by Anna Birch

Do you like enemies to lovers, sapphic romance, sapphic enemies to lovers, amazing writing, and the “we love each other online and know each other in real life without knowing each other’s identities” trope?

Well, if so, I sincerely recommend I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch.

In real life, Iliana and Rhodes hate each other a lot — 2 physical altercat

ions a lot — and their hatred for each other only increases when they find out they’ll be competing for the same scholarship to an elite art school. Online, however, I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are madly in love and planning to meet up at the competition. When the worlds collide, they have to figure out whether they can like each other in person as much as they like each other online.

Review: This is SO underrated. This book had wonderful writing and a super cute romance. The enemies to lovers part was also wonderfully done and the tension — the yearning — oh my. My heart… it couldn’t handle it. If you’re not convinced by that, here is a quote guaranteed to make you want to read this book: “She closes the distance between us in a handful of long, sweeping strides — one moment she’s standing at the doorway and the next, her breath ruffles my hair. I flinch. She doesn’t hit me, though: she simply lifts my chin so I have no other choice but to look her in the eyes. Her skin against mine, even in this small way, stands my arm hair on end. Everything in her burning: her eyes, her face, her spirit.”

WOW. The tension, the writing- beautiful *chef’s kiss*. I rated this book 4 / 5 stars and I definitely recommend it!
 Make sure to check the trigger warnings!

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by Jenny Han

5 Stars

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the third and final installment of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. Lara Jean is finally a senior in high school and is happier than ever in her relationship with Peter. She is also eager that her dad is getting remarried to their neighbour, Ms. Rothschild, and her sister Margot will be coming home in time for the wedding. Despite the immense fun that Lara Jean is having, the difficult decision of where she wants to go to college still weighs on her mind. She worries about how her decision may affect her relationship with Peter. Will Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship last? Will Lara Jean ultimately decide to follow her heart? Find out in Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Overall, this book was very well written, and I loved it very much. It was a great ending to an incredible series. Out of the three books in the series, this one was my favourite. I was engaged the entire time and enjoyed the mature themes within the novel. I loved how Lara Jean and Peter both were not perfect, however, their relationship was very beautiful and real within the series. When you are reading, it feels as if you are Lara Jean, and you are experiencing everything she is. Lara Jean is a character that has become very close to my heart. Jenny Han did an amazing job creating such a heartwarming series. I highly recommend this book and wish that there was a part 4!

Emily K.

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by Adiba Jaigirdar

4.25 Stars

Do you enjoy reading books that feel like warm hugs, with sapphic romance, and diverse characters (Muslim MC, Bengali MC’s, Queer MC’s), includes the fake-dating trope (where two characters pretend to date for whatever reason and end up actually falling in love), and with realistic happily-ever-afters?
 If you answered yes to any — and even if you somehow said no — I recommend: Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating.

Summary: The book follows our two main characters (told from dual perspectives) Hani and Ishu. Hani comes out as bisexual to her ‘friends’ and they invalidate her- like the biphobes they are- and tell her that she can’t be bisexual if she’s never dated a woman. Not wanting them to think she’s straight, Hani blurts out that she is dating a girl- Ishu. The only catch? She isn’t. Ishu is a perfect daughter and student and as such, she needs to win the Head Girl position. When the popular and beloved Hani proposes that they fake date to aid each other, Ishu agrees. There’s only one small problem: Ishu doesn’t want to fake date Hani, she wants to date her for real.

Review: You know those books that have you grinning ear-to-ear and swooning like crazy? This book was that. Adiba Jaigirdar is a phenomenal sapphic romance writer (I highly recommend ‘The Henna Wars’ as well) and all her books have diverse characters that are usually queer. The book was fast-paced, sweet, funny, and so, so cute. The ending was sort of rushed (though not in a BAD way) and Hani was kind of annoying (fight for yourself, jeez) but overall I enjoyed this book a lot and I rated it 4.25 / 5 stars.

Jazleen H.

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by Adam Silvera

4 Stars

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio are two teenage boys who discover they only have one day left to live. On September 5 at midnight both Mateo and Rufus receive a call from Death-Cast, a company that is able to predict the deaths of individuals. The boys learn that they are now Deckers, someone who has only twenty-four hours left to live. Instead of living out one’s final day alone, the app Last Friend helps lonely Deckers find someone to spend their last day with. Through the Last Friend app, Mateo and Rufus meet and spend the day accompanying each other. The boys’ lives change throughout their unforgettable day together and last great adventure.  

