Book in Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld


Title: Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: September 23rd, 2014
Format: ARC
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I really, really found Afterworlds interesting, though I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I completely adored its wit, cleverness, coming-of-age vibes, and its satiric approach to the YA-publishing world. It is so cheeky, brilliant, and so meta. But on the other, I have my reservations about certain things, like the execution, the ending, and the characters.

When I said it is so meta, I'm not kidding! It's literally a YA book written by a YA author about a YA author writing her YA book, and the YA book she is writing is interluded in between chapters. The book also gives light to a lot of discussions on issues about writing, publishing, reviews, sales, marketing, book tours, and how challenging it is to enter this industry. There's some bit of how you reconcile with your publisher telling you to change your ending so that the book would sell more, and at the same time compromising your artistic license to your work. There's some worrying of how another YA author's protagonist who likes to put stuff on fire is too risky and might not be well-received by audiences. There's some stuff about how much research authors put into their work, with one of the YA authors literally locking herself in the trunk of a car while it's moving just to make her writing more realistic. And it works! There are a lot more stuff you'd learn from reading this book and I was so amazed at how honest it all is. 

The issue of cultural appropriation is also made into great discussion, with the protagonist, Darcy, worrying about how one of her characters is based on a Hindu death God. Being Indian and not being religious at all, she worries that she may be exploiting her religion just for the purpose of having a hot YA character. There's some discussion of how Darcy making Yama a Hindu death god erases Hinduism from the world of her book by not acknowledging him as being part of the religion. The same way that Angelina Jolie movies are a parallel world where Angelina Jolie does not exist. I found that point pretty valid and thought it made a lot of sense. And yet, it was also interesting how Darcy herself is of Indian heritage but does not practice the religion and is basically white on the inside. Could this have been done intentionally as a way of mocking other YA novels that feature nonwhite people who are actually pretty white on the inside?

That aside, the characters in the Dary at New York story are fantastic- Imogen the love interest who's quite spunky and just super cool, Nisha, Darcy's sister who is incredibly smart with math and computes all her money and budget, Kiralee and all the other authors, who I feel like are based off real people and everything they say or do in the book are probably inside jokes or references. The only one I didn't like is the protagonist, Darcy, unfortunately. It is pretty annoying but true how everyone in the book tells her how lucky she is to be 17 and land a book deal but I hated how irresponsible she is with what she has, throwing away everything especially with money and college stuff. I know it seems surreal and overwhelming to land a book deal but I hated how Darcy feels like it's necessary to spend all that amount of money on an overpriced apartment just because  the lighting and ambiance is good for her writing, and using up all the money on eating expensive Chinese noodles, even if she knows she is under a tight budget. She doesn't even care that maybe there's a slight chance her book flops and she has nowhere to go, having spent all her money, missing her apartment lease, and not securing a college. It was frustrating when she spent almost the whole of the book jumping to ridiculous conclusions, missing deadlines, not writing because she's too busy obsessing over her new girlfriend and just being a whiny brat. And in the end, everything still works out for her despite all her shortcomings, and I found that truly a big insult to writers who actually work hard to get their book published.

And now, going to the Afterworlds part. The Afterworlds part of the book has a strong beginning, and I was rather intrigued with the concept of crossing over and seeing ghosts. However, towards the middle I quickly lost interest reading it and I found the characters forgettable. Lizzie, Yamaraj and Mindy all fleeted in my mind; they weren't particularly engaging and didn't hold my interest very long. The world building felt lacking and lackluster, and I didn't seem to picture it out as distinctly in my head as I had hoped. The Indian mythology is something that I wanted to see more in detail and description, but instead it felt weak and flat. In the end I couldn't find myself looking forward to reading Untitled Patel. I thought the premise held great promise that was only contrived because it is split with the Darcy in New York story. If Scott Westerfeld did this as a standalone, maybe it could've been better developed. I don't really have much to say about this part because honestly, I found it boring and the ending was just underwhelming. 

