Remove The Grime and Dirt From Your Life: a Review of Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis


Genre:
 Self Help
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication date: February 6th, 2018
Format: Hardback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 240

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Blurb:

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.

Founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals. 

“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.”

I wish we had more books like Girl, Wash Your Face. One of my colleagues recommended this book, and when I saw it at Target by chance I decided on a whim to give it a try. Girl, Wash Your Face by RACHEL HOLLIS is a collection of short chapters that provide you the motivation and tools to identify your dreams and how to reach the them. Honestly, I loved this book so much simply by how positive it is. The entire book cheers you on as you read, and you feel as if you have a squad of cheerleaders rooting for you to get up and go get what you want.

It’s a wonderful book for female readers simply because it validates the reason behind every doubt we have and then tells us to throw them away. Hollis further explains the reasons why every single thing we thought was true that was demeaning our self esteem, is a lie. Think you should be a certain way to fit in with the crowd? A lie. Think you have to settle in a relationship to be loved? A lie. Think you need a hero to sort out your life? ANOTHER LIE. 

“You must choose to be happy, grateful, and fulfilled. If you make that choice every single day, regardless of where you are or what’s happening, you will be happy.”

Hollis is a devout Christian, and her approach in writing this book was from a spiritual perspective, which oddly felt at home for me as a Muslim. Just like Hollis, I believe that we were put on this Earth to be the best versions of ourselves and not demean ourselves by not doing what we were meant to do: create and flourish. Be it a family of our own, or our own little brand. Whatever you wish to do with your life, this book makes sure you believe in it and want to see it come to life. 

“Decide that you care more about creating your magic and pushing it out into the world than you do about how it will be received.”

There are so many little gems in this book that felt uplifting. We spend so much time judging other’s choices, not realising that the truth behind it lies within ourselves: that dissatisfaction as to how we’re living our lives. And this book allows us to reflect the choices we’re making and gives us another chance to be positive and have the drive to really do what we want in life. There was one section where Hollis wrote about finding the good in the traumatic events we experienced. I resonated with the that because more often than not, we focus on the destruction it brought upon us instead of the strength we received through surviving it.

“What if the hard stuff, the amazing stuff, the love, the joy, the hope, the fear, the weird stuff, the funny stuff, the stuff that takes you so low you’re lying on the floor crying and thinking, How did I get here? . . . What if none of it is happening to you? What if all of it is happening for you?”

I hope you pick up this book. And whether you have a good day or a bad day, I hope you will always have the strength to be yourself and achieve what you’re meant to. Girl, Wash Your Face is meant to cheer you along, and I hope you allow it to when you read it. 

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Rise Above the Ashes: a Review of Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav


Genre:
Poetry
Publisher: Andrews Mcmeel Publishing
Publication date: January 29th, 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 224

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Blurb:

The much anticipated new book by international bestselling author Lang Leav. A breathtakingly beautiful collection of contemporary poetry and prose, offering powerful insights into love, heartbreak, relationships, and self-empowerment. 

Filled with wisdom and encouragement, every single page is a testament to the power of words, and the impact they can have on the relationships you build with others. And most importantly, the one you have with yourself.

Lang Leav captures the intricacies of emotions like few others can. It’s no wonder she has been recognized as a major influencer of the modern poetry movement and her writing has inspired a whole new generation of poets to pick up a pen.

Love Looks Pretty on You is truly the must-have book for poetry lovers all over the world.

“I have been quiet lately, I know. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I have too much.”

I borrowed a copy of Love Looks Pretty on You by LANG LEAV from a friend because I absolutely adored Sea of Strangers. I was intrigued to see how Lang would write about self love seeing how she’s more well known for broken hearted proses.

And here’s my take on it: she should stick to the broken hearted proses.

Granted, there were a few poems and proses that I loved and felt true, but in general, Love Looks Pretty on You seems a little lost to me. I wish there were more pages on finding yourself and believing yourself to be worth of the right kind of love. But for the most part, Lang wrote about heart break, sorrow and the occasional deep-rooted vengeance one feels in a heart after a fresh breakup.

Maybe her message was about finding self acceptance and self love after going through the massive heart break, or that we have to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities and stop dating boys who keep hurting us. If that was the case, then I may have missed it. The entire book felt jumbled up and the poems are out of order. I wished the poems were refined in a way that made it clear how one transitions from heartbreak to the discovery that self love can be the thing that saves us all. It would have been easier to understand that everything that happened in the past made us to become who we are today, should the poems were arranged orderly rather than thrown about like torn pieces of paper on the floor.

