Welcome back to Things I’m Obsessed With!
I’m currently reading the new Sarah Dessen and I love it! I feel like it’s officially summer when I get to read one of her books. So bring on a heatwave and some pink lemonade, because it is finally here.
I saw Wonder Woman recently and I LOVED it. Like to the point where I ordered a Funko Pop of Diana and have preordered the movie. It is my second favorite superhero movie (behind the 1989 Batman, though I do acknowledge this is a better movie).
Sleep. (No explanation needed.)
So what are you obsessed with this week?
Finished From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle. I received a copy for review.
Cal killed his little brother, Sammy. That’s the first thing we learn in this book. Soon, we learn there’s a lot more to it than that, but it’s important to know that going in. This is a great book, but it’s also a sad one.
It’s easy to tell that Cal loves Sammy and that he’s a good big brother. But he wants to spend his summer with Aleta (a new girl) and most of the time, nothing would happen because of it. But Sammy feels left out and then he gets sick. There’s no correlation, of course, but now Cal feels guilty.
This is such a good book but it’s a hard read. (Not the whole way, of course, but be prepared. This book will carve out your heart.)
Highly recommended. (Have tissues.)
Finished Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley.
This novel is told from Max and Menna’s perspectives and goes back and forth in time. The twins are basically the lowest of the low; they’re poor and their mom is an alcoholic (their dad is not around). And they meet Nick. He’s Native American (and, as their older sister snarls at them, the one person worse off than they are). His friendship with Menna deepens and sets off a chain reaction.
You know how sometimes you read a book and you just know it will break your heart? That’s this one. I read it and hoped for things to go well, and yet as I kept reading, doors leading to positive outcomes started slamming shut.
It reminded me a little bit of IT, if the Losers Club lived in a normal town without a bloodthirsty clown…but still had the team of bullies after them.
I loved it. (But the author and I are fighting.)
Finished Antisocial by Jillian Blake. I received a copy for review.
Anna is just trying to get through her senior year. Her boyfriend broke up with her and her friends are still mad that she ditched them for her boyfriend. And then a hacking scandal starts—someone is sharing all of her fellow students’ secrets.
This was fun but very superficial. It was compared to Pretty Little Liars, and it does have that vibe. But while those books were over the top and incredibly entertaining, this one took itself a little too seriously. That’s not a bad thing at all, but if you’re going to compare yourself to those books, you need insane happenings.
I also didn’t really connect with the characters. You don’t need a sense of who they are to feel awful for them (no one wants their texts or Google search history broadcast, right?) but seriously. I should have wanted to cry at some of what happened.
It sounds like I hated it, right? I didn’t. It was a perfectly entertaining novel. I just hoped for more.
Finished Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee. I received a copy for review.
Tash and her best friend Jack have created a web series called Unhappy Families. It’s an updated version of Anna Karenina. (As you may have guessed from the title, Tash is a fan.) The series ends up going viral and she has to deal with newfound popularity.
Here’s all the awesome stuff that isn’t in that synopsis: the book is about friendship and family and all the various types of love. Because Tash is asexual and it’s not the most interesting thing about her. She likes guys and can appreciate them but she doesn’t want to have sex. She likes romance ok but that is as far as she’s interested in going; she doesn’t want to have sex with anyone, ever. And her friends are confused but supportive because they are awesome.
And I love Tash’s family. Her parents are great and her sister is moody but great, and this book feels like real life but better.
All I want is for Kathryn Ormsbee to write a billion more books and release them in a James Patterson-style way. I want new books every month and yes that is unreasonable but her books are awesome and I love them.
Finished What is the Bible? by Rob Bell. I received a copy for review.
Like basically every Rob Bell book ever, this one is controversial. I’m not entirely sure why, since “People wrote the Bible, and you have to (a) view it as a whole instead of as separate parcels and (b) consider the context of the time” is not exactly a revelation.
I think most would agree that the wording of the Bible is deliberate (repeated phrases, for example, showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of earlier prophecies and parts of the Bible).
Odds are, a lot of conservatives have decided that everything he says is heresy…but when you have someone encouraging people to read the Bible and then actually THINK ABOUT IT, I’m pretty sure that’s only a good thing.
Finished It Started With Goodbye by Christina June. I received a copy for review.
Tatum is under house arrest after she was deemed the getaway driver in a shoplifting incident (her best friend’s boyfriend stole iPhones and gift cards; she had no idea). She and her stepmom have a…we’ll go with complicated relationship at best, and this is certainly not an ideal set of circumstances.
This is essentially a modern retelling of Cinderella and it is fantastic. I liked Tatum a lot and watching her grow over the summer made me really happy. Yes, there are nods to the story but it is also its own story.
I flew through the book and loved every second. I knew it would end well (hello, it’s a fairy tale!) but it was even better than I’d hoped.
Finished Keys to the City by Lisa Schroeder.
Lindy is not enthused about her summer homework (she has to find something she’s passionate about and good at). Her friends already have their things: music, dance, stuff like that. But Lindy loves books and emojis and that’s not exactly a career in the making. She has the summer to find what she excels at…except she has no idea how to even start.
This book is adorable and amazing. I feel like we all know people who have their lives together and they’re intimidating enough now, so I don’t envy Lindy having to deal with this in middle school.
If you’ve ever felt lost when it comes to the future, this book is for you. (Either way, this book is for you. It’s clever and incredibly sweet.) Lindy and her friends stole my heart.
Finished The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord. I received a copy for review.
Lucy’s life is perfect: she loves her parents, her faith is rock solid and her boyfriend is amazing. Except when her mom’s cancer comes back, it all falls apart. Lukas wants to put things “on pause,” and she’s angry at God. And when she gets a summer job at a camp for troubled kids, she even loses her parents (physically; their relationship is still good).
This book is Emery Lord’s best yet and that’s saying something. Lucy is the most realistic girl I’ve met in ages. I completely understood her anger and the way she struggled to still believe in God.
The camp is one of my favorite settings ever. I love the other counselors and the campers. I would like a book about any of them, please.
I especially love the relationship between Lucy and her parents, who are just really excellent people. Having involved parents is starting to become more common in YA novels, and that makes me happy. And Lucy’s parents are amazing.
I adored every page of this novel. Highly recommended.
Finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Ifemelu and Obinze dated in college (and it’s a lot more serious than that sentence implies). When they leave Nigeria for the west, though, things fall apart. (She goes to America; he ends up in England.) This novel traces their separate paths and is so much better than I’m making it sound.
There is so much to discuss here. Yes, I love the main characters (especially Ifemelu) but there is a LOT of great stuff here, especially about race and the way that changes from area to area.
Yes, this is a love story, but it also really transcends that. It’s about everything.
I’m so happy my book club picked this and I can’t wait to discuss it.
If you haven’t read this, you need to. Highly recommended.