Author: Alyssa Sheinmel Publication date: February 1, 2020 Genre: young adult, contemporary My rating: 4/5 stars
What Kind of Girl is one of those books that, regardless of your opinions on its execution, you have to acknowledge is vitally important for its willingness to openly address difficult social phenomena that society likes to sweep under the rug. It is a heavy read, but in a necessary way, not the maudlin sort of sob-story that is an inherent risk of writing about so many serious issues that teens face today.
“Doing something when you’re scared is braver than doing something when you’re not.”
A week or two ago, I promised a post with pictures from my Christmas book haul, and now the time is here! Now, admittedly, only one person got me books this year–my dad–and he had to ask someone at the bookstore to help him pick them out, so they’re four titles that I literally hadn’t even heard of before. To that end, I caved and included the Goodreads blurbs for each of them in this post, because…well, might as well know what they’re about, right?
These books are, in order: a historical mystery, a historical rom-com (think Pride and Prejudice type story, from what I’ve heard), a YA contemporary/historical, and a fantasy. Yeah, apparently this lady thought I was super into historical books? I don’t really get why–she literally looked at my Goodreads account and I know historical fiction is one of my least-read genres–but whatever works, I guess. At the very least, my horizons will be broadened quite a lot! And hopefully, dear reader, by perusing this post, yours will too.
Author: Suzanne Walker (author), Wendy Xu (artist) Publication date: October 22, 2019 Genre: graphic novel, young adult, fantasy My rating: 4 / 5 stars
Queer and quirky and oh-so-cute, Mooncakes was the quick, enchanting graphic novel I didn’t know I needed in my life. I finished almost all of it in a single night, and boy, was it a fun and heartwarming ride, complete with utterly charming magical creatures, adorable cats, and a super-sweet romance.
Usually, I would do a Top Ten Tuesday post since, you know, it’s a Tuesday. But this week’s theme is “Favorite Books I Read in 2019,” and I’ll let you in on a secret (which isn’t really a secret): I’m not very good at choosing favorites. I agonize over making selections of which books were the “best” I read each year, especially once I try to account for things like literary merit vs my own personal enjoyment, different criteria for books of different genres, new books vs classics, what to do about multiple good books in a series, and so on. Plus, with 105 books under my belt from this year alone, there’s just such a high chance that a generic “top ten” would leave out books that deserve more love. So instead, this is a little clustered “list” of my thoughts from the year, across different categories, genres, and more, with both favorites and least-favorites galore. (Hey, that rhymed.)
Being off from work for the holidays has set me behind a little on my audiobook listening, but I’ve finally gotten through another round of three, and you know what that means: more mini-reviews! This time, we have a nonfiction, feminist, data-driven book; a queer sci-fi romance; and an #OwnVoices YA contemporary/rom-com about two Indian-American teens at a summer coding program. Let’s get started!
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: Stacie Ramey Publication date: January 1, 2020 Genre: young adult contemporary, romance My rating: 4/5 stars
A timely narrative about disability, sense of self, and first love, It’sMy Life deftly navigates the difficulties–physical, emotional, and social–that accompany serious disability, through the eyes of a smart, likable, and relatable narrator. Though it does get a bit cheesy and/or implausible at times, the story itself is an important one, specifically targeting the younger end of the YA spectrum with a solid message of hope.