My book challenge for this year is to read 60 books, which is about 5 a month. Last year I was stuck in such a book rut, and I can probably count on one hand the amount of truly good books I read that kept me intrigued. For my January round-up, I’m glad to say (who actually cares?) that I’ve kept to my five for the month and so I’m finally climbing out of that dreaded book rut. So here’s a little breakdown of what I read and what I think:
- Then she was gone by Lisa Jewel
Crime mystery is one of my favorite book genres, which is no surprise considering my obsession with true crime. Even though I found this a little predictable, it could just be because I’ve read so many similar books. Nevertheless, it was an intriguing read.
Synopsis: “She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding her. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet. But what really takes Laurel’s breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter. Because his daughter is the image of Ellie. Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?”
- The Hate You Give-
There aren’t words enough to describe what a masterpiece this book is. I might get a bit of crap for comparing this to such a classic, but you get a similar sense of timeless greatness when you read this that you would get when reading a classic like To Kill A Mockingbird. Star’s character is flawed and raw and real in a way that very few characters truly are. If you read one book this month, let this be it.
Synopsis: “The Hate U Give follows events in the life of a 16-year-old black girl, Starr Carter, who is drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend”
- The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Okay, this had me a little torn. On one hand, the plot of losing a sister was tough to read. It gave me all the emotions, having a similar relationship with my own sister. But beyond this, the book felt a little too predictable and GenX. Characters are written with way too many quirks in an effort to make them a bit different, to a point that it can be slightly…much. But I know most reviews of this book has been favorable, so maybe it’s just me.
Synopsis: “…tells the story of an American high school girl, Lennie Walker, struggling to cope with the sudden death of her older sister. Lennie becomes romantically involved with both her sister’s former fiancé, who shares Lennie’s grief and loss, and also with a new boy in town who shares Lennie’s love of music. Ultimately, Lennie must choose between the two relationships”
- Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Have I even done a Round Up without mentioning atleast one Colleen Hoover book? I love her. This book was not a favorite though. It felt like a slow moving car to nowhere. The plot was messy and written to directly lead to the topic of depression, instead of it being a by product of the plot. Nevertheless, hats off to Hoover for addressing depression. It’s important and I love that she knits vital issues into her fiction.
Synopsis: “Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.
Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.”
- After Ever Happy by Anna Todd
Now, if I reviewed this a year ago, I would have been its biggest cheerleader. The series is really interesting and intriguing to read. However, as I get older, I can’t advocate books that just teach women bad patterns. The main character, Tessa, is so obviously being emotionally abused, but the author continues to shape scenarios that make said abuse okay. Granted, it is fiction. But it’s not a message we need out there. It feeds the misconception that women are responsible for fixing broken men. No, sorry. I will never be okay with that. Whilst the last bit of this book sort of gives you hope that the characters are finally seeing the toxic patterns of the relationship, I was personally left disappointed with the climax. The first book does release as a film this year, just FYI.
Synopsis: “It’s never been all rainbows and sunshine for Tessa and Hardin, but each new challenge they’ve faced has only made their passionate bond stronger and stronger. But when a revelation about the past shakes Hardin’s inpenetrable façade to the core—and then Tessa suffers a tragedy—will they stick together again, or be torn apart?
As the shocking truth about each of their families emerges, it’s clear the two lovers are not so different from each other. Tessa is no longer the sweet, simple, good girl she was when she met Hardin—any more than he is the cruel, moody boy she fell so hard for. Tessa understands all the troubling emotions brewing beneath Hardin’s exterior, and she knows she’s the only one who can calm him when he erupts. He needs her.
But the more layers of his past come to light, the darker he grows, and the harder he pushes Tessa—and everyone else in his life—away. Tessa’s not sure if she really can save him—not without sacrificing herself. She refuses to go down without a fight. But who is she fighting for—Hardin or herself?”
That’s my wrap for the month. I feel like I was a bit harsh, so hopefully I feel better about what I read next. Comment with some recommendations!