High school students—Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As they get to know each other and the other young women, both Soph and Tess discover unexpected truths and about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.
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- January 1, 1970NatashaI received an arc from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewdnf @ 25%I'm dnfing this because there's a trans character in this who was consistently misgendered by a side character and was not called out for it. I don't know if she's called out later but she did it twice and the character narrating had the chance to stop her and did nothing. The character misgendering her was also written as a super flat 'bitchy' character, who kept mocking Tess for writing fanfiction. That I received an arc from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewdnf @ 25%I'm dnfing this because there's a trans character in this who was consistently misgendered by a side character and was not called out for it. I don't know if she's called out later but she did it twice and the character narrating had the chance to stop her and did nothing. The character misgendering her was also written as a super flat 'bitchy' character, who kept mocking Tess for writing fanfiction. That's still not okay, no one was stopping her from misgendering the trans girl.I should also point out a few other things, especially things that fall into transphobic tropes. From what I read, the trans girl isn't misgendered to her face but when spoken about to another character (the narrator, Tess). She also 1) outed her as trans to Tess and 2) the transphobic girl found out said girl was trans after accidentally seeing her naked since they're roommates at the program. The latter is a very transphobic trope in of itself. Even after being misgendered, Tess still refers to her by her pronouns so she does understand she's trans and this other character is misgendering her but still does nothing about it, which made me really uncomfortable. The same girl said fanfiction wasn't real literature and the authors wrote a few pages on why it is and how Westside Story is a fanfic of Romeo and Juliet, which is a fanfic of a poem, which is a fanfic of something else. Yet they can't take even a sentence for Tess to say "hey maybe you should stop".Update: So, I should say I never doubted that the behaviour would be called out. But I am personally not a fan of reading prejudice towards a character from an outsider's perspective. I'd rather they have a pov so it can be known how that said character is feeling.more
- January 1, 1970JackieFULL REVIEW NOW POSTED.Welp, this was garbage.TW: transphobia (!!!), including misgendering of characters, bullying, child abuse, homophobiaThis book is about two girls who are polar opposites—Soph is from a wealthy, upper-class family living in Manhattan and Tess lives the rural life on a dairy farm run by her family. Both of them end up being roommates at a week-long conference for female writers.The few positive things about this book are as follows:- it takes place at a writing conference fo FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED.Welp, this was garbage.TW: transphobia (!!!), including misgendering of characters, bullying, child abuse, homophobiaThis book is about two girls who are polar opposites—Soph is from a wealthy, upper-class family living in Manhattan and Tess lives the rural life on a dairy farm run by her family. Both of them end up being roommates at a week-long conference for female writers.The few positive things about this book are as follows:- it takes place at a writing conference for WOMEN + the whole plot revolved around writing which I very much enjoyed- the celebration and defense of writing fanfiction (WHICH SHOULD NEVER BE DISCOURAGED OR TALKED NEGATIVELY ABOUT BECAUSE SOME FANFICS I’VE READ ARE BETTER THAN A LOT OF PUBLISHED BOOKS)- no printer, just fax!- Freddy the gay dude who’s a minor character but I liked his few appearances- the fact that this involves a f/f romance (however, I do have some things to say about that)As you can see, I could have summed up the positives in one paragraph. The rest of the book was just bland, contradictory and offensive trash. ❌ blatant transphobia YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. THERE’S TRANSPHOBIA AND IT DOESN’T GET CHALLENGED DURING THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF OF THE BOOK.So. There’s this character Chris who is very much the definition of a white feminist. She’s roommates with Orly who is trans. Chris accidentally finds out about Orly when she changes her clothes in their room. Chris then proceeds to talk to literally EVERY PARTICIPANT OF THE CONFERENCE to tell them that Orly is “actually a boy” while constantly misgendering her.And guess who challenged it??? NOT. A. SINGLE. PERSON. Tess LITERALLY thinks to herself “hmmm, this is somewhat wrong, but I don’t want to get involved. Maybe I should focus on making friends.” and then she leaves the room to literally make friends in THAT moment.What?????? You’re not gonna say anything because you want to focus on yourself right now???? You acknowledge the wrong behaviour but you’re just gonna leave???? It makes no sense to me.Right now, you might think “Jackie, why did you keep reading this transphobic trash of a book?”