gave this book 3-stars, another thing is that it lacked world-building. There’s these two genderfluid characters, Damaris and Adrastos, they have the same capability as Ida plus they run this some kind of business around it. I was SO intrigued by them, and it was sad that I only got a surface level of their story. Also, the why and how of the travelling thing wasn’t explained.
Ida is the character that you won’t have a hard time to love and care for, she’s very relatable because she just graduated high school and she doesn’t know what to do next with her life which something I can really relate to. The whole plot was focused on Ida so it felt like it was more of a character-driven story, we got to read about her dealing with grief, family, relationships, finding things about her ability and just coming in terms with her current life. She went through so much across these pages and I just couldn’t help but root for her.
I also loved the whole feel of the book, it had a dark and eerie feel to it especially on the latter half. The writing style was okayish, it worked well with the other elements but I just wished that it was less descriptive.
Overall, I loved the characters and diversity in this but the storyline was quite confusing and the plot lacked for me. The parallel universe idea was a great concept and I wished that there was more to it. Despite all that, still an enjoyable and recommendable book!
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When her mom is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jayce searches for her estranged father, hoping he can fix everything.
Jayce Loewen has had to take on a lot of responsibility over the years. Her single mom works two jobs and long hours, leaving Jayce in charge of her four-year-old sister most of the time. When her mom is diagnosed with cancer, Jayce decides to track down her long-absent father in the hope that he will be able to make everything okay again.
Looking for her dad was one thing, but when she actually finds him, Jayce is in for a real shock. When everything in her life seems to be going wrong, Jayce has to figure out who her family really is, and how to live with the possibility of losing the person she loves most.
For a 16 year old, Jayce has a lot in her hands especially now that her mother is diagnosed with cancer leaving her with her 4 year old sister and a father that she hasn’t seen since she was very young. This is a book about finding the truth and coming in terms with it, being strong and resilient during though times, and letting go.
Jayce is truly an admirable character, she is also a well-written one. She acted very realistically towards the circumstances. She is a strong and resilient girl. I loved how important her family was in her life, and that it was the center of the story.
I found the plot predictable, I kind of guessed some of the whats and whys. Still, the family aspect is so commendable. And I also liked how there was no romance here, there was certainly love but not the romantic kind. It was the love that was so much more important, the one that will help you get through tough times in your life.
The plot and storyline was okay, but I wasn’t blown away by it. I lacked connection with the story, it was like watching something so intently but not feeling it. I started reading this prepared for a good cry, but the tears never came which was a surprise because I really cry so easily. Maybe, it had something to do with a writing style because it was kind and just plain and straightforward writing.
This is a very realistic book, it’s heartbreaking but in a hopeful way. It was such a quick read that I finished it in one sitting. It’s heartwarming but forgettable. Overall, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a sad but hopeful quick read.
Thank you so much Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the eARCs of these books.