I recently saw a Goodreads blog post for book suggestions that featured a section on “you should read this book if you like” for each book. I love that idea and will implement this for my blog.
March was quite productive for me. I reviewed 5 books and read several more! I am happy with it. I also upped my official Goodreads reading goal to 100. Eeek, wish me luck!
***SPOILERS POSSIBLE *note: underlined titles were shopped from my own shelf
The Love Interest (Cale Dieterich) this really should get ZERO ♠
What a trainwreck of a book. I just don’t get what the author tried to do here?! Is it a parody of your usual YA books, is it a true attempt at writing a sci-fi YA novel, or is it some weird fantasy story that just so happens to have teenage characters? It wasn’t funny enough to be a parody. It wasn’t sci-fi as there literally were no science explanations of anything. And it sure as hell wasn’t fantastical. I seriously think that the story development was done by googling “what do the kids like today” and then cramming it into this book at random. Why this Nicki Minaj obsession? Why is there a need for a “good guy” and a “bad guy” character? Do teenagers really go for one or the other? And why are the teens in the story so damn off? You’d think entitled teenagers are the worst, just wait until you meet the love interests – a bunch of human robots imitating entitled teenagers. And don’t get me started on the “scientific” stuff? A f***ing black hole bomb? A glove that zaps your opponent unconscious? A bulletproof catsuit? WHAT?????? And the kicker is that all of them come in oh so handy when the teens fight the institution that creates the love interests. What a co-inc-i-dinc! If I were a teenager, I’d be offended that anyone thinks that’s how I am! In fact, I am offended for you guys. And then this “plot twist” with the narrator questioning his sexuality while he is competing for the girl – like he forgot how he felt about other boys in the past and conveniently now remembered a million incidents within which he was drawn to the male body to give the story “depth”. I’m sorry LGBTQA+ community – I really hope that one day we can write a character that is not full of tropes and stereotypes. So, all in all, don’t waste your time. Read something else!
This book is for you if you enjoy: YA, LGBTQ+ romances, questioning the world, fast reads, little to think about (i.e. a poolside read)*
*though tbh, I don’t recommend this book for anyone but I want you to have your own opinion 🙂
This book isn’t for you if are looking for: complex language, deep character development, realistic personal relationships, not getting angry while reading a book
Trenton Makes (Tadzio Koelb) ♠♠ and 1/2♠
This book has me feeling odd. It’s simultaneously meh and intriguing. I don’t know how that’s possible. I think my main problem is that although the book really centers around Art Kunstler, we never really get to understand how he feels that he is a woman living as a man. We sort of get to know the initial motivation but then it just drops off and becomes a novel about a man who “marries” dance hall girl, gets her impregnated by some drunk patron, and turns into a father who can’t relate to his son all the while deeply guarding his secret. Not even his family knows. I feel this novel had a ton of potential but didn’t follow through
This book is for you if you enjoy: interesting characters, Faulkner-esque times, harsh lives, unanswered questions, interpersonal relationships
This book isn’t for you if you are bothered by: the lack of deep insights and growth of characters, slow stories, not having resolutions to events and situations
Beyond the Green (Sharlee Mullins Glenn) ♠♠♠♠♠
This was just a lovely and stunning book. I cried – which always leads me to love a book more. I want this novel to be found in every middle-grade library. It’s important for stories like this to be available to anyone. Although I know very little about Mormon and Native American life, I could relate to the deep struggles of most of the characters – as they are truly universal. I think this book is a wonderful lesson in that all humans have similar needs, desires, fears, and hopes.
This book is for you if you enjoy: emotional conflicts in books, complex characters, remembering how you felt when you were younger, family stories, learning about other cultures, beautiful covers, a good cry
This book isn’t for you if you are trying to avoid: religion in stories
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North) ♠♠♠♠♠
This book is kind of a nerd-fest. It has “time-travel”, multiverse theories, psychological phenomena, historical references, and philosophical conversations. But it also has heart, lots of it. I loved Harry August – he is flawed, he is stubborn, and he is lovable. Of course, this novel is reminiscent of Groundhog Day but honestly, it is much much more. Harry has to relive his past, try not to change his future, and yet prevent a potential catastrophe that seems to come closer and closer to the present with every life he relives. The story is intriguing and believably written. You can tell that the author has either some expert knowledge and astrophysics or did substantial research on select topics. While this is a slow read (hint: not a fast-paced suspense novel), it has thriller components that kept me very engaged. The plot thickens as you go along and I wanted to know what happens next. All in all, I highly recommend this book!