. Well, I read some reviews beforehand and found out it was challenged later on in the book and I wanted to see how that turned out.Oh boy, it didn’t get any better tho. When Chris’ transphobic remarks DO finally get challenged, the whole thing is handled very poorly.Here’s what went down:The conference organised a poetry slam and anyone could go up. Orly is the first to go up on stage and she delivers a powerful poem about her being trans and wanting to be accepted for who she is. Another girl, who insulted Orly behind her back due to Chris’ influence, performs a response poem in which she apologises to Orly and accepts her for who she is.Chris runs off to go cry in a room because she doesn’t want to be “slammed” by the others for what she did (AKA BEING TRANSPHOBIC). She literally proceeded to play the victim????? WHAT??????Soph and Tess end up literally CHILLING with her and comforting her BUT WHY. CHRIS DESERVES TO BE CALLED OUT FOR BEING TRANSPHOBIC. They’re just like hey, we’re best buddies now! In the end, they do challenge Chris’ behaviour and explain to her how what she did was wrong, but STILL. The whole thing made me sooo uncomfortable.By the way, do you wanna know WHEN Chris’ transphobic remarks finally get challenged??? Hold onto your seats for this one……. AT 66%. IT TAKES OVER HALF OF THE BOOK FOR SOMEONE TO FINALLY SPEAK UP ABOUT THE TRANSPHOBIA. I can’t believe this.Soph was friends with Orly and she didn’t find out about her being trans and people talking behind her back until much later in the book and when she finds out, she actually spoke up about it. But here were several instances where Tess thought to herself that this behaviour was wrong and she never fucking did something about it.And that brings me to my second point. ❌ bland, one-dimensional characters Soph and Tess’ actions felt so unbelievable and FAKE to me. I thought both of them were very dull characters with literally no personalities.Every chapter started with Soph’s POV and then switched to and ended with Tess’ POV. However, I found myself not being able to distinguish the two of them AT ALL. A lot of the time, I was reading a new chapter, thinking I was still in Tess’ mind when actually it was Soph.Both of them had very similar voices and they were just very one-dimensional and pretty interchangeable.There were a few instances towards the end where Soph and Tess speak up about Chris’ transphobic behaviour, but their words and actions seemed SO unnatural to me. The whole thing completely lacked depth and I didn’t buy into it at all.Towards the end of the book, Tess was supposed to have this great character arc where she finally takes the lead and speaks up for herself and what she believes in, but when that finally happened, it felt bland, underwhelming and unrealistic.Overall, the two of them were incredibly one-dimensional characters with very stereotypical personalities. It was your typical rich girl from the city falling for the poor girl from the rural area trope and it wasn’t even executed well.Their relationship blossoms towards the very end of the book but it is obviously insta-love since this book takes place over a week. It also lacked emotional depth and I honestly did not care about them at all, whether it’s the two of them apart or together.I honestly do not get the point of this book.Soph and Tess’ character arcs and “goals” seemed so insignificant and I feel like the end didn’t resolve anything. And I honestly understand why they had to have the whole conflict between a trans girl and a transphobic character??? It literally did NOTHING to somehow “enhance” the story and it didn’t help to resolve something at the end. IT WAS JUST SO POINTLESS.So the big question is: What was the point of telling this story????????????Snowsisters was just incredibly superficial and it lacked depth on so many levels—characters, plot, writing, EVERYTHING. I would not recommend it at all.review originally appeared on my blog https://toomuchofabooknerd.wordpress....more
- January 1, 1970RachaelUpdate 1/13/18 Unfortunately, I'm lowering my rating to two stars because after reading another review and rereading a few excerpts, I realize that the trans rep was handled even more poorly than I previously thought. :( Disappointing. I did not make any changes to my original review.-- Review trigger warning : transphobia mention (it’s tagged)Actual Rating: 2.5There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that this book has, you heard me, gay. witches. The bad news is that they are Update 1/13/18 Unfortunately, I'm lowering my rating to two stars because after reading another review and rereading a few excerpts, I realize that the trans rep was handled even more poorly than I previously thought. :( Disappointing. I did not make any changes to my original review.-- Review trigger warning : transphobia mention (it’s tagged)Actual Rating: 2.5There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that this book has, you heard me, gay. witches. The bad news is that they are not actual characters in the book; rather, they appear in a TV show/fanfic within the story. But, gay witches aside, this was such a fun, refreshing, and diverse read! I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but I had an enjoyable time.Before I begin, I want to give major props to the publishers for including a link to a list of all the content/trigger warnings for each one of their books! Other publishing companies, take notes, because content warnings are so important to include so that readers can make smart choices on what books to read (and not to read) and can avoid books that may be detrimental to their mental and emotional health. (For those interested, the list can be found here.)This book really had those winter vibes, and it got me into that cozy, holiday mood that I’ve been missing out on this December. It’s a great rainy-day read, especially if you want the winter feel but without any holidays attached! The characters were well-written, though not much of anything new. For about the first twenty percent of the novel, the narrators were largely interchangeable to me, and I wish that the voices had been more distinct in writing. Their actions and lives were certainly different, and yet their voices were the same. Soph’s character development was stunning, and definitely one of my favorite parts of the book. However, the other girls at the conference, save the main few such as Orly, Chris, and Yin, all blended together