You guys, I read six books this month! Can you believe it? Especially considering I only read, like, half of one in January. I feel so proud and accomplished and also just really like myself, which is nice. My goal is always to read more but ever since I started university I’ve noticed that I just don’t read as much as I used to. I’ve mentioned before that I have been feeling a sort of disconnect from reading that I think stems from the lack of community I’ve been experiencing but ever since I discovered booktube (AKA the book community on YouTube) I’ve been steadily get back in to it. What’s even more exciting than reading six books (!!!) is that I genuinely liked them all. So thanks to all my booktube peeps for the great recommendations!
I also read (er, listened) to my very first audiobook this month which was quite an experience. The jury is still out on whether or not I like listening to books because as of right now I’ve found there are both pros and cons. Pros: I don’t have to physically have the book on me which makes it ideal for travelling/commuting, it’s hands-free and I can do other things while still listening, and it’s kind of relaxing! Cons: you can’t set your own pace (I am a notoriously fast reader and it was hard for me to not be able to speed up the audio without making it incomprehensible), you can’t passively listen because otherwise you will miss things, and not all books make good audiobooks. Having said that I think I have to do it more than once to form a real opinion so we’ll see. Anyways, here are the books I’ve read so far this year! What have y’all been reading? Let me know in the comments!
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
I was kind of weary going in to this one since (unpopular opinion!) I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Divergent series. I mean, I liked the first one and the second one was okay but I hated the third one. To be honest I’m just not the biggest fan of dystopian novels, which is actually why I gave this one a shot. Carve the Mark is definitely more fantasy and I actually thought it was pretty good! I don’t know how to summarize it without spoiling too much but there’s a little bit of magic, a little bit of fate, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of adventure. So basically a little of everything!
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
I am not ashamed to admit that I love Sarah Dessen novels. Contemporary fiction is definitely my comfort zone and Sarah Dessen is like my teddy bear. Her books all follow the same kind of structure which, yes, makes them kind of predictable but she does it so well that I don’t even care. There are always really important themes and realistic protagonists and I like that the main conflict is never really romance related so much as it’s family related. This book is one of my new favourites of hers because I really strongly identified with the main character, Sydney. Sydney is used to being invisible in the shadow of her older brother Peyton. But when Peyton finally goes too far, Sydney suddenly finds herself … well, actually she just finds herself. For the first time she’s her own person and not defined in relation to her brother. From there things get a little uncomfortable as she starts to disrupt the settled picture of how things are. Honestly, you can probably guess what happens about a quarter of the way through but it’s still such a good read!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
When this book first came out I didn’t really get the hype. It’s not that I was opposed to it, it’s more that I was indifferent. But this month I read it on a whim and holy moly, I loved it! I basically felt like Cath was me. It’s a story about a girl, Cath, who is starting her freshman year of college and it follows her as she learns to stand on her own two feet for the very first time. Her twin sister Wren has decided that they need to have their own experiences after living the last 18 years basically joint at the hip and that, coupled with the fact that she’s leaving behind her single dad who deals with more than it seems, she’s not starting out on the strongest foot. But what I really loved was that there was no “transformation story” (don’t get me wrong, this girl LOVES a good transformation), but Cath doesn’t undergo this dramatic change and leave freshman year a totally new and improved gal – she’s still Cath, she just stops questioning whether or not that’s okay. I also liked how this book totally normalizes fanfiction and fangirl culture. I totally understand Cath and her fangirl heart because OF COURSE I’m a fangirl! That’s half of what I do on this blog! I have been just as obsessed with pop culture things as she is with Simon and Baz but I would never dream of talking about it the way she does because, to be honest, it’s a little bit embarrassing. Which is the problem, of course. Why should I be embarrassed? Clearly this book is a huge success because there are people like Cath, like me, and it should be okay to be honest about it. So this is me, admitting I’m a fangirl, and not apologizing. Okay? Okay. End of rant. Read this book.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This is one of those booktube cult favs that I’ve never really paid that much attention to before but decided to give a try. This is actually the book I listened to as an audiobook (my very first!) and, like I mentioned above, it was quite an experience. I don’t know that I would recommend it as an audiobook for a couple of reasons. First, it’s kind of a slow start which means that for the first 5 hours or so of listening I was just waiting for things to happen. Second, because it’s a fantasy novel, a big part of reading is coming up with your own interpretations of things. That includes pronunciations and what you imagine voices to sound like which is something that gets lost in an audiobook because you’re hearing someone else’s interpretations. Overall though I did like it enough to read the sequel (more on that below). It has really good character development and a pretty intriguing plot so it’s worth a shot!
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Like I said, contemporary fiction is where I live. Having said that though, I tend to stick to only a handful of authors that I know and love. But I’d heard a lot of good things about Morgan Matson and I know she’s friends with Jenny Han (one of my favs!) IRL, which, I know has no bearing on her writing style but it gave me good vibes, okay? So I picked this up and basically devoured it. This is such a cute, light-hearted read that was the perfect break in between heavy fantasy. It’s summer break and Emily expects to spend it with her best friend, shining star, Sloane. Only Sloane has disappeared and all that she left behind is a list of things for Emily to do. Some of them are silly and some of them are scary but Emily sets out to do them all and, well, read the book to find out the rest.
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
This is the sequel to Red Queen and I loved it. Way more than I thought I would considering I was kind of on the fence with the first one. I think because there was no slow build (it picks up right where Red Queen leaves off) and it has a much faster pace it was easier to get in to it quicker. There’s also a lot more going on in the plot plus a lot of romantic tension so you know I’m all about it. Not going to summarize because it will definitely get too spoiler-y but if you weren’t sure that you liked Red Queen or you thought it was only okay, try Glass Sword. I promise it gets so much better!