I started this month with a cheeky Easter holiday which always means lots of reading. It’s also funny how much reading you do when you don’t have anything to Netflix binge! There were some great reads for me this month, so here’s what I thought of them all.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (J.K. Rowling)
- The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
- The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner*
- Nasty Women by 404 Ink
- Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Everyone should read this book, and by everyone, I mean white people. Yes, it is America-centric but the themes reflect the long-standing impact on racism across the world. Obviously, this was not the intention of the author, but as I was reading it I was quite ashamed of my race’s actions. I see myself as an ally to people of colour in their fight against racism, but reading this book made me painfully aware of the impact of underlying (and very obvious) racism has on young people of colour. It helped me to get closer to appreciating what people of colour go through, even in a society that, from the top layer, looks like it’s come a long way in terms of race equality.
Starr and her family felt homely when I was reading this. Most importantly, it showed me that so many different people experience different lives from my own. If you love young adult, and you want to broaden your mind, this is for you. Fantastic piece of fiction, social commentary and entertainment. Well done, Angie Thomas.
“Madam Pince, our librarian, tells me that it is ‘pawed about, dribbled on, and generally maltreated’ nearly everyday – a high compliment for any book.”
It’s hard to go a month without dipping back into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This time I went for a small book I’d never actually read before. I decided to get this one on Audible because it was newly released and read by Andrew Lincoln and I needed company one day walking home from work.
Look, I only gave it three stars because it wasn’t exactly written to wow. It’s a nice read, enjoyable enough, but there’s no depth to it and it didn’t match up to some of the other short Harry Potter books I’ve read. As always, J.K. Rowling’s witty style livened up the pages with colour, and it was a nice accompaniment to my walk home, but I wouldn’t have been missing out if I’d not read it.
“On the outside, grief was expressed in judders, faltering and unsure, but inside it felt as constant as breathing.”
I have to make it clear from the outset that this is the second time I’ve read this, and it’s my favourite new fiction book. I love the world that Kirsty Logan has weaved together to create this beautiful and enchanting story about a circus boat, a girl and her bear, and an outsider looking for forgiveness.
Despite my five star rating, it’s not perfect. I found some of the scenes hard to picture in my mind how she must have, but I just went with what I came up with. But this didn’t matter to me, if anything it made it more magical because it felt more personal and I felt a part of the story.
Sometimes, fiction books are great, but they don’t truly envoke the skill of storytelling. The Gracekeepers is the exact opposite. This is storytelling at it’s best, and if you like a complex set of characters set in a fantasy (but familiar) world, then hop off to the bookshop and pick up a copy of this.
“The trouble with San Francisco was that I could never have a future in that city, only a past.”
I was so torn about my rating for this one. Shall we meet in the middle and say 3.5 stars?
What I loved about this book, was it’s deep analysis and criticism of mass incarceration, particular with reference to the USA but the themes are familiar here in the UK too. This was one of those books that perfectly fills the role of fiction as a commentary on society and is definitely worth a read.
However, the book is written with chapters focussing on a certain character at the time, and one particular character I just didn’t understand the point of having there. Which meant that every time (not often but still) the chapter focussed on him, I either put the book down because I wasn’t interested or tried to rush through it to the next chapter.
All-in-all though, if you enjoy the kind of fiction that challenges the world and makes you seriously think about the issues we face in society, then you will definitely enjoy this. It was well written, and I’m without-a-doubt glad that I picked it up.
“There are so many rules that come with being a girl that you forget sometimes that these rules are fictitious patriarchal bullshit.”
I don’t really know how to feel about this. I read it in audiobook form and it took me ages to finish. On the one hand, it was handy to be able to just dip into each different chapter/essay for 10-20 mins and then pick it back up two weeks later, but it struggled with the flow.
Although, undoubtedly, this is an eye-opening read. What I loved most about it, and why it’s received four stars from me, is it’s commitment to diversity of voices. Feminism is not feminism without intersectionality, and I really learned a lot about other women’s experiences. This book definitely deserves a place on the to-read shelf of any woman committed to gender equality.
“If she thinks me drinking coffee is big news, it’s going to be quite a fucking morning.”
YES. YES. YES. YES. We should all know by now that I love a good young adult. They’re easy and quick to read and full of real characters and real emotion, and this one was SPOT ON.
I knew I wanted to see this film, but it’s practically a cardinal sin to watch an adapted film before reading the book first. So I knuckled down and oh, my, am I glad I did. I think my favourite thing about this book, was Simon’s family. I loved them, they were so real and loving and awesome. Often in YA you get parents who are controlling or annoying in because it’s not cool to be friends with your parents when you’re a teen, so this was such a breath of fresh air.
But let’s not forget the most important thing about this book. It told a story about real teenagers and one particular boy’s understanding of sexuality. And at the end of the day, this was a love story. It was so true to teen feelings and I almost felt transported back to my days in high school fawning over my most recent crush. Becky Albertalli really is talented with this genre. Not a book to be missed.
So there you have it, April’s reads all tied up! I was quite sad when I came to the end of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda because when you read such a fantastic book, I always think that my next one will never live up to it. But I’m sure that won’t be the case, and tune back in next month for lots more excellent reads. In the meantime keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on Goodreads and Instagram.
Happy reading. 💕📚
*Please note that this was a review copy given to me free-of-charge by the publisher.