THE COLOR PROJECT: Review

22892448The Color Project by Sierra Abrams
Published by Gatekeeper Press on July 18, 2017
Genres: young adult, contemporary romance
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
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Rating: ★★★★½ 


Before I read this book, I made a prediction. I’m normally terrible with predictions (unless we’re guessing the twist from Insurgent), but I was crossing my fingers and hoping I’d be right.

My prediction was this: that The Color Project would would feel like a Sarah Dessen novel, but with more heart.

Let me clarify what I mean by that, because I’ve said before (in my review of The Truth About Forever) that Sarah Dessen’s novels have more heart than your average mass-print YA contemporary. To some degree I still stand by that: Dessen is not afraid to touch on issues like chronic illness, the messiness of divorce, how a loved one’s actions can turn your life upside down, death of family members. Most of her characters deal with some serious topic such as these. But, in retrospect, I don’t feel that Dessen takes these issues home. Her books tickle the heartstrings like any Hallmark movie, but they’re too Hallmark-y (and similar, goodness gracious) to have a deeper, prolonged impact, though there’s certainly potential for such impact.

So when I say I was hoping TCP would be a Dessen novel with heart, I was hoping Sierra Abrams would address hard issues and have them hit home. I wanted intense and emotional and real. My prediction was that I’d get all three.

I’m pleased to say my prediction was correct.

I met Sierra sometime last year at a book signing, and I found out she was publishing a book through staying in contact with her on social media. So I know a little bit about this book’s journey and some of the inspiration behind the scenes. It’s hard to self-publish–mainly because you’re your own best publicist–and be successful. It’s even harder to self-publish your debut and get it right; a lot of “normally”-published books can’t even do that.

It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Here, Sierra proves it.

I’m amazed by the life of this book. It’s a vibrant, pulsing thing–full of giggles and wide smiles and some incredibly heartfelt moments. This book doesn’t just ask for your attention while reading–it demands it, because it’s that engaging and that intense.

I loved Bee. So much. I’m not necessarily in the same position she is, but I can relate to her so well, and her voice just exudes off the page. She, too, is awkward and self-conscious, but she’s intense and sensitive by nature, and big-hearted by design. She’s my kind of girl. The writing style reveals some of her little mannerisms, like how she talks to herself a lot–sometimes to encourage, sometimes to shame herself. (Who doesn’t talk to themselves from time to time?) She’s just such a real character, so full of love for life, and her personality was too passionate to be ignored. It was so cute to see how Bee reacted to meeting Levi and being around him, and how Levi reacted to her. I was constantly grinning.

Speaking of Levi: wrap him up–I’ll take two! This boy (or, as Bee calls him, “the Boy,”) is adorable. He’s chivalrous, he’s respectful, he’s sensitive, he’s generous, and he’s stubborn, but in the good way. You’d think he’d quickly become the Manic Pixie Dream Boy (and there were some moments where he read more like a character than an actual person), but Levi’s just as real as Bee, and just as intense in his own ways. Their chemistry together–both the way it was written and the way it played out–was spectcular and realistic, even the conflict. It got cheesy during a few moments, but eh, cute couples are inevitably cheesy. They’re still my #relationshipgoals. 😉

Now on to the darker parts of this novel: the family tragedy. Bee’s experience with her family is based off the author’s own experience (key word being “based”), and my heart ached for both the author and her characters as we went through the uncertainty and desperation tragedies like these always leave in their wake. I won’t spoil anything, but this part of the book hit hard, and, despite never having something like this happen to me, I could easily sympathize with Bee and her family. There were many touching, tear-jerking moments.

This book is real (goodness, I’ve used this word a ton in this review) and honest–in so many heartwarming ways. Expect it to leave you laughing, crying, and grinning ear-to-ear with from warm fuzzies. When asked to find the balance between cutesy romance and meaningful, heartfelt moments, this book passes with flying colors.

Much thanks to the author for providing an ARC for me to read and review. I’ve been looking forward to this book for such a long time, so thank you for the opportunity! It more than delivered. 🙂

GIVEAWAY: Stars, Sea, Storm, and Sun by Matthew S. Roberts

Hello, all! It’s been a little while, heheh. But I’m back (momentarily) with something I think you’ll like: a giveaway! I’ve never hosted a giveaway before, so this is completely new–and incredibly exciting!–to me. Keep reading to find out more about the book I’m giving away. 🙂

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Stars, Sea, Storm, and Sun is a collection of poetry and short stories written by a friend and colleague of mine, Matthew S. Roberts. In its pages, “S^4,” as it has been nick-named, discusses many thing: rejection, loss, uncertainty, the triviality and yet ironic weight of age, the importance of honesty, and more. But, primarily, Stars, Sea, Storm, and Sun is an exploration of pursuit: pursuit of passion, pursuit of truth, pursuit of love, and pursuit of God. Here’s the Goodreads summary:

“EVERYBODY DIES IF WE INTERCEPT THAT SHIP!”
On its way to provide relief to a disease-ravaged Earth, C.S.S. Compassion is forced to make a harrowing choice that drives her crew to pieces.

“LOOK OUT AROUND YOU. IT IS ALL PART OF THE SNARE.”
When a despairing sailor discovers a dark lighthouse wandering the open seas, the supernatural illusions he finds within prove deadly.

“IT’S NOT YOUR SADNESS, MR. CHESTER, IT’S HERS!”
An old man mourning the loss of his wife befriends a young girl whose outlook shows him a light he could not see.

A collection of short stories and poetry, Stars, Sea, Storm, and Sun invites you to explore in the pursuit of Compassion, Truth, Love, and God.

There’s a little bit of everything in this little book: spaceships, intriguing characters, and literary allusions; some serious gothic atmosphere, complete with Dracula vibes; and a heartwarming friendship between a weary old man and a starry-eyed young girl. This book deserves a chance to help you appreciate the profoundness of life, so I’m giving away an extra copy.

However, there are some rules:

  • You must be 18 or have your parents’ permission to give out your mailing address.
  • U.S. residents only. Sorry!
  • One entrant per household.
  • Giveaway ends July 2.

Click on this link to get started, and good luck! In the meantime, help me spread the word about this giveaway and S^4.