REVIEW: The Year We Became Invincible by Samantha Mae Coyiuto

Dear non-existent readers,

Last Monday night, I finished reading this amazing book from a new author that I got to meet last Saturday when I attended its book launch.

It was awkward.

The book launch, I mean. There were a lot of people—oldies who I assumed were the author’s supportive relatives, youths who were the author’s circle of friends, most of them looked like Chinese. I was reminded how tricky it was/weird I was when surrounded by a huge crowd. It didn’t help that I was alone and that the girls who were in front me didn’t seem to mind that they were bumping into me already and that some of them were really tall I couldn’t see what’s happening on stage anymore. There was this performance by Majam sisters, I think, that gave me the creeps! That blending of their cold voices was really awesome! I enjoyed that one. But that didn’t made me feel less terrified. I still didn’t know a single person in that crowded space. And my sorry ass felt just like that: sorry.

Then I spotted one of my fave writers, Mina, who introduced me to Raye, the girl behind me. And right there, I felt a little less scared. I always suck at small talks but Raye there with me, I tried. I guess I succeeded at least? I found out she’s a book blogger, too, but focuses more on indie writers. She’s taller than me but she’s actually younger than me! Ugh, I don’t like when that happens! I learned that she loves books too much that her choice of college course was still related to that. Guess what’s the course? I didn’t even know there’s such a thing! She’s an Iska, by the way. But I was really grateful for her company. We talked a bit more when we were snacking and while waiting for our numbers to be called for book signing. It was my first time to attend a book launching with free food, mostly Chinese and round ones, available for all the attendees. Was that a Chinese tradition or something? I had no idea.

I was practicing the lines I would tell her about our names being next to each other in calendars like “Hi, I’m April. And you are Mae.” but that was not funny at all! It was terrible, downright failure so I decided—no, thank you. I sucked at making jokes. All the jokes I make have insult/sarcasm sprinkled on it so yeah, I guess thanks for trying though. LOL.

Mae was a sweet girl. She recognized my Twitter handle that I wrote in the post-it. I swear I would’ve hugged her if I was not awkward at first meeting. But I was, so I didn’t. I hope she knew I appreciated that simple recognition. The launch was good overall though it would be better if it were a bit organized. Some men whose numbers were 20-25 lined up ahead of us when we had our snacks. That’s not nice. We were the 14th and 15th. There was no announcement of who were going to line up next so that’s really disappointing.

Now back to the book.

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[kindred-recipe id=”1693″ title=”The Year We Became Invincible”]

It was amazing. Oh, did I say that already? Sorry, but I really think it was worth the redundancy. I don’t read that much YA anymore because I feel like I can’t connect with the characters. You can roll your eyes and tell I’m a lola, I won’t stop you. Haha! But with Camille and her unique way of telling stories, I felt like seeing some of myself with her. She’s definitely smarter—what kind of people majors in Chemistry? Only the Camille types. I almost even flunked my Chem subject in college!—and talented, though—I mean, I couldn’t even dance gracefully! If you can call folk dancing a graceful dance, then I guess I could dance. And she’s a freaking ballerina!

What I really loved about the book was it’s very fresh and unique to me. I remember reading another book with the same writing style only it’s written by the hero and it was very swoony. I loved that, too. You see, I have a thing for letter-style writing. And fresh because it’s been ages since I read a YA and man if all YA were like these, I guess my Kindle bookshelf would be full of that.

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The book hit home to me in every right aspect. It was, in a nutshell, Camille’s daily musings about everything/anything. I loved that she always got her family on her back. Though sometimes, they didn’t want her to know that. But the tight family bond was really there. I loved that she loves and supports her sisters so much and her sisters felt the same way. Then there was Jenny, her best friend since kindergarten and co-ballet dancer who reminded me of my own Jenny. (Hi bru!) I admired her for being brave enough to take on new adventures with people who made her feel alive. And isn’t that the best way to have fun in your life? I loved that she was the one who coined the name of their group and you’d know what that is when you get a copy of Mae’s book yourself. Totally #squadgoals levels!

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What I didn’t love though was Camille not being entirely honest with her feelings towards this one guy. One way or another, it would hurt his feelings and it didn’t help that she ended up things in such a childish way. And Camille being nosy about a certain friend’s private life. Sure, she made a gusty move after a fight with that certain friend and I loved how she was very upfront about it but yeah, Camille really had some things to improve herself. Who doesn’t?

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So, the certain friend huh? Well, he’s Ian and I liked Ian because he’s a smart guy though not that smart since he refused to do one thing that could benefit his whole life. And I hated him when he was a complete jackass to Camille. I so wanted to hit him with a basketball to shake him up and yell “man the fuck up, you fool!” in his face.

I wanted to tell you there was nothing going on with those two but I’d be lying and I hate lying to people. So I guess you just have to deal with my honesty AKA spoilery here. Avert your eyes in 3, 2, 1…

There was really something between them! They were really good together. I loved them together. Total opposites but definitely complements each other.

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I immensely had a great time reading entire book, especially the ending. It brought back the years when I had to give something up because it didn’t make sense to my life anymore. At the end, reading this novella was all kinds of warm, fuzzy feels that’s perfect for me. Perfect for any weather read, too, if you ask me. It has everything I wanted in a YA book—relationships, friendships, love, hope, wisdom.

I also think Camille’s eldest sister, Lea, was a lesbian. Or has a relationship with one. Because of the words guilty and loving in one sentence she uttered to her. I may be wrong but…

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Camille’s voice was young but very authentic. Mae did a great job for writing this book that I think is suitable for every age group. I wanted to hug Mae the moment I was done with the book but Mae wasn’t there. And that would be weird since we’re not even close friends so I hugged her book instead. That would do it. Haha!

Right after the book launch while I was having dinner with a friend, I blurted out I should’ve bought a few more copies and made Mae signed them for me to give away. I didn’t. And I regretted that the moment the idea popped in my mind. She thought it was thoughtful that I was now concerned with my readers and yeah, I am. So when I was on my way home, I told Mae about it and thank God she undoubtedly agreed! You don’t know how thrilled I was to read her positive response.


So now, I’d have signed books to give away to two chosen readers who will properly follow these mechanics:

1. Follow Mae on Twitter
2. Like SEAsuras on Facebook
3. Very important: Send over here your own Dear Future Partner letters with the subject: TYWBI Giveaway. Also include the Twitter handle you used to follow Mae and your Facebook name when you liked the blog page.

I hope you do your best shot at writing notes with your future partners because I’m sure Mae will have a good time reading them all and she’ll pick the winners herself. I will be the one sending you a Congratulations! You Won! email, though, so I hope you enter a valid email address in the comment form. Contest will run for a week, then Mae will go over all the entries. Once she has selected the two, I will then verify if you did the first two steps. When it’s finished, expect my name to pop in your inbox right after.

Edit: This is only open to Philippine residents. I’m sorry, international readers. If I ever do have some.

My best of luck is with you all.

Looking forward to read your letters,

April


*Photos are not mine. Book photo for The Year We Become Invincible was from Powerbooks Store Facebook page.

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