BookTok: the sequel


(Photo Credit: Irene Fernandez)

Irene Fernandez ’22 and Mary Nassar ’22 pose with “They Both Die at the End” and “The Cruel Prince.”

Mary Nassar and Irene Fernandez

Your favorite self-proclaimed professional readers are back and ready to review the most popular books on TikTok.

Our Review

The first book we will be reviewing is “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven.

We first read “All the Bright Places” years ago and have been thinking about this book ever since. The book’s main characters, Violet and Theodore Finch, meet each other on the brink of death. After their interesting encounter, Finch pursues talking to Violet and later, as part of a school project, they embark on a journey around ‘boring’ Indiana to find wonders of the world.

Did this book keep me up until 3 a.m. ugly crying and questioning my entire life’s existence? Yes. Did this book challenge all my preconceived notions about life, love, and death? Of course. Did this book open my eyes to the everyday wonders of the world and the gifts each day has to offer? Indeed, it did.

Other Rosary students share the same sentiments. Sophomore Cicleri Lopez loved discussing the novel : “I enjoyed reading “All the Bright Places.” I’m a hopeless romantic, so this novel is one of my favorites. I really liked reading this book because it’s important to understand mental illnesses as well as people that have a disorder and how it can affect the people around them.” Along with this, Lopez also shared more about the protagonists: “I think my favorite character would be Finch because he tried so hard to get Violet to come out of her shell. It was very sweet when he brought her flowers, and he basically helped her come out of her comfort zone and try new things.” 

In 2020, “All the Bright Places” was adapted into a film starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. Cicleri gave her thoughts on the recent film adaptation. She continued: “I think the movie was pretty good. I loved the way they portrayed the novel and brought it to life. I really enjoyed the movie because it’s so colorful that if you paused it anytime, it can look like a painting.” 

The movie was certainly entertaining, and we loved being able to see the love story on film. However, the BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!

“All the Bright Places” reveals the tragedy of love and mental illness. Readers are taken on a journey of unbearable grief, reckless hope, and finding love in the face of trauma and suffering as they watch Violet and Theodore navigate their struggles together. These characters are written beautifully, and while their stories are heart wrenching, readers will finish the book with a newfound sense of understanding how beautiful the ‘mundanity’ of life is. Readers will walk away from this story and its characters changed.

And for all the right reasons.

Elle Fanning starred in “All the Bright Places.” (Photo via Google under the Creative Commons License)

Mary’s Review

The second book is the fantasy masterpiece “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. My favorite genres are fantasy and romance novels, and I love reading anything to do with the land of Faerie, so when my best friend gifted me this book for Christmas last year, I was beyond thrilled to read something that had everything I could possibly want in a book: an enemies to lovers story set in the dangerous fantasy world of Faerie. Is it a little cliche? Maybe.

But the book is so intensely spellbinding, you won’t even care.

“The Cruel Prince” follows the story of Jude, a mortal living in the High Court of Faerie, with her two sisters and adoptive faerie parents after her mortal parents were killed when she was seven. Now, at 17, she’s desperate to belong in the world of Faerie, and her greatest dream is to become a knight in the High Court. However, countless obstacles lie in her path, including Prince Cardan, the youngest and cruelest son of the High King, who makes it very clear he despises Jude’s humanity. The choices that Jude makes to defy all the odds and win her place at the Court changes the world of Faerie forever.

It’s a story of deceit, lies, betrayal, and treason. But it’s also a story of a young, scared girl who’s desperate to prove herself worthy in a world that has no desire to accept her. Holly Black does a brilliant job of writing Jude as a relatable, morally grey character; in that, readers won’t love her all the time. Actually, you might despise Jude for most of the book and question all of her choices (I know that I did). But there are elements of her story that everyone on some level can relate to and understand, strengthening readers’ empathy for all people, no matter how different they are.

Other Rosary Royals had similar praise for this enthralling, fantasy read.

Senior Isabelle Brookshire shared her thoughts on the book: “Honestly, “A Cruel Prince” is a great book. The characterization of Jude and Cardan is good, and the build between the two characters keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s passionate, uncontrollable, and really gives a great example of what it means to ‘fall in love.’ Also, on top of that, I just really love the world. I mean faeries and folklore combined with the modern world? It’s such a nice engaging read, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, faeries, and an entertaining mix of action and romance.”

Freshman Rebecca Nassar also expressed her love of the book: “”The Cruel Prince” was a work of art. It was the best series to this day that I’ve read. The character progression was beautiful, the development of the characters’ relationship was gorgeous and absolutely stunning, and Cardan definitely owns my heart.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

This is “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera annd “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. (Photo Credit: Irene Fernandez)


Irene’s Review

The third book on BookTok everyone is raving about is “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera.

Review: 8/10

*Spoiler ahead*

So, I guess they really do die at the end.

In the novel, there is an app called Deathcast that alerts people when it is their ‘End Day’ so they know they will die that day. When Mateo receives his alert at midnight, he decides to stay locked up in his house. Meanwhile, Rufus learns he is going to die after a moment of trouble and decides to host a ‘funeral’ with his friends, a group he calls the ‘Plutos.’ Things take a wild turn, and Rufus and Mateo find themselves together. Wanting to make the most out of their final day on Earth, Rufus and Mateo embark on a journey of saying their last goodbyes, making memories, and forming a deep connection in just one day.

Reading the novel, I enjoyed the characters of Mateo and Rufus. Mateo is the opposite of Rufus. He is cautious, constantly overthinks, and is completely selfless. On the other hand, Rufus is adventurous, troubled, and impulsive. As the two characters experience their last day together, they learn from each other and grow. In their observation of each other, Mateo learns to take more risks and Rufus learns to think about others. The book certainly offers great representation with these two young Hispanic boys who are lovable main characters. Silvera also adds in a neat detail of bringing in other perspectives from characters who are all somehow connected to the story of Mateo and Rufus.

While the lives of the two main characters are doomed from the title, I was hoping they would live. Everyone on TikTok says they were sobbing after reading the book and their heart was shattered every time they thought about the book. Maybe I’m just heartless, but I did not cry at the end of the novel. However, I definitely loved reading the story of the deep friendship between Mateo and Rufus and loved all of the messages about life, living in the present, and taking risks. After reading the book, I thought about how we all need to appreciate each other more and stop focusing on the little stressful problems of life like getting a bad quiz grade because we won’t normally regret not studying more a year from now. It’s likely we will regret not spending enough time with the people we love and not making meaningful memories.

Rebecca also read “They Both Die at the End” and gave her thoughts on this popular book. She shared: “I first found the book on TikTok and everybody was saying that they were crying, so I thought that I would give it a try because I cry really easily, so I thought this would be fun.” Honestly, I was hoping to cry with this book too. Rebecca continued with honest thoughts: “I read it, and it was really good as a book, but I feel like it was overhyped on TikTok. It was nice to see the relationship between the two characters progress, and the ending was nicely written, not what I expected, but it was good.” Agreed. The book is overhyped, but readers can probably still relate to the life themes included in the story.

“They Both Die at the End” makes you wonder about what you find truly important in life. Yet, I wish the book would have had at least a bit more closure to the story of Mateo and Rufus as well as more moments of their friendship. Nevertheless, the relationship formed between the two is long lasting despite their unfortunate ending.

BookTok has once again amazed us with its fantastic selection of books, and we hope you love them just as much as we did!