Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan
Date: April 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
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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. . . .
I have been a huge of fan of Ms. Aguirre’s work ever since I read the Razorland Trilogy. When I received a copy of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things, I couldn’t wait to read it. Boy, oh boy, I was not disappointed!
Sage is on her third year of living with her aunt, who took her in to help her get her life together again after a very rocky past. Sage always tries to go above and beyond to be the perfect teenager – both at home and in school. Sage has taken on a new outlook on life – she tries to only look on the bright side of things and help others to do the same. How does she do this? At school she does it by leaving a post-it note on the locker of one student she feels deserves some cheering up. At home, she is the very grateful teenager who eagerly helps her aunt cook, clean, and does all of the chores without question. What Sage is trying to cover up by doing all of this is her very troubled, disturbing, terrifying past. A past she would rather forget because it is actually the very opposite of the persona of who she is now.
In comes Shane, a boy who has had a difficult life as well and only wants to be left alone. He is not used to people caring about him, especially a sweet girl like Sage. Shane’s story of a troubled childhood and broken home make you want to give him all of the hugs and snuggles. He finds himself welcoming Sage’s attention and slowly opening up to her.
Sage and Shane quickly become friends, which then becomes more. Their relationship is seriously adorable and sweet. You come to understand why these two work so well together and you find yourself connected to them both. You find yourself blushing when Shane says something sweet to Sage, and you feel embarrassed when Sage does something awkward around Shane. You just cannot help yourself. You want them to be together.
I have to admit, I kept wanting to know more about Sage’s past because it is only hinted at throughout the book. You find out everything at the end when Sage reveals it all in order to help Shane. It is amazing how she does this and it is all to help Shane. She shares her deepest, darkest secrets and you cheer her on the entire time.
This book was beautifully written. The way Ann Aguirre wrote this seems like it could have been a Taylor Swift song. Or maybe it was just one giant post-it note from Ann to all of her readers. No matter what, it will hit all of your feels in the right way.