The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre #BookReview #Excerpt #Giveaway

Title: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things
Author: Ann Aguirre
Release Date: 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 sophomores can't hear us down the table, as it's loud in here, but I pitch my voice low just in case. “Basically, Ryan was never my boyfriend. He just let people think we were together. Because I'm an idiot, I didn't guess why.” Those last words come out bitter.
            “So why did he do that?” I hear all kinds of nuances in his voice, questions, doubts.
            Here's where it gets tricky. “It's complicated. He lied to me, though, and that's what I can't just get over. Maybe someday we'll be friends again, but for now...” I shrug.
            “Friends?” he repeats.
            “Yeah. Friends.”
            “So he didn't break your heart.” He sounds relieved.
            “Did you want him to?”
            “I was afraid he had. That maybe you were talking to me...” His eyes cut away from mine.
            “Because I was trying to make Ryan jealous? Not my style.”
            I want to say, OMG, Shane, you think I'm a dude magnet? I've been Ryan's sidekick, his not-girlfriend so long, that I have no idea what this is or what I'm doing. But I love it.
            “I'm not looking for drama,” Shane tells me.
            I understand the reason for the pronouncement immediately. Ryan's watching us from across the cafeteria, but he won't be shoving Shane into any doorjambs or cornering him in the boys toilet. In some ways, his silent, wounded eyes are worse. I can tell he feels horrible and that he misses me, but what am I supposed to do? After what I've learned, I don't want to be his girlfriend, which is what he was shooting for when he made his big confession. I feel like I hardly know the guy, and that hurts most of all.
            “There won't be any.”
            “I just... I can't afford any trouble,” he says softly, not looking at me. “Any more, and I'm off to juvie until I'm eighteen.”
            Possibly he thinks this will scare me off.But I have my dark side, too. The staff at the group home pulled me off an emotional ledge years ago, so I know what it's like to feel completely out of control, doing stuff you know deep down is a terrible idea and yet you cannot stop. I study the rigid line of his shoulders. Did you put that post-it on my locker?” I ask.
            He's dead silent, but his eyes answer where his lips do not. I see the yes written in aquamarine.       

            In this moment, I want to kiss him so bad it hurts. 

The thing I liked the most about The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is that I found the characters to be really interesting because everyone seemed to be flipping their stereotype. I would expect a character’s situation/personality to be one way and then would be pleasantly surprised when it would be different. Plus you really get to see Sage change and grow.

I liked Sage for the most part. In the beginning she was speaking in a lot of analogies and at first it was driving me crazy. We don’t find out about her past until way later in the book, towards the end. I like though that she is trying to turn her life around by finding the positives in the negatives and reaching out to other people. Kind of like her own personal reminder that there is good beyond the bad, like she says the silver lining. I also felt sorry for Sage because she is very paranoid about her Aunt Gabby not wanting her anymore. She goes to the extreme to be a good kid because she thinks she has a lot of darkness in her. Even though she really falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Of course the reason Sage gets her nickname is because of the kind post-it’s she leaves for kids who are having a bad day. There is a part of the book at the end that makes you want to choke up a little bit involving that. She also really passionate about going green and I couldn’t believe how dedicated she was to not riding in cars.

Shane is sweet guy. He’s pretty mellow for the most part and tries to be a loner but Sage barges into his life. I liked how he doesn’t often let pride get in the way of necessity and he’s not afraid to tell Sage when she takes something too far. He’s very honest even though he doesn’t give her every gritty detail of his past. He admits he has had issues.

The plot is really driven by Sage and Ryan’s collapse of their friendship. At first they are like glue to one another not really letting anyone else into their bubble. When Sage finds out some things Ryan has been keeping from her. It causes an epic fight that puts a rift between them but it also opens up a whole world outside their bubble. We get see Sage’s character really develop because of it. She begins hanging out with Lila and other assortment of characters. It allows for her and Shane to become really close. It makes her see that things are not always just black/white good/bad. There are plenty shades of grey.

The Queen of Bright and Shiny things is very character focused. Definitely interesting how they were all intertwined in this small town.

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.