Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (★★★★★)
The second book in The Nevernight Chronicles takes the assassin school storyline to the next level, with plenty of assassinations and 100% more gladiator stuff. From a surprise LGBT love story, to a murderous antihero you can’t help but love, plenty of sexy times, all the revenge, and four amazingly huge twists at the end of the novel (only one of which I was able to guess), you are in for one wild ride. Who will survive? What will be left of them? And will we ever find out who is writing the hilariously sassy footnotes?
This prequel to the gorgeously written and plotted Every Heart a Doorway follows the story of teacher Miss Lundy, way back when she found her own door that took her to the magical world of the Goblin Market. A fun but sad tale, In An Absent Dream — the technical first book in the series chronologically — is beautifully written and heart breaking. Read: another great addition to this absolutely perfect series! Fifty more books in the Wayward Children series, please and thanks!
Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian (★★★★☆)
The short story Cat Person appeared in the New Yorker and went crazy viral, with women recognizing something of their own love lives in the story and men totally missing the point. Now featured in Roupenian’s brand-new short story collection, You Know You Want This, I figured it was the perfect time to see what all the buzz is/was about. While I enjoyed this short, I can definitely understand why this oftentimes uncomfortable read is so polarizing.
Taylor’s latest series follows Lazlo Strange, an orphan who wants much more than his provincial librarian life … and gets it when he’s whisked on an adventure to the great, wide somewhere. Lushly told and beautifully written, Strange the Dreamer is the super imaginative, incredibly romantic first book in the fantasy duology of the same name that everyone keeps calling “a must read.” Spoilers: they are not lying, it is a must read. One with an ending that will leave you screaming, “Xfhskfdhdfkshfkahsfk!”
The final (and weakest) novel in The Thousandth Floor trilogy isn’t nearly as exciting or as high stakes as the first two books, and it definitely doesn’t feature as much fun, futuristic technology. From an unnecessarily long plot, to a very predictable conclusion, this is one trilogy that should have been a duology … or maybe even a standalone. Despite my numerous complaints, this is not a terrible read, but I wanted so much more than unnecessary will-they-won’t-they romantic drama.
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (★★★★☆)
Obsidio, the conclusion to The Illuminae Files, brings all your favorite characters — and let’s face it, some not so great new ones — together at last. While there are no horror elements like in the first two books, the plot more than makes up for it with some amazing AIDAN moments, the inclusion of comic book elements and illustrations, and a glorious and super experimental final battle. It’s certainly not the best book in the series, but it definitely goes out with a bang.
This collection of previously released Wattpad poetry has been re-edited to form a brand-new Amanda Lovelace duology titled Things That H(a)unt. While not as empowering as the rest of Lovelace’s collections, this one is still super raw and emotional, and features amazing opening and closing poems (the strongest of the bunch). Bonus: it’s her prettiest collection, and has beautiful illustrations throughout.
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Part memoir, part self-help(ish) book, part something else entirely, Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive seeks to remove the stigma society places on depression, by revealing the author’s own struggles with the disease, as well as peppering the book with facts and statistics on depression and suicide. Super personal and very raw, I see this as a sort of companion to Notes on a Nervous Planet, which is structured in a very similar manner. Warning: this one is not nearly as light-hearted, but equally helpful.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (★★★☆☆½)
Baby Teeth stars a pint-sized sociopath with designs to kill her mother, the mother herself, and the father who is completely oblivious to his wife and daughter’s true selves. You know, totally normal family dynamic type stuff. The story is made up of alternating chapters that switch between the crazed daughter who is too smart/demonic to be believable, and her mother, who is convinced she will never be a good enough wife and mother. While a super interesting premise — mostly because the kid is not alright — the plot definitely drags at times.
Rust & Stardust is based on the 1948 kidnapping of 11-year-old Florence “Sally” Horner, a crime that would go on to inspire the Vladimir Nabokov classic Lolita. Despite being pulled straight from history, Greenwood’s novel is less a true crime story and more historical fiction, exploring the horrors that Sally was most likely forced to endure during her 21-month ordeal, and the ramifications it had on the people in her life. This heartbreaking and beautifully written novel deserves every single star (and then some).
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Beautifully illustrated by Emily Carroll, this graphic novel adaptation of Speak re-imagines the classic novel for a new generation, complete with modern technology. Perfect for fans of the original, or someone who has yet to read the prose version, Anderson’s young adult story about finding your voice is even more prevalent for those growing up in the midst of the Time’s Up and Me Too movements.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (★★★☆☆½)
Sadly, Exit West was not what I anticipated. I was super excited to read about magical doors that take their users to far away places (the main reasons I picked up this novel), but was disappointed when the doors did not go to other dimensions. But mostly, I just found the overly extended sentences to be tiresome.
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike (★★★★☆)
Despite having a somewhat unlikable heroine who makes the worst decisions imaginable, Glitter is still an exciting ride that combines the decadence and fashion of Marie Antoinette’s court with fun, futuristic technology. Does this combo make any sense? Not really. Is it still an enjoyable and fast-paced read regardless? Absolutely.
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