The Girl with the Louding Voice is excellent, albeit painful. I picked it up (yay, used books!) from @schulerbooks_chapbookcafe on Sunday and am almost halfway through already. 💜 Glad I trusted all the hype and acclaim I saw on #bookstagram.
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
This novel hit close to home. Brief synopsis: set in the 1980s in rural Ohio, Brian, a young gay man in the final stages of AIDS, returns to his hometown (population: 1200) to die. His conservative, Christian family refuses to acknowledge or accept his sexuality or condition, and he must grapple with intense bigotry on his deathbed.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Five stars for this gem and a wholehearted recommendation to those who are looking for a novel they won’t be able to put down. The story follows a set of twins and their daughters through a familial split and the ensuing racial and cultural differences in their lives. Set in the 1960s to 1980s, you’ll be swept into the tumultuous, uncertain narrative and find yourself empathizing with all the characters in unexpected ways.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Shadow of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED The Rise of Kyoshi! Anticapitalist, queer, girl POWER, brains brawn & beauty, poverty & economic commentary, interracial (and international) dynamics!!!: if there’s a progressive theme you were hoping to see addressed and celebrated in the Avatar world, this book revels in it. 💚 Kyoshi is a great role model for girls and women alike, and her struggles with good and evil, her complicated heritage, and her own lack of confidence and direction are very relatable and familiar. I loved her friendships and her creative problem solving when she finds herself allying with troubling people. Fans of Last Airbender lore, cultural traditions, and sky bison will also find things to appreciate in this book.
Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
This book is fucked up. And it’s among the best books I’ve ever read. It’s extremely disturbing so I only recommend it to readers who can handle a lot of violence and religious trauma and triggering. Think Educated but possibly even more broken. Brief synopsis: 14-year-old Lacey May lives with her mother who is a struggling alcoholic who makes terrible relationship decisions. They — and most other people in their small California town — are members of Gifts of the Spirit, a cult that no one thinks is a cult. That’s all I’m gonna reveal. The whole story is a hellscape. And the most terrifying part (and why I had nightmares after reading it) is that at its core, this story is true. I know. I’m grateful to not have experienced most of the more severe acts in this book, but the unquestioning allegiance, the complete and utter shame toward girls and their bodies, the belief in miracles, the judgement, the oppression, the harm done toward anyone with mental health issues, the prosperity gospel, the claim of women’s bodies by their husbands, the certainty that men of the church are godly men… these were preached and practiced in the church I attended for six years. And I suffered the consequences.
A Burning by Megha Majumdar
I read this book in a day.🔥 This novel wasn’t what I was expecting, with multiple narrators and points of view, but I enjoyed it! I won’t spoil the ending for anyone, but ugh, definitely a realistic book. The only bad review I found about it mentioned that the reader didn’t like “political fiction,” which I thought was ridiculous. This book is about so much more than just political corruption, and the presence of the political tensions adds drama and real-world stakes. My guess is that that reader lives with quite a bit of unchallenged privilege and disliked this book for all the reasons I enjoyed it: the raw portrait of the main character’s plight, the discussion of campaigning and Indian elections, and the absolute gift of Lovely’s scenes and opinions and triumphs. 🎆 I also appreciated the colloquialisms of each character’s voice; I’m a huge supporter of preserving ESL voices and stories.
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler