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.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

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.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Audiobook CD

by Lynn Painter

4.5 Stars

Better Than the Movies follows Liz Buxbaum and her next-door neighbour (and enemy) Wes Bennet. When Liz’s childhood crush, Michael, moves back into town, she decides that she will do anything to get him to like her. Even teaming up with Wes to get Michael to notice her. Ever since she was a little girl, Liz has been obsessed with romantic comedies. She dreams of creating a romance with Michael, worthy of a movie. As she tries to win over Michael, she begins to actually like Wes. Liz learns that maybe the boy next door isn’t as awful as she always thought. While she hangs out with both Michael and Wes, Liz must decide if she wants the picture-perfect romance she’s always dreamed of or if she’s willing to sacrifice it for something new. As Liz deals with the drama of high school, she starts to realize, maybe life isn’t always like the movies.  

The biggest reason I loved this book was all the movie references. There were so many iconic rom-coms mentioned that made the book feel much more relatable. All the characters were so enjoyable to read about. I felt that they all played a key part in the story and helped the plot move along. Something really interesting that this book had was a playlist. The author created a playlist of songs that were mentioned throughout the book and added it onto streaming platforms. This helped me further relate to the characters, and I genuinely felt like I was in the story with them. This is one of my new favourite romance books, and I definitely recommend it.

Hailey B.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Karen M. McManus

4 Stars

One of Us is Lying was my first YA “Whodunit” book, and it did not disappoint. Karen M. McManus writes in a way that hooks you right from the very beginning and keeps you guessing until the end!

One of Us is Lying follows the story of five Bayview High students, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper and Simon. Bronwyn is an intelligent and introverted girl whose goal is to get into Yale. Addy is the popular high school girl who wishes to become the homecoming princess. Nate, also known as the school “bad boy,” is on probation for dealing and doesn’t believe he has a future doing much else. Cooper is a star athlete who has many successes ahead of him. Finally, there is Simon, the outcast and the creator of Simon Says, the high school’s notorious gossip app.

On Monday, these five students find themselves all wound up in detention. At the end, only four exit the classroom. Why you ask? Because Simon is dead, and according to the investigation, it wasn’t an accident. Simon had planned to reveal dirty secrets on the four survivors the next day. Once this is found, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper all become prime suspects… is one or all of them guilty?

This novel is definitely a page-turner. It is impossible to put down once you start reading as you want to figure out what happened to Simon. The story is told from the viewpoint of the 4 “prime suspects,” so you get to really relate to each of the characters in unique ways. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to any teenager or YA!

Emily O.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

by Carrie Mac

5 Stars

Do you like to read books about lesbians, sapphic relationships, mental health topics (such as anxiety), or heavy topics (handled with humour)?

Well, if so, read 10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac. If I’m being 100% honest, this book took me by surprise. I was expecting a badly written, basic, contemporary romance and instead I got this amazing blessing of a book.

This book is pretty lax about the plot but the main gist is that Maeve, the main character, is stuck with her step-family and drunk dad in Vancouver for 6 months while her mother is in Haiti with her boyfriend. Maeve has severe anxiety and so this was even harder for her to manage, which the author does an amazing job conveying. Maeve soon meets Salix, a seemingly fearless lesbian violinist and the book dives into their budding relationship while also managing Maeve’s anxiety and her father’s relapse in addiction.

I loved, loved how everything in this book was handled. The writing was great and the characters were relatable. The characters were flawed but perfect in their own way, much like in real life. The romance between Salix and Maeve was so damn cute and as someone who has been hating contemporary romance lately, that says a lot. There was only one thing in the entire book that I disliked: the author is a lesbian and she did write the D-slur (which is fine) but she also wrote the F-slur (which is a slur for gay men).

I rated it 5 / 5 stars and I recommend it a lot!
 Representation: Lesbian main characters, bisexual step-mom, addiction.
 Make sure to look up the trigger warnings!

Jazleen H.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Justin A. Reynolds

4.5 Stars

I was first intrigued in Opposite of Always because I saw that Angie Thomas, one of my favourite authors, had commented that she thoroughly enjoyed this book. I can confirm that this book is one of the best love stories I have ever read. Justin A. Reynolds has done a beautiful job with this novel. When reading the back of the novel, you might think that it could come across as a bit “sci-fi,” but I guarantee it isn’t like that at all.

Opposite of Always follows the story of two teenagers, Jack and Kate. When Jack and Kate meet at a party, they are instantly compatible. Jack feels as though he might be falling hard for this girl. Soon enough, Kate is meeting Jack’s best friends, Jilian and Franny, who she wins over just as quickly as she did Jack…

But then Kate dies. Typically this is where the story would end, but no. Kate’s death sends Jack right back to the party where they met. Jack thinks he might be losing his mind because there is Kate standing right next time him, breathing, alive and healthy. Jack doesn’t know what is happening, but if he has the chance to save Kate, he will take it. Will he be able to save Kate, or will their story end just as abruptly as it did the first time?

