It’s the end of January, and I am kind of amazed that I’m keeping up with my New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ve started working out, I’ve prioritized my mental health, and I have been a reading fool. Almost all of the books I read this month have been winners and the kind I need to review immediately so you can read them, too. I’ve added mini-reviews of each below. Let me know if you’ve read them!
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
It has taken me weeks to try to put into words the way I feel about The Leavers. This story follows Deming Guo and his mother, Polly (a heroine as true and good as any superhero), on their journey after immigrating from China to America. At the heart of it, this is a gripping story about identity, what it means to belong, the strength and raw power of a mother’s love, and the holy purity of forgiveness. The Leavers manages to showcase the immigrant experience, while also highlighting the commonality in all of us in a deeply affecting and human story. I clutched this book to my chest when I finished it, hugging it in gratitude for the gift that Ko gave me. It is simply exquisite. A must-read, especially for mothers.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is a sweet, easy YA read for a rainy afternoon. When Dimple Met Rishi follows Dimple, an eighteen-year-old aspiring web-developer, as she navigates big dreams, cultural and generational clashes, and first love. Told well in alternating POV chapters between characters Dimple and Rishi, this is fun, light, with a strong first half and subpar, meandering second half that gets a little too caught up in itself. Even with that less than stellar second-half, I really enjoyed this novel and found that it was so different than a lot of YA I’ve read. Overall, if you’re looking for a fast, lovely read to fill an afternoon, this a great option.
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
There is a lot of story packed in this short book. Goodness I loved main character Quinn and his sarcastic, cynical humor. I laughed out loud several times, no easy feat for a book about grief and loss. Federle captures Quinn’s narrative voice so clearly that I felt like I was talking with a friend. The Great American Whatever isn’t perfect (the film trivia stuff is overworked and unnecessary), but the heart of this story, overcoming a massive grief, coming back to life after death, developing and integrating sexual identity in the wake of said grief, is shining and hopeful and well-worth your time. If you are a fan of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, this shares a shelf.
Far From The Tree by Robin Benway
This novel got under my skin for several reasons. It follows the story of three siblings adopted by different families as babies, who find one another as teenagers. This sounds like a hokey concept, but in its execution, Far from the Tree is earnest, hopeful and lovely. It tackles some intense subjects like teen pregnancy, adoption, LGBTQ relationships, divorce, and racial identity, which could make the whole novel a total bummer. Instead, it is infused with humor, optimism and heart. It is clear that Benway adores her characters as she writes them with tenderness and spirit. It is also a National Book Award winner, so get on this one!
Have you read any of these novels? What are your favorite books you’ve read so far in 2018?
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