❤️️Tash Hearts Tolstoy❤️️ by Kathryn Ormsbee Book Chat | Best Contemporary YA Novel of 2017
You have no idea HOW EXCITED I WAS when I found out I could read Tash Hearts Tolstoy a full four months before the publication date.
Earlier this year, I read Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee, which instantly became my favorite contemporary novel of all time. Of course, I went on Goodreads to mark Lucky Few as read —
AND OMG. KATHRYN ORMSBEE HAS ANOTHER BOOK??
AND THE PUBLICATION DATE IN JUNE 6TH??!??!
MEANING I NEED TO WAIT THAT LONG TO READ IT???!?!
I was utterly hooked by the summary of the book — and I think you will be, too.
After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.
Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.
And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.
Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?
If you aren’t into contemporary but would like to read something other than fantasy or sci-fi or biographies or whatever you currently love to read, then I would totally recommend reading Kathryn Ormsbee’s two contemporary YA novels, Lucky Few and Tash Hearts Tolstoy (when it comes out in June).
They are so wonderfully amazing I can’t even properly describe how good they are.
Before I go on listing all the things I love about this book, I would like to say that I think the title should be Zoie Hearts Tash Hearts Tolstoy. Other than that, this book was very much a contemporary masterpiece (that everyone should read because GAAAAAAAAAAAH IT’S SO AMAZING).
Are you the kind of person who needs evidence of how wonderful a book is before they dedicate their precious time to reading a book? Well, wise fellow — no worries.
Here’s a list of…
All the Reasons You’ll Love Tash Hearts Tolstoy ❤️️
1) The voice of the narrator in the story feels so authentic.
And this wasn’t just for Tash Hearts Tolstoy. It was the case for Lucky Few, too. I feel like Tash could walk by me, talking to someone, and I would recognize right away that it was Tash talking. Somehow Ormsbee manages to make Tash’s narration seem authentic, but still a tad bit more funny and brilliant and deeper than anyone’s actual narration is IRL.
2) In addition to the narrator, everything just feels real.
Like, somehow, this story could have actually happened. Like all the characters could walk out from the book and completely fit into wherever they end up being.
And because the world and the characters feel so real, Tash Hearts Tolstoy is a very relatable book. I would surprised if there wasn’t at least one aspect of the story, characters, or setting that you could relate to if you read the book. For me, reading Kathryn Ormsbee’s contemporary YA novels are extremely refreshing — and it allows me to realize that wonderful stories can be found in reality, instead of just in fantasy novels.
3) #girlpower is written all over this book.
After reading Lucky Few, I prompty decided that it had one of the best and most accurate depictions of what a wonderful female friendship looks like. I related so much to Stevie and Sanger’s friendship, and I didn’t know whether there would be as strong of a female friendship in Tash Hearts Tolstoy, so I kept my expectations low.
Lesson learned: I never have to lower my expectations for Kathryn Ormsbee’s books because she meets every single one of them.
I know. I have to physically hold my ARC of Tash Hearts Tolstoy to make sure it’s real and I didn’t just dream of reading a book as wonderful as this.
I really appreciate how Tash has one solid best friend in this book, which surprisingly is not something I find in a lot of YA books. And while Tash regards Jack to be her closest friend, Tash acknowledges that having other friends is ok. Jack is a very stoic, seemingly unsympathetic character — Tash knows that if she wants sympathy, she shouldn’t go to Jack. Yet, as the reader, I came to understand how much Jack actually cares for Tash, and how that bonds Tash and Jack together so solidly throughout the novel.
Perfect friendships aren’t always smooth. Perfect friendships act as any relationship would — filled with wonderful moments of understanding and gratitude and appreciation, while also scattered with rocky terrains along the timeline of its existence. Tash and Jack’s relationship was most definitely not smooth, and I could tell how confused Tash sometimes was at why she became best friends with someone who could appear so utterly heartless.
But behind that aura of chillness and indifference, Jack is probably the kindest and most considerate friend Tash could have ever called her best friend, and it warmed my heart so deeply to read about such a wonderfully complex, real, and beautiful friendship.
If Jack is allowed to be harsh, I figure I’m allowed some melodramatic self-loathing. But Jack flings me a look that informs me she’s not having any of it.
4) “El ol el, Titus Flavius, that imagination of yours.”
- I learned that el ol el actually means LOL. Yay! Another slice of knowledge gained from reading!
