Review

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

 

Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Published June 6, 2017 by Simon and Schuster
Source: Purchased

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do? [summary from Goodreads]

2

I finished this book pretty quickly and really enjoyed reading it. The world of creating a web-series was totally new to me, and not something I had ever heard of before. It was an interesting part of the story, and I kind of wish it had been explored a little more in depth. Tell me more about basing the series, “Unhappy Families”, on Anna Karenina and how to tell the same story in a modern day setting! More about coming up with a script and finding actors and making it all happen!

Tash was relateable on so many levels. She deals with unexpected family news, her sister moving out and heading to college out of state, and her best friend’s dad is going through cancer. She practices Buddhism, which is really cool, and I think she is the only Buddhist YA character I know of!

Tash also describes herself as asexual, meaning that while she does form romantic relationships, she is not interested in sexual relationships. This causes a bit of tension between her and another (super horrible, shitty person) character who I won’t spoil for you. This is the first book I have read with on-the-page, very clear asexual representation. It’s obviously super important for more books with ace characters to be published as Tash’s experience won’t match everyone else’s who identifies on the ace spectrum (that’s why it’s a spectrum, y’all), but I thought it was very good representation and have heard the same from other people who do identify in the same ways as Tash.

I really enjoyed reading about Tash’s journey – she grows a lot in this novel and ended up in a really good place. She realizes she hasn’t been a great friend, and then she does better. She is true to herself and knows who she is doesn’t waver from her ideals even when they are met with adversity. I cared about her character and wanted to see her happy, and I’m really glad that the ending delivered that. While I never was very invested in the romance that ends up happening, I did really enjoy the friendship and family dynamics that were explored very well. Overall, I give this book a solid 4 stars! The only thing I would have liked to see more of is L-O-V-E but then again I get that not EVERY story needs a romance angle BUT it’s still my favorite.

Get your copy here!

Have you read Tash Hearts Tolstoy yet? What were your thoughts?

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Review

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

 

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Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Published September 19, 2017 by Roaring Book Press
Source: Purchased

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution. [summary from Goodreads]

2

Oh man, I loved this book. I think it has to be tied for my favorite book of the year (tied with Ramona Blue!). I knew going into it that it was supposed to be a kick-ass feminist novel, but I was still surprised at just how inspired and empowered I felt after reading it. It’s truly the kind of book that I want to pass on to young women everywhere and get into every library across America.

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As you can see from my Tweet-thread, I am seriously obsessed with this book.

Vivian does such a great job of keeping a diverse group of girls close to her, and I loved seeing how she handled each friendship so differently. None of her friends ever felt like a random background character – they were all so unique and offered their own perspectives on feminism and friendship. Lucy was especially great. I loved how she knew she was a feminist from the start, and wasn’t afraid of what it might mean for her to declare that.

I flew through this book in just a few hours and finished it in one sitting. I could not put Vivian’s journey down and was so pleased at how the story ended! I loved how so many different issues that girls really experience were addressed in the story. Especially if I was younger, I would have really learned from each of those situations and would have gotten such a clearer grasp on the problems in our culture (and what I can do about it!).

The best part of MOXIE is that it doesn’t just educate the reader on feminism, it shows you how you can respond to the challenges women face and how to overcome them with fierce moxie power. Everyone needs to read this book – it will change or strengthen your perspective on the meaning of feminism, and will make you laugh and cry along the way too. 5 stars!

#MoxieGirlsFightBack

Get your copy here!

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