You should read this if you: enjoy slow story development, sci-fi inspired events, complex characters, and long dialogues (internal and between people)
You should put this book away if you’re looking for: a past-faced thriller, suspense and mystery, or an easy read
The Inventors at No. 8 (A.M. Morgen) ♠♠♠♠
Another nerd-tastic read; this time geared toward middle schoolers and all packed in a historically-inspired steampunk-esque story. To me, this was a fun book. I enjoyed the characters and the plotline. Plus it had so many fantastical things: pirates, heists, inventions, chases across countries, intrigues, and secrets. I think this book is specifically relevant for young girls as one of the protagonists is a smart, independent, stubborn, and quirky girl – a fictional version of Ada Lovelace.
Read this book if you: want to be inspired, love historical fiction, enjoy quirky characters, want to be immersed in steampunk
Don’t read the book if you: think that women can’t do science AND are unwilling to have your mind changed
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan) ♠♠♠♠
A celebration of books. An injection of new technology into classic and maybe outdated views. A mysterious club. Young versus old. Traditional versus modern. This book is a story of opposites that have to come together to solve a puzzle. It is also filled with lovable and interesting characters. The novel kept me engaged and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It would’ve been a solid 5 spades had the language felt more mature. There was no real finesse in the words and the descriptions, which I think a book that celebrates knowledge obtained through the old (books) and the new (technology) really, really needs. I think this book speaks to adults, especially adults with some life experience, and I think as such it needs to read like literary fiction and less like a YA novel.
Get your hands on this book if you like: puzzles, books, people who seem like you and me
Avoid this story if you: get bored easily due to slow plot development, favor one over the other (books versus technology), don’t enjoy reading about computers and codes
Somebody’s Daughter (David Bell) ♠♠♠♠
This novel reminded me of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I liked the former but hated the latter. Somebody’s Daughter came much closer to Gone Girl. The story builds on two very human sentiments: 1) do I ever really know another person? and 2) how would my life have turned out had I chosen a different road?. It’s a whodunit story: fast-paced, gripping, engaging, and fun. It definitely was a page turner for me as I really wanted to know who kidnapped the young Felicity. Everyone had a motive and the means to do it. I think this book is going to be quite a summer hit (release date is in July). The only reason I am docking 1 spade is because the language was sort of meh, easy-peasy, without any finesse.
You’ll enjoy this book if you like: suspense, fun summer reads, books like Gone Girl
This book is a no for you if you: are looking for intricate language or character development.
Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) ♠♠♠♠♠
This book had been on my TBR forever! Well, it randomly was immediately available through my library as a Kindle book and although it wasn’t on my to-read-list for this month, I couldn’t resist! And honestly, I am so glad I didn’t. This book was me, probably still is, in all earnestness. I read and read and read as a kid and young adult and I can’t begin to describe how much books have shaped me. I was lucky in that, both my dad and my sister are also avid readers and we would constantly discuss books, authors, and storylines. I was a tad too old to be the target group for Harry Potter and in fact, didn’t read the first book until the second was about to come out (in German, didn’t really speak English well at that time), but then was totally hooked – an experience I loved sharing with my sister (who was totally target age!). I could relate so much to the protagonist in Fangirl and I totally get wanting to hang onto some of the books and fictional characters and memories and feelings. I think Rainbow Rowell has a knack for writing believable and relatable characters that are faced with the same challenges we are or were faced with at some point. I love how she can deconstruct a person throughout the story to really highlight flaws and struggles and then puts them back together at the end having learned a valuable lesson. Her books feel raw to me.
Get yourself a copy of Fangirl if you: like to read about the College experience, aren’t afraid to cry or feel deep emotions
This book is not for you if you: hate predictable romances
The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate) ♠♠♠♠♠
What a treasure of a book. It has so much gumption and heart. The few illustrations in it are lovely. Honestly, everyone should read it. ‘Nuff said!
Read this book if you are: human
Don’t read it if you are: a robot …. Actually, read it anyway.
The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) ♠♠♠
Anyone who loves sci-fi lit, time travel, fantasy, or in general classic books should read this short story. It is historically relevant and probably one of the most influential pieces of literature in the sci-fi genre. Yet, were this book to come out today, I would only feel lukewarm about it. In fact, after reading this tale, I just felt meh. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just simply a bit boring. The only take-home point I have is that the two types of human-like beings the protagonist encounters in The Time Machine who live above and below ground reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s London Above and London Below in Neverwhere … and now I wonder if Gaiman had been inspired by H.G. Wells’ writings (and why wouldn’t he be!) for his own story.
Read this: because it’s a classic!
Don’t read it if you don’t like: sci-fi, time travel, old-timey writing
The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela ♠♠♠♠
If you’re looking to expand your or your child’s vocabulary, this book is for you. The story is fun. The characters are lovable. The plot is predictable. BUT the words shine bright!
This book is right up your alley if you: want to learn more words, enjoy quirky family interactions, like to read out loud
Put this book back on the shelf if you: want to avoid predictable plotlines