Overall, They Both Die at the End was an emotional and inspiring novel. Even though the title directly tells readers what to expect, the heartwarming journey the characters embark on is definitely worth reading. The title caught my interest immediately was the reason I was intrigued to read this book. From the touching storyline, I was thoroughly impressed and could not put the book down. There are multiple side characters within the story, and I enjoyed reading the different perspectives. While reading, you can feel all of the emotions the characters are feeling, from their happiness, love, pain, and anger. The novel shows readers how a stranger can completely change your life as Mateo and Rufus changed each other. I love how this book teaches the readers to be grateful for every moment in life and to live life to the fullest.   

Emily K.

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by E. Lockhart

1 Star

We Were Liars is a novel by E. Lockhart. I was in the market for an interesting “mystery” type novel, and I had seen this book praised in social media for the longest time. I finally gave in and decided to read the book. I was not impressed. 

We We’re Liars follows the story of a rich and distinguished family who spends each summer on their private island. The main characters include a group of four teenage friends who call themselves the Liars. The story especially concentrates on one of the teenagers, a girl who develops amnesia following an accident that happens during the summer when she was 15. We follow along as she tries to remember what truly happened during that summer. 

Although I was intrigued at first by the storyline, I did not end up enjoying this book at all. I found the characters hard to relate to, probably because of their rich world. I also found the story to be bland. It took the longest time before getting to any “juicy” parts. The author gives small hints about “the accident” here and there, but nothing of importance and nothing to keep the reader really hooked. I almost gave up reading it several times because of how slow the development was. The only interesting part in this book is the ending… but even with that in mind I wouldn’t recommend it. The time spent on reading the first 190 pages of the book is not worth it, not even with that shocker ending. Lockhart did not meet my expectations with this book, and I was disappointed.

Emma O.

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by Alexa Donne

4.5 Stars

The Ivies rule the school at Claflin Academy. They’re a group of girls who would stop at nothing to ensure their spots in an Ivy League school. The five girls have been sabotaging the other students throughout their four high school years to ensure that they will always stay on top. They each applied to different schools to ensure they’d all make it in. When the leader of the group, Avery, doesn’t make it into Harvard, there is lots of tension among the group. What Avery doesn’t know is Olivia and Emma, who are also in the Ivies, also applied to Harvard. When Emma tells Avery she got in, Avery is furious. The next morning, Emma is found dead. With all eyes on the Ivies, Olivia must find a way to clear her name, while trying to find Emma’s murder. Along the way, she finds shocking information and learns the Ivies are deadlier than she ever imagined.  

There were so many shocking twists and turns throughout this book that I didn’t see coming. Each of the characters were so complex and necessary to move the story along. I really enjoyed this author’s writing style and how she made the story relatable for teenagers, even though it was about murder. Olivia, the narrator, had a really interesting take on the entire situation that helped you look at the story in a different light. The story took place at a boarding school, and the whole dynamic was much different than at a public school. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend it!  

Hailey B.

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by Maika & Maritza Moulite

4 Stars

The young adult fiction, One Of The Good Ones, written by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite, was a depressing but yet a remarkable book. It tells the story of an activist teen, Kezi, who unfortunately dies in police custody after attending a protest. As Kezi’s family deals with grief, Kezi’s younger sister, Happi, sets out a plan to go on a road trip in honour of her sister. The road trip that Happi and Kezi’s friends are set on going, is the trip that Kezi has always wanted to go on right after she would have graduated from high school. The story isn’t just in Happi’s perspective, it’s also in Evelyn’s perspective, Happi and Kezi’s grandmother, but not just Evelyn’s perspective, it’s also in Kezi perspective. As you’re reading the book, in the beginning it’s very slow-paced, but as you continue to read more, all you want to do is find out what really happened to Kezi. Which, as your reading more, gets you very anxious, and at some point you just want to put the book down. Happi is very closed off in the beginning of the book, but as the story unravels you get to see truly who the real Happi is.

