Oh, HEY. It has been a little while. I’ve been offline a bit due to COVID-19 & Election anxiety, re-becoming a SAHM to a precocious toddler, and then in September, returning to work as a middle school librarian with COMPLETELY different circumstances. To get me back in the groove, let’s do some mini-reviews of my October reads!
WE RIDE UPON STICKS by Quan Barry — What a GEM! This novel takes place in 1989 Danvers, MA, and features a field hockey team who decides to use magic to improve their athletic prowess. It is so quintessentially 80’s, so perfectly small-town Massachusetts. I loved all the allusions and references to REAL places in the state, the vibes you feel when traveling to other towns & schools for events (or competition, if you were a bando like me), and the deep thoughts these high schoolers had on race & gender. I also particularly loved how this novel was told in first person plural perspective, meaning the author chose to use the coven of witches/team itself as a character. It was wacky, witchy, and wonderful.
THE INHERITANCE GAMES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes — This YA mystery has been described as ‘Cinderella’ meets Knives Out, and that’s a perfect comparison. This story was a fun puzzle to figure out along with the main character Avery, who has suddenly inherited millions of dollars from a man she doesn’t even know, leaving his grandsons almost penniless. I loved the setting & the characters were fun. Can’t wait for the sequel!
UPRIGHT WOMEN WANTED by Sarah Gailey — I read this novella in an afternoon. It was SO FUN! It takes place in a near-future Wild West America. Censorship reigns supreme & any kind of deviance is quickly quelled. Librarians travel from town to town with Approved Materials from the State to share with citizens…and maybe something else. These librarians were rebellious, bad-ass and super fun. I wanted this story to last much, much longer than it did.
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND by Rumaan Alam — THIS BOOK DROVE ME NUTS. I love end-of-the-world stories, so I was so excited to read this. This story is about a family renting a house on Long Island for a vacation, and the owners of the home come to the house, claiming some kind of catastrophe in New York City. There’s no phone or internet for this family to confirm the news. The writing is overly wordy and the ending is wholly unsatisfying. If you want to feel unsettled, read this book.
THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab — This book is stunning. Just so, so wonderful. It follows Addie from 1700s France when she makes a Faustian bargain to save herself from a boring life. She ends up learning she’ll live forever, but no one will ever remember her. She leads a fascinating life through 300+ years of history — until one day she meets someone who remembers her. You NEED to read it. It will make you reflect on your own personal time on Earth, your own purpose, your own impact, and so much more. This has now risen in the ranks to be one of my Top 5 books ever.
MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia — A creepy & gory horror novel that takes place in Mexico. It was well-written and a fun read, but not quite for me. I found myself more interested in the Mexican history & society rather than solving the mystery of what was happening in the house. Guess horror is just not for me.
VANISHING FALLS by Poppy Gee — Thanks so much to William Morrow for my review copy! This was just not a winner for me, unfortunately. I didn’t really like any characters and the tone of the novel was one of whimsy while the novel itself was about a missing woman. I loved the setting and learning about life in Tasmania, though.
WHITE IVY by Susie Yang — This novel was a fascinating look at the lengths one may go to in order to rose in the ranks, to find success, and to break free of her past. Ivy is a Chinese immigrant who arrives in the US as a young girl, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. There were some twists & turns, but it was absolutely more of a character driven novel and an examination of the American Dream that really made me think.
MIDDLEGAME by Seanan Maguire — I don’t know how to describe this novel, really. It’s about Roger & Dodger, twins who have been created by an alchemist to control the universe. It’s fantastical & magical & full of fun. Definitely not my usual genre taste, but very entertaining and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
How was your October?