I preferred Sea of Strangers because it felt more honest and more direct than this one. Love Looks Pretty on You is good for a speedy read if you need a quick poetry fix. But otherwise, I don’t find anything special about it. Which is unfortunate, because I was hoping she’d evolve her writing and explore something beyond broken hearts.

I was expecting something different, but sad poetry is your thing, then maybe you’d enjoy Love Looks Pretty on You.

 

This Is How You Become: a Review of Becoming by Michelle Obama

Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Crown
Publication date: November 13th, 2018
Format: Hardback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 426

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Blurb:

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. 

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same. 

How do I even begin to review one of the greatest books I’ve read, ever?

I have always loved MICHELLE OBAMA’s grace and intellect since her First Lady days. She carries herself with so much poise, that it was a no brainer how the future president of the United States fell in love with her 25 years ago.

Now we are graced with the beautiful existence of Becoming that is Michelle’s own personal memoir growing up in South Side, Chicago and how she repeatedly found her purpose over the years , most notably during her 8-year period as First Lady.

“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” 

Becoming is the book everyone needs to feel good about themselves, and feel inspired to do more for the world. While it is the memoir of the 44th First Lady of the United States, the way it’s written will make you feel as if every chapter resonates with your life. Every chapter has a story that you will find relatable, and be able to take life lessons for your own.

“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

We’re taken on a journey from Michelle’s humble roots in a middle class working neighbourhood to the halls of Princeton and Harvard, where she later on found work as a corporate lawyer before embracing a career in public service as she raised two daughters. Every milestone in her life had a life lesson and the message is universal: Believe in yourself and the work that you do. Every effort and time invested will bring out valuable results.

Becoming also highlights the amazing group of people that supported Michelle and inspired her to be who she is today. With her parents pushing her to find her voice and use it to her advantage, Michelle proves what the power of believing in someone can do to them. And inspires us all to practice tolerance and kindness when helping others.

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

Another favourite part of Becoming is her marriage to Barack Obama. From the beginning, it was clear both individuals were so sure of themselves and what their purpose in life is. Their relationship is a healthy example of two individuals being supportive of one another, knowing that whatever happens, at the end of the day they have one another to fall back on. And that is the kind of relationship to have in mind when you’re finding a potential partner, I believe. With a love that strong, it can achieve many a great thing.

If there is one book I would urge everybody to read, regardless your age, gender and background, it would be Becoming. Read this in your free time, read this when you need a motivational boost in your career, read this when you’re wondering what a healthy marriage looks like. Becoming inspires its readers to own their stories and find their own voice in standing up for themselves and their beliefs. Because if you don’t own your story, what else do you have that’s yours?

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”

Thank you Times Reads for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

Time for a Rematch, and Death Might Join This Time: a Review of Wildcard by Marie Lu

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Genre: 
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Putnam Books
Publication date: September 18th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 352

Series: Warcross #2

Read my review of Warcross here.

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Blurb:

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

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“When the world is murky, guide yourself with your own steady light.”

If you enjoyed Warcross, then you’re in for a ride in WildcardWildcard is MARIE LU’s second instalment in the Warcross series, where it picks up right after Emika discovers Hideo’s plans to manipulate people’s minds in order to curb crime rates and create a better world, as per his vision.

I loved how Wildcard questions the line between noble and wrong, how fine that line is, and who exactly decides where the line resides. Ultimately, everyone believes they are doing good and don’t see the destruction they’ve brought into other people’s lives. In this book, nothing is ever clear, including the supposedly antagonists’ purposes. I loved how unexpected Wildcard became towards the end, leaving readers wanting more out of the story. We’re left with the question early on: how much power should a person have?

In Wildcard, we see an additional amount of characters to the ones we saw in Warcross and they make the story that much more interesting. The original Phoenix Riders make an appearance, and while I wished they had more involvement in the book, I loved them in Wildcard nonetheless. We see more of Zero and his allies in this book, giving more space for unexpected twists and turns to appear, leaving us a bit confused and excited for the next chapter. 

