Super belated (as usual) but here are the books I read in April. Some great ones in this bunch!
THE WINNER’S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski
A reread to prepare for book three. I enjoyed this even more the second time around. The first time I was itching for Kestrel and Arin to be on the page together, but this time I appreciated their individual journeys/dangers/strategies even more. Kestrel is one of my all-time favorite YA heroines, and this second book dives even deeper into her brilliant mind.
UP TO THIS POINTE by Jennifer Longo
Ballet + Antarctica = I am sold! This was a plot I’d never heard of before. When Harper’s life plan to become a professional ballerina goes down in flames, she finagles her way onto an Antarctic expedition. One of her ancestors was a South Pole explorer, so she figures, why not? Her panic and hopelessness about her lack of direction rings so true. The story is told in two timelines, jumping back and forth between Harper’s life in Antarctica and the year before as a ballerina. The ballet parts were my favorite—I’m really into ballet books lately! I recommend this one for sure, especially if you’re looking for an MC trying to rediscover herself.
THE WINNER’S KISS by Marie Rutkoski
One of my most anticipated books of the year, and I was SO pleased with it! No spoilers, but I was very happy with how things played out. There’s not a lot I can say without giving something away, but we finally saw Kestrel and Arin together in more than just a handful of scenes. Very satisfying!
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
Jim Dale’s narrations are my all-time audiobook favorites. I borrowed this one through the OverDrive app and listened to it night and day (practically). SO enjoyable!
THE WAY I USED TO BE by Amber Smith
THIS BOOK. Wow wow wow. The story follows Eden through all four years of high school after she is raped by her older brother’s best friend. It’s a completely character driven story, showing how the assault shapes Eden’s sense of self and decision-making. We see her cope, we see her spiral downward, we see her make and lose friends. Even when she’s not thinking about what happened to her, we can see how it has saturated her every action and decision. This quote sums up Eden’s journey well:
“And me, well, before it was like you had the girl and then you had the rumors about the girl, but now there’s only the girl, because the rumors aren’t just rumors anymore, they’re the reality—they are the girl.”
NO BAGGAGE: A MINIMALIST TALE OF LOVE AND WANDERING by Clara Bensen
I wanted a travel memoir, and this one caught my eye. Traveling with just the clothes on your back and money/passport/iPhone in your purse? And your companion is a guy you met on OKCupid a few weeks ago? Sounds like the opportunity for panic, hilarity, and some great lessons. But what I got from the book? Minimalist traveling is actually no big deal. Nothing went seriously wrong—Clara didn’t even seem to struggle—so it made for kind of a dull read. Also, the dialogue between Clara and her boyfriend/travel companion, Jeff, read as very philosophical/academic/pretentious. Her thoughts and narration sounded normal, but I wondered if they really only talked about super abstract concepts instead of more normal exchanges like: “Oh my god, these sandals are MURDERING my feet right now.”
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs
I put off reading this for YEARS because the pictures scared me. I thought the book was going to be a horror story, but I was so wrong. In case you haven’t read it I won’t spoil anything; it’s one of those (I think) where it’s best to go in blind and discover the story as you go. Basic plot: After a family tragedy, Jacob journeys to an island off the coast of Wales with his father and finds the remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Who were these children? Why did they live on this island? Jacob unravels the mystery, and discovers he might play a part in it.
IN THE AFTERLIGHT by Alexandra Bracken
Finishing The Darkest Minds series has been my goal for almost two years. Finally, FINALLY accomplished it in April. A solid finale—slower-paced, but once we hit the big takedown part, I was hooked. Also, I almost started crying when our gang was reunited with a character we haven’t seen for a while. And books DON’T make me cry unless they’re HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, so when I come close, it’s a big deal.
I read some solid books in April. My favorite is a tie between THE WAY I USED TO BE and THE WINNER’S KISS—though you can’t really compare the two, so I’m making it a tie! Favorite contemp, favorite fantasy.