Overall, I enjoyed the Darcy at New York part more than the Afterworlds part, and I found it a curious blend between the two worlds. It was interesting to see the perspective of the author writing a book I'm reading and I felt like it is something non-authors and readers would enjoy. However, I'm not so sure about the overall critique or message the story is trying to say. Is it a parody? Is it a critique of the YA publishing world? The concept is very nice, but the execution could be improved. Is it exceptional? No. But is it worth checking out? Then, yes.

Feature Follow Friday: Characters You'd Like to Have a Twitter

Increase Blog Followers
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work?

The goal is to increase blog followers and make friends. First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools — keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them “hi” in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to WordPress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don’t have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed. All features are chosen randomly to be the feature. They are not chosen by content or name.
Book character(s) you’d like to see with their own Twitter page 
Levi from Fangirl
Not only is he super cute and adorable and hyper, he says the sweetest things as well! I'd love to see his cute and funny but sweet tweets all over my timeline! 

Minho from Maze Runner

He's one of my favorite characters from the Maze Runner series! He is incredibly cool and snarky, and I'd to love to see his maze-related tweets.

Severus Snape from Harry Potter

I don't particularly like Snape; I think he's a selfish prick and a despicable a-hole. But still, I'd love to see him tweet about how bitter his life is. It'll probably be really funny and pathetic and meme-worthy!

Follow us through those links! 

Book Haul

Hi guys! Today, we decided that we would be doing a book haul. We went into our room full of random junk and picked out a few books that we wanted to include here. There were so many books in there we were actually quite scared that if we touched it, it would all fall over and bury us under and nobody would find us until 50 years later. But, anyway, we're not here to talk about death by books. We're here to show you guys some of the books that we have. Or, you know, the books that weren't bought when we were 7 and are totally embarrassing to have. So here's a picture of all of those books that we wanted to show you!

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

You have heard a lot about this book from us and you probably don't wanna hear more about it but we just couldn't stop ourselves from including it in our book haul. This is the first book that we read by Rainbow Rowell and it was the book that got us addicted to her writing and she hasn't once disappointed us with her books.


2. Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

You probably know that we have met Stephanie Perkins a few months ago. She was AMAZING. And her books are so sweet and feel-good and great that we just want to thank Stephanie for existing and making those books because seriously, what would life be without them?


3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

So this isn't the kind of book that we would normally read but we decided to give it a try since the synopsis was so interesting. Audrey is ashamed to say that she has only read page one and looked at the various pictures there. This doesn't have anything to do with the greatness of the book though. She merely did not have time to read them because she has been a bit busy lately and  when she isn't doing anything, she is usually sleeping because she is a lazy bum.


4. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

So, I don' think any one of us has read this. It was actually still wrapped before we decided to unwrap it to take the picture. It has been so long and we feel super bad but, you know, schoolwork, extracurricular activities, other things...

5. Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

This is actually an ARC. Well, we mean, it's published now so it's not advanced  anymore except it still kind of  is because we got it earlier. Uhh, I think I just broke my brain. We're not gonna think about that anymore. Audrey was the one who read this book and she posted a review a while back. LINK


6. Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey

This is another book that has been read and reviewed by Audrey. LINK It was a light, cute, short read. It also has an adorable cover so we placed it her for nice-cover purposes. :)

7. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Audrey started reading this a while back but she isn't sure if she finished it. Even if she did, she doesn't really remember what happened. Kimi and Beryl probably haven't read this either so we can't really say anything. Um, well, if you've read it, feel free to tell us what it's all about!

8. Mary Jane by Judith O'Brien

This was a gift to Audrey on her 7th birthday. She read it in one sitting. I don't think anyone can dislike this book- it's Spiderman!


So, that's all we have for today, though you guys deserve so much more. We're pretty sure evryone's noticed that we haven't been blogging a lot lately. In fact, there are some times when we haven't blogged at all. We've been really busy. Kimi, as some of you may already know, has been doing her thesis, and that's been taking up most of her time. Audrey and Beryl have been really busy since school is so much harder now and they have extracurricular activities too. That hasn't left them with much time to blog. We're really, really, really, really, really, sorry. We'll try to post more than we have recently. We can't promise that we will be posting everyday or even on a certain every week but we will be posting whenever we have the time. First priority. Promise.

