(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things, Vanguard
Published by Macmillan on April 7th 2015
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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. . . .
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is the first contemporary that I have read by Ann Aguirre and I absolutely loved this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in considering the series I love by Aguirre is an apocalyptic series with plague and zombies…this is not that.
Sage Czinski is good at pretending everything is fine and great. She is known at school as “princess” and every day she makes a point to put a post it note on someone’s locker that looks like they need some cheering up. What everyone doesn’t know is that she has worked hard to build an image that doesn’t reflect anything of her past. I won’t go into any detail here because I don’t want to give her story away.
What I will say is the Sage has been through some tough times and she has a hard time thinking she won’t lose everything she now has in the blink of an eye. She for sure has a dark side and although she does everything she can to hide it, we get glimpses of it through the story as she begins to face the things that are happening at school. Because of her past and what she has experienced, Sage is very understanding of the people around her (to an extent) and I loved that about her.
Shane Cavendish has the words “swoony boy” written all over him…ok, don’t take that literally. When he walks into Sage’s math class, she is immediately drawn to him and although he tries hard to avoid connecting with anyone at his new school, Sage finds a way to get past the walls he has put up. He also has some secrets in his past and as the story moves forward, we get to find out just how much these two need each other.
I loved seeing how these characters gravitated toward each other and ultimately became such an important part of each other’s lives. Neither of them have had an easy life but they don’t just throw in the towel and complain about it. They do what they need to do in order to move forward and although they are both hesitant to open themselves up for potential pain (with due cause) they get beyond that fear and come to realize that they do need other people.
Aguirre did a wonderful job of developing these characters and I loved how she was able to yank me into their stories and get me to care so much about these two….even without knowing everything about them. The post-it piece was brilliant and added a wonderful piece to the story that says a lot about who Sage is as a person without Aguirre coming out and just saying it.
If you are looking for a great story with some wonderful characters, definitely consider checking out this book – I will for sure be checking out more contemporary from Aguirre when I can.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.