The Radical Element — Book Review


Title: The Radical Element

Author: Jessica Spotswood

Release Date: March 13, 2018

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.

Hello readers! Welcome back to another review! This review is a tad different, though—the whole thing is spoiler-free! Yes! You can read this whole review (which will be a little shorter than my full length spoiler reviews) and get a glimpse of the magic that was The Radical Element.

A little history here (ha, get it? Cause these stories are historical fiction? I’ll go home.) I read Tyranny of Petticoats back in April 2016 and I really enjoyed it! I’ve read anthologies before, but it was unlike any one I’d read before. And I think The Radical Element might’ve been even better!

I’ve heard this pretty often, but anthology novels are pretty difficult to rate. It’s exhausting to go through every story (which I did for Meet Cute—ugh.) so I’ll just share my favorites from The Radical Element, along with some general thoughts and opinions.

Let’s get started!

Going in, I had no idea what to expect from TRE (The Radical Element) beside the fact that I enjoyed ToP (Tyranny of Petticoats) almost two years ago, and that this book featured some of my favorite recent authors—Anna-Marie McLemore, Dhionelle Clayton, and Mackenzi Lee—among others.

One of my favorite things about TRE was how intersectional the stories were. These topics of race, religion, sexism, disabilities, and sexuality were naturally integrated into the stories. As a supporter of diverse books, it was great to read about all of these ideas coming together under a theme of historical females being epic.

With some anthologies, I always seem to lose interest—or maybe even skip—certain stories. That didn’t happen with TRE. I was (most of the time) really interested in each story. (Especially toward the middle, those were probably the best.)

As I said before in Meet Cute, I prefer the stories with a clear plot structure, rather than just a string of events and then an ending. (I know it’s difficult to create great world building and dynamic characters in 50 pages but I think it can be done cause some of these authors in TRE did it.)

The best stories (to me, at least, but I read another review and someone agreed) were by far Anna-Marie McLemore’s Glamour and Dhionelle Clayton’s When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough. There was world-building, backstory, complex and diverse characters of color, and above all, a plot that was engaging and when they ended, I begged for a full-length novel. (Like, seriously.)

That’s not to say that the rest of the stories weren’t good, but the characters and themes just didn’t resonate as much as my two favorites. (I also really liked Lady Firebrand by Megan Shepherd and thought I should add that.)

Overall, I liked The Radical Element. It was a fun, often insightful, read Usually, anthologies are hit or miss, and I think I can say for the most part, this book was pretty much a hit for me. *thumbs up*


I’m Jill and thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

(Kidding, I just love that Twitter meme that lasted .02 seconds.)

I definitely recommend The Radical Element if you like feminism, historical fiction, and great YA authors!

Thanks for reading! Have you read The Radical Element? (Did I convince you to? 🙂




Winter Bibliothon 2018

Hi readers! I hope you’re well! I hope you’ve been cozy between blankets and reading only the best books 🙂

I haven’t. I had midterms this week (semester one complete!) so I took a reading break, but now I’m ready to pick my books back up and what do you know, bibliothon is here!

If you don’t know, Bibliothon is a biannual reading event which lasts a week to read about 6-7 books during that week, along with several prompts to give you ideas on what to read.

I KNOW, IT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT. I swear, this is the perfect week, though, because it’s the start of a new semester—I don’t expect a lot of homework or assignments.

So I’ll be sharing my official tbr for the winter Bibliothon! For more info, check out their Twitter here. I hope you enjoy!

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Book Review — Meet Cute

Title: Meet Cute: Some People are Destined to Meet33503607

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout (and various authors)

Release: January 2, 2018

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Pages: 314

Goodreads review

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (3.7/5)

Synopsis: Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to accurately rate anthology novels. There’s so many stories, so many different writing styles, authors, and characters to the point where I can only recall a couple of the stories from Meet Cute, i.e. the ones which are my favorites.

But I’m here to discuss them anyway!

I received an ARC of Meet Cute in exchange for an honest review. And for some of the stories in this book, it’s about to get real honest.

I’ll start with the spoiler free section first, and talk about the overall feelings I got from this book, how’s that sound?

I’ve only read two anthology novels before, My True Love Gave to Me and Summer Days, Summer Nights. Meet Cute is a little different, and to be honest, it had Nicola Yoon,  Dhionelle Clayton, and Nina LaCour so my expectations were a little high. I expected lots of diverse stories and queer couples. (warning: It was about half.)

Personally, I really liked how many stories in Meet Cute featured not just a queer couple, but several f/f couples! It was wonderful to see that rep, since a lot of gay rep in YA is m/m. Otherwise, the stories overall were mediocre. Most of the stories that featured a white and/or allocishet couple just wasn’t that good or interesting.

Some of my favorites included: Print Shop, The Way We Love Here, Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love, Something Real, and Department of Dead Love. If you read Meet Cute, look out for these cause they’re great 🙂

While this book was super cute, there were a few things that bothered me and took away from this book. (All while being spoiler-free.) One of which was one story featuring a second-person point of view. It was weird, it was very fanfiction-like, and I didn’t like it at all.

Secondly, a lot of stories were forgettable. Sure, it’s hard to write developed characters in 40 pages, but some characters in Meet Cute were instantly forgettable once I flipped the page onto the next. There was little about their lives, their motivation, etc. I just think some stories contained better, more relatable characters than others.

Meet Cute has a lot of potential! I just think a lot of stories could’ve been done better, which is why it deserves an average rating of 3.7/5 stars (yes that’s average to me.) The weight of some stories outweighed the bad ones, and for that I still enjoyed reading it overall.


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2018 Bookish Resolutions

Hello everyone! Yes, two blog posts in a day! Crazy, right? As you might know, it’s officially another year AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? Once again questioning my existence and the purpose of life? Nope! Bookish resolutions!