in my mind, and it would have been nice to get some different characteristics from all of them beyond physical descriptions and who was/wasn’t transphobic. (more on this later)The writing flowed well, which was nice, but it often felt lacking in emotion, and did a lot of telling instead of showing. I didn’t really mind this, since it was an easy-read, but it would have been nice for it to give me SOMETHING more to think about besides what was on the page. This also made the romance have not as much chemistry as it could have, and in general the writing did not blow me away. The plot in this book was slightly cliché, but it was a sapphic love story so who cares anyway?? I also loved the cabin setting and the inclusion of some of my favorite tropes such as (view spoiler)[the roommates trope, the making-food-together trope, and the oh-no-the-power-has-gone-out-whatever-shall-we-do trope (hide spoiler)].This book is also fandom-positive, which I always enjoy, and it was nice to see fandom as more of a natural side plot instead of the main focus of the book. Sounds like a pretty sweet book, right? Right?? RIGHT???!!??!?!?? There were two (and a half) things that really bugged me though. How unfortunate.First, bi erasure. There is one part, during Soph’s narration, where all the girls are chatting at a pizza parlor and Soph is wondering if one of the girls had a girlfriend, and then the girl says this: ”’A guy at my new high school asked me out – if it weren’t so far, I’d introduce them so I could see what Max thinks of Evan.’” I was like okay, cool, cool. But then Soph ruins it by commenting in the exposition like this: ”So, not her girlfriend, and she’s straight.” And I was just sitting there like bruhhhhhhhh,,,,,,,,, bi people exist too you know and it would have been nice to not having Soph make those comments. I thought that this could have been part of Soph’s character development, but it wasn’t. And that made me sad. Now I’m going to talk about the trans rep and some issues I had with the way it was written, but I’m just going to go ahead and mark the entire section as spoilers (though all spoilers are minor). Trigger Warning for transphobia.(view spoiler)[Okay, first it should definitely be mentioned that I am cis. These opinions on the trans rep in this book are coming from a cis person, and by no means am I an expert on trans rep. When this book gets more reviews, and trans readers read it and make comments/have opinions on the trans rep, I highly encourage you to go read and support their reviews. These opinions are also taken from an uncorrected proof. Okay! Now to discuss. The writing camp that this book takes place at is girls-only, and one of the camp attendees is trans. Her name is Orly and she is the most prominent character in the novel besides our two narrators. Orly’s roommate, Chris, is transphobic and consistently misgenders her, and states that she doesn’t feel safe sleeping in the same room as Orly. Not only that, but Chris tries to get all the girls in on a plan to make Orly feel unsafe and unwelcomed. Not only that, but Chris decides to write an article and send it to a “feminist” (the books word, not mine) magazine on her experiences, and she also moves out of her room and into one of the spare rooms because she feels so uncomfortable around Orly. Now don’t get me wrong! Chris’s transphobic talk and behavior is challenged throughout the book, but surely not to the extent that it needs to be. Soph is the most outspoken against Chris’s transphobia, and makes a point to include Orly and become her friend; however, for such an outspoken person, she rarely, if ever, vocally stands up to Chris herself. This ticks me off. Tess is more “accepting” of Chris’s transphobia (”If what Chris says is true [about Orly being DMAB], my dad would be furious if he knew I was rooming with Orly;”) however, at least she vocally stands up to Chris more than once throughout the book. I’m just so annoyed. Chris’s transphobia needed to be challenged so much more, and not just after she did the whole carrot fiasco (I won’t specify what the fiasco is for sake of spoilers – just know it was bad). Chris’s ugly, gross talk was only challenged by any of the characters after she “crossed the line” into a more physical form of bullying. Chris’s language needed to be shot down and not accepted from the beginning, and it wasn’t. Bullying is still bullying, no matter what form it takes. The metaphorical line was crossed as soon as Chris started outing Orly to the other girls. The idea that transphobia is fine as long as it doesn’t include physical bullying is not good. Another thing that annoyed me is that Chris didn’t completely come around at the end of the novel. Sure, she doesn’t “investigate” Orly anymore, and she tries harder not to misgender her, but she never moves back into her room and is still pretty transphobic. And that annoyed me because the other girls were like “okay,,,, I guess you tried the best you could!!” and then became her friends. I wish that Chris’s redemption arc had been more poignant and that she had overcome, or began to overcome, her transphobic thoughts.There’s another part that ticks me off at the end, and it occurs when Ms. Forsythe, the leader of the camp, gives a speech and says this (implied to be on the whole Chris thing): ”Please don’t add to the attacks on your friends and colleagues. Support your differences and accept them, even if you can’t celebrate them.” And I’m just here like nah, bro, you should definitely learn to celebrate your differences. How that statement came across to me was ”Hey, you can think these transphobic and TERF-y thoughts, just don’t say them to other people.” Like, hold on. You shouldn’t be thinking those thoughts. And if you are, you should be actively working to change those thoughts. Celebrate our differences and love everyone for who they are. (As #OwnVoices reviews by trans readers