Contemporary Young Adult
Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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…
Where so many stories depict the struggle of life, the moments spent stumbling around in the darkness with only the promise of a light at the end of the tunnel, The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things gives us the beautiful moments following the first few hesitant steps that leave the darkness behind. We get a three-hundred page slice of life with Sage and Shane, the two of them putting one foot in front of the other to create as much distance from their difficult pasts as possible, and there's something extraordinarily satisfying in watching as they do everything they can to embrace the good in their lives while they have it. Their story is sweet and touching, largely free of drama and angst but full of feeling nonetheless, and our time with them is spent smiling and hopeful that their respective tunnels are well behind them.
Sage is an inspirational young woman, writing a few kind words on a brightly colored Post-it note and sticking it on the locker of someone who's having a rough day despite the mockery she gets for doing so. Her dedication to such a seemingly small gesture makes us fall a little more in love with her with every note, and when a moment comes that lets her see just how profound an effect her words have had over the years, we can't help but tear up and look for any opportunity to pay the kindness we've seen from her forward in our reality. She wants so badly to prove she's more than the events of her past, and her sheer determination to rise above and keep the shadows at bay makes us want to pick up a stack of pink Post-it notes and beat them back right beside her.
Sage's romance with Shane is characterized by one cute moment after another, the two of them choosing to share the secrets of their pasts slowly but surely as they make their way toward happiness instead of falling prey to the typical teenage habit of failing to communicate. Some readers may wish for a few more ups and downs between them, a happy couple perhaps not as riveting as one fighting to be together, but there's a certain desirable comfort that radiates from the two of them, blanketing us in their warmth even as their pasts rear their ugly heads one final time.
Overall, The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is a story full of light and hope even dappled with darkness as it is, showing us how impressively far-reaching and life-changing the tiniest of kindnesses can be.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.