Monday, April 6, 2015

The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things ~ Ann Aguirre (earc) review [@FeiwelFriends @MsAnnAguirre]

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things
Feiwel & Friends
April 7, 2015
328 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

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…
Even with that last line of the summary, I think I was expecting something lighter or even fluffier than what The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things was. Don't get me wrong, I liked loved what I did get, I just wasn't expecting it. I partially blame the cover.

Sage Czinksi isn't a girl to let let others in. But it's working for her. For the past several years she's lived with her aunt in a small town, surrounded by farms in Illinois. She does all she can to keep her aunt pleased with her - and her choice to take Sage in.

It's the life she had before that she doesn't want to go back to. A life she keeps others from asking about by projecting a certain image. It's an image Sage has nearly mastered, it almost feels as if it is her.

Until Shane Cavendish walks into class one day. Something about the new student has Sage interested, caring.

Both Shane and Sage have their pasts. Pasts they don't want everyone knowing about and which they want to leave behind. Sage has created everyone's idea of who she is: the easy, carefree, untroubled girl but Shane's entrance into her life lets readers in on some of who she was and helps Sage to better see who she is.

Without being too spoilery about the changes that occur in Sage's life, in Shane's, their pasts and how/why they work so well together, they are two characters nearly perfect for each other. (Because of their imperfections.)

I loved that the characters had things in their past they had to contend with along with the more expected difficulties in the present. The course their relationship followed fit very well with who the characters were and their experiences. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't always bright and shiny but that's what made it so amazing.

The lighter moments of the story and of the characters lives are fun and easy - and they fit. They are teens who've had things happen to them and you feel their pain, worry and fear when it's applicable but you can also feel their joy, love, hope and happiness when it fits. Ann Aguirre did an excellent job with her characters and their story.

The The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things book is a wonderful parallel to Sage's character: it has a pretty, happy exterior with more depth and even some darkness inside. I was surprised by the book as a whole and by Sage's character and absolutely loved both.

I avoided a lot of specifics in this review because I really want to you to be able to read the novel, discover the characters, learn some of their secrets and enjoy going on a journey with them, without knowing what's coming. I highly, highly recommend The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things.

digital arc received from publisher, via NetGalley, for review

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