Last year, I renamed ‘Weekly’ Wrap-Ups to Recent Reads, as I feel like that reflects the timescale between posts more accurately!
As ever, today I will be briefly reviewing all the books I’ve read since my last post in approximately fifty words. This post also explains my concept of ‘The Chosen Ones’ to highlight my favourite books in each post! Today’s post features some books that I read in August, as I just missed them off my last Recent Reads.
Some of these books either aren’t released yet or I want to write a full review of in the future, so I’ll just have a quick thought with the full review to come!
Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
TW: violence, racism, death, murder, alcoholism, abandonment, cancer, grief, torture, car accident, gun violence, knife violence
I really liked this mysterious, magical tale with its slow-burn f/f relationship at its heart. Lexi was such a good protagonist and the exploration of her powers was really interesting. The mystery was really intriguing and had good plot twists. My only issue is that I wish it was longer, as I just felt there was more that could’ve been explored.
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
TW: physical abuse, emotional abuse, death, violence, murder, suicide, arson, homophobia
Johnson’s writing style is just stunning as she crafts this vividly imagined world and characters around you. It’s such an original concept and well-executed story that will leave a lasting impression on you. Cara is a fantastic protagonist who you will fall in love with, as she deals with her trauma and experiences of all her lives through the multiverse. An utterly innovative and unique sci-fi story.
Fight Like a Girl by Sheena Kamal
TW: physical abuse, emotional abuse, violence, death, murder, car accident
Trisha was a really compelling and interesting protagonist, with her conflicted feelings and determination to track down the truth. However, I felt like the book itself just wasn’t as compelling, as it didn’t really go anywhere and lacked an emotional punch for me. The pacing felt really off for me and I hated the lack of consequences for the emotional abuse Trisha suffered.
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
TW: graphic violence, abuse, body horror, blood, death. animal attacks, emetophobia, alcoholism
I’ve said it before and it still rings true: Mark Oshiro has a gift. He weaves such intricate, emotional and character-driven tales that leave an indelible mark on your heart. Each of Us a Desert is no stranger to this magical spell cast upon every reader.
Shine by Jessica Jung
TW: fatphobia, calorie-counting, body-shaming, drugging, bullying, online shaming, sexism
Jung does not hold back from delving into the brutal, cutthroat standards of the K-pop industry and the sheer intensity of the competitive nature nurtured by said industry. The romance is super cute, with rom-com worthy moments but it’s not the main focus. Instead that honour goes to the brilliant Rachel as she strives to achieve her dreams.
Full review here.
Lies Like Poison by Chelsea Pitcher
TW: misgendering, grief, death, physical abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting, implied sexual abuse, drug use
This felt like a modern fairy-tale to me, with an emphasis on found family and complex relationships, whilst also maintaining the darkness and edge of the original tales. The blend of fantasy and reality added this mystical tone throughout, making it stand out from the crowd.
Full review here.
Parachutes by Kelly Yang
TW: rape, sexual harassment, victim-blaming, grooming, body-shaming, slut-shaming, infidelity, racism, classism, sexism, controlling behaviour, substance abuse
At times, this was a really hard read due to the subject matter, but I always thought that it was handled carefully and sensitively. It’s unafraid to portray the brutal reality of rape culture and the awful statistics of prosecution, but it also holds a glimmer of hope in the strength of its two main characters.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
TW: child abuse, sexual abuse, blood
This is a story that demands to be read and everyone should answer that call. It’s so impactful and discusses morality. Monsters hide behind appearances and social status; they cannot always be easily recognised and Emezi explores how we must examine our heroes. This holds a mirror to our society and forces conversations to happen in such a beautiful, thought-provoking way.
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
TW: racism, body horror, death, gore, blood, sexism, alcoholism, body shaming, grief
This reminded me of a story handed down through generations, destined to be told in the dead of winter as you’re gathered round a campfire. Its ominous, forbidding promise of dreadful things to come bubbles under the surface, blending with an exploration of grief, family and friendship with an 80s gloss. A properly spooky, Gothic tale.
Full review here.
The Space Between by Meg Grehan
TW: agoraphobia, depression, self-harm
Simply put, this was a beautiful, quieter and emotional tale told in verse. It has wormed its way into my heart and I know that I’ll definitely revisit it. Verse holds this innate power in its sparsity of words and Grehan utilises this to maximum effect, allowing the writing to completely reflect the inner working of Beth’s mind.
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
TW: murder, death, body horror, gore, racism, blood, violence, mentions of rape and sexual assault
After loving The Ghost Tree, I immediately wanted to try out more of Henry’s previous works. The Girl in Red provided me with another fleshed-out, brilliant protagonist in Red, who was completely bad-ass and sarcastic. I loved how Henry kept elements of the original story, but also gave it a complete makeover in a pulse-pounding, bloody and dark post-apocalyptic world.
The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett
TW: death, murder, grief, cheating, grooming, sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, pedophilia, homophobia, calorie counting, controlling behaviour, emotional abuse, slut-shaming
This is a gut-wrenching relevant, dark and twisty YA mystery that dissects rape culture and the patriarchy. At times, it makes for tough reading but I felt like it was handled carefully. The central mystery is instantly gripping with plenty of shocking twists and turns along the way. The use of multiple narratives really helps add to the feeling that you can’t trust anyone or anything.
Full review here.
The Chosen Ones:
I will continue to speak up about current events now and forever and to help, here are links to Carrds talking about many of the world’s current events and how you can help. Also, I’ve linked here the Black Lives Matter Carrd to support, but also here is a list of resources to aid Anti-Racism work in the UK, as well as UK specific places to donate to. I will be doing this on every post. If you have the funds to donate, please do but if not, please support and uplift Black voices and sign the petitions, including 10 UK specific petitions here.