Hello, dear bookworms of the interwebs! I hope you’ve all been enjoying soaking up the summer rays, especially if you live in the UK where we’ve been having a serious heat wave (to those of you stuck in offices with poor air conditioning I weep for your souls). Personally, I have been indulging in some well deserved time off. My final year of university was a super stressful slog, so I am currently taking advantage of my post-student but have-yet-to-be employed status (Yep, I’m a slacker now!) by catching up with family, friends and my books (not necessarily in that order).
As a gift to myself for completing my degree I decided to splurge on some books I had been pining over for a while, especially now I have the opportunity to fit in some serious summer reading!
So first up we have two YA contemporaries that deal with an important topic that is not often covered in YA, gender identity! As someone who has studied psychology and gender as a topic, I was desperate to get my hands on these as soon as I saw they were being published. I also loved the simplistic covers so much I decided to splash out and buy the hardbacks full price! The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is a dual narrative book that follows a transgender teen coming to terms with his identity (I recently reviewed this book here so you can check that out if you’re interested). In comparison, None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio is about a girl who discovers that she in intersex (has both male and female genitalia) and has to deal with coming to terms with this, as well as coping with the reactions of her boyfriend and friends. I think these novels mark such an important step forward in diversity in YA!
Next up we have The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. I haven’t seen much hype around this one, but as soon as I stumbled across it I knew I had to get a copy IMMEDIATELY. It’s got a historical setting and follows two characters who have been chosen just like Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet, to see whether their love can prevail or if all will end in tragedy. It sounds like such a unique spin on an overused trope, and I love the idea of it being part narrated by love and death! Plus, super pretty cover. 😀
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon was an equally impulsive buy. It’s the second book in a series that has the potential to be incredibly gripping and unique. I finished the first book The Bone Season last week which was phenomenal (Look out for my upcoming review!), and bought The Mine Order before I had even finished it because I knew that I would want to know what happened next. It’s set in a bizarre criminal world where some people have the ability to control spirits and it all goes on in underneath London’s streets. In other words, it’s totally awesome!
I’m not the biggest contemporary reader, but this genre does seem to be getting better and better and every time summer rolls around I carefully hand pick some of them that I think I will enjoy. I’d had my eye on Since You’ve Been Gone for a while because it’s a story based around some interesting friendship dynamics. Emily is a passive/shy girl who follows her outgoing friend Sloane’s lead. But suddenly Sloane disappears leaving Emily stranded, the only thing left is a list of daring things for Emily to complete. Basically, this book sounds really fun and perfect for summer so I’m looking forward to it! In comparison, I decided to pick up Just One Day based on Cristina’s and Lauren’s brilliant discussion about it. I believe it’s about a girl who’s just finished university and meets a guy spending 24 wonderful hours with him that have a knock-on effect on the rest of her life. Travel + romance + self-exploration sounds like a win to me!
I also picked up All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven having read a brilliant Q&A with the author that really impressed me. The story starts with two teens on a ledge intending to commit suicide. Will they both jump? Will they convince each other not to? What led these two teens to this position in the first place? These were all questions that sprung into my mind when reading the blurb and I’m looking forward to finding out the answers. Again the psychology side of me loves books about mental health, so I hope this one will tackle it well!
I managed to get both of these books for a sneaky £2 each on eBay. Although they’re second hand they’re in brilliant condition! I’ve wanted to read 1984 for such a long time. Everyone seems to consider it one of the best dystopian novels, so as a fan of the genre, I’m very intrigued. Alternatively, Carrie is often given the credit for being one of the first books to link going through adolescence with gaining supernatural powers that is so often seen in YA books, and after reading It by Stephen King, I’m looking forward to trying out another of his novels!
On my final day at my university accommodation and after packing up all my belongings, I decided to have a final look around the charity shops searching for book bargains. It seems I was in luck because I came across these two beauties, I couldn’t believe it as they were such recent releases! We All Looked Up is a kind of contemporary but apocalyptic story where teens contemplate their lives when the world is said to be coming to an end, while Crown of Midnight is the second book in a series about an assassin. Two awesome YA release I was more than happy to snap up!
I also came across these two during my search, which had been on my ‘maybe to read’ pile for quite some time, and when I saw them so cheap I decided to treat myself! I don’t know that much about either of these novels but The Girl With All the Gifts has gotten a lot of great reviews and also has a quote by Joss Whedon on it praising the novel so I was pretty much sold with that! While Rivers of London mainly lured me with its setting and supernatural/magical elements!
My final purchases were also second-hand bargains. I picked up The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry because I liked the quirky title. I remember that this book was EVERYWHERE a while back and it sounds really interesting although it’s not my normal genre. But I like the idea of a man traveling around the UK on a bizarre mission and learning things about himself along the way. Meanwhile, The Shock of the Fall is a novel that’s been on my wishlist for ages because it has a character with schizophrenia, which is again, a topic I’m passionate about! (Hmm, I sensing a psychology theme in this book haul.)
So, I hope you might have found a few more books to add to your tbr after this post! Have you read any of the novels above? What’s the best book you’ve read this summer so far? What books have you splurged on recently? 🙂