And then there’s Emika Chen, the person this story revolves around. She’s more matures and careful of what is at stakes. She’s become more cunning in getting to the bottom of every issue that presented itself in Wildcard. I wished we had seen her plan more elaborate ambushes or make more difficult decisions in this sequel, rather than her jumping from scene to scene, saving herself. But nonetheless, it’s very interesting to see her interact between two very different groups of characters in Wildcard and for her to figure things out on her own given her very complicated circumstances between the Blackcoats and Hideo.

True to Lu’s nature, Wildcard is full of action and plot twists. It was a bit hard for me to figure out who the real villain is in Wildcard. But after it was revealed, I was more invested in seeing how the story ends. Lu is a great writer, no doubt. And I love her skills in weaving complicated characters with morally-grey personalities into a world that’s just as much a reality like ours. Every thing that happened in this book helped humanised every single character, which made them even more believable. Wildcard may be science fiction, but the characters in it are not. They easily fit into our lives, and that’s how you know how well-written they are.

“That’s the difference between the real and the virtual. Reality is where you can lose the ones you love. Reality is the place where you can feel the cracks in your heart.” 

How Emika deals with her feelings for Hideo and how their friendship progresses throughout the book was one of the most interesting points of this book. Caught in between being a spy and dealing with her feelings, we get to see Emika make tough decisions in order to save everyone from destruction. I love how WIldcard was never about the love story of Hideo and Emika, but how love pops up unexpectedly just when you least expect it.

Overall, I loved Wildcard and thought it to be a wonderful sequel to Warcross. It had everything I wanted in a scifi sequel, so I hope you pick up and enjoy it as much as I do!

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Thank you Times Reads for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

Level Up and Game On: a Review on Warcross by Marie Lu

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Genre: 
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Putnam Books
Publication date: September 12th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 353

Series: Warcross #1

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Blurb:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. 

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“But sometimes, you find yourself standing in exactly the right position, wielding exactly the right weapon to hit back.” 

Warcross by MARIE LU is the first instalment in the Warcross series, where virtual reality, especially the games Warcross, has changed the course of human lives. It’s been a while since a scifi with a virtual reality setting got me psyched up. I’ve been reading a lot of intergalactic battles for scifi this year, so it’s nice to read something in a different setting.

Warcross creator Hideo Tanaka is painted in such a mysterious light, you can’t help but to be drawn to his charisma and his role in the story as the book progresses. But the spotlight remains to be on bounty hunter, Emika Chen and her amazing hacking skills. Trusted with the job to find the person that’s been messing around with the Warcross codes, she finds herself in deeper mess than she anticipated.

I loved Emika and her vibrant and smart nature. Lu did a wonderful job in developing a character so witty and brilliant, that Emika makes female gamers and coders so damn COOL. I thoroughly enjoyed the other cast of characters developed within Warcross. They made the entire book colorful and as their friendship with Emika grew, readers can expect to be more invested in their stories later on.

I think the plot was laid out pretty well. Warcross was fast paced and it had the right balance of action and time given to readers to appreciate the vast universe of Warcross and the Neurolink. Virtual reality is an eden of creativity, and I think Lu hit the sweet spot in designing how Tokyo looked virtually on top of how the players interact in Warcross. The world created made me wish I could easily log on and join in on the adventure!

“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.” 

We get to see a bit more on virtual reality’s potential in Warcross and how it’s designed to help improve people’s lives and connecting everyone in the world, beyond what we’re used to now. But with every technology developed, how does one control the negative impacts when it falls into the wrong hands? That’s what makes Warcross so interesting. It questions just how far advanced technology can stretch to bring a different sense of freedom to its users and how they use it to their advantage. The ending of this book intrigued me so much, because it wasn’t very obvious which character became the antagonist/protagonist. The lines were pretty blurred, and I love stories with grey shades like Warcross.

Overall, I truly enjoyed Warcross and thought it was a great start to a series. There were a few things lacking, but the plot and character development for Emika and Hideo were pretty well-done. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel!

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Another Journey Back Home: a Review of The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

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Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Harper
Publication date: October 9th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 224

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Blurb:

In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.

The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally  found happiness.

As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.

Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.

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I was pretty excited to find out MITCH ALBOM wrote a sequel to his famous book The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I have always loved Albom’s works and I’m glad The Next Person You Meet in Heaven did not disappoint! I am always skeptical of sequels, but I am glad this one turned out great.

I first read The Five People You Meet in Heaven years ago back in college, and didn’t remember much from it when I started The Next Person You Meet in Heaven. But fret not, Albom does a fantastic job of bringing up bits and pieces from the first book to jog our memory. I found myself remembering Eddie in no time!

