ARC Review: Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

Written by: Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Pages: 345, Hardcover
Series: Standalone
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The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.

LetsTalk

Gena/Finn. Boy where do I start. I’ve told many people if I was rating this books first half it would’ve been 5 stars, if I was rating the second half alone it would be 2. So I guess overall I’m giving it 3.5? I don’t know. This book started out so high. These two girls becoming friends, and falling in love, the story told through emails and texts, fandom being such a huge part of their lives…It was all just so amazing and wonderful, I was speeding through this book at record speeds, I was texting people saying you have to get this book.

Then at the midway point things went dark. Which I don’t mind! The moment the girls realize that it’s time to throw caution to the wind and be together! That climatic moment where they realize they love each other! That amazing cliché moment of contemporaries that I love………but it never came.

One of the elements of this book is that Gena writes “Fix it” fanfiction where she changes the ending of the episode to make everyone happy. Whelp. I need fix it fanfic for the end of Gena/Finn.

Didn'tWork

The entire end. Like actually the final page I was trying to get my Kindle to move forward because the book was FINALLY getting back on its feet and yet… that was the end of the story? I was left confused and wholly unsatisfied.

The romance, UGH. There’s no way for me to not talk about this without spoilers so SPOILER WARNING. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. This book was set up and even pitched as this great romance between these two girls. Yet by the end of the book one of the girls has practically completely agreed to be with her boyfriend again, and the other girl is being set up with another guy. This wonderful homosexual romance has been shattered for heterosexual romances on both ends. m/m romances are so well represented in books that I was so excited for a f/f romance! Finally the representation! For the two girls to be bisexual was even better! But then it was shattered on the ground. Leaving me feeling so upset and really angry truthfully. OKAY END SPOILERS END SPOILERS AND END RANT.

DidWork

As let down as I was by the ending of this book I was as thrilled with the first half of the book. Honestly the first half had me grinning and squealing and laughing so brightly. I fell in love with these two girls, which stayed true even as I felt the authors betrayed them in the end. Gena and Finn reminded me of so many online friendships I’ve had (Even if all of those relationships have stayed strictly platonic). I loved this look at fangirls, the way that we act and feel was so accurately represented here.

I also loved the formatting. The way we got to read the entire story was so great and riveting. I loved the emails and texts and even journal entries. I really am thrilled with this way of YA that is showing a new and different way to write. I would love to see so much more of it.

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I’m… so torn I guess. I won’t be buying this book. I was that let down from the book. But I will never tell you to not read a book.    But I will honestly suggest getting this one from the library, or borrowing from a friend before rushing to the store and buying it.

Sondra

ARC Review: A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

Written by: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Pages: 280, Hardback
Series: Standalone
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Thank you to Chronicle Books for the ARC!

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Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.

But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected.

This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

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I don’t normally do this, but here’s an image that adequately describes how I feel about A History of Glitter and Blood:

kimpossible“You’re weird, but I like you.”

Book, you are incredibly weird. Among other things, you have three different timelines that alternate in an incredibly confusing fashion, a bunch of completely random species all living together, casual dismemberment, teen prostitution, body parts that characters can feel even after they’ve been removed (something that MAJORLY squicked me out, by the way), and a narrator who sometimes breaks from the story to rant and flat-out admits that some of the things he’s telling us aren’t even a little bit true.

So I can understand why some people read the first fifty-or-so pages and gave up. The combination of confusion, squick, and unorthodox narration might be too much for some people.

BUT.

Despite all the weirdness (or maybe partially because of it), I am one of the only maybe five people on Goodreads who liked this book. Hannah Moskowitz’s writing hits me on a visceral level that works with the brutality of the world, and the characters made me very emotional.

And honestly, I love it when books are weird. Give me all the confusing timelines and unreliable narrators and what-do-you-mean-it-wasn’t-made-on-drugs moments. It may take me a while to get into it, but when I do, I’m almost always very invested. The risks Hannah Moskowitz took in writing this book really paid off for me, and she remains one of my favorite new-to-me authors of 2015.

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