Author: Hanna C. Howard Publication date: August 18, 2020 Genre: young adult fantasy My rating: 3/5 stars
Ignite the Sun is a quick, simple, straightforward YA fantasy that makes the whole light-versus-dark concept quite literal. Set in a world where the sun has been blocked from view by an enormous shield of darkness, the story follows a reluctant heroine on a quest to overthrow a corrupt leader and restore light to the world. Though certainly not a perfect book, and though it is a bit predictable (which isn’t quite my taste), this story is nevertheless a great choice for younger YA readers.
Author: Megan McCafferty Publication date: July 28, 2020 Genre: young adult, (recent) historical fiction My rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Mall is a book that, I kid you not, made me nostalgic for a time period I didn’t even live through. I was born in the mid-90’s, and this book takes place in ’91, but this fun-filled romp through teenage drama and self-discovery resonated with truths that are still relevant today, while seasoning them with a distinct 90s flair that I couldn’t help enjoying. Was it cheesy? Sure. But it was the good kind of cheesy, the sort of fluffy read that is perfect for a summer day.
Author: Megan Angelo Publication date: January 14, 2020 Genre: science fiction, dystopian My rating: 4.5/5 stars
A curious blend of incisive perception, dark humor, and horrifying prediction, Followers is a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding canon of Black Mirror-esque dystopian fiction, shining a critical lens on our fascination (obsession?) with technology, social media, and how far we will go to get what we think we deserve.
“I’ve done the actual math. There are eight million people here, and all of them want something as bad as I want what I want, as bad as you want what you want. We’re not all going to get it. It’s just not possible, that all these people could have their dreams come true in the same time, same place. It’s not enough to be talented, it’s not enough to work hard. You need to be disciplined, and you need to he ruthless. You have to do anything, everything, and you need to forget about doing the right thing…Leave that shit to people in the Midwest.”
Author: Rebecca McLaughlin Publication date: January 7, 2020 Genre: young adult, fantasy My rating: 2.5/5 stars
When broken down to its fundamental components, Nameless Queen has a lot of things that tend to make me automatically love a book: a protagonist who is a thief, hidden royalty, and commentary on classism and rigid social structures. But when taken as a whole, the novel failed to breathe much life or originality into those tropes. The result was a lukewarm story–not bad, but wholly unremarkable.
Author: Adam Kay Publication date: December 3, 2019 Genre: nonfiction, humor My rating: 4.5/5 stars
This book was…laugh-out-loud hilarious? Painfully sad? Excellent validation that I made the right choice in not becoming a doctor? Honestly, all of the above. With candor and a never-ending stream of (often dark) humor, this collection of journal entries by a former medical resident paints a vivid picture of all parts of the medical profession: the funny, the bizarre, the awful, the heartwarming, the disgusting, the personal.
Author: Shelby Mahurin Publication Date: September 3, 2019 (yes, I’m aware that that was two months ago, but I received this ARC less than a week before the book came out, as part of a thank-you from Epic Reads, and it’s been hard to fit into my schedule…) Genre: YA fantasy, romance My rating: 3.5/5 stars
I really, really wanted to love this book. It sounded like my kind of story–witches! enemies-to-lovers! morally gray characters!–but the reality was disappointing in its execution.
Author: Rosaria Munda Publication date: October 15, 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Until I started reading this book, I had forgotten a) how much I love books with dragons, and b) how long it had been since I had read one. With a fantastic blend of politics, questions of personal allegiance, dragon fights, ethical quandaries, and a dash of romance, Fireborne ended up being everything I hoped it would be.
Author: Ava Morgyn Publication date: October 1, 2019 Genre: YA contemporary/drama, magical realism My rating: 4/5 stars
What a weird, yet beautiful, little book. I went in expecting something a little creepy, a little sad, a little quirky, but I closed the book (er, Kindle) with the sense that (a) I had just read a painfully real look at grief and loss, and (b) I just observed one of the most bizarre endings I had ever read. No, that isn’t a spoiler; trust me when I say it is not one you couldn’t predict even if you tried.
Author: Alice Hoffman Publication Date: September 24, 2019 Genre: historical fiction, magical realism, fantasy My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is a book that I’m sure many people will love. It’s a WWII story, an era which is always popular with the historical fiction crowd. The writing is quite lovely in its simplicity. The main characters are predominantly strong women, and one of the novel’s biggest themes is the strength of a mother’s love. And of course, it has a slight fantasy twist, drawing from Jewish mythology to further explore ideas about family, loyalty, and promises. But for me, the elements didn’t gel together quite as nicely as I would have liked.
“Doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change.“
Author: Alix E. Harrow Publication Date: September 10, 2019 Genre: Portal fantasy, historical fiction, young adult Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading this book is like walking through a capital-D Door, out of this world and into an adjacent one filled with so much heart, magic, and mystery.The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the sort of book that you finish and say, “I can’t believe this is the author’s first novel.” It’s a lyrical, lovely fusion of historical fiction and portal fantasy—a combination that, frankly, has no right to work as well as it does.