I’ve only been making bookish resolutions since I began blogging, but I found that I really like them! In 2017, my main reading goal was to read more diversely. If you compare 2016 to 2017, a good 2/3 of the books I read fell under the “diverse” umbrella, #ownvoices and not. WHICH IS AWESOME, since the diverse books I read in 2016 was only a couple of books that I could name.

But now it’s 2018, and I have a few bookish (and life) resolutions I’d like to share with all of you! (Yes, it’s about to get personal.)

Let’s get started!

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Misc. · Wrap Up + Hauls

Favorite Books of 2017

Hi readers! SO JUST LIKE EVERY BLOGGER UNDER THE SUN (who am I kidding, readers never leave their homes!) I wanted to share my ~favorite~ books of 2017. Unlike most bloggers, though, I go about my faves a little differently.

I’ll be sharing my fave books from each month this year, and briefly talk about how much I adore them! By doing this, I can tackle the 80 books I read and look at it in 12 parts instead of a giant blob of whatdidireadthisyearohgod?!

Feel free to comment below YOUR favorite books from this year!

I’ll just go right ahead and start with January!

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YA Books that I See Differently Now

Hi readers! If you’re a reader (and I’m assuming you are) and you are a part of a community (which you might be) the book community has an influence on what and how you read, whether you like it or not.

Today I’m going to share some books that I see differently than I used to. THAT BEING SAID, half of these will be books I used to love but now see negatively, and the other portion of this blog will have books that I used to think weren’t interesting (see my post here for other books that I don’t plan on reading) but now I love or want to read it soon!

This post is not original. In fact, I got the idea from Emmmabooks on Youtube (what a fave) so I’ll leave a link to her video here.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

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NaNoWriMo 2017 — Week 4

Hi readers! So, it’s December.

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m late. MY BAD!

So NaNoWriMo ended early for me. And it started late, too. I began November 4th and ended around Thanksgiving. . .

I completed with 30,000 words, and honestly I can live with that, because I finished my book! Okay, so, the manuscript is only 52,000 words, so I need to do some major plot development and add chapters to enrich storyline or whatever.

I’m perfectly okay with not completing the 50k words, and if you didn’t finish NaNo that’s okay as long as you tried!! I used to be like FINISH NANOWRIMO OR ELSE but now I think I’ve matured because I know I tried.

And now, I have more on my plate with a new month here.

In December, I need to read 11 books to finish my Goodreads goal, and will probably abandon writing or editing this month to focus on reading. Next year, I’m hoping to edit 2 novels (at least start editing) and maybe even plot some novels?? I don’t know just a though 🙂

Either way, I skipped NaNo last year so I’m already doing better *wink wink*

Thanks for tuning in this month to read my writing rambles. (OOH that sounds like a segment, future blog posts anyone?)

Thanks for reading!




Stranger Things Book Tag

Hi readers! If you’re anything like me, you’ve watched Stranger Things. If you’re even more like me, you binged the second season in a day, and are still reeling from it.

So you can probably figure out that I adore this show. I would give anything for more episodes, or at least, more than 17. . .

The point is I saw my fave Kat do this tag on her booktube channel here so I thought I’d give it a try! No one ever tags me anyway *cue hello darkness my old friend*

Since I only watched ST in 2017, I’m going to use only books I’ve read this year. Makes sense, yes?

Whatever, let’s get this over with. (That’s the spirit.)

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NaNoWriMo 2017 — Week 3

Hello readers! So it’s my third and final (full) week of NaNoWriMo! AHH IT’S COMING TO AN END SHORTLY! What will we all do once that deadline comes? Do something called sleep, catch up on books, and maybe relax? NO, WE PANIC!

Until then, I’d love to describe my past week in excruciating detail.

Ever since I picked up writing again this month, I’ve been integrating my rather extensive vocabulary in my everyday vernacular. In fact, I’ll be talking and suddenly use a word that I’ve only ever read in books or used in my own stories. A word that I might not even be able to pinpoint its definition, but can use impeccably.

Why do you think teachers assume I’m plagiarizing, solely due to my vocabulary which is above the average teenager? Ugh.

In other news, I have no chance at completing NaNoWriMo. Sucks to admit it here instead of just inside my head, but it’s Day 26 and I have barely reached 30,000. No way. I’ve always completed NaNoWriMo, camp and all! This isn’t a crushing blow like it used to be to me, because I know I can do it, but this month was only slightly busy at best.

The truth is, my book isn’t long enough. When I wrote the plot in June, I wanted it to be condensed from the word vomit that was 140,000 of the original draft. (I KNOW!!) It was all filler from my 2015 brain (scary image.) But writing my novel now, it’s almost done and has barely 50,000 words. I have no time to go back and add chapters with only 4 days away from deadline.

(The reason I’m only at 30k and not 50k is because I wrote 20k back in July for Camp NaNo, and then picked up another novel to complete Camp NaNo. I know, writing adultery deserves capital punishment. Glad to say that after this month, both of those novels will be finished.)

I didn’t mean for this to be so grim, but I thought I’d be honest. I’m actually quite impressed that I finished 2 novels in 2017. I started and finished 1 book in 2016, and started a novel in 2016 and finished it this year. And a book I wrote in 2015 is rewritten and finished this year. Gosh, this is exhausting. But how many teens can say they’ve written almost a million words in 3 years?

Here’s to the next and final week of NaNo!

Due to popular demand (and by that I mean one person) I’m adding another excerpt of my novel that I wrote sometime in the past week. I’m quite excited to show y’all again! If it ever gets edited and ends up on Wattpad, you’ll be the first to hear of it!

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2017 — Week 3”