Book Review: Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford

At the Spring event of Frenzy Presents held by Harper Collins Publishers earlier this year, I was lucky to receive an ARC of Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford. The blurb of the book suggested that the story would be fun to read as well as a little different.

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Blurb:

The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother (the Grands); and experimenting with drag with the help of the queens at the Shangri-La, the local gay club. But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that.

As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets. A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this light-hearted story that centres on a young man who learns about himself through his relationship with others. Not only does he comes to realises who he is, he also discovers what his drag persona is to be. The brief entry that this story gives into the world of the drag queen is a fun and enjoyable one (so much so, that I wished we saw more of this world). Sam learns what is important is his own life as well as realises who plays an important part in his life.

This contemporary young adult read is a perfect story for young teens as they will read about a character who experiences the difficulties of knowing oneself. The young reader will also explore the different aspects of the relationships we have in our lives. Ford’s story also shows the importance of family and how they can support you – even when you are unaware of it. This novel is a beautifully written story that can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 30th in my book pledge for 2019)

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Book Review: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

My contact at Harper Collins Canada loved Ben Philippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, so much so that she could not resist sending me an advanced copy of the novel. Her enthusiasm was infectious and I knew I had to read it as soon as I had received it.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemprorary Fiction

Release Date: 8 January 2019

Blurb: 

Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

Yet, against all odds, those labels soon become actual people to Norris. Be it loner Liam, who makes it his mission to befriend Norris, or Madison the beta cheerleader, who is so nice that it has to be a trap. Not to mention Aarti the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who might, in fact, be a real love interest in the making. He even starts playing actual hockey with these Texans.

But the night of the prom, Norris screws everything up royally. As he tries to pick up the pieces, he realizes it might be time to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life—along with the people who have found their way into his heart.

My thoughts: 

I loved this novel! It was humorous as well as contemporary and is perfectly suited for its target audience. As someone who has moved to another country, I could understand some of Norris Kaplan’s experience albeit as an older person. While reading Philippe’s story, I could imagine a teenager behaving in the way described in the story – I could not help smiling at the antics as well as the adolescent experience. As I am writing this review, I cannot help but smile as I think about my favourite scenes.

The novel is a perfect read for a teenager. It describes teen relationships and reflects what the current status quo is seen as being in North America. The story has a little romance, as well as describes a young boy’s coming-of-age. The sense of humour scattered in the novel would appeal to both boys and girls. And as an older adult, I enjoyed the snapshot of the current teen experience. In addition, the story is well-written and perfectly paced.

I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 90th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)