{Events} 35th Manila International Book Fair 2014

Hi guys! Kimi here! I haven't posted anything for a while now, and haven't really been active in the blogging community as well. I've been reaaaally busy with my thesis and college and org work, and my life has been topsy turvy this year! I really really do apologize and I promise that I'll try my best to catch up on my blogging and even reading (I am WAAAAYY behind my reading challenge). And I'd love it if you guys could help me decide which book to read next - please vote on the poll at the end of this post or at the sidebar! :D

Today let's talk about the 35th Manila International Book Fair! This is my 2nd time going to this event so I could consider myself a veteran (Ha,not really).

I was supposed to go to the book fair yesterday, but because of the strong rain, I couldn't get out of the house and was forced to binge watch my anime series instead. This weekend, I was supposed to go to a leadership camp but it got postponed because of the rain yesterday, so fortunately, it opened up my weekend for the book fair! I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to go at all.

I went with my friend, Eirene, who I also went with last year. We got to SMX at around 11:30am, and it was completely jampacked. Since it was our 2nd year, we already knew what to do and immediately roamed around the stalls. Our usual routine is that we'd split up, find books and take whatever we can find, then meet up again and start deciding which books to actually get.

Can you believe it - It took us 4 HOURS before we finally finished buying everything!

These are initially the books that I chose.... I had a really hard time deciding which ones to get!

So I finally present this year's book haul!

I bought a total of 8 books! I tried really hard to control myself and not spend all my savings in one go. Believe me, it's harder than you think.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson P350.00  P280.00
Landline by Rainbow Rowell P599.00 P479.20

I actually read these two books already! I only have both as ebooks on my Kindle, so I decided to get a hardcopy for both. Amy & Roger's is the kind of book that has lots of roadtrip scraps and memorabilia in between chapters so I really needed a hard copy of it. Landline, on the other hand, I purchased just because I plan on collecting all of Rainbow Rowell's books!

Doll Bones by Holly Black P599 P479.20
Half Bad by Sally Green P520 P416.00

I LOVE HOLLY BLACK! She is seriously one of my favorite authors EVER when it comes to the paranomal genre and I would read anything written by her. This one is middle grade for ages 10-14, but who cares. Half Bad, on the other hand, is a book that I started reading when I was in a bookstore in JFK airport last summer waiting for my flight. I sat there reading it not realizing I was already there for almost an hour until the lady in the counter finally came up to me and politely said "Oh, don't forget to put that back in the shelf when you're done reading." That was probably the nice American way of telling me to piss off, and she probably thought I was a smartass cheeky Asian kid so I put it back in the shelf and left. In an afterthought, I actually realized that I probably should have bought it just to show her that I wasn't that rude, but I was extremely broke that time... so yeah. Anyway, I never really did get to finish that book so I got it today! Hooray!

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay P680 P544
Wintertown by Stephen Emond P360 P288

YAY more books! I know from my sister that The Amazing Adventures is quite intense, so I just had to read it for myself! And Wintertown won me over with the pretty illustrations inside the book. Heehee, I'm such a sucker for beautiful covers and illustrations!

Doctor Who: Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell P439 P351.20
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris P315 P252

Everyone knows I'm a big whovian so it's no surprise that I have something Doctor Who related on my haul this year! I had actually planned on buying a different DW book, but it was out of stock so I got this instead! Ten is my favorite Doctor as well, so it makes sense that I got this one. Oh and I got Let's Explore Diabetes for my sister.

Look at this pretty bookmark I got for free! :D I don't normally use bookmarks because I like finishing books in one sitting, or on times that I don't, I have zero problems with remembering the last page I'm at. But since this is super cute, I just have to use it!

So that was my MIBF 2014 experience! Did you go to the book fair as well? What books did you get? Are you going tomorrow (It's the last day!)? What books do you plan to get?

Please please please help me decide which book to read first!


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2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Kimi has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.