May has certainly been an eventful month! I survived finals, finished my third year of college, moved across the country, and still managed to read eight books. Not too shabby. As usual, this month has absolutely flown by, leaving me wondering how exactly I got here to the end. But June is just around the corner, and with it, summer!!
Anyway, here’s what I read this month!
Books I read for school
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Funny enough, I already saw the musical Fun Home about a year and a half ago, so I was really excited to read this for class! It was a totally different experience to read it compared to seeing it on stage. Even the tone of it changes so much. Though I do really love both. This graphic memoir is about Alison Bechdel (creator of the Bechdel test) and her relationship with her father, who committed suicide. I don’t read many graphic novels/memoirs, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but I loved this format for the storytelling. It was also just a wonderful story, completely heartbreaking, and incredibly well told.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
I talked more in depth about my feelings on this book in my ranking of Austen’s novels post. This was the last book Austen wrote before she died, and it has a much more melancholy feel than many of her other books, which sets it apart for me and is something that I really enjoy. Also, I think it’s so romantic and the tension between the characters is SO FUN to read.
Books I read outside school
Uprooted by Naomi Novik ★★★/5
I had high hopes for this book, but it wasn’t quite everything I wanted. While I did like the worldbuilding and the writing style, and I thought it was quite well written, I had trouble getting invested in the storyline and most of the characters. Also, it felt like a pretty typical fantasy story, and I’ve read so many of those that at this point I need something more to really intrigue me. I have a full review here with all of my thoughts.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ★★★★★
My love for Agatha Christie continues! I read this book in less than a day because I couldn’t put it down. Like, I don’t read many mystery stories, so maybe I’m just unaware of all the common tropes, but this felt so original and creative. And it was so creepy and terrifying! The premise is that ten people are invited to an island under mysterious circumstances, and then one by one, they start dying. It was so tense! I was glued to the page! I was also amazed because none of the characters are likable, and we know from the beginning that they’re all going to die, but she was still able to tell a compelling story and develop the characters. So moral of the story: I need to keep reading Agatha Christie.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton ★★★.5/5
I picked up this book because a) I’ve heard great things about the writing and the story, and b) it takes place in Seattle, my home! While I do think that the writing is beautiful, I didn’t love this as much as I’d hoped. It’s a bit slow moving, which I didn’t really have a problem with – it just took some adjusting for me to realize that it was also a story of Ava Lavender’s grandmother and mother, so we didn’t hear about her own life for a while. So I wasn’t completely invested in the story itself, though I did like the contrast between whimsical and melancholy. Magical realism can be pretty hit or miss for me. Also, I was pretty unprepared for the depiction of sexual assault that happens in this book. I don’t think it was handled badly, but I was just not aware that it was coming and wasn’t emotionally prepared for it, so it did end up affecting my enjoyment somewhat.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir ★★★★.5/5
I have a spoiler-free review for this one! I was very excited to read this book, and it definitely lived up to my expectations! I hoped for an exciting, unique fantasy story and that’s exactly what I got. This world is inspired by the Roman Empire, and the story follows Laia and Elias, a slave and a soldier respectively, neither of whom are happy about their place in the world. I loved the dual storylines – they were both really interesting in their own right, and the way that they kept circling around each other was wonderful. Plus, I loved the characters. I can’t wait to read the next book!
I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman ★★★★★
Alice Oseman strikes again! I knew within the first pages that I would love this book, to be honest. It’s another dual perspective story, following Angel, a fangirl, and Jimmy, a member of the band that she loves. The story doesn’t go in the direction that you’re probably expecting, though (as in, they don’t fall in love). This was a really heartfelt story showing both the good and the bad of fandom, with incredibly strong and highly developed characters. I couldn’t get enough of it. Read all of my thoughts in my review!
Dear Martin by Nic Stone ★★★★/5
In line with books like The Hate U Give, this story follows Justyce as he writes letters to Martin Luther King Jr. in an effort to make sense of living as a young black man in America. After being racially profiled and arrested, among other incidents, he struggles to deal with day-to-day discrimination in the way that he thinks Martin would. Obviously, this book is extremely timely, since this is such an important topic in America today. It addresses a lot of issues around privilege, stereotyping, racialized violence, and so much more. While I did enjoy those aspects, the story itself wasn’t as interesting to me, so that’s where it fell flat in my opinion. But Justyce was a wonderful character whom I love.
I also DNFed (did not finish) two books this month, which is unusual for me. The first was For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, which is a scifi retelling of Persuasion. Right up my alley, wouldn’t you think? Unfortunately, it wasn’t wonderful. I didn’t like that the Wentworth character (named Kai in this) was a bad boy! He was so mean and it was out of character! Also, I don’t think it translated very well into a scifi setting. Of course I know that retellings are allowed to make changes to the original story, but I felt that this lost a lot of the subtleties and beauty of Persuasion, so I ended up putting it down about halfway through.
I also DNFed All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, which was a huge surprise to me, because I love her other books. I don’t know, I just had trouble getting into this one. It didn’t feel like the right time. The beginning was pretty slow paced and the story just wasn’t grabbing my attention. I might end up coming back to this one someday when I’m more in the mood, but right now I’m not feeling it.
I met Becky Albertalli!
She came to a bookstore near me a few weeks ago along with Katie Cotugno and Julie Murphy, and she was the sweetest person ever. Believe it or not, this was my first time meeting one of my favorite authors in person. I was pretty nervous, but it ended up fine and I didn’t embarrass myself terribly. And I even asked her to write “and they were roommates” on my copy of Leah on the Offbeat. She didn’t understand the Vine reference, so my friend and I basically acted it out for her and it was amazing. And we told her we’re really excited for What If It’s Us this fall. It was a wonderful experience and I’m so happy. Gonna be riding this high for a while.
Moving to New York
I’m going to be living in New York City for the next two months, which is so incredible! This is only my second time in the city, and now I’m a resident. How the heck did that happen??? Anyway, I’ve only been here for a few days, but it’s been great so far. It’s definitely going to be a busy summer, and we’ll see if I survive the summer heat, but no matter what I’m glad I’m here. There’s going to be so much fun stuff to do! Including…
BookExpo & BookCon!!!
This wrap-up is scheduled to post on my first day of working at BookExpo, and technically most of the event happens during June, but WHATEVER I’m excited!! I’ll be working at both events! If I meet any of my faves (all of whom are going to be there), I might just die. It’s FINE.
- Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
- More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
- A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
- Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
- Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Fellow bloggers! Are you interested in taking part in something cool and Harry Potter-related during June? If so, leave a comment! More details to come soon, and if you comment I’ll be sure to tag you!
What did you read this month? What are your hopes and dreams for June? Do you think I’ll survive seeing my favorite authors at BEA and BookCon??