are published, I will try to link some (with permission) on my review, here). (hide spoiler)]Another half thing that annoyed me was Soph’s blatant refusal to acknowledge that it isn’t safe for every person in the world to come out. One quote at the beginning reads, ”I wonder if Freddy’s gay. But he’s never said anything to anyone we know. I have no patience for the closet. If he’s gay, he should come out. Coming out is better for everyone.” This felt like a slap in the face, for many reasons that are probably too personal to include in a review, but mainly because Soph legit did not comprehend for 90 percent of the novel that it wasn’t safe or good for every person to be out of the closet. I say it’s a half thing, because this was a part of her character arc, but it still was really annoying and not fun to read for a big part of the novel. To conclude, I just want to remind everyone that my opinions are taken from an uncorrected proof. When the finished product comes out, I will try to pick it up and see if some things are adjusted. This might still be a worthwhile read for you; however, I wouldn’t blame anyone for skipping this one. It’s your decision. I was provided an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for a complete and honest review. All opinions are taken from an uncorrected proof.P.S. Got one more square on my #SapphicAThon bingo sheet completed! Made this one pink because this book is hella pink.more
- January 1, 1970MimiOn the surface, this book is about a week-long writing retreat for high school girls and follows two girls from different worlds (the upper society and the rural farm-life) and beneath that...actually, there's just that.I'm struggling with finding something good to say about this book.I do want to note that the authors/publisher even include in the beginning of the book that the two girls Tess and Soph are 'unreliable narrators' and still.. I don't feel like that's a good enough excuse for this On the surface, this book is about a week-long writing retreat for high school girls and follows two girls from different worlds (the upper society and the rural farm-life) and beneath that...actually, there's just that.I'm struggling with finding something good to say about this book.I do want to note that the authors/publisher even include in the beginning of the book that the two girls Tess and Soph are 'unreliable narrators' and still.. I don't feel like that's a good enough excuse for this book. There's so much going on in this story which I simply did not like, to the point that I started skimming around the 60% mark.Throughout the entire book, a trans girl is frequently and deliberately misgendered. That in itself made this almost unbearable to read at times.Besides that, the characters - especially our protagonists - had absolutely no personality whatsoever? Soph is a girl from a rich family and it's exactly the cliché you imagine. Tess is the stereotype of a girl growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere? I just wanted more for both of them, some inner struggle or some actual goal they wanted to reach - because the ones they had felt like ones that were just randomly googled. Even worse was the "writing" they went to the retreat to improve. So, Tess writes fanfiction (which is looked down on by her peers) and Soph writes sophisticated poems in a rhyme scheme that read like my diary entries about my crush from second grade. Nope, I'm sadly not kidding. Literally nothing happens in Tess's excerpts except for traveling, more traveling..and okay, one or two interesting ones waayyyy too late in the book.I feel like this book had a case of the too much - too little balance. There was too much cliché, too much stiffness to the dialogue. You could tell that this story was trying too hard to not sound didactic - and ending up reading just like that. The other part was the too little - we get too little development, too little personality, too little actual plot.All in all, this book just missed the mark for me. While I do understand that transphobia is a very real thing, I don't feel like it needed to be written about in this toxic way.That being said, I do want to applaud the publisher for including a trigger warning list because I think it's a really important staple that needs to be included in more books!*I was provided with an eARC of this novel through netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion, so thank you!*more
- January 1, 1970KellI was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so I'm going to try to be as nice as I possibly can be. I DNF'd this at 3/4 of the way through it because I just couldn't take it anymore. Reading a trans character constantly misgendered and called a guy was just... too much. It doesn't matter that the narrators were 'unreliable'. That doesn't need to be written. I feel as if it may have been at least a little better if the book were written in first person, but i I was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so I'm going to try to be as nice as I possibly can be. I DNF'd this at 3/4 of the way through it because I just couldn't take it anymore. Reading a trans character constantly misgendered and called a guy was just... too much. It doesn't matter that the narrators were 'unreliable'. That doesn't need to be written. I feel as if it may have been at least a little better if the book were written in first person, but it still doesn't change the fact that this story, these thoughts about trans people, don't need to be present in works of YA fiction, especially by cis authors, which I'm assuming these two are based on the way this was written. I don't know if they had a trans sensitivity reader but god, this book desperately needs one before it hits shelves. Aside from that, the two narrators, especially Soph, didn't feel like real people; every piece of dialogue Soph said sounded like it came right out of a satirical social justice warrior twitter account. It wasn't natural. Her thought process was so black-and-white and if I didn't know any better I would have thought she was a parody against feminists. If you wanna read a book about where fanfiction falls on the literary spectrum, just read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. These two authors still have a lot to learn.more
