I didn’t ask for perfect, but this is pretty darn close anyway // You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman REVIEW

Surprise!! I’m a student!!

And chances are, if you’re reading this, you are one too or you were one, at one time or another!

Which is why I was so excited to hear there is a book out there talking about academic stress and pressure, which IS BASICALLY MY ENTIRE LIFE RIGHT NOW.

Now I know everyone’s school experiences and attitude towards academics are different, but for a lot of people, in high school or even in uni/college, STRESS is a big part of it. The stress that comes from balancing too many courses or activities alongside life, and friends, or a bad mark in a course, pressure of parents, or yourself, it’s just… a lot. (Of course there are many other things that can cause stress, but in this context!)

You Asked For Perfect does not shy away from any of that, at all. Instead, it’s an honest and very real portrait of a stressed, high-achieving student and delving into the stressfulness associated with school and wanting to get into a good university!

And spoiler: IT WAS PERFECT.

The thing that stood out to me the most was the characterization. I could see them so clearly in mind; their aspirations, their goals, their stress and I related SO MUCH in different aspects. I could FEEL Ariel’s stress and pain so clearly, the pressure of holding up appearances, of trying to be ‘perfect’. IT BROKE MY HEART, GUYS. And that’s greatly due to the author’s wonderful characterization as much as it is my own experiences that cause me to relate and empathize with him!!

Ariel is just so RELATABLE AGH, and so soft!! His number one goal is to get into Harvard, and god, the secondhand stress in this one was REAL. I don’t have nearly as much on my plate as Ariel did, but doing IB has definitely added a TON of work to my life and it is very stressful! So in that sense, it was kind of adding to my already stressed-out self to read about Ariel’s stress lmao oops. But it was good!! It was relatable and very well written.

Even aside from academics, he was just such a sweet character? The most lovable disaster bi. He’s Jewish, and he loves his family and his younger sister so much, he cares so much about his close friends, and he’s just so dedicated? Ahh he’s so precious!! My heart hurt for him so, so much.

Did I mention Ariel was Jewish? I really did enjoy reading about some Jewish traditions and customs, and there were also several sentences in Hebrew (I think?) throughout! Religions outside of Christianity is not as predominant in books, so it was very lovely to see some Jewish representation!

I also adored the side characters!! Amir, the love interest (yes, this book has an m/m ship!! I’M IN LOVE) is a Pakistani-American aspiring doctor with a talent for photography (who is also a Ravenpuff; two of the best houses obviously, no I’m not biased at all excuse me???????) and AN ABSOLUTE GEM. He is the SOFTEST and I adore him so much?!

Amir’s family, is also SO awesome. His parents were actually such a great example of subverting the usual trope of Asian parents pushing/forcing their child towards a more “prestigious” (cue rolling eyes) job like a doctor, engineer, etc. as they instead wanted him to pursue photography, which he’s good at! LOVE THAT. Amir’s sister, Rasha, wears a hijab as well and I loved her so much! I also loved how supportive Amir’s family is of his sexuality (I don’t think it ever said, but from what it seems Amir is gay), it made me so happy to see a Muslim family accepting of LGBTQ+ people!! ❀ ❀

Sook, Ariel’s best friend, is a Korean lesbian musician who was also so lovely! Their friendship made me smile so much, even through their rough patches ahh. Y’all know how much I love friendships in books so I truly did enjoy Ariel and Sook’s friendship ahh. ❀ Malka, is Jewish and Sook’s bandmate and I also loved how we explored sort of her difficulties with college, so interesting!

I will say, as much as this book does kind of get tough and tense with Ariel’s spiralling stress and the inevitable decline, the ROMANCE. IS. ADORABLE.

Ariel and Amir make the most amazing couple, and I was just smiling SO FREAKING MUCH reading their scenes? It just made me so happy!! My comments about the romance are so short and basic but I literally can’t form anything other than SQUEALS AND GIGGLES CAUSE I’M IN LOVE.

Can I also say, I LIVED for all the Harry Potter references. PERFECTION. (Plus there was a B99 reference too 😍)

So, um, if you DON’T have this on your TBR ,,,,,,,,,,, WHY.

Literally only complaint is that I WANT MORE.

The characters, the authenticity with which Laura Silverman wrote just made this story so incredibly memorable and wonderful to read! PLEASE READ IT!!

Rep; Jewish, bi male main character, Pakistani-American & Muslim gay love interest, Korean & lesbian side character

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*I haven’t read this one yet (I WILL) but I’ve heard from many people it delves into academic stress and pressure as well and it’s diverse!

Book synopsis:

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray. Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options. Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

Add to Goodreads!! That would be PERFECT, THANKS. πŸ˜‰

If you want to purchase: Book Depository // Amazon // Indigo // Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book?! What is/was your high school academic experience like? Are there any other books you’ve read about academic stress? Let’s talk!

all of the great contemporary reads, lots of stress but lots of books! // February 2019 Wrap Up

GUESS WHO’S BACK AND HAS READ 15 BOOKS* IN THE SHORTEST MONTH OF THE YEAR!!!

