5 heart review

*COUGH* she cares *COUGH*

okay so you see when Leroy said “we can handle villains, but Emma… she’s one of us !”

look closely at everyone’s reaction

Snow : yeah it sucks, but i’m going to do my best for saving her

Charming : i know bro and now we gotta find a solution

and then there’s Regina

……DO I EVEN NEED TO ADD A CAPTION

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Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

Ok, so let’s start with the obvious: this book has an asexual main character! And it’s not a ‘oh, they could be asexual’ or 'they’re probably asexual’ or 'I could plausibly headcanon them as asexual’ or even 'the author said on their blog after the book was published that the character was asexual’, but the main character herself said she was asexual. Several times.

AND! There’s a bisexual character. It’s not said in so many words, but he dated both a male and a female, so wow, this is pretty awesome.

The story focuses almost overly much on Tash, to the point that everyone else is… easily confused. I wish there had been more character development of the others, to make it seem less like 'an asexual book’.

Overall, I liked this book very much, obviously. (Did I mention there’s an asexual character? And asexuality is mentioned not only in the book, but on the blurb?)

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

“‘None of this is real, my dear. Not this house, not this conversation, not those shoes you’re wearing–which are several years out of style if you’re trying to reacclimatize yourself to the ways of your peers, and are not proper mourning shoes if you’re trying to hold fast to your recent past–and not either one of us. 'Real’ is a four-letter-word, and I’ll thank you to use it as little as possible while you live under my roof.’”

Year Read: 2017

Rating: 5/5

Context: I’ve never read any Seanan McGuire, but the premise of Every Heart a Doorway grabbed me immediately, and the social media is generally positive about it.

About: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children collects a special sort of child: those who have gone through doorways to other worlds and, for whatever reason, ended up back at home. When they return, their families do not understand what happened to them, so they bring them to Eleanor to be fixed. But Eleanor isn’t trying to fix them. The purpose of her school is to give children a place where they can come to terms with the fact that their doors will probably never open again. Nancy, new to Eleanor’s school, is convinced that she will someday make it back to the Hall of the Dead, but in the meantime, something sinister has entered the school and targeted her new friends.

Thoughts: I’m so excited that this lived up to/surpassed every expectation I had for it. I loved everything about this book, from its characters and its creepiness to its Alice in Wonderland-like premise. In spirit, it’s better than most Alice interpretations I’ve read, although it has entirely its own original worlds and characters–and “Nonsense” worlds are only one of many options. McGuire has an incredible imagination, but for every child who has ever wished to go to Wonderland, or Oz, or Narnia, there is something familiar about it as well. The novel expertly taps into the longing that most of us hold onto from childhood to belong somewhere, and that is the atmosphere that lingers over its pages–the longing to go home (and the chilling certainty that, however much it looks like it, this is not it).

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