Reading update: May, June and July 2021

I’ve read some interesting books over the last few months but I haven’t had much time to blog about them. I haven’t read as much as usual but did find some new books that I really enjoyed. And one that I didn’t like so much.

The first book I read was Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. This was such a wonderful story, following Frances who is obsessed with getting good grades in school but doesn’t actually feel like she fits in anywhere, even in the academic world where she excels the most. She’s quite a complicated character, with a group of friends who don’t really know much about her outside of the school’s four walls.

This novel is about self-discovery and the importance of great friendships. The characters in this book are ones readers will keep in their hearts for a long time. It’s not often that I add a new book to one of my all-time favourite lists but this one resonated with me on a different level and I wish I had read it when I was a teenager. I adored this book so much that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since it finished. One of the things I enjoyed most is the platonic friendship between Frances and Aled. It was nice to read a book where two people could be friends instead of having to fall in love at the end.

The second book I picked up was Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia which does have a similar plot and themes like Radio Silence. The big difference is that Eliza, the protagonist, is the creator of a hugely popular web comic, and in Radio Silence the main character is a big fan of a successful podcast. We see Eliza struggle with keeping her identity a secret as she falls for someone who avidly follows her comic. The author deals with mental health struggles really well and realistically. It was nice to read a realistic story about a character who is an introvert, instead of someone who all of a sudden becomes this big socialite.

The Book Club by C. J. Cooper was the third book I read and I wasn’t a big fan of this one unfortunately. I found it hard to get into at times. The odd number chapters are written in first person and the even number chapters are written in third person so it was confusing to start with. But I think the author did it so it felt more like a film or a TV show as we got to see what a range of characters, not just the protagonist, were doing in their spare time. It follows Lucy who left London for a small town after her circumstances made it difficult for her to stay working in the city.

Alice follows her there a few months later but neither Lucy nor the reader know who she is. Alice decides to integrate herself into Lucy and their neighbours lives’ by starting a book club all with a plan to destroy Lucy’s world. The concept of this book was really intriguing to me but I didn’t love it as much as other thrillers I have read. Nothing majorly jumped out and shocked me and I felt like I was guessing the plot correctly before it happened, which isn’t something a gripping thriller should do. However, overall it was a quick read and was different from a lot of crime books I have read in the past.

I also read You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson which I enjoyed but it wasn’t my favourite read of the last few months. It follows Liz who wants to attend university but can only afford to attend with a scholarship. When her initial scholarship falls through, she decides to run for prom queen instead. At her school the prom king and queen win a prize of a scholarship so this is her only chance. It was a fun and lighthearted read but also looking at deeper issues, including prejudice. I enjoyed the relationship between Liz and Mack as well as the music element. I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more when I was a teenager but I still thought it was a great book.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman is definitely a must-read and I wish I had sooner. This is quite a sad book as the main character deals with mental health issues. Tori Spring doesn’t seem to fit in. She has friends but likes to sleep a lot, even at school and blogs about her mental health. When someone at her school starts a game of called Solitaire to mess with their peers, Tori tries not to get involved, but it’s hard for her to avoid it, when she’s in the firing line of the games. She befriends Holden, who is a lot more outgoing than Tori but still doesn’t fit in. I like that their relationship blossoms slowly from a friendship. This wasn’t my favourite Oseman book but it was still a 4 star read for me.

Bookishly Ever After by Lucy Powrie is the final instalment in The Paper and Hearts Society trilogy. If you’re looking for a lighthearted young adult book to read then this is the one for you. It follows Ed who gets a job at his favourite bookshop. He struggles at first, especially as his colleague doesn’t seem to like him. This is a lovely story about friendships, books and has good autism representation. I would have liked to have seen more of his friendship group but the parts they were in were fun and filled with adventures surrounding all things books which didn’t disappoint.

My Face For the World to See by Alfred Hayes is a short but engrossing read. It’s one of those books that is easy to finish in one sitting. The novel is based in Hollywood and follows a screenwriter who rescues a drunken actress who wanders into the sea. What is interesting about the novel is the fact that both the main characters struggle with mental health issues. It’s a dark read looking at the other side of the glitz and glam of the celebrity world. I wish there was more of the story because it was quite short. But it’s definitely one of those books that absorbs you in from the first page. I liked that both characters were flawed but they didn’t fully hide from that and there seemed to be an understanding between them that they wouldn’t judge one another.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a book that I think most people have read but I hadn’t ever picked it up. It surprised me as it was quite spooky for a children’s book but fun and enthralling at the same time. Coraline is a children’s horror book. And even though it sounds completely scary, I think it would be quite a fun read for any young person. It reminded me a bit of the spookiness of some of Roald Dahl’s books, such as The Witches. The main character has to figure out how to save her parents after they go missing. Scary figures that look a lot like them try to keep Coraline in their world. There are lots of twists and turns in this book that made it a fast and unputdownable. I only wish I had picked it up when I was younger – though back then I probably would have been too scared.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know by commenting below. I’m also on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest – @bookwormgirl_24

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