So, apparently, I’ve decided to start book blogging again. New year, new me (and a couple months) amirite? I’m actually very impressed with all the reading I’ve been able to do since the start of the year. Despite working full-time, I’ve been able to make my way through over 20 books. And it’s only the end of February! Color me impressed. Not only have I read a high quantity of books, but I’d say they were all relatively high in quality as well. Can you say *new all-time faves*??
1. The Vanishing Stair | Maureen Johnson
If you have yet to read Truly Devious or its sequel The Vanishing Stair, man you are missing OUT. I like to consider myself an almost-expert in the field of mystery writing. Meaning that I’ve read my fair share of Agatha Christie and love pointing out a plot twist miles before the (let’s be honest) obvious foreshadowing. This series is freaking good. No, not good for a YA Mystery, just GOOD. First of all, it’s at a boarding school. One of my all-time favorite settings. It has awesome anxiety rep that is very real and accurate. It is the *first* book I’ve ever read with a non-binary character (not a main character, though, but I’m still ecstatic it’s there). And, finally, the mystery is completely gripping with twists and turns even I didn’t see coming.
Recommended for: mystery lovers, LGBTQ+ rep, cute romances, spooky boarding schools, cold cases
2. Heretics Anonymous | Katie Henry
I had relatively high expectations for this book. I’m not exactly sure where they came from, but unfortunately, they were not quite met. The beginning had me good. I was laughing, I was vibing. I was like “hell yea, this is going to be a fun ride!” Somewhere in the middle the book took a turn and it was no longer fun, and I was just uncomfortable with the main character. Basically, this book is about an atheist boy who ends up going to a private Catholic school and joins a secret society called heretics anonymous. Everyone in the group has different, unique beliefs, but they are able to bond over the fact that they don’t believe in the school’s message. Sounds legit right?? I don’t know. I think I really don’t like books with male teen main characters where their inner monologue is almost exclusively about girls’ bodies. Like, yeah. I get it. Those thoughts are real and accurate (probably? I’ve never been a teen boy.) I just feel so weird in these situations when you have zero perspective from the girl character (especially considering she is Catholic and may not be into that.) Maybe it would have felt less weird had the girl been thinking the same things? Still conflicted over this one.
Recommended for: boys? religious diversity, angst
3. Long Way Down | Jason Reynolds
This book was very powerful and I’m very happy I read it. Especially during Black History Month. If you get the chance, please read it. It is written in verse, and this is a very fast read. Therefore no excuse not to.
Recommended for: everyone
4. Sailor Moon Vol. 03 | Naoko Takeuchi
Finished yet another volume of sailor moon. This one was especially weird, but I didn’t hate it. I truly have no idea what’s going on, and I can’t tell if that’s because I’m lost or if the story is just going off the rails.
Recommended for: manga lovers, magical girls
5. Let’s Talk About Love | Claire Kann
Ah! This! Book! I loved this book, and I believe it was full of very important ideas, however, it was not my favorite. I’ve never read a book about a biromantic, asexual, black female character ever. Period. With a Japanese love interest at that! Rep galore. With all of those included, it never felt like it was diverse for the sake of diversity. It felt very real and accurate to Alice’s experience which I loved. I will say that it didn’t go quite deep enough into the character for me, and it definitely had that *debut novel* feel. I’m so so happy that this exists, and I’m hoping there are only more books written on aromantic/asexual characters.
Recommended for: LGBTQ+, asexual rep, college life, navigating friendships
6. Crooked Kingdom | Leigh Bardugo
HOW did it take me this freaking long to read this freaking book! I read Six of Crows last year, and somehow my idiot brain decided it would be a good idea to hold off on reading the sequel. What is wrong with you brain?! This book. It got me good. If you like fantasy at ALL you will love this. Like the characters are so rich, the plot was so well thought-out, and the writing is superb. It makes my heart hurt a little bit about all the time I wasted not knowing this book. Each character is so complex with very real problems, wants, distinct personalities. The plot is intricate and smart. Full of twists and turns and situations you would never see coming. I never realized how deeply I love both heists and morally grey characters until I read this book. I didn’t even know how much I liked the first book in this duology until I read this book!
