I made the decision early on in the process of starting my blog that I wasn’t going to review every book I read, I used to put that pressure on myself and it really sucks the joy out of not only reading but the blogging experience too. It also has an effect on not only how much you enjoy what you read but in my opinion, reading to review changes how you read full stop. Having said that, I do want to be able to talk about other books I’ve read in some capacity and a monthly wrap up seems to be the perfect avenue to do that. If I have reviewed any of the books I talk about, they’ll be linked via the titles!
Rocha has tackled the topic of HIV amongst three young men in Brazil. It’s a novel that ultimately deals with friendship, self-introspection and what it’s like to be a young person. As I said in my review, I can’t comment as to how well done the HIV representation is. However, I will say that the balance between the informative elements of the book (i.e. medical information re: HIV) and the plot was nicely done.
AGAIN AGAIN by E. Lockhart | ★★★.5
This was a book that took me by surprise, it’s a deftly woven tale of what-ifs and could-bes. As someone who is pretty nostalgic, sometimes to a fault, this book appealed in ways I didn’t even know I wanted a book to do so. It’s a concept that is really well executed by the author. At times it reaches for greatness with some poignant ideals but overall it fell just shy of hitting the mark.
GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN by Talia Hibbert | ★★★★
This book is an absolute gem, equal parts funny, sweet and sexy. My cheeks hurt from smiling for a good portion of this book. If you’re looking for a romance that will just make you feel good while also being authentic and well-written, this is the book for you. I adored how unapologetically herself Chloe was, she never had to change herself in “pursuit” of her love interest. The banter between the two MCs was perfect and I adore Redford (a tattooed painter turned superintendent dealing with his own issues) – I just want to wrap him up and take him home with me.
Similarly to Chloe Brown, this book is near perfect. I spoke about this in my review but Dani Brown just has a special place in my heart because the representation in it really appeals to me. Besides, who doesn’t love a good fake-dating romp? Hibbert has this genuine way of dealing with issues such as abuse and anxiety that while she doesn’t delve too deep into them, never feels surface level.
THE HENNA WARS by Adiba Jaigirdar | ★★★
I wanted to love this book so much and I do, I really do. It is a firm favourite and a book that I will recommend to everyone. It’s a necessary and important piece of writing. There’s parts of this book that are so true to form, so unapologetically authentic that I can’t not love it. Jaigirdar manages to concisely surmise the complex feelings of POC, especially POC immigrants, in mere sentences. There’s dozens of lines in the book that I have tabbed because they do such a damn good job of conveying feelings I’ve had and I’m sure many others have had. Outside of this, the book was a little waylaid by a weak writing style. As a debut, it excites me for what’s to come from Jaigirdar.
I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST by Mason Deaver | ★★★★
This book is a little something special. It can really receive no greater accolade from me than the fact that I adored it. I want to hold this book to my chest and never let it go. When I closed the book, my heart felt full. Deaver has succeeded in writing meaningful, authentic relationships and interactions – this is notable insofar as it carries the entire novel and it’s done so well, the skill is unmistakable.
Despite all the hype I’ve been hearing about this book, it did fall a little short. I enjoyed it as I was reading it and there was nothing glaringly wrong with it, but there were certainly some elements that could have been done a little better. Overall, the plot was convenient and predictable and I didn’t feel like enough time was spent on the sapphic relationship, even though this seemed to be a big point. However, the second half of the book was much better and had potential. I did temper this criticism in my review by saying that I think it’s really just limited by the market requirements of it’s genre.
PET by Akwaeke Emezi | ★★★★★
I urge you, with actual urgency, to go pick up a copy of this book and read it. It’s stunning, truly a gift. I feel like there’s little I can say that will accurately convey the reading experience of this book, it’s so good. Not to mention, relevant. It will be relevant now, it will be relevant six months from now and beyond that. It has fantastic representation (a trans Black MC who is selectively verbal and signs, a polyamourous relationship, a non-binary parent, a fully Black cast). I think this is one of those books that transcends age, it’s excellent at what it does and prompts much thought.