The way Maika & Maritza Moulite wrote this story truly feels as if you are present in the story. This book is very much a wake-up call to those that don’t believe what’s actually happened to black individuals, to those that don’t know how people treat black individuals. It’s very heartbreaking to know that people some people recently found out what black people go through, not just them, there are so many other races that are being treated horribly, and it’s sad to think that only because of what’s been happening in the past 2 years people have woken up. Overall, this book should definitely be on your list, although I wouldn’t suggest it to a younger audience because of all the heavy topics, I recommend this book to 14 years and older.

Hoda. D

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by Karen McManus

4 Stars

One of Us is Next is the sequel to One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus. I was doubtful that the sequel would be as good as the first book, as generally speaking sequels are often a little disappointing. I’m happy to report that it is definitely not the case here! This novel is fresh, not predictable and in my opinion even better than the first book! 

One of us is next follows the story of 3 young teens, Maeve, Phoebe and Knox and is still situated at Bayview High. Ever since the whole “Simon Says” situation, there have been many copycats at the high school, but no one has been able to fill the gossip void quite like Simon did. Until now.

Now, there is someone playing an anonymous game of Truth or Dare. If one chooses not to play, a dark truth is revealed about them…

Phoebe is the first target, then Maeve. But when it comes to Knox’s turn, things are becoming more dangerous. The dares are becoming deadlier, and the truths are getting darker. Although Simon is gone, someone is trying to keep his legacy alive. Will there be a new mystery to uncover, or is this a simple game of truth or dare?

With this sequel, McManus chose to dive more into Maeve’s character (the sister of one of the main characters from One of Us is Lying), which I really enjoyed. I appreciated how she kept the characters from the first book as “extras”, as we get to know about them from this sequel’s characters’ perspectives. Although not mandatory, I would recommend reading One of Us is Lying first as this will provide the full background on the original main characters, as well as the vibe at Bayview High. I recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a good YA and young teen mystery novel. 

Emma O.

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by Carrie Mac

2.5 Stars

Are you in a reading slump, enjoy reading about sapphic relationships, a romance reader, figuring out your sexuality in terms of liking women as a woman/AFAB (and those who ‘appear to be a woman’), or looking for a quick read?

Well, if yes, I recommend this book: Crush by Carrie Mac. It is a 125-page novella (with big font) and takes place over the span of a week, I believe. Essentially, Hope, the main character, is left with her neglectful older sister while her hippie parents are in Thailand and she struggles with her new feelings for a girl named Nat. The book is extremely easy to follow and I promise you will breeze right through. I can’t recommend this book as a sapphic book alone because of how non-impactful it was but if you are in a reading slump and sapphic, or sapphic-questioning, I would definitely recommend it. I rated this book 2.5/5 stars but it was 5/5 for what I needed at the moment (a short, dumb, sapphic read).

Honestly, this rating will vary for each person who reads this and what they’re feeling so the only thing I can say is that you should read this book with low, very low, expectations in terms of plot, world-building, characters and basically everything else.

Representation: Bisexual/Pansexual/Sapphic main character, lesbian love interest, lesbian side representation, hippies.
 Age rating: 13+ (mentions of sex with older men and some more stuff for more mature audiences)

Jazleen H.

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by Leigh Bardugo

3 Stars

The young adult/fantasy/adventure fiction, Shadow And Bone, written by Leigh Bardugo, was a very mystical book. I am not the type of person to usually read any fantasy books, but I was a part of a book club and this was the book we were reading. This story is about Alina Starkov, all her life she felt as if she never belonged, she felt as if she wasn’t good enough, but thanks to her best friend Mal, the guy who she’s secretly in love with but won’t admit it.

But where she lives, the fold, gets attacked and Mal is awfully injured, she reveals a power that saves his life. Alina never knew she had a power like that, or maybe she did, but she kept it a secret and slowly forgot about it because she wanted to stay with Mal. Once her power is released, Darkling realizes she had a power that could save her town, take her to the royal court to be trained as a Grisha. As love sparks between the two, Alina doesn’t know the actual plan the Darkling has for her. Some parts of the book, as I was reading, was truly boring, but other parts of the book makes you feel as if you were right there or even more you’re Alina. Which by the ending of the book, you wouldn’t want to be in the position Alina was in. Either way, I would still recommend this book to people over the age of 12 and up. Overall, I rate this book a 3/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

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