I lost control at the library, who is surprised? And now I have
eleven books out from the library not counting the audiobook and two ebooks I have checked out via Overdrive. Whoops. So, I decided I would try the Read the First Chapter challenge/tag thing that I’ve seen on YouTube. Specifically, I just watched SheMightBeMonica’s library one and I was so invested, I had to do one myself. I limited myself to just reading the first chapters of the non-romance novels because I renewed one of the romance novels and am halfway through it and all of them are part of a series. So, these are in no particular order, but let’s get started!
1. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Well… First of all, LOVED IT. Second of all, I didn’t stop reading until Chapter Four. Y’all. I’m so excited to keep reading this book. If you haven’t heard of this book, it’s basically about three friends who travel from Australia to LA for Supa Con, which is basically Comic Con. Charlie is a vlogger who just stared in her first movie, which is quite popular. She also happens to be bisexual and Chinese Australian. Taylor is one of Charlie’s best friends and she suffers from intense anxiety that was honestly so relatable. She also falls on the autism spectrum and self-identifies as fat. Jamie is the third friend, but the one without a POV, and he is the best friend. I love him. He loves Taylor, I love him, she loves him. It’s great. He’s a wonderful human. Someone send me a Jamie. Kthx.
Honestly though, I was hooked on the dedication page, which says, “To the weirdos, the geeks, and the fandom queens. To the outcasts, the misfits, and everything in between. The days of playing the sidekick are over. You are the superheroes now. You are my people, and this is for you.” LOVE.
2. Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
Wow. This book jumps right in, with our bisexual, recovering from an eating disorder, and recently out of a relationship with a dude heroine on her way to the only gay club in Schuyler, Nebraska to try and get her friends back. Her friends who are a part of a clique called the Disco Dykes and are obnoxiously biphobic. It also contain’s the lines, “That’s doable. It’s not reasonable, but that’s why I’m drinking.” I’m not sure why this line struck me as so remarkably poignant but it did, so I thought I’d share. Diving right into the action and Etta’s emotions was startling, but not bad. It’s definitely got me intrigued to continue.
3. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Another wow. This book is heavy, which is something I knew going in based on the synopsis. Mary was convicted of manslaughter for killing a baby when she was nine. She’s about to turn 16 when we start Allegedly and the first chapter packs quite a punch. It contains a line I loved, “Figures of speech are luxuries convicted murderers are not allowed to have.” But it also contains an incredibly fat-shaming paragraph that brought me abruptly out of the narrative because it was just so offensive to me. So, not at the top of my list so far.
4. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
I AM SO EXCITED TO GET STARTED ON THIS FIRST CHAPTER. Um, yeah. I need this. I love this so much. SO MUCH. It’s so good already and I just can’t even explain to you.
In case you haven’t heard of this book, it’s a short book, it’s only 169 pages. The blurb on the inside says, “Children have always disappeared under the right conditions–slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells and emerging somewhere . . . else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced . . . they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her newfound schoolmates to get to the heart of things. No matter the cost.”
Diversity: Asexual MC, Trans MC, Japanese side character, and Latina side character
5. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this book, but I actually really enjoyed the first chapter. My attention was hooked from the very beginning. Toward the end of the first page, “It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class–in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding–but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does.”
Diversity Elements: Middle Eastern main characters
6. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
This book is really difficult to read, which makes sense given that it’s about slavery. The first chapter is telling the story of Cora’s grandmother, which is fascinating, heartbreaking, and honestly just devastating. I think it’s so easy for us to fail to grapple with the horrors of slavery now that we’re fairly removed from slavery as it existed pre-Civil War. The first chapter doesn’t have information about the Underground Railroad (which is actually a railroad), but I’m very excited to find out more about how that was interpreted by Whitehead.
Diversity Elements: African American main characters
7. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
This is another book where I could not stop after the first chapter, though I did manage to stop after the second, so good job me! I adored Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ and I still think it’s such an important book. The books opens with Ramona saying farewell to her summer love, Grace. It’s really sweet and made me want to listen to “Tim McGraw” by Taylor Swift because, well, everything makes me want to listen to Taylor Swift. Chapter two introduces us to Hattie, Ramona’s sister, who is pregnant and the fact that the sisters seem extremely close pleased me immensely. There was also a lot of discussion about being from a small town and feeling trapped/wanting to escape, but also feeling like you can’t leave. I’m so excited to get to this book!
Diversity Elements: Bisexual main character; the love interest is black, I think? Will update you when I find out for sure at the end of the month!