Why It Took Me Three Weeks To Read Our Own Private Universe | Book Review

Monday, March 20, 2017

Our Own  Private Universe Book Review | sprinkledpages

Hey friends! 

Guess who’s back with another book discussion! 

Let me just begin by saying that I am really loving having these structure free chats every now and then because it means I can just go absolutely crazy and type whatever I want so YAY! 

Also please do tell me if you like these kinds of posts or if you prefer more structure in the comments! I honestly don’t mind what your opinion is as long as you are being honest because I want to create content you lovelies enjoy! 

THIS IS SPOILER FREE!

About the book. 

Book: Our Own Private Universe
Author: Robin Talley
Pages: 348
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: 31 January 2017
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex. 

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too. 

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try. 

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing. 

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love. (source)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Recommended for: Anyone 13+

Thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for sending me a review copy however all thoughts and opinions are my own and this is an honest review. 


My thoughts.


Disclaimer: as I am straight, I am not able to discuss the bisexuality elements of this book because I do not know enough. However, my friend Sarah who is bisexual wrote a review on this which you should check out! 

Going into this, I had some expectations! I had heard some fairly positive things about Robin Talley’s work and it was #ownvoices and was getting a little bit of buzz from the community so I was eager and excited and ready. 

And then I got into it. 

Our Own  Private Universe Book Review | sprinkledpages

What really threw me off was the pacing. I had gotten in maybe three or four chapters and just decided to put it down because I wasn’t getting into it. Nothing had really happened and it wasn’t really enticing me to continue so I told myself I’d come back to it and that I’d read it after my current read, but I didn’t end up coming back to it until three weeks later.

Now, I’m not saying this book was terrible and horrible and no one should read it! NO! I think it’s a very important read because it is #ownvoices after all and talks about some very relevant issues and I do recommend you read it! It also deals with the awkward issues often glossed over by the media and I liked how Talley openly addressed those in this novel in a very unflinching and pragmatic way.

 However, the mildly poor execution meant I didn’t love the book very much, other than the idea. 

Literally nothing happens in the plot. I found that even though the author tries to make it seem like there was character development…there really wasn’t much of it, which I’d kinda hope for in a contemporary where there is no action or drama or suspense. 

The romance was also quite insta-lovey however I feel this can be argued for and against because I can also see how it was first just initial attraction and a ‘summer fling’ as the book calls it before it turns into something realer. So I’ll just leave this up to you guys to decide for when you read it yourself!  

I found I didn’t connect with the characters AT ALL. I didn’t really like them, didn’t feel for them, didn’t enjoy the dialogue very much – it was all quite distant. Aki seemed nice enough but there wasn’t much of a bond with her and the readers and it made me feel quite alienated. The characters didn’t bounce off the pages and it all just made things fall quite flat as if a contemporary isn’t really plot driven, it should at least be character driven (which as stated before, it wasn’t).

Our Own  Private Universe Book Review | sprinkledpages

I also didn’t connect with this as much because as far as I know, I am straight. However if you are part of the LGBTQI+ community, maybe this will be more relatable for you!

I don’t like giving negative reviews of diverse books because it means less people are likely to read it so let me just say this again – THE POINT OF THIS REVIEW IS NOT TO TELL YOU NOT TO READ IT. I still want you to read it, even if I didn’t like it very much as I think supporting #ownvoices is very important and while the execution of this book isn’t the best, the idea is quite strong and it discusses many themes that are informative and educative and important. I learnt quite a lot from this book and you will too! 

Also, just because I didn’t love this book doesn’t mean you won’t!

OVERALL RATING:

½

Have you read Our Own Private Universe? What did you think? And what’s an #ownvoices book you recommend I read?

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24 happy thoughts

  1. It's always hard for me to fully enjoy a book if I can't connect with the characters. So I completely understand where you're coming from. It sounds like it has great representation and I love that it's an own-voices book too. I'll try to see if the library has a copy and see what I think of it.
    Thanks for the lovely review, Anisha!

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    1. Aha your comments always make my day, thank you so much Nick! And I do hope your local library has it! Crossing my fingers for you!

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  2. I'm all for supporting and reading #ownvoices books, though the story should still be interesting and the characters should be likable, so I'll probably skip this one ^^ I appreciate your thoughtful and honest review! Thank you for sharing :)

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting you lovely human bean ;)

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  3. #ownvoices books are incredibly important, especially ones that resonate in the LGBTQ community. As a teenager growing up, confused about where I belonged, I would have loved this book, because twelve years ago there weren't many books written for teens like there are now. However, I can definitely see your point about not connecting with the characters - it can really make the reading experience difficult and not as enjoyable. I bought this one recently, but haven't yet read it, but I also haven't seen too many amazing reviews about it like I thought I would, which is a bummer! Sorry you didn't enjoy this as much as you had hoped you would, but your review was definitely a thoughtful one!

