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Friday, April 10, 2015

Tour! An Excerpt & Review of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre 
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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 by Ann Aguirre is a feel good book portraying how one person really can make a difference. Sage and Shane both have some major underlying issues. Sage covers hers by trying to be this perfect little hippy chic. She had deep seeded anger that she keeps letting build up. Shane is trying to turn over a new leaf and start over, by trying to stay under the radar in his new school. I loved Sage's post-it idea. I wish I would have thought to do something like that and had the guts to do it in high school. Some days all it takes is a happy little note like that to make a difference. Sage and Shane came a long way withing this story, but they still have a ways to go. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things touches on some sensitive issues, but it manages to keep the reading light and even a little cheesy at the same time.

The ARC of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

The burners are already asleep, which leaves Shane and me alone for all intents and purposes. He digs into his backpack and produces the pink post-it I left him. I guess he's heard about the Princess.

“You left me this?” he asks.

I nod, feeling heat wash my cheeks.

“When did you hear me play?” He studies me through those thick, curling lashes, giving me the I-see-you look. I could curl up in that expression like it's an afghan.

“Just before last period.”

“Explain to me why this was worth a tardy.”

So he knows, then. It sounds stupid when I try to articulate it; my reasons come out in a whispered jumble, about making somebody's day better when things are total crap. I talk about silver linings and being the queen of bright and shiny things. He's listening, but I sound crazy. I know I do. It's pointless, possibly even pretentious, to think I could make a difference. I end my rambling recitation by saying as much.

To my surprise, he shakes his head. “No way. I'm sure there are people who are glad that you pay attention to them, who need to know someone gives a shit.”

“But not you?” I ask softly.

“This is a cake walk compared to what I'm used to dealing with on a daily basis.”

The moment the words are out, he looks like he wishes he hadn't spoken them, but it's too late.

I'm left wondering what's so bad at home that being beaten up is a welcome

change. His tropical eyes dare me to ask, dare me to pry into his business, but I'm not

brave enough. If he wanted me to know more, he'd tell me, right? Otherwise it's just me being nosy.

“My Aunt Gabby is pretty great,” I say. “But... it was bad before.”

Shane makes a scoffing noise. “What do you know about 'bad'?”

He sees the image I've cultivated for the last three years. I went to therapy; I learned how to be good, how not to be angry. But every day, there’s an underground river inside me, and I’m trying not to drown in it, every second of the day. This smile hides so much. It hides everything.

Part of me wants to tell him the truth. But I don't. Instead I duck my head, dodging his slow realization that my life hasn't been sunshine and rainbows. I rarely let anyone see Shadow Sage; I've done my best to bury her. Now she’s just a thin hand reaching up from a fresh grave.

“Hey.” He touches my forearm briefly, and in those scant seconds, I register the heat of his fingertips, the calluses on his skin. “I didn't mean to be a dick. I don't hold the trademark on crappy deals.”

He's looking at me that way again, and the pretext of dispassion falls away. We're twin counterweights on a scale, hanging in a moment of perfect balance. I hardly dare to breathe for fear the air will shift, and the hunger I'm seeing in him will disappear. Though he’s pretending he doesn’t care, he wants somebody to notice him. I recognize it so fast because I’ve been there. Hey world, please acknowledge my existence. Please care. On my end, nobody has ever seen me before. Not like this.

Until this moment, I didn't realize I was walking around all this time with a Shane-shaped hole inside of me.

Check out my reviews of other books by this author!

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

To learn more about Ann Aguirre and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookTumblr, and Twitter.

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