This novel is funny, heartfelt, beautiful and everything in between. I strongly suggest this book to any YA reader or even a young teen who loves unexpected love stories. Justin A. Reynolds had me hooked right from the first sentence all the way to the last. This book is definitely one of my top three favourite books that I have read. I look forward to reading more books by this amazing author.

Emily O.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Eileen Cook

4 Stars

You Owe Me a Murder, written by Eileen Cook, tells the story of 17-year-old Kim going on a school trip to London. However, Kim hasn’t even boarded the plane and she’s having a terrible time watching her ex-boyfriend Connor and his new girlfriend together. Later on, Kim meets a fellow passenger Nicki, a charming young woman. Unthinkingly on the plane, Kim tells Nicki that she wished Connor, her ex-boyfriend was dead, turning out that Nicki wishes her mother was dead as well — both having someone miserable in their life. Nicki jokingly suggests a proposal for their problems, “I kill your ex. You kill my mum. We both get what we want”. Kim thought it was a joke until a few days later her ex-boyfriend mysteriously had been announced dead after having fallen under an underground train track in London. Kim immediately thinks of Nicki but is unsure of guessing right away. Kim’s assumption is confirmed once Nicki comes back, expecting Kim to return the favour. Kim’s only option is to come clean to the police about wanting Connor dead or get blackmailed by Nicki into committing a crime.

You Owe Me a Murder is an enjoyable twisty thriller that makes teens never wanting to take a break from reading. Personally, I thought Kim was an amusing character because she is such an awesome heroine, relatable but at the same time being a whole savage and powerful character.

Amina F.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

5 Stars

Ace of Spades is Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s first novel and it is impeccable. This book caught my attention not only for its beautiful cover but also for its intriguing description…

Ace of Spades follows the story of two private school students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo. Devon Richards is a quiet and introverted student who is passionate about getting into Julliard. Chiamaka Adebayo is a success-driven student who will stop at nothing to be the best of the best. So, when Devon and Chiamaka are selected to be part of their senior class prefects, something is off. Chiamaka isn’t surprised that she has once again been selected. But Devon is confused. He has never been one for participation or school spirit, but if it means impressing his ma, he will take it. After this announcement is made, someone who goes by the name Aces starts sending anonymous and threatening text messages to the entire school. These messages are directly targeted at Devon and Chiamaka, the only two black students in the school. Could this be a simple coincidence, or is there something deeper to uncover?

This book had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I was mind-blown, shocked and impressed. I didn’t want to put it down. I strongly recommend this book to both teenagers and young adults who like suspense books. I can guarantee you won’t be able to guess the ending of this novel. Ace of Spades is an incredible debut for Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, and I hope she has more books in the works.

Emily O.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook

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 on social media for the longest time. I finally gave in and decided to read the book. I was not impressed.

We Were 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 happened 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. I was disappointed.

Emily O.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

by Jaye Robin Brown

3 Stars

Do you like books featuring lesbians, lesbian relationships, horses, contemporary romance, and has easy to follow writing?

If you answered yes to at least 3 of those, I recommend The Key to You and Me by Jaye Robin Brown. Now, in full honesty, I enjoyed Jaye Robin Brown’s other books more than I did this one but I will never NOT recommend Jaye Robin Brown to sapphics (especially lesbians) so without further ado, here is the summary and review.

Piper has just been dumped by her cheating girlfriend, Judith, so, she obviously takes the only option available to her: running away to her grandma to train with a former Olympic horse rider and try to make Judith jealous from afar. Except when Piper arrives, her perfect plan gets wrecked. Not only is her grandma forcing her to learn how to drive but Piper’s driving instructor is also a very, very pretty girl. Straight girl. Or so Piper thinks… Kat has been struggling with her sexuality and who she is so when openly lesbian Piper comes along — as her driving student, no less! — Kat pounces and they strike a bargain. If Kat drives Piper around, Piper will, in turn, help Kat figure out her sexuality. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like they’ll fall for each other… right?

Jaye Robin Brown is a phenomenal queer writer but I think this book was a bit… average. It wasn’t BAD (Jaye is not capable of writing anything bad!) but it just fell a little flat to me. There was no real plot but the writing was engaging enough that I still finished the book in 1 day. I would say this is a fun light read but don’t expect to be mind blown when you’re done.

Jazleen H.

View in Library Catalogue: Print