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    1. AHHHA KELLY YOUR COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS SO THOUGHTFUL AND LONG AND THEY MAKE MY DAY BECAUSE I KNOW THEY ARE NEVER HALF HEARTED! I totally know what you mean. I am an immigrant and I would have loved loved loved to have a book as a child that would have had a character in the same position as me that I could have turned to and looked up to for help and in times of need so I can see where you are coming from when you say you wanted books like this! <333

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  4. I've had The Cursed Queen by sarah Fine fermenting on my currently-reading shelf since January and I just decided to finally throw in the towel last week. I hate giving up on books too but you can't force yourself, you know?

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    1. So true! Glad to hear you put it down if you didn't like it! Good decision!

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  5. So sorry you didn't enjoy this one! I also have a terrible time with slow paced books, so I don't blame you for putting it down for awhile. This book sounds like it has a great premise so it's too bad it wasn't executed very well. :/ Great review though!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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    1. Aha thanks so much for reading and commenting Tracy!

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  6. I actually completely disagree with you! I read this book in about a day and I adored it! I kind of agree with you on that the plot was a bit sparse, but sometimes i feel like i need that! Also, i didn't care because it was a f/f book and i could read about that all day long. I'm not bi (I'm lesbian) but loads of the feelings were the same as i get towards my girlfriend, so i found it relatable in that sense! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one!

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    1. Really great to hear you enjoyed it Denise! And I'm so glad you found this book relatable! I think anyone that finds it relatable will really enjoy this but as I didn't find it as relatable, I didn't feel the connection with the characters! But so good to hear you found your feelings represented in a book and that you can relate! :) thanks for reading and commenting!

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  7. OOOH! I haven't read this book, but I have read Robin Talley's What We Left Behind which I ABSOLUTELY LOVED because it gave me so much of a deeper insight into the LGBT Community. I really don't like insta love books - how real can an attraction like that even be.

    Great review, Anisha.

    Aditi @ http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.in/

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    1. Thanks so much Aditi! I am reluctant to give up on Talley so quickly so I think I'll try her other books before I make up my mind completely! Thanks for reading and commetning!

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  8. This book is on my TBR because I do want to support Own Voices novels, and I'm intrigued by books with bisexual rep. But it's a pity that you didn't connect to the characters and that the plot was not really there! That's something that's quite important to me too, so while this book is still on my TBR, I also don't think it'll be a the top priority :) Great review though, thanks!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Lindsey! <333

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  9. Eek, lack of character development, especially in a contemporary, is kind of a book killer for me. For me, most of my interest in a book is rooted in well fleshed out and constantly changing characters! Still, I would give this a shot merely because it is an Own Voices book. They provide fantastic insights to what it is REALLY like to be in that person's shoes. We all can always use a bit of empathy! I would recommend History Is All You Left Me for an Own Voices novel. I fracken LOVED it.

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    1. YES I DO HOPE YOU ENJOY IT WHEN YOU READ! And OMG I just borrowed that from my library I cannot wait to read it! Thanks so much for sharing your rec and I do hope I enjoy History when I get to it! :)

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  10. Oh I'm sorry to hear you didn't connect with the characters so much and the plot wasn't there too much :/ I have heard good things about this author and I'm thinking about reading maybe this book, or the other one she wrote...but now I can't remember the title haha, need to look it up. Do you think you'll give this author another try? :)
    Lovely review! :)

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    1. YES I will be giving her another try because I'm not quite ready to write her off yet because a) i've heard fantastic things about some of her other work and b) i found the rep from what i know, to be quite well written in this so i am eager to read some more of her work!

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  11. I don't mind a slow burning book from time to time, I think it's the quiet and lovely stories that need a more gentle approach. I'm not particularly a fan of books that rely on instant love between characters, I see it more as instant attraction or instant lust and I hope more authors can begin to distinguish the two for readers. Personally I didn't have much luck with her other book but this one really piques my interest. Hopefully it's the beginning of more books with bisexual main characters, lord knows YA as a genre needs it. Great review Anisha and glad you were able to enjoy it still despite feeling a little disconnected <3

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Kelly! You are always so thoughtful! <33

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  12. I'm sorry you didn't connect to this one like you hoped. It's awful when that happens. I need plot and connecting to characters, especially since I'm a slow reader. I need something to keep me going so I totally get you. :)

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Sara! <33

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