- January 1, 1970Michelle(originally posted on The Writing Hufflepuff)Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest reviewThe biggest problem I had with this book is the way the trans character was written and treated. Since I am cis I can't speak on behalf of the trans community, but I do want to share my concerns. I couldn't find any own voices reviews, but if you know of one or have written one please let me know so I can link to it!Now, in the beginn (originally posted on The Writing Hufflepuff)Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest reviewThe biggest problem I had with this book is the way the trans character was written and treated. Since I am cis I can't speak on behalf of the trans community, but I do want to share my concerns. I couldn't find any own voices reviews, but if you know of one or have written one please let me know so I can link to it!Now, in the beginning of the book we get a warning that the two main characters are 'unreliable narrators' and there's a link where you can find trigger warnings for the book (which I do applaud!) but... That's honestly not good enough.I'm going into details of how Orly was treated, so if that's triggering for you, you might want to stop reading.At the writing program, Soph and Tess meet a girl named Orly, who we soon learn from Orly's roommate Chris is trans. You know how we learn this? Because Chris tells Tess that Orly is a guy. Chris constantly misgenders Orly and says she 'feels unsafe', but in actuality she's trying to 'get a story' out of it to sell (she wants to be a journalist), bullies her and tries to get all the girls at the program to be against her. There's a horrible transphobic 'prank' played by her and a lot more nastiness, but in the end, Chris is kind of forgiven. I'm not saying that the authors condoned this kind of behaviour, but they didn't do enough to condemn it either. In a lot of ways it even felt like the authors were trying to get us to sympathise with Chris, by showing her crying, letting her tell 'her side of the story', Tess continously trying to be nice to her and trying to be her friend and she even says 'All I was trying to do was understand both sides and not leave anyone out' CHRIS IS A TRANSPHOBE THERE'S NOTHING TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT AND HELL YEAH YOU LEAVE HER OUT Not to mention, Orly and how she was treated by the other girls felt like it was just there for the development of Soph and Tess, two cis characters. When the novel starts, Tess tells us she has an interview to get into a certain school, in which she has to describe a recent incident where she took the lead. Guess what incident she's takes the lead in!!Meanwhile when we meet Soph she tells us that her mom doesn't get that 'it's completely safe for her to be out' and 'it's not the 1950s. For about 90% of the novel Soph is constantly pressuring people to come out of the closet and preaching that 'it's better for everyone to come out'. I get that this was to emphasise that she's from a big city or whatever, but I'm Amsterdam which is supposed to be a very LGBTQ+ friendly city and I don't tell everyone that I'm bi?? Because I don't know if that's safe?? I also just don't understand how someone can be this naive. Soph is from New York - are you seriously saying that she's never experienced or saw someone else experience any form of homophobia? Even when Tess tells her it's not easy for her to come out, that her friend was beaten up by his father, Soph still doesn't get it and even says 'You know it's better to come out, Tess. Everyone is safer if we all come out and find each other. Don't you want to live without having to keep that secret?' She doesn't think of Orly's situation when she finally realises that coming out isn't the same for everyone, but it did feel like Orly was being used for this purpose.Orly plays a big part in this story and so does the transphobia, but the story is never told from her perspective, just the two cis main characters who are basically her cis 'saviours' and that just felt wrong to me, especially since all of this was used just to further Tess and Soph's stories and development.Another thing that really pissed me off, is the fact that Tess' sexuality was basically used as a plot twist. Like I said, we are told Tess and Soph are unreliable narrators. I don't know in which way Soph is an unreliable narrator, but Tess is one because throughout the entire book she keeps the fact that she's gay and that she's in a fake relationship with Joey to protect him from his homophobic dad from the readers. It made it feel like Tess' sexuality was a big plot twist, especially the way it was revealed, which just left a vile taste in my mouth. There was no reason to keep this from the readers. The romance would've been relatively the same except build up better because now it seemed to come out of nowhere.There's also bi-erasure as Soph immediately assumes a girl is straight when she talks about her boyfriend. Other sexualities than gay and straight exist.This book is just such a mess and I doubt the finished book will be much different, considering how big the transphobic arc is (which you don't even get from the blurb, which is really insensitive considering how triggering all of this can be). I really wanted to like this book, as it takes place at a writing program and has sapphic girls falling in love. I thought it would be like Fangirl (Tess writes fan fic and excerpts of that fan fic are shared) but gay, but instead I got this mess.NOTE: I may have forgotten to mention a few things as I've marked A LOT of things (mostly problematic stuff, a few just... bad writing which I didn't even touch upon because that just feels insignificant in the light of the problematic aspects), but these are my biggest problems with this book.more
