The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things - Ann Aguirre

This review was originally posted on One Curvy Blogger

When you see the cover of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things you probably think bubbly contemporary romance – I know I did. I’m all for the cute YA romances these days so I picked it up thinking I would probably enjoy it, but I never expected an true emotional connection! So while this book was cute in some parts and the main characters, Sage and Shane, were “awwh” inspiring, the book wasn’t just ponies and rainbows and everything nice. It had a darker theme to it that I would never have guessed if I hadn’t picked it up and given it a try. (Just another reason not to judge a book by its cover, Tika and Blessie!)

One of the biggest things that I enjoyed about The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things was the fact that these characters all have flaws. We can all list off some popular young adult and even adult books where the main character is the best person ever whom never makes a mistake and if they do, they never have to atone for them. This is not the case with Sage. Though she may try to appear like the epitome of a perfect young adult, the more I read the more I knew she had done something horrific in her past that she was trying to make up for by helping others the best way she can – taking care of the Earth that we all have to live on and writing out notes of encouragements to those who need who need them.

In some ways, this book made me ashamed of the way I hid in books when I should have been trying to better myself and my community. Even though I tried to help out an underdog when they needed someone to stand up for them, I never made a point to go out of my way to notice who was having a bad day and cheer them up and I would never have stood up for anyone if it meant compromising my own safety. I would more often tell a teacher or anonymously send in reports of bullying than draw attention to myself. I had thought I was doing enough – I wasn’t ignoring bullying, instead I was helping out behind the scenes – but after reading about what Sage did for her friends and for Shane, I knew I could have done more.

In my review of The Fault in My Stars, I noted how irregular it was to find a young adult MC that I could actually see as a role model for future young adults, but I am glad to find out that I have read two new books this year that have defied the odds. Even in realizing that Sage used her “save the world” campaign to mask the emotional trauma from her past, she does it a helluva lot better than most troubled young adults. It was nice to see her and her new circle of friends grow as characters in the course of getting to know one another. Sage isn’t your average “flawed” YA character, and the plot wasn’t the most unpredictable but it was a fun, emotional read that made me a better person in the long run. I would recommend everyone – even readers who aren’t usually a YA fan – read The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things at least once!