Some people think they can just decree that everything will be fine. The world doesn’t work like that. I’m not sure the world gives a crap about anyone’s promises, well-meaning or otherwise. Sometimes the Universe just takes what it wants.
When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.
Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching… and judging.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
This Is How It Happened follows Genevieve as she wakes up from a coma to find her boyfriend dead. She can’t remember the car crash that put her in the hospital and killed her boyfriend, Dallas, an up and coming singer who had just released his first album. Another driver was also involved in the crash, named Brad Freeman, who everyone already assumes is guilty. But slowly, Genevieve starts to retrieve her memories and is startled by the realisation that maybe she had something to do with what happened. As Brad Freeman is condemned through social media and in the court of public opinion, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house in Utah. Volunteering at the beautiful Zion National Part, and getting closer to another volunteer, Genevieve realises that hiding from the truth is having devastating consequences.
To be absolutely honest, I was expecting to love this. I think, in this case, I was disappointed. I liked it, I just didn’t love it. Whilst I thought that Genevieve was difficult to connect with and I think the plot itself wasn’t especially memorable, I really liked the prose andThis Is How It Happened is definitely a book with a good message: take responsibility for your mistakes and deal with the consequences yourself.
There is a bit of romance; it’s cute and sweet, he respects her, and he encourages her to own up. It’s not central to the novel, because that is definitely Gen’s development, driving safely, and also tackling internet bullying, death threats, and jumping to conclusions without all the information.
One thing I really enjoyed was the vividness of the Zion National Park; the lush descriptions, the importance of preserving national landscapes. It was definitely my favourite thing about the book. But another thing that I did enjoy was the excellent family dynamics. Gen has a supportive mother (more so toward the end), a supporting father and step-mother, and it was excellent to see them stand by her. (Her love interests fathers were also A+, the little glimpse we had).
Overall, this is an OK book. I would probably read something by Paula Stokes again purely because I find she had a lovely prose.
Thank you to Tor Teen for providing me this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review edition is an ARC and
may differ from the printed edition.
I have given this book ☆☆☆☆.
It is the second installment in the Vicarious duology. It generally
belongs to the Contemporary Young Adult genre but also features elements of
Science-Fiction, Romance and Spy fiction. Tor Teen publishes it. It is published 15th August 2017.
The blurb reads:
“Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in
this sequel, a high-action psychological thriller with a protagonist out for
When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead
and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter—finding
what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her
mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she
Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter
arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to
infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious
businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the
line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face
one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or
can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?”
Ferocious releases today! And though my timeline
says this should have been done and ready a couple of days ago but I’ve had a
couple of medical emergencies to deal with.
Ferocious is slaying the 2017 publications game. It
picks off immediately where Vicarious left off. While the plot in the first installment
is centered around Winter finding out about how Rose died and finding her
killer and then learning that she has a dissociative disorder, Ferocious is
what Winter does next. It’s about avenging Rose and Gideon, it’s about coming
full circle and going back to the events and people that brought the sisters
into the United States, it’s about exorcising your demons and it’s about moving
Ferocious is incredibly fast-paced, moving exactly
like a double-episode special of Criminal Minds. It’s a lot of spy work,
kicking ass, going undercover, using her senses (we’ll get to that in a bit)
and basically accepting all the help that she rejected initially. Except, this
time, they’re in Korea! Yes, you read that right. Ferocious is set mainly in
Korea and I loved how there were little details about the culture and people
included from Winter’s love for Korean food, the cosy guesthouses, different
districts and their unique personalities and more. I think one of the biggest
things that sets Ferocious apart from Vicarious as a stronger and more equipped
Winter is knowing that she has multiple personalities. And seeing her utilise
them, whether she expects it or not. I would have definitely loved to see a lot
more of her disorder explained and broken down instead of just experienced like
a film. But I do very much love that Winter, Jesse and Bas are now a team and
they trust each other. They’re the only family that they have now that Gideon
is gone. I also think it’s beautiful that Ferocious really explores Winter’s
aversion to intimacy and how she develops her relationship with Jesse, allowing
him to slowly come closer and really let him support her.
Favorite book dads/father figures, pick #5 : Tom from Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes
Summary : “
Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she’s around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash–and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.
Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it’s best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away might be harder than she thought.