- January 1, 1970Isabella ~Mikku-chan~*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*Honestly when I first heard about the book I was thrilled. It sounded really good, and when the blurb and the cover were posted I was hocked. It was so good looking and the blurb really enchanted me.Then I saw some reviews from a few early readers and worried deeply about their critique and feared the book wouldn’t be “good”, in fact I worried I would DNF it.But because I try always to be fair, I read book by myself *~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*Honestly when I first heard about the book I was thrilled. It sounded really good, and when the blurb and the cover were posted I was hocked. It was so good looking and the blurb really enchanted me.Then I saw some reviews from a few early readers and worried deeply about their critique and feared the book wouldn’t be “good”, in fact I worried I would DNF it.But because I try always to be fair, I read book by myself first before I judge them and then, when I got my ARC and had time to read read it I honestly was able to say: I really liked it.Yes, I am fully aware of the controversy topic(s) the book contains, and if you read the book and in addition to it the guest post on my blog (see blog post) you know what I’m talking about: it’s the harsh treatment of a transgender side character, Orly, who is a target in a bully by another side character and within constantly misgendered by several characters.The book is written in 1st person present tense, switching between Tess’ and Soph’s POV, and has with them what you call unreliable narrators. All those things are mentioned in the editor’s note in the preface of the book and the publisher’s website. I recommend to take the warnings really serious and read them before starting the book, to make yourself aware of what it means to have unreliable narrators, to have two girls who are exploring things for the first time. And have sometimes different opinions and the display of a behaviour by the characters some readers might find offensive or making them uncomfortable.But honestly this is one of the strengths of the book in my opinion. Yes, the characters aren’t flawless, yes, they sometimes feel superior or if they know everything, especially Soph is learning the hard way what it means to be not the number one anymore. She has to deal with competition, has hard times to adjust as easy as she always think she is. She is a crowd puller, knows how to popularize, as a girl coming from the big city New York. She is popular and is genuine, she isn’t malice whereas she sometimes comes across as a bit naive, although she knows – or think she might does – a lot of things. Soph is a charming character, and I liked her very much, in fact in parts I saw myself in her.But it’s clear from the start she is raised in a privileged manner; she is prosperous, means she has money and can get what (and whenever) she wants (it), is able to stand for herself – isn’t shy in showing this loud and clear – and hasn’t (mostly) to worry about things.Different to her is Tess; the shy, timid girl who wears mostly pink clothes and is working hard on her parent’s dairy farm and knows what it means to worry about a lot of things: whether it is money or what it means to being not out in a homophobic town, which isn’t not only for her an important topic and definitely influences her.When both girls met in the writing camp literally two worlds are colliding; and not only theirs.What I loved about the book was the display of different shapes of friendship, what it means to fall in love for the first time and how toxic groups and the dynamics can be when problems occur and what it means to stand up for important things and how illusional people sometimes are in beliving they are doing something good, when in fact they aren’t flawless and maybe have a lot of privileges, even if their intentions are good. The book is sometimes heart clenching, heart breaking in the behaviour towards Orly, the transgender girl who has to deal with harassment by Chris, who is digging deep in trying to find information about her to make her uncomfortable in the group.Next to these topics I loved the writing topic & the creating process behind. The writing camp was charming and the idea a delight. I had so much fun in reading the “technical” components of the writting and how the girls improved their writing. I also loved the individual stories, the different mediums they’ve used and what they mean to them. I had a great time in reading more into the metaphors & the similes, see behind the topics, the way how you can interpret their fictional works differently and which gave you an insight of the characters while reading.Soph & Tess are really interesting yet definitely not flawless characters and I think the authors are definitely able to show this within the book.All in all, despite the heavy, heart clenching topic, the unreliable narrators who made the book so – I won’t say entertaining because it doesn’t summarize my emotions properly – unique and in parts enriching I was hooked by it.A book doesn’t need to “please” in all parts and definitely not all readers, and truly, this book has its problems, because of the characters and their behaviour, but honestly I could get a lot out of it and I really cherish this experience. 🙂 Therefore and because I was so fond of the writing camp topic and how sweet Soph and Tess were together and – even not flawless, but it makes them so human and charming – how they were shown individually I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. 🙂Review originally posted on my blog with added content Mikku-chan / A world full of wordsmore
