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…
Three and a half stars: A YA romance with a plucky heroine and some drama.
Sage is ready to tear into her junior year. Armed with her glittery purple pen and her sticky notes, she is prepared to spread her positive messages to anyone who needs cheering up. Sage has been posting notes on other people's lockers since her freshman year, trying to hide the dark in her past by being the Queen of Bright and Shiny Things. What she doesn't expect, is to have her whole world turned upside down with the arrival of a new boy in her math class. Will Sage find love and happiness at last?
What I Liked:
- The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is a nice, positive YA romance that surprisingly refrains from being overly dramatic and full of angst. Yes, there are some moments and each of the main characters is carrying around baggage, but it didn't overwhelm the story. I appreciated that for the most part, this story had a light, upbeat tone to it. If you are needing a YA contemporary romance that is light on the drama, try this one.
- Sage is such a fun character. She has a few quirks such as her refusal to ride in gas guzzling cars, so she bikes everywhere. She is all about being green and environmentally conscious. What I liked about her the most was that she left a note every day on someone's locker. Her notes are for those who are having a bad day or being picked on. Her little spot of good cheer is meant to brighten someone's day when they need it the most. How wonderful is that? We all know how awful high school can be, and I loved that Sage in her own little way tried to make it a better place. Sage is rich and complicated and full of her own little insecurities such as the belief that she has a fat butt. I loved Sage.
- The romance is without a lot of drama even though both Sage and Shane carry plenty of baggage from the past. Even though they are damaged, it isn't the main focus. They come together, develop a friendship due to Sage's incessant need to spread positivity. It was a nice, pleasant romance and I liked watching it unfold. No love triangles or insta love or unnecessary drama.
- I also enjoyed the secondary characters, Aunt Gabby, Lila and Ryan. All of these characters are important in Sage's life, and I liked seeing their relationships. Lila especially was interesting to me and I liked how hard she fought to reinvent herself.
- We all know that high school is a difficult period for some, and I liked that Ms. Aguirre didn't shy away from the angst that many teens feel during this time. There are scenes of bullying and heartbreak, but through it all, a silver lining shines through. I liked that even though there was some drama that the overall message was positive. This is a book I would highly recommend to young teenage girls.
And The Not So Much:
- There is a buildup to what happened to Sage in the past, and a rather ugly incident of bullying that exposes her secrets. However, once this was all out, I thought the big reveal of her past was a bit of a fizzle. It was resolved rather quickly and shoved under the rug. I was expecting a bit more from this part of the story. Yet, in I am glad that it didn't dwell to much on this part as it would have dragged down the story.
- Sage turns to social media to air her grievances. I wasn't thrilled with the way she went about exposing her bully, and I wish she had handled it in another way. I don't think it was the right message to send as social media can be so harmful, even if one is using it for good intentions.
- I felt that the story line with Derek needed a bit more development. Once the dust settles after the fall out, I was pleased to see his progress, but I was left wanting more. I almost think another book would be great as I would love to follow up on several characters.
- At the start of the story, Ryan is Sage's best friend, and then the two had a fallout. I wasn't satisfied with how this story line played out either. I thought that Sage should have talked it out better with him.
- Overall, this whole book is a bit predictable. It reads like many of the other YA contemporaries out there. Two damaged characters coming together, falling in love and healing. This one though, isn't overly dramatic, and I did appreciate the positive messages.
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things was a nice YA contemporary that I would highly recommend to young teens as I appreciated the positive tone and characters. It is well written and easy on the drama. Unfortunately, it lacks originality as far as story line goes, but still one I would recommend for the characters and messages.
“ I realized a long time ago that some guys are assholes and they’ll do anything to peek at your underwear, which makes a skirt hazardous.”
“What I don’t tell her is that I’m beyond doing stuff because someone else thinks it’s a good idea. These days I do things to fill craters inside, filling up the bad echoes with goodness. God knows I need it”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.