Whoops. This post is a lot late. My bad. I’ve been doing awful at sticking to a blogging schedule, but I swear I am trying! August was pretty busy for me though, so that didn’t really happen. And I’m still working on my Psy-Changeling series review post, so that’s seven books in the first half of August I won’t be talking about. I think I’ve maybe broken my continual re-reading of the series habit. Maybe? I actually already want to read Kiss of Snow again, so maybe not. Anyway, I read some other books, so let’s talk about those!
2. Leah on the Offbeatby Becky Albertalli
I kept putting this book off because I’d seen some fairly negative things about the book and I didn’t want that to influence how I felt. So I waited until I felt like I could read the book without letting those thoughts infiltrate my mind, but (a) the reason I didn’t love this book was actually unrelated to what I’d seen and (b) the thing I kept seeing everyone complain about felt very legitimate when I got to it.
If you aren’t aware, Leah is essentially the sequel to Simon vs. but Leah is our protagonist rather than Simon. Leah is a prickly teenager, who has a lot of teenage angst going on, is poor in a friend group where that’s abnormal, and is honestly maybe suffering from depression. She says her mom is her best friend, but then treats her mom terribly, which is the main reason I didn’t like this book. Anyway, Leah is bisexual, but is only out to her mom. This book does eventually have a f/f relationship in it, which is exciting, but for the fact that Leah expects the girl she likes to have completely figured out what her sexuality is and is not okay with it just being “not straight.” The way Leah handles this is both understandable, in that it seemed somewhat realistic to me, and terrible in that it seems to perpetuate this idea that we should all just KNOW what our sexual orientation is. But labels don’t work for everyone and that should be okay. Anyway, I didn’t love this book at all. Also, my Hufflepuff sensibilities were offended so there’s that.
9. First Comes Loveby Emily Giffin
I hated this book so much that I ranted about it to two separate people like the characters in this book were real people I knew making stupid decisions and being hateful for no reason. (Seriously. I was walking down the sidewalk in Philly ranting about these characters to my best friend. People kept staring at me, but I hated it so much I couldn’t stop.) So if you’re looking for a book that can cause you to experience intense emotions, this might be the book for you.
Essentially, this book follows two POV characters, sisters Josie and Meredith. A while ago (fifteen years?), their older brother died and kind of split the family apart a little bit. Josie is a teacher and one of her students is the daughter of her “one true love” who broke up with her for REASONS. She does not handle this well. She is a drama queen and irritating. She also lives with her best guy friend, Gabe, but they are JUST friends. Meredith is an attorney who hates her life, but on Instagram pretends being a mom and a wife is the best thing ever. She is rude af to Josie for no reason and I disliked her immensely. Meredith is pretty much responsible for all of the reasons that she’s miserable so… Fair warning.
Anyway, I hated this book. Hopefully you won’t? The end was fine though.
10. Dr. Strange Beardby Penny Reid
I really adore The Winston Brothers series and this book was not an exception. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It falls into the other kind of second chance trope where it’s really a friends to lovers who missed the boat when they were younger, if that makes sense. Roscoe and Simone were best friends until he confessed his love for her and she did not respond well. Except, Simone doesn’t actually remember that happening. Now she’s back in town and Roscoe accidentally runs into her and then his dad shows up. Turns out, Simone is undercover for the FBI and they’re trying to bring down the motorcycle gang that Roscoe’s dad is a part of and so, whoops, Simone, you’ve got no choice but to buddy back up with Roscoe Winston.
Now, Simone is a black woman in a small town in Tennessee and race relations in America was addressed. While I appreciated Penny Reid’s attempt to write diversity, I honestly feel like she handled in better with Sienna in book two of the series. This felt a little overdone? Of course, I’m saying this as a white woman so take my feelings on this with a grain of salt. But if you’re a black woman who is interested in this book, just know that there’s a racist cop who Simone is pulled over by twice. There’s also an impassioned speech on how to be an ally, which I think is great, given that Penny’s audience is likely to contain a lot of white women.
Anyway, I gave this book a 4.5 because I really enjoyed it! If you’ve read it, please let me know what you thought of the characterization.
Reading Nalini Singh on repeat is really making these re-caps easy to do, but um, I really need to write this Psy-Changeling wrap up. I’m three books in out of seventeen so that’s a bit of a struggle. Anyway, I hope you had a good first half of August reading month!