by Ann Aguirre
Read: January 19 - 20, 2015
Published: April 7, 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: Macmillan (Thank you!)
Category: YA, Contemporary, high school, romance
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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…
I enjoyed The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things! Here are my thoughts in 5 points.
1) Sage is known as the post-it note girl. She puts them on lockers to encourage the kids in her school. Because of that, and the cheerful and put together personality she shows the world, she's nicknamed princess at school. I thought the post-it note plot was a little cheesy at first, but it ended up being one of the most poignant moments in this book for me. I appreciated that the idea was born from Sage's own history and inherent understanding that just one person seeing you can be a huge encouragement and even potentially life changing.
2) I was worried this book was going to be a "you complete me" in high school storyline. Sage and Shane have instant attraction and there's some talk about filling each other's 'holes', but I ended up loving watching their relationship grow slowly. It is incredibly sweet, but they also had a bond that made sense based on their pasts and who they are in the present. I could understand why they fell for each other. But I also appreciated the perspective they gained on their relationship and themselves over time.
3) Shane was not what I expected. At first I thought he was going be a carbon copy of the rude-aloof-bad-boy-with-a-
5) I was surprised at how many layers were built into these characters and this story. This includes strong messages such as learning to be comfortable with yourself even with your flaws, the idea that things do get better, that people can change for the better and one person really can make a difference. I went to such a small high school that I struggle to connect to these schools with cliques when everyone has their group and the football stars are above it all. However, as The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things continued and we got to know the characters - especially Sage, Shane, and Sage's friends Ryan and Lila, I saw the complexity within the tropes. Even the bad guy had much more under the surface than what it appears at first.
Embarrassingly enough, The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is actually the first book by Ann Aguirre that I've read. Clearly I'm missing out!
Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone