Hi friends! I’m back again with some mini reviews of my latest reads…. Let’s get to them!
There are no spoilers in these reviews.
Read the full synopsis ▼
Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid who becomes Genie’s guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate. Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries.
This epic debut draws from Chinese mythology, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded Bay Area life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.
I had heard so many great things about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, I was eager to read it. If I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun reading it overall, some things were, unfortunately, for me, lacking a little bit to make this an unforgettable read.
The main thing I really loved about The Epic Crush, was how damn entertaining it was, from beginning to end. I did not have time to get bored one single second while reading and I loved that. Filled with adventures, fast-paced and suspenseful, this book made me want to keep on reading and made this a really fun, really quick read as a whole.
I also loved the Chinese mythology in this. I wasn’t too familiar with folktales and stories that this book was based on and I found it so great to learn more about them. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo has some wonderful characters to follow, too: I loved Genie, her fierceness and her boldness, her overachieving personality and overall, I was rooting for her and appreciated her as a main character, too.
I think that, unfortunately, the main thing that made me lower my rating was the fact that I personally didn’t fall for the relationships, both the romance and the friendships, as much as I would have liked to. If I loved every interaction with Quentin and Genie, I personally didn’t feel the little spark that would have made me root for them. As for the friendship, I feel like there was a little more potential there that, unfortunately, wasn’t entirely explored.
That being said, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was, as a whole, a really fun and entertaining read. I also deeply appreciate the Chinese mythology and folklore and am so happy to know that some readers found parts of their childhood stories in this, too. I really hope that my mixed review won’t prevent you from picking this up, because I feel like it’s a case of “It’s not you, it’s just me”, right here, and you might really love this.
Final rating: 3 drops!
A million thanks to Abrams & Chronicle UK for sending me a finished paperback copy of this book for reviewing purposes. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: physical fights and violence, ableist words used (crazy…)
Diversity: Chinese-American main characters.
Read the full synopsis ▼
Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.
At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.
I had been wanting to read The Secret of a Heart Note for SO LONG. Somehow, it sounded like the kind of book I’d love and, I’m really happy to say, my instinct was right.
The concept of the story is wonderful: Mim is one of the two aromateurs left on the planet, she makes love elixirs and is overall a matchmaker for the clients that come to see her and her mother. Smells have a particular place in the story and, while reading this book, we get to experience Mim’s world through her… well, nose. It’s such a unique concept, the way she experiences the world and its people and I loved it.
Mim was a great main character and I loved her so much. I found her relatable and so real despite her incredible abilities, she made mistakes, she sometimes just wishes she could be normal and I loved that. Following her and her growing relationships with her classmate Court, her changing, complex relationships with her mother and her best friend, was amazing.
Reading The Secret of a Heart Note made my heart grow, warm, put a smile on my face and overall just made me happy and feel a lot of things. This was my first Stacey Lee book and, needless to say, it won’t be the last.
Final rating: 4,5 drops!
Trigger warnings: no particular trigger spotted, if you spotted some, please let me know!
Diversity: POC characters, Samoan character.
Did you read The Epic Crush of Genie Lo or/and The Secret of a Heart Note? Do you want to?
What are some of the latest books you’ve read that you would recommend? I’d love to hear from you in comments!