I love how the book brings us back and forth between Annie’s upbringing and her wedding night where an incident caused her to visit heaven, and Eddie eventually. In true Albom style, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven is an emotional book that questions just how huge of an effect we bring to other people through our own lives. I love how Albom’s style of writing triggers questions not only in interpersonal faith, but our own versions of heaven and what we seek in the afterlife. Just when we think our presence does not in any way brought value to other people, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that we are always linked to others in the experiences we gain and give.

“Because we embrace our scars more than our healing”

Similar to the first book, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven brings us on another heavenly journey to see the five people who made a huge impact in Annie’s life. Reading about her life and how not everyone gets the life they deserve growing up, brought a sense of awareness that you can still bring a lot of joy when you overcome your adversity. I love this book for all the positivity it brought at the end. Everyone knows what a sucker I am for all things kind and optimistic. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us to always do good, no matter how small. You never know whose life you’ll touch through your presence. It is definitely a feel-good book that inspires you to be a little bit better.

Things happen to people all the time, how you choose to respond and grow from it is what makes you better. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven is definitely worth picking up. I am glad I had an extra couple days of vacation to indulge in this book. It’s a book you don’t want to miss, especially if you’re an Albom fan!

“Love comes when you least expect it. Love comes when you most need it. Love comes when you are ready to receive it or can no longer deny it.”

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Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

A Blindingly Painful Quest for Love: A Review of The Light Between Us by Katie Khan

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Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: DoubleDay
Publication date: August 9th, 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 320

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Blurb:

Isaac and Thea were once close, but they’ve grown apart.

Thea works tirelessly, convinced she can prove everyone around her wrong – convinced she can prove that time travel is possible. But when one of her attempts goes wrong, she finds herself picking up the phone and calling her old friend.

Isaac is in New York – it’s the middle of the night, but when he sees who’s calling him, he cannot ignore his phone. At Thea’s request, he travels home, determined to help her in her hour of need.

But neither of them are prepared for what they will discover when he gets there.

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I am beginning to think love stories set in a scifi setting, is just not for me. It is utterly difficult for me to appreciate both the science and the love story unfolding in a book. I was sorely disappointed with KATIE KHAN’s The Light Between Us and her attempt at romanticising a platonic friendship within space and time continuum theories. And here’s the thing: I’m an engineering nerd AND a hopeless romantic, but The Light Between Us did not meet whatever meager expectations I had of it.

In all honesty, the science was brilliant. While I have no core physics background, I loved reading the experimental procedures and physic theories. That was the only upside to The Light Between Us. The theories seemed sound enough not to turn out to be too fictional, and realistic enough that it could happen in a fictional world. But everything else seemed like a mess for me.

The story picks up when Rosy, Thea’s friend disappears after one of Thea’s time travel experiments go wrong. Suddenly, Isaac, Thea’s best friend of 7 years, is in the picture and conveniently find himself around London trying to search for clues as to where Rosy went. I felt Rosy’s role in The Light Between Us wasn’t as significant as I hoped it would be. There isn’t much plot to actually finding Rosy, but the story centers around the friendship between Thea and Isaac and how they eventually address their feelings.

“She’s comforted that somewhere, across time zones, somebody understands”

Thea and Isaac’s friendship started out as something very interesting to read. I was keen on knowing if their platonic friendship could ever developed into something more. But as the story progresses, I became less invested in them. Simply because I got bored by the plot and writing. I admit that while the ending made me a little bit sad, I can’t help but think it wasn’t really suitable for the book. I ended up disliking Thea and thought the story plot wasn’t as conclusive as I hoped it would be.

I guess that is what happens when authors try to infuse a seemingly-solid love story into a scifi story filled with a lot of facts. It becomes very hard to balance the two and come out strong. Some say Khan’s writing is beautiful, but it was nothing spectacular for me. I was a bit frustrated as I was fooled by the blurb. I went into The Light Between Us thinking we’ll get some epic love story that took years to build (I’m a sucker for slow romance), but alas I was disappointed by the overall performance of this book and how that ending played out.

Not a favourite of mine, but I’m glad I gave it a go. I think YA authors do love-scifi a whole lot better than other genre authors. Still worth a try if you want to give this book a go! I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

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Thank you Times Reads for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.