If you remember , I said that the idea for this top came from me reading about a good father figure. Well, Tom is that guy. And since he sparked the idea I thought he would be the perfect pick to start this top.
In my review I said this : “I loved that she (Maguire) had a good mom and step dad to help her too. I love a healthy family dynamic and that was great. I particularly liked how her relationship with her step dad evolves. It’s really sweet and his few scenes may be some of my favorites ^^”
And I stand by that. This book is great and not at all about her relationship with her step dad (which is why this isn’t higher, he really had only a few scenes) but Paula Stokes took the time to do something really good with him.
Let me explain. When we start this book Maguire is starting therapy because she had a breakdown after the house next door burned. She thinks it’s her fault, that she is bad luck. And she thinks the same things about other traumatic things like the car accident that killed her father, uncle and brother. Pretty heavy stuffs to deal with. Thankfully she has a lot of people willing to try their best to help her deal with this and move forward. One of those people is Tom.
Maguire’s mother remarried to a man named Tom and they had two kids. Tom and Maguire don’t have much of a relationship when the book start. It’s not that she doesn’t like him, she actually is totally fine with her mother remarrying and she’s glad Tom is such a nice man. But there is this awkwardness between Tom and Maguire because he knows he won’t remplace her dad and she doesn’t want him to replace her dad but that leave them not really knowing how to deal with each other. Or at least that is how it felt to me.
Honestly the author could have left it at that. But she didn’t. And I am very grateful for that. They actually end up talking about it (in a scene I totally didn’t reread to write this post ^^ I didn’t tear up either).
Light spoilers ahead! (well, it’s a contemp so it’s not really like spoiling a twist but I’m just warning you if you llike going in totally blind ^^)
So this is what happens : after a bad day Maguire has a nightmare and wakes up at 2am. Tom hears her crying when he goes to feed her baby brother. And so at 2am they end up having a heart to heart were he comforts her and they talk a bit. It helps Maguire realise that she is not the only one feeling awkward about this and they both agree to try to do ‘better’ in the future. (also : they hug and my heart basically exploded)
That leads to another scene where Tom tells her that if she needs any help with her therapy ‘challenges’ he is totally ready to help her. (Maguire and her therapist agree on challenges that help her deall with her problem and the endgoal is for her to be able to fly to Ireland for a wake for her dad, uncle and brother). He also tell her that he totally believe that she will achieve her goal to go to Ireland but he even if she doesn’t she should be proud of how much progresses she made.
Btw : he totally helps her with one of her challenge.
He’s just so supporting and caring! I loved how he was developped with so little space and I want more dads like that. I just love awkward dads who aren’t sure they are doing the right thing but they try their best and communicate with their children. Give me more of that!
Bonus : in the first scene I describe he is wearing a Dr. Who shirt. I wil always support more nerds in my books!
the girl from everywhere by heidi heilig (half-chinese mc but takes place in hawaii)
starbound trilogy by amie kaufman and meagan spooner (the second book is centered on a half black-half chinese character)
the lynburn legacy by sarah rees brennan (part japanese mc who is pretty in touch with her culture bc she was partially raised by her japanese grandmother)
the walled city by ryan graudin
to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han
lair of dreams by libba bray
under the lights by dahlia adler*
vicarious by paula stokes*
under a painted sky by stacey lee*
the secret of a heart note by stacey lee**
out of order by casey lawrence
not your sidekick by c.b. lee**
something in between by melissa de la cruz**
cloudwish by fiona wood**
some other books with asian side characters: north of beautiful by justina chen (has a chinese love interest), just visiting by dahlia adler (has an indian love interest), and the fixer by jennifer lynn barnes (has an indian side character who’s best friends with the mc)
feel free to add anything!!
EDIT: i took out the conspiracy of us bc i was told that it’s a negative representation (thanks @cobaltrose for telling me!!) sorry if i offended anyone
Top 5 books on my TBR, pick 2 : Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Goodreads summary : “
Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.
Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit?
Thrillers are not my thing. I just don’t like this genre. But, I cautiously read a few of them each year.
Moreover; I just read Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes and I LOOOOOOOOOVED IT. Since I also loved The Art of Lainey I decided that if I was to try a thriller it would be by her.
Granted, the two other books I read from her were contemporaries and way fluffier than this. But I will take this chance and hope for the best