- January 1, 1970CR DaylexI have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I understood what the authors were trying to do, but I think the novel shows a fundamental lack awareness about where conversations between teens are at today. This is my opinion, and I live in London which I think is relevant to say because maybe America is different, but I think teen conversations have moved past this? Most of my discussion is pretty spoilery: (view spoiler)[Like, I think the bullying remarks that Chris makes are things that might I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I understood what the authors were trying to do, but I think the novel shows a fundamental lack awareness about where conversations between teens are at today. This is my opinion, and I live in London which I think is relevant to say because maybe America is different, but I think teen conversations have moved past this? Most of my discussion is pretty spoilery: (view spoiler)[Like, I think the bullying remarks that Chris makes are things that might have been said 10 years ago by teens, and maybe had a place in books, but not so much now? At least by literate, aware teens, which the girls in this book undoubtedly are. Anyone as involved in the Tumblr Fanfiction community as Tess surely would have been exposed to modern discourse about gender identity. Like teens know that bullying people for their gender identity is wrong. It's adults that need to get their shit together.Reading, I did feel like Chris got significant pushback against her bullying attitude, but maybe too little too late to reflect modern attitudes to harassment. If the story had been from Chris's perspective, I would have rated 1* because like many, I'm fully over narratives which centre the bully's feelings and show their redemptive ARC. I felt the story was more about Soph and Tess learning to stand up for what they already knew to be right, rather than about their redemption ... which saved it a little bit IMO. (hide spoiler)]The romance itself was cute, and I loved the idea of two girls meeting at a writing camp! I wish it had just been that and that the transphobia and bully narrative had been left out entirely. Both Soph and Tess had their own issues that we never get to really explore.more
- January 1, 1970SarahThis debut novel is beautifully and sensitively written. The characters are believable and likable and the relationships genuine and touching. Highly recommend.
- January 1, 1970Amie's Book ReviewsTess is thrilled when she learns that her application to attend the Young Women's Writing Conference has been accepted. Tess's life on a dairy farm in a small town in New Hampshire is a far cry from the life led by fellow conference attendee Sophonia. Soph leads a life of privilege and luxury in New York City. In fact, her parents are some sort of exiled European royalty. The two young women are almost complete opposites in every way. Tess is straight. Soph is gay. Tess writes anonymous Fan Fict Tess is thrilled when she learns that her application to attend the Young Women's Writing Conference has been accepted. Tess's life on a dairy farm in a small town in New Hampshire is a far cry from the life led by fellow conference attendee Sophonia. Soph leads a life of privilege and luxury in New York City. In fact, her parents are some sort of exiled European royalty. The two young women are almost complete opposites in every way. Tess is straight. Soph is gay. Tess writes anonymous Fan Fiction online and Soph writes rhyming poetry. Tess is an introvert and extremely shy. Soph is an extrovert who is a social butterfly. Tess plans to go into the army while Soph is applying to the prestigious Minerva College. So, when these two girls are thrown together as roommates, neither one is sure of how to befriend the other, but both are determined to try. Meanwhile, next door to their room are Chris and Orly. The tension between them is thick enough to cut with a knife. Chris fancies herself a feminist and a journalist, while Orly is planning to write a memoir about growing up in a small town. Chris may believe she is a feminist, but she is NOT. Orly is a trans girl which would not bother any true feminist, but Chris constantly refers to as her as "him." She wants Orly banned from the retreat and her prejudice and discrimination are horrible. How in the world are these young women all supposed to get along? I have read some reviews of SNOWSISTERS in which people are upset by the inclusion of misgendering and discrimination in this story. However, it is the character they should be upset with, NOT the authors. This behaviour was included in the story because, unfortunately, there are still many people in the world that act just like Chris (or worse) when it comes to trans people. It is necessary to inform readers of the existence of this type of prejudice so that we can do everything possible to eradicate it. Tess says it best when talking to Soph: "It's-it's a hard world, Soph. It's hard for everyone in different ways." As the Writing Conference progresses, so does the bonding between the attendees. Not only do they learn to improve their writing, they also improve their relationships and some form bonds that may last a lifetime. This book is a glimpse into the lives of young women struggling with their identities and trying to decide what they want for their future. This applies to every teenager, whether gay or straight. They all need to find their place in the world and to do so while dealing with the massive changes in their bodies and minds that comes with adolescence. The only issue I had with this story was with Soph's diary entries. They are written in short verse and they seem very juvenile to me and as if they were written by a younger person. They definitely do not seem like they would have been good enough to gain her admittance to an elite writing workshop. Here is just one example of Soph's diary entries: "A powerless night withthree turns messy.I'm surprised what comesout with Hennessy." I believe that more books discussing being gay, trans, or pan and about coming out are necessary, but I look forward to the day when they are no longer needed. #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks I rate SNOWSISTERS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.To read more of my reviews and to enter Amazing Giveaways, visit my blog at http://Amiesbookreviews.wordpress.comFollow me on Instagram @Amiesbookreviewsmore
