hi hi hi, friends! it has been a while since i’ve done a 3 mini review post, but this one has been sitting in my drafts for so long – i knew i wanted to quickly add a third review once 2022 came around! i hope you enjoy, and i hope you’re being gentle with yourselves! (and i hope to have another one of these posts up sooner than the last, muhahaha!) happy reading! 💗
✨ Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic #1) by Maya Motayne
💛 A review to check out: Johely’s!
“Magic could not speak, yet interacting with it felt like a conversation, a dance, a story shared with a friend with the ending left up to interpretation.”
This was our September 2020 pick for the Dragons & Tea Book Club, and I loved it so much. This is a story about identity, classism, privilege, freedom, honoring your culture and the past regardless of who tries to erase it, and respecting boundaries unapologetically.
This is a story about a boy named Elfie, who is the crown prince and can wield water magic in this world. He has been away for three months, grieving a brother who everyone thinks is dead. But now that he is back in his city, he meets Fin who can change appearances and maybe help him become someone else, too. It turns into a spy mission, involving stolen books, black magic, and erasing a language that still belongs to them. And Finn and Alfie realize they are both harboring an immense grief and trying to heal from abuse and their past.
This is such a beautiful book that I feel like is so underrated, which is an actual crime because the layers of this story render me speechless alone. Everything is also a love letter to Latine / South American culture and a mirror to the erasure still from colonization today. My heart was extra full at the way Spanish is also woven into this story constantly. I truly recommend this fantasy to everyone, and I am so honored that we picked it for a book club pick! Also, that ending? I need book two immediately!
Trigger & Content Warnings: anxiety, loss of a loved one, grief deception, talk of slavery, blood depiction, drinking, vomiting, gore, murder, torture, slavery, controlling, and abuse.
✨ Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
“That big love you give everyone else-you deserve to save some for yourself. You’re worth that much. You’re worth every good thing.”
This is a story told over the course of three days at a music festival, with alternating povs!
Olivia is there with her best friend in the whole world, and the one person who always has her back in every situation. Olivia has had a lot of not so great romantic relationships, but this last one ended with a massively evil invasion of privacy that has also caused her a lot of harassment before her junior year of high school ended.
Toni has grown up with music and the Farmland Music Festival for her whole life. It brings on so many happy memories of nostalgia, but also a lot of uneasy feelings about her future before her freshman year of college begins. But she hopes she will find some answers this weekend at the festival with her best friend.
And when a hidden apple(s) quest and a musical performance mission to win gets sprung on both of these girls and their friends the first day, we get to see everything playout the whole weekend. Sadly, I think this being told over three days was what didn’t work for me. I loved so many parts of this story, and I really enjoyed the first day and seeing the story being set up, but days two and three weren’t able to make me connect as much, even though my heart broke for all the characters very differently. I really think having a glimpse into the future past the three days would have really helped and really helped the insta-love too (and i’m not saying insta-love is bad or not real, it’s just not my favorite type of romance)!
You Should See Me in a Crown is one of my favorite YA contemporaries of all time (you still me holding it in my pfp, hehe) and I still am in complete awe of Leah Johnson and what they are doing for queer poc teens is truly life changing. Their stories are making so many people feel seen, making so many people cry real tears wishing they had books like this when they were younger (me), making publishing and the world such a more hopeful place. I will support and boost their voice always, and even though this book wasn’t the perfect book for me, I know it’s going to mean the whole world to so many!
Content and Trigger Warnings: loss of a parent, panic attacks, gun violence, and nonconsensual image sharing (provided by the author at the start of the book <3)! I also would like to add talk of mass shootings, anxiety depiction, asthma attacks, online bullying and harassment, ptsd depiction, many feelings of abandonment.
Buddy read with May! ❤
✨ The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
“I’ve never been surer of anything. Except maybe cell theory.”
the love hypothesis is the best romance i’ve read in years. it’s smart, funny, and oh so swoon worthy! and it was truly one of those books that reminded me why i love reading. i fell in love with both olive and adam so quickly, but i also found this to be one of the most believable fake dating romances, too. from the very first page, i was absolutely hooked and only felt more and more endeared throughout! (and even more late into the night when i desperately was signing up for the author’s newsletter so i could unhingedly get an adam pov bonus chapter!)
this book deals with some heavy themes at times, so please use caution and i’ll list some warnings below. i personally felt like the author does a thoughtful and important job at highlight what women of stem can face in many lab settings, while also always shining light on how much more noninclusive (and scary) that it can be for bipoc women and nonbinary people of stem. (the author note at the end with some resources was really amazing, too)
i just appreciated so much of this book and this author’s words. this story was a little niche to me and my personal life, so i think that also helped me fall in love! (i’m not sure if i can blame it on why i was giggling a sickening amount into my pillow – but i will pretend!) and i also want to note, that the word is never on page, but there was some demi rep in this story that i found very relatable and it meant a whole lot to me too.
i am so very excited to see what this author does next. this was nothing short of a treat to read. the friendships were everything, the banter was perfect, and the sex was 11/10.
(if you’d like to learn more about pancreatic cancer research here are some that are near to my heart!)
trigger and content warnings: talk of cancer, loss of a parent in the past, talk of fear of needles, and sexual harassment, abuse of power, + bullying in work/college settings.
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