- And LOL INDEED, because this book was hilarious.
I have so many quotes I tabbed that caused me to, quite literally, laugh out loud — or rather snort in an attempt to prevent myself from laughing out loud in the middle of class whilst reading.
I’ve crossed the line, and I don’t even care. I feel like I could run a marathon and projectile vomit at the same time.
Like Lucky Few, I was surprised by how much I found myself smiling while reading pieces of narration or dialogue. Tash Hearts Tolstoy is one of those rare books that you can go into with the comfort of knowing that you’ll be satisfied with the deep themes embedded into the story, while also knowing that you will feel so happy while reading the book. Sometimes, we just need a book that will make us smile — and Tash Hearts Tolstoy most definitely will.
5) One of the characters has a peanut allergy.
A severe one, too. As someone who is also allergic to peanuts and nuts, it is shocking to me how few of the books I read have characters that have a food allergy — and not a food allergy that somehow plays in with the plot of the story. I mean, yes, that would be cool. But sometimes people just have a food allergy and that’s that.
And some people have to deal with carrying an Epipen around. (I am SO EXCITED to read The Secret of a Heart Note, because the guy character in the book, Court, has a peanut allergy. *excited happy dance*)
You know what? I would love to read a book about a main character who saves the world WHILE having to make sure everything she or he eats doesn’t contain peanuts or nuts, WHILE having an Epipen in his or her backpack. We (the people who have food allergies) totally need more representation in books.
Also, why have I never read a book where the main character needs tissues because they have year-round allergies to everything that’s in the air (e.g. pollen, pollution, dust, etc.)??? I always have at least three packs of tissues in my backpack, and use up one of tissues per week due to my year-round allergies. I need to read about a character who picks up a tissue and blows her nose in the middle of every conversation because quite frankly, for people who have allergies, that’s a common and normal thing to do.
If I find a book with a main character who has a peanut allergy AND has year-round allergies, I would be so happy. And I’d probably blog nonstop about the book.
Someday I will find that book. Someday.
(And hopefully that book is The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee! XD )
6) Paul is absolutely amazing.
Paul eats grape jelly on pizza, which makes all his opinions invalid.
He’s the best friend of Tash, sister of Jack (who is also the best friend of Tash), and is probably one of the most amazing guy character you’ll read about.
I probably shouldn’t say anything else lest I want to dedicate this whole entire post to the wonderfulness of Paul Harlow.
“God, Zelenka, what do you want from me?” ….
“Nothing. You’re good like this.”
7) I think there was a Lucky Few reference in this book…
…but then again, just because the word “lucky” was used, doesn’t exactly mean Kathryn Ormsbee was trying to connect a theme in Tash Hearts Tolstoy to Lucky Few. But then again, it might have been a subconscious thing that Ormsbee did while she was writing the book…
BUT THEN AGAIN, what if it was intentional and Ormsbee was hoping that one of her readers would catch it??!??!
Well, in that case… I caught it!
8) Overall, this book is just utterly beautiful.
I am willing to break my no book-buying rule to immediately buy Tash Hearts Tolstoy when it comes out, because this book’s themes and characters and story resonated with me so much. The realness of this book really stuck to me — and I definitely read this book at the right time and right place of my life. This book started off hilarious and enjoyable, and it most definitely ended up hilarious and enjoyable, but it was also so much more.
Lucky Few and Tash Hearts Tolstoy are now my favorite contemporary books, and they deserve to be my favorite contemporary books. They have had such a positive impact on my life, and I cannot wait to read whatever else Kathryn Ormsbee decides to write in the future.
If you’re wondering what the cover of Lucky Few looks like, the beautiful and enticing cover above is exactly that.
(SUBTLE MESSAGE: READ IT READ IT READITREADITREAAAAAAADIIIITTTTTTTTTTTT)
I hope you enjoyed this book chat! Please keep in mind that the quotes in this book chat were pulled from an ARC of Tash Hearts Tolstoy, so they aren’t final.
And finally, to wrap this book chat up, here is one of the most beautiful quotes of Tash Hearts Tolstoy:
People these days love to speculate on the apocalypse — whether our ultimate demise will be due to nuclear warfare or zombie epidemic or alien invasion. But I think it’s more likely that our end will come on a normal day when we all stop trying to figure out the why of anyone around us and go live in separate houses and rot away, alone.
Thanks for reading, and cya next time!