- January 1, 1970Erin QuinnThank you to NetGalley and Duet for letting me read and review this ARC. The premise of this book was promising. I kind of love a boarding school/camp YA tale, and the scenario of a writing conference was a fun setting for this tale. There were good things about it, particularly the way the authors spin the transphobic storyline into one that's LGBTQ+ positive. I think the best thing about this novel was the way the different backgrounds of the characters allowed for the various perspectives to Thank you to NetGalley and Duet for letting me read and review this ARC. The premise of this book was promising. I kind of love a boarding school/camp YA tale, and the scenario of a writing conference was a fun setting for this tale. There were good things about it, particularly the way the authors spin the transphobic storyline into one that's LGBTQ+ positive. I think the best thing about this novel was the way the different backgrounds of the characters allowed for the various perspectives to be explored. My main problem is that the writing was kind of clunky. I found it difficult to keep characters straight, and reading as an eARC, it wasn't easy to flip back to check. As characters were mentioned, I found myself trying to remember who they were. The character of Chris seemed very unlikely, too. I understand that transphobia like this absolutely exists in the world, but the character's actions seemed unrealistic and didn't really match with what she kept describing as being "unsafe." The way the other characters responded, or didn't respond, also seemed really unrealistic, especially out-and-proud character Soph, and the conference staff.more
- January 1, 1970Lori BerhonThis terrific new YA is set at a writer’s conference for young women. The girls hail from varied places and backgrounds; they are gay and straight, cis- and transgender; and they write everything from structured classical sonnets to blogs, from journalism to fan fiction. What they have in common is that they are all gifted writers and they are willing to work hard at honing their craft, something I find particularly refreshing in the age of Tweets and Blue Apron. While the heart of the book is t This terrific new YA is set at a writer’s conference for young women. The girls hail from varied places and backgrounds; they are gay and straight, cis- and transgender; and they write everything from structured classical sonnets to blogs, from journalism to fan fiction. What they have in common is that they are all gifted writers and they are willing to work hard at honing their craft, something I find particularly refreshing in the age of Tweets and Blue Apron. While the heart of the book is the gradual, delicately told story of first love between the protagonists, Tess and Soph, the authors have given every girl at the conference a love story with herself. If you have young people in your life – especially if they are LGBTAQI and/or artists – or if you yourself wouldn’t let a “YA” label stop you from enjoying a fresh and charming debut novel, I highly recommend “Snowsisters.”more
- January 1, 1970CynthiaI was quite impressed by this YA book, especially since it was the first for the co-authors. The two voice narration worked well and kept advancing the narrative. Writing was tight and the characters stood out, growing in their week together. I have not read much LGBTQ fiction and am certainly not an expert on that issue regarding content and characterization in this book. However, to me, it’s a perfect YA, coming-of-age story that I found myself grabbing during the day, wanting to find out what I was quite impressed by this YA book, especially since it was the first for the co-authors. The two voice narration worked well and kept advancing the narrative. Writing was tight and the characters stood out, growing in their week together. I have not read much LGBTQ fiction and am certainly not an expert on that issue regarding content and characterization in this book. However, to me, it’s a perfect YA, coming-of-age story that I found myself grabbing during the day, wanting to find out what happened. Young women at a writing conference = a winning formula!more
- January 1, 1970Naomi TajedlerI was intrigued by this book from the moment it was announced, and I read it with appetite.I have to admit that I may not be the "target" for this story, but I still recognized my younger self in Tess, particularly in her puzzlment about Soph. This book is a great story about growth, about the way Life finds way to show us how there is no end to our journey toward our better self.more
- January 1, 1970Amy's Book ReviewsI wrote a long review that disappeared. I don’t feel like rewriting it because SNOWSISTERS was not good enough to recommend or bad enough to tell people to avoid.
- January 1, 1970Skye KilaenI am seeing plenty of reviews that call out an incident of bi erasure and also terrible treatment of the trans character - while none of that may be author endorsed, it's not something I need to spend my entertainment time reading.
- January 1, 1970AndreaIt was really hard to read this book and see how the trans character got treated and in what way the author wrote about her... misgendering etc...it just made me mad....
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