Recommended for: heists, so much DIVERSE rep, magique, shady ppl
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone | J.K. Rowling
Starting yet another hp reread. Always love it. Always will. This book/series never fails to make me calm down especially when I’m feeling anxious. (That is a lie. When the whole school turns against Harry in #2, #4 and #5 I get incredibly anxious) Thankfully, this book is full of sugar sweet 11-year-old goodness. Dungeon trolls and unicorn blood drinkers are the scariest part. I listened to the audiobook for this and it was DELICIOUS.
Recommended for: muggles, children, grandmas
8. The Wedding Date | Jasmine Guillory
I wanted to like this book so much! And I didn’t *not* like it. It was just pretty underwhelming. I’m going to blame it on the hype. The book was cute! It had a pretty fun romance with *very* cute meetcute. Two people get stuck in an elevator. Sharing some cheese and crackers becomes going to a wedding together. Going to a wedding becomes a fake relationship becomes a casual *real* relationship. Sounds like perfection, no? I’m just like. Not into them being into each other? The whole book was a pile of miscommunication that had me screaming for them to just TALK to each other. Like, come oooooon. I understand that people have these problems in real life but ugh all they had to say was that they liked each other? Like seriously? Thinking back on them now I can barely remember what their personalities were beside the fact that he was mean to his friend and didn’t like commitment and that she was driven in her career. Like what did they like about each other? I seriously do not remember. I don’t know. I could seriously be giving this book a hard time, but that’s how I’m feeling about it now. I think her sister was my favorite character. Or her stylist friend.
Recommended for: romance lovers, biracial couple rep, hot doctors, badass women
9. In An Absent Dream | Seanan McGuire
*SQUEALS* I love Seanan McGuire so freaking much. She can literally do no wrong in my eyes. And her writing holds fucking up. Like every time she releases a new book in this series, I never think it’s going to be as good as the previous. And yet, it ALWAYS delivers. If you don’t know anything about this series, you need to go to the beginning and start from there. Reserve Every Heart A Doorway from your library asap and wait in a chair until it’s ready then read it immediately. Do not. I repeat do NOT read a synopsis. The most magically part of this series is experiencing it for the first time, and me giving you a second rate synopsis will not do her writing justice. If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t belong here. If you’ve ever felt like you are an alien and you’re meant for somewhere else. If you’ve ever been ignored, bullied, made fun of, or told that you’re anything but your wonderful self. This series is for you.
Recommended for: everyone, your cat, magical realism, lost children, weirdos
10. Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss | Kasie West
Another author that is an automatic read for me is Kasie West. I read nearly all of her books in one sitting (sometimes walking if I’m desperate to finish) and I nearly always love them. If you’re ever feeling down and you want a sugary sweet romance to pick your anxiety-ridden brain out of your body and give it sweet relief for a while, bitch this is the book for you. It’s about an up and coming actress living her life on the set of her first big movie. It follows her daily life on set and all of the people she meets along the way to wrapping her film. I’m not going to say that her books have a ton of diversity because they do not. They’re almost exclusively hetero romances with white main characters and I know that and I understand that they could do better. I’m not going to pretend that they are groundbreaking in the diversity department when they are not. I will say that they always bring me out of a brain fog when I need them to which I will forever appreciate.
Recommended for: cheesy romance, famous people, zombies
11. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing | Hank Green
Hank Green baBY. This book was so much better than I was anticipating. Not that I thought it was going to be bad! Not at all. It’s just that debut novels are always a little up in the air. This book, however, delivered. It has amazing characters, with some serious character development. A very fun plot full of twists and very real pacing. And it uses social media and our current political climate to frame the entire story. GENIUS! If one person is qualified to tell a story about science and social media it is freaking Hank Green. I don’t really want to spoil anything that happens, because I think that’s part of the magic of this here book. Instead, I will tell you it involved some mecha robots and a girl going viral on youtube. Read it. You will be happy you did.
Recommended for: aliens, robots, social media, LGBTQ+ rep, complex relationships