Monday Minis: Little Tiger Edition

A little while ago, the lovely folks over at Little Tiger sent me a box full of their recent YA favourites to unbox over on my TikTok account, and now that I’ve had a chance to read them all, I thought I’d do a special Little Tiger feature for this week’s Monday Minis. All opinions are my own as usual.

I already reviewed The Boy I Am by K.L. Kettle back when it came out at the start of the year (see my full review here) – I really enjoyed this dystopian YA that is reminiscent of the early 2010s and made me feel all nostalgic for a simpler time in my life. This turns gender roles on their head – boys are in a position of weakness, whereas women control the power in this world, and it shows the stark inequality still present in our system. A fun read with some deeper underthemes!

I’m not sure why I didn’t fully click with Wranglestone by Darren Charlton. The book has generally been really well received, and quite a few of my friends have read it and liked it a lot. And while there really isn’t anything I can fault the book for, I found that while I didn’t dislike it, I was not emotionally invested in the characters – which meant that I found it hard to keep going. This is essentially both a tense zombie survivalist adventure and a sweet queer romance between two teen boys. But, I just ended up feeling like it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. And I’m not sure if it’s the book, or if it’s the fact that I’ve read most of the queer YA that’s been released in speculative fiction in the last few years and have just become super picky. Because by all accounts, I should have loved this. I think, ultimately, I just didn’t quite buy the romance. For me this ended up being a solid 3* read, and I hope that if you give it a read, it works better for you.

I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma. And now I desperately want some Indian food because of all the delicious sounding recipes this romcom includes… I’m not usually a huge fan of contemporary romance, but this charmed me and I was absorbed into the story from the start, I really do blame it on the food – I am exceedingly food-motivated. While this is certainly not a perfect book, it is one that deals with a lot of the anxieties and challenges that teens face towards the end of their high school years, when they have to balance hobbies, passions, expectations and dreams for their future with the reality that comes crashing down on them. Radha and Jai, while utterly different and from very different backgrounds ultimately struggle with the same sorts of issues, and their differing approaches are interesting and make for a good story. I loved the flavour the Indian-American setting gave the story and the central theme of the Bollywood dancing theme. All in all, a very sweet story and one to look out for if you enjoy contemporary YA!

The Rules by Tracy Darnton is a YA thriller about Amber, who is fleeing from her survivalist dad. He has been prepping them for some sort of impeding apocalypse for as long as she can remember and raised her under very strict rules for every aspect of life. It’s a gripping story, though not the most refined one. I felt like I didn’t get to know the characters as well as I would have liked – it feels like ultimately The Rules is really a predominately plot-driven story, and anyone outside of Amber is quite one dimensional. The ending was unexpected – though it felt rushed and didn’t get the sort of attention I would have liked to see. I did enjoy reading this, and felt for the characters, but I didn’t love it. It’s worth a look if you’re into YA thrillers though as YMMV!

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