February 2020 Reading Round-Up

February was a pretty good reading month for me. I read a mixture of new and old books. And everything I read I liked. No major compl...

February was a pretty good reading month for me. I read a mixture of new and old books. And everything I read I liked. No major complaints here.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid ★★★★★

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club (Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine, and literally the rest of the internet)

Brief synopsis: During one of her best friend's birthday parties, Emira gets a call from her employer asking her to come pick up their young daughter and take her out of the house for a while. It's close to 11 pm, and the Chamberlains have had a situation occur that requires the cops. Alix Chamberlain, an affluential White influencer, doesn't want her daughter around to witness police officers in their home. Emira, a babysitter and 20-something Black woman, takes two-year old Briar to the high-end grocery store down the street, where she's reported to store security and forced to remain in the store until Briar's father can show up and confirm his daughter was not, in fact, kidnapped. Following the grocery store incident, Emira continues living her life as normal, but the situation forces Alix to further consider her own actions and perceptions and to become more involved in the life of her babysitter.

Overall thoughts: When books are incredibly hyped, I oftentimes find they fall short of my expectations. This book was totally hyped up, but still exceeded everything I expected of it. Such a Fun Age not only entertained me as a story, it made me really think more introspectively about my actions and how they may affect others. I thought this book was incredibly well written, especially as a debut novel, and the characters were amazing to connect with and learn through. I definitely recommend this one! Full review here.

Real Lifeby Adeline Dieudonné ★★★★☆

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A bildungsroman

Brief synopsis: An unknown narrator tells this story of a broken family, one that feeds on violence and hatred. At 8 years old, the narrator and her little brother Sam witness a horrible accident that leaves one dead. Sam is so obviously traumatized by the event that the narrator makes it her life's mission to learn physics and build a time machine that will take her back in time to change her brother's life for the better. The story is told over the course of seven years, in which the narrator strives to protect her brother.

Overall thoughts: Translated books can be pretty hit or miss for me. I think a lot of the time, something can be lost in the story through the translation. But Real Life was so wonderfully translated. The book is haunting and sad, and at times truly sickened me. I could definitely see this book being read in a literature class and fully analyzed - it's just that kind of book. I'd recommend this one for fans of The Glass Castle or A Wolf at the Table, though Real Life is not a memoir. Full review here.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver ★★★★★

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by a trans or nonbinary author

Brief synopsis: Ben has a secret, one they no longer want to hold in. They are nonbinary, and are ready to share this integral part of their identity with their parents. But things don't go as planned, and they get kicked out of the house. Shoeless, phoneless, and alone, Ben calls their estranged sister for help. She rushes to their side, and takes them in. Now Ben's halfway through senior year, in a new place, in a new school, and worried about having to come out again and again. They just want to get through senior year, so they can feel like they can finally be whole and open about their identity.

Overall thoughts: It was a great pleasure to read I Wish You All the Best. I haven't read many books written by trans or nonbinary authors, but this was my first time reading a novel from the perspective of a nonbinary individual. I love YA books so much because of the diverse perspectives, and that was something I really appreciated about this book. I also just really loved the characters. Ben and Nathan are precious humans. Full review here.

You Are Not Aloneby Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen ★★★★☆

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that passes the Bechdel test

Brief synopsis: Shay Miller is unfulfilled. Her roommate is a man she's in love with, whose girlfriend visits often. She has no friends, and no prospects. When she witnesses a horrific event one morning in the subway station, her life is quickly flipped upside down. She's thrown into a whirlwind of anxiety and PTSD, and stumbles right into the path of Cassandra and Jane Moore, who quickly take her under their wing. Only now, her situation has spiraled into "too good to be true" territory, which has become, well, too good to be true.

Overall thoughts: I enjoyed this book. I think Hendricks and Pekkanen are a great writing duo, and their books are always page turners. I felt You Are Not Alone was super twisty and I never knew what would happen next, which I loved! I also think that, unfortunately, their novels are very lacking in terms of diverse characters. I would definitely like to see more diversity in future novels they write. Full review here.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi ★★★★★

Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with more than 20 letters in its title (advanced)

Brief synopsis: Zélie is a teenage divîner who should've become a maji as a preteen; only magic disappeared when she was a child, when her mother (a full-blown maji) was taken from her and slaughtered by the king. Since then her family has struggled and her people (the divîners) have been treated as second class citizens. When their debts become too much for them to bear and she risks being entered into servitude, her brother Tzain and she travel to the capital city of Lagos to barter a rare fish for money. While there, they accidentally rescue Amari - princess and daughter of the murderous King Saran - who has in her clutches a scroll that can return magic to the land of Orïsha. Together, they all embark upon a journey to restore magic to the land and ultimately defeat the king.

Overall thoughts: Wow. I loved this book, and I very much loved the inspiration from West African and Yoruba culture. I learned a bit about these cultures after Googling things after finishing Children of Blood and Bone. Though this is fantasy, a lot of the world-building, magic, and creatures were easy enough to understand and follow along with. I really loved the story, the connection to real life issues, and the characters. I very much look forward to continuing with this series. Full review here.

What did you read in February?

* denotes book was received free in exchange of an honest review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

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