This gal!!

I’m actually so happy with this, February was a busy month for me (hence my unexpected two weeks wish hiatus!!) so THIS IS A SUCCESS.

*Fine, two of them I had started at the end of January. BUT IT COUNTS OK.

  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo: 4(.5?) stars / I have a very gushing review you can check out, but I really enjoyed this!! I adore Nina and Nikolai to no end. ❀️
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan: 4.5 stars / I am very biased because I FELT SO SEEN through the rep of a Bangladeshi-American sapphic teen in this book, and I have no regrets!! I CRIED.
  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: 3.5 stars / I wish I had enjoyed this more, because it was a sweet story, but it was a tad bit too slice-of-life for me? (or maybe I just wanted them to GET TOGETHER SOONER ahaha oops)
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf: 4 stars / ft. a historical setting of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, a Malaysian Muslim teen with OCD, broke my heart!
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: 3 stars / ft. a black teen, unexpected A Christmas Carol vibes, and social awareness πŸ’” It just felt too quick for me to connect to the character?
  • Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon: 4 stars / ft. a bisexual Jewish boy and his best friend Sophie who’s in love with him; sort of messy, but the greatest character development and I’m soft for the m/m romance !!
  • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi: 4.5-5 stars / ft. a Thai protagonist with anxiety, and a troubled boy who likes to bake!! The sweetest, slowest-burn romance omg over text. I ADORED THIS SO MUCH
  • Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed: 4 stars / such a heartbreaking, powerful read tackling forced arranged marriages ft. a Pakistani-American protagonist πŸ’”πŸ˜­
  • Odd One Out by Nic Stone: 2.5 stars / I really do appreciate all the diversity in this book, especially the ownvoices black main characters but I just did not enjoy this book? And I’m so sad cause I loved Dear Martin! I just did not enjoy any of the leads, either through another character’s POV or their own. It made it very frustrating.
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas: 4.5 stars / A book from the QUEEN! I loved Bri’s story, so much love for the family relationships and social awareness omg
  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: 3.5 stars / ft. summer romance, a slice-of-life novel following a queer protagonist and journey of self-discovery πŸ’•
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: 4.5 stars / ft. the softest romances, all the nerdiness, a biracial and bisexual Asian-American with ADHD? (in a f/f/ romance!) as well as a fat character with anxiety and on the autism spectrum! 😍
  • Always Forever Maybe by Anicca Mrose Ricci: 3.5 stars / deals with an abusive relationship that was so hard to read ahhh
  • Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno: 4 stars / ft. a SOFT AF f/f romance and magical realism!! (also tackles rape πŸ˜­πŸ’”)
  • Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: 3.5 stars / ft. acapella, soft friendships and an Asian-American protagonist!

I mean, I only have like 4 to choose from, but I loved writing my discussion on the lack of romance tropes for marginalized identities! Diversity in books is something that means a lot to me, and I want so much to see so much more in YA books regarding diverse populations, including tropes. πŸ’•

  • I!! Had!! So!! Much!! Work!! School KILLED ME 😭
  • I got my report card and went down in some subjects, but up in others? I’ve been able to maintain my 90+ average so far, but idk how lmao pray for me
  • Valentine’s Day was a flop but I bought chocolate for myself and it was delicious πŸ’πŸ½β€β™€οΈ
  • I went to an escape room with my friends to celebrate a friend’s birthday! WE ESCAPED πŸ’ͺ😊
  • Someone stole my money at work last weekend!! I had a good amount of cash (plus two toonies) and an Indigo gift card, and they were all gone 😦 My debit card and Tim’s card was still there, but I’m wondering if I should be worried the person took a picture of my debit or something?? Am I just being paranoid? No purchases have been made but what if they use it to buy something online?? AM I CRAZY?
  • This month was pretty bland otherwise!! Mostly stressful though omg.

I see some people doing this and thought I’d give it a try! I don’t usually set a ton of goals for myself, so we’ll see lmao

  • Read 8-10 books! (March is VERY busy for me, and even though I have spring break I really doubt I’ll get as much reading done!)
  • Follow my blog schedule! I want to be more organized (in one aspect of my life anyway, it’s not happening for school) and I’m hoping to post a bit more often this month!
  • Blog hop more often/more regularly! I don’t know how feasible this is based on my schedule, but I’m going to aim for Friday to be my blog-hop night πŸ’ͺ I love reading and commenting on other posts, I just have no time!
  • STOP PROCRASTINATING. (Says me as I procrastinate on homework by writing this post, whateverrrr)

What was your favourite book you read in February?! Mine was probably The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali and Emergency Contact! I can’t believe it’s already March oh my gosh. Do you have any goals, or anything special coming up for you?! Let’s talk, I missed you guys!! πŸ’•