Title: The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things
Author: Ann Aguirre
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Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.
Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.
But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…
Wow. I can’t say why I’ve read so much negative comments about this book, that I almost got discouraged from reading it. But it is just so profoundly beautiful. I think I’ve highlighted so much lines in this book, it’s ridiculous. But I can’t help it, there are just so many quotes that will capture your heart and actually make you stop and think. There’s so much cheesy and sweet moments too. In a way, I didn’t know I actually missed reading a bit of young adult contemporary romance until I got to read this. It’s funny that some scenes brought me back to my days as a high schooler. It’s just all this bubbly, butterflies-in-your-tummy feeling with Shane Cavendish and Sage Czinski.
Though what I really loved about this book? The positivity of Sage despite everything she went through in life. It’s blinding. She always thought that she was so full of darkness that she didn’t realize how much light she casts on everybody she meets and deals with everyday. You can see it, feel it. But it’s like she never saw herself as something more because of her past. The post-its?
It only proves how short notes can actually make someone’s day turn around, how it can make people see things differently. And it’s not only her who had skeletons in the closet to deal with.This book will help you understand that every single human being has something they go through, no matter how big or small that situation is. It also makes you realize that you’re not alone in this life, especially when you find the right people to trust and share this with, no matter how bad your past was. For other people to accept who you really are and not try to change you into someone you’re not but they’d like better. That even the tiniest thing can make a huge impact and difference. There’s been so many life and relationship lessons in this book and given that this is in a high school setting, I am honestly amazed with how much these young people have already gone through. Their strength and optimism just captivated me. Shane was so thoughtful and romantic and everything in between. He almost knew all the right words to do and say to Sage, but he had his fair share of a rough life too. And I think those flaws just made him all the more compelling and easier to love.
At first, I was thrown off by the pacing as it was a bit draggy in the beginning. This probably explains why some just stopped and dropped the book. But give it a chance. Once you hit the latter part of it, it just goes fast forward. Those were the times I was thinking, “Woah, wait. What is happening?… Huh?” And there’s just so much going on. I felt overwhelmed by all of it too. Though I guess I understand since I think this is a standalone, so everything had to be cramped up all in one book. But give it a shot, go with it. I say it’s totally worth it. You’ll learn a lot from this one.
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.