Author: Amanda DeWitt Publication date: September 13, 2022 Genre: YA contemporary My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Okay, so. The blurb on this one had me 100% sold–a heist in the vein of Six of Crows featuring an all-asexual cast? You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect intersection of my interests. The thing is, this marketing tactic really did the book a disservice. This is not like Six of Crows, minus perhaps the found family element and some teens engaging in illegal activity. It was a fun read, and the ace rep was wonderful, but I’ll admit, I felt rather let down. Were it not for my extreme soft spot for good ace rep, this would likely have been a lower rating. Read on for a better breakdown of my thoughts!
Author: Cassandra Khaw Publication date: October 19, 2021 Genre: horror My rating: 3/5 stars
Hello, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I’m on a mission now to post more regularly again this year. My first order of business is catching up on some reviews from old NetGalley titles over the past year or two; my second will be more regularly sharing my reviews of this year’s reads. To that end, some of these reviews may be abbreviated, in part because I read the books a while ago, but also because I’m trying to get better at just posting rather than insisting on perfect, lengthy opinions. Kicking things off, this is a title I got a while ago but only just got around to reading this past fall: a horror novella set in a crumbling Japanese manor populated by ghosts, following an incredibly tense wedding party.
Author: Catherine Arguelles Publication date: September 12, 2022 Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary/Mystery My rating: 3.75/5 stars
Summer may be over, but that’s no reason we can’t enjoy a middle-grade summer swim team mystery! Flip Turns is an easy read, replete with humor, the casual bluntness of young teenagers, and the trappings of a classic whodunnit, but also deals with serious topics (including stalking-like behavior and anxiety) in a context that’s approachable for younger audiences. I’m so glad to have been a part of TBR and Beyond’s tour for this book–read on for my thoughts on the book!
Author: Tori Bovalino Publication date: June 21, 2022 Genre: YA fantasy horror My rating: 4/5 stars
A modern take on the Goblin Market fairytale. Queer rep galore. Themes of belonging, family, duty, bonds, and bargains. Old English villages. Witches. Creepy-as-heck body horror. You’ll find it all in Not Good for Maidens, a dark YA fantasy full of bargains gone wrong, temptations too strong, and yearning to belong, unfolding over two timelines and two continents.. Read on for more of my thoughts, including some favorite quotes of mine from the book!
Author: Erin Stewart Publication date: March 15, 2022 Genre: YA contemporary My rating: 4.5/5 stars
By turns painfully real and softly hopeful, The Words We Keep is a striking exploration of the effects of mental illness not just on an individual, but on an entire family. It addresses the pervasiveness of mental health struggles across all types of individuals–social butterflies, high-achieving academic types, and nonconformist artists. And it does so through the eyes of anxious girl doing her best not to come unraveled even as her world seems to be falling apart around her. I couldn’t get over how much this story resonated with my own memories of high school and college–through those years of my life, so much of this main character’s experience could have been my own–and I sincerely hope this book is picked up by students working their way through high school today, as the stakes and anxieties have only gotten higher the past few years. Read on for a full review, as well as some quotes from this book that I really appreciated.
Author: Bethany Mangle Publication date: February 15, 2022 Genre: YA Contemporary My rating: 4/5 stars
Fans of Gilmore Girls, this book was basically made for you. A story of a single mother and her daughter, both struggling to find love, propelled by hefty doses of sarcasm and coffee, this is a great read if you’re looking for something sweet, fast, and fun. And, more importantly, it has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome representation! Read on for more about the book and my thoughts on it.
Author: Chloe Gong Series: These Violent Delights (#2) Publication date: November 16, 2021 Genre: YA historical fantasy/retelling, romance My rating: 4/5
Crackling with tension and filled with (surprise, surprise) violence, Our Violent Ends is a deliciously dark* conclusion to the These Violent Delights duology. The first book in the series smashed onto the YA scene with much fanfare, a loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in Shanghai in the 1920’s, substituting rival gangs for feuding houses and adding a mysterious, monstrous illness. (Also, the author was literally still in undergrad when she published it, so uh…what am I doing with my life???) In this second installment, the stakes–both personal and political–are higher than ever, and the result is an action-packed, emotional whirlwind.
*I feel obligated to point out that this exact phrase, “deliciously dark,” was also used by Natasha Ngan in describing this book. I wrote this intro before looking at her quote in the official blurb. So…if two independent minds both came up with those words, you can pretty reasonably assume it’s a valid assessment.
Like most tour posts, I’ve got a review for you, a smattering of excellent quotes from the book, and, if you stick around until the end, a giveaway that you can enter to win a copy of both books in the duology for yourself! Let’s get started.
Author: Elizabeth Lim Publication date: July 6, 2021 Genre: YA fantasy My rating: 5/5 stars
Six Crimson Cranes was one of my most-anticipated reads of this year–and, I am pleased to report, it exceeded my expectations. Taking the bones of Western fairytales (especially “The Wild Swans”) and reshaping them in an Asian-inspired world brimming with its own unique mythologies, Elizabeth Lim has created a tale that feels at once classic and wholly original. Read through for my review, info on the author, and some quotes from the book, as well as my latest Bookstagram post about this beauty!
Author: Sheena Boekweg Publication date: June 1, 2021 Genre: YA historical fiction My rating: 4/5 stars
Take everything you knew about the 1920s, add in a secret network of women who manipulate the men in power to achieve social change, make it a little bit queer, write it with so many highlight-able lines, and you have…something pretty darn close to this book. The best way I can describe this book is that it is exactly what it is pitched as, and simultaneously way more than I expected. With strong female friendships, body positivity, ace and trans rep, and plenty of badass women (fighting with words and manipulation mostly, but still capable of fighting!), this was a seriously cool book.
Author: Marina Lostetter Publication date: April 13, 2021 Genre: fantasy My rating: 5/5 stars
Magic masks. A serial killer. Political intrigue. Mysterious gods. Folks, this is my favorite fantasy novel I’ve read this year–a deliciously dark tale with intricate worldbuilding, memorable (and diverse!) characters, and a nuanced portrayal of the impacts of trauma on the human psyche. I’m so grateful to Jean Book Nerd for having me as a host on this tour. Stick around for my review, more info on the book, and a giveaway you don’t want to miss!