Since I last did one of these, I’ve started writing short, one paragraph reactions in a notebook every time I finish a book. I do so much reading that stories often blend together and, when I come to do these kind of posts, I forget details. I’m finding that I really enjoy processing books in this way–it helps me express my opinions and give the experience closure. In addition, I’m also adding star ratings, just for fun.
I hope you enjoy my list of recent reads! Have you read any of them? What did you think? What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
When I reached the end of this book, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I rarely give books five-star ratings, but this series was absolute perfection. All six main characters are distinct, fully, fleshed out, and deeply relatable. They feel like real people–deeply flawed and broken and beautiful–and I love them all so, so much. I can’t help being in awe of Bardugo’s planning skills–there are so many character arcs, schemes, plots, and back-stabbing… how does she juggle it all? And given how complex it all is, how the heck does she manage to pull it off?! This book sealed the deal: Bardugo is a top-notch writer and I will gladly read anything she publishes.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
This YA book has been on my radar for months and I finally got my hands on a copy. It combines two of my deep loves: fairytale retellings and fandom. I found the story delightful and endearing–the plot familiar, but a comforting kind of familiar. More than anything, I was reminded of the movie “A Cinderella Story” with Hillary Duff–only with more cosplay and a pumpkin-themed vegan food truck. It was a clever, fresh retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. And, oh, how I wish that Starfield was a real show–it sounds like something I would love to watch.
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
This was easily one of the best YA contemporaries I’ve read in a long while. Lately, I’ve found it harder and harder to relate to that corner of the genre. This book, though, hit home in so many ways. It’s about a Christian girl who, after discovering that her mom’s cancer has returned, spends her summer as a counselor at a camp for troubled youth. There, she wrestles with her faith and learns about life, love, and friendship. The book is about growing up, discovering yourself, and allowing your worldview to grow and change. Although our circumstances are different, I deeply related with Lucy. I spent several summers camp counseling, so the exhausting pace of her days was familiar. What I love about this book is that, while Lucy questions and struggles with her faith, she doesn’t walk away from it. It’s really hard to write about faith journeys in a way that doesn’t come off as preachy and Lord handles Lucy’s journey so, so well. Her faith shifts into something new, but it doesn’t go away. The book also features a rich array of diverse characters and I adored the friendships Lucy forms. They reminded me of the friendships I forged in my own camp years. This is a book that doesn’t shy away from life’s biggest questions–it leans into hard questions, tough situations, and embraces the challenges of life. I’m thankful for books like these–books that act as mirrors to our own experiences.