Today’s A Month of Faves topic is pretty straightforward: books that are worth the hype! Or maybe not.
Let’s start with books worth the hype:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hey, so, I was very reluctant to read this book because the topic is pretty triggering, and I wasn’t sure I could handle it. And while, yes, the book starts with Khalil’s murder and the topic is serious, there’s a lot of humor and heart to this book. It’s not a problem novel (Google it), but Thomas offers real and nuanced characters who have real and nuanced reactions to real things.
As an actual black person on the internet who grew up hood adjacent (hood adjacent = not quite gangland, but close enough) in the ’90s, I may have related to Starr’s parents just a little too much. I mean, at one point, Starr’s mom tells Starr not to act brand new and that is an actual thing I have said to my daughter before. Also, it makes total sense that Starr and her friends would know 2Pac because that’s the music their parents listen to. (Also, I have had “Thug Love” stuck in my head for the past week because of this book. Fact: I only ever listen to that song through 2Pac’s verse.)
I am getting away from the story here. I liked it. My favorite part of the novel was the focus on the complex family relationships and, of course, the emphasis on different ways of fighting and using your voice. And I also appreciate when books like this one point out that terrible things happen yet teenagers still have to deal with the mundane of going to school and homework on top of that. Life, man.
I will probably find the movie much more upsetting than I found the book, tbh.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Yeah, so this definitely deserves the hype. It took me a few chapters to get into it and then I was hooked. I will also say that as a black woman whose rage levels are at their peak right now, this really got to some of the stuff that is bothering me, so for that, I am truly grateful.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I listened to this one, and I was super into it. The narration is pretty good, but I think it would have been SO MUCH BETTER as a Full Cast Audio. So that 1/2 a star knockdown is for the narrator.
Tight plotting and totally intense. While I didn’t guess the murderer, I also wasn’t surprised (though I was surprised for the reasoning behind it–geez, sociopath much?). The big reveal here is as much HOW as much as who and why. Good stuff.
And now for the ones I didn’t love quite as much as everyone else seemed to (spoiler alert: there are four!):
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Sept. 3, 2017: I’m at 18%, and I am really trying to give this book a chance because I’ve heard so many good things, but at this point, it is too much science and not enough fiction.
Aug. 19, 2017: 38% in and I am either too stressed to read this or too bored to continue. It might even be a combination platter.
Blame by Michelle Huneven
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I sincerely do not get the point of this book.
Wait, scratch that. I sincerely get the second and third acts. I do not know what to make of the first and last two. In fact, they pissed me off.
Here’s the thing. I think this would have been a much more compelling story if it were about [highlight to read spoiler] a woman who killed two people while blackout drunk and had to live with that for the rest of her life. Period. The fact that she didn’t do it basically negates everything that came before that. I do like that Cal basically says she’s still culpable in a lot of ways because she absolutely COULD have done it, but that doesn’t hold weight nor water when she didn’t.
Also, please spare me with the blonde white woman really is innocent after all stuff. 🙄 [/end spoiler]
I also found the unending and unchecked privilege infuriating–especially because one character actually thinks Patsy should be commended for getting her life together so quickly without anyone in the book ever once pointing out that it’s because of her extensive (and moneyed) support system.
[highlight to read spoiler] And what exactly was the point of Cal’s affair with Joey’s mother? Just so Patsy could be friends with Brice and Joey in the end? WHAT. SO DUMB.[/end spoiler]
I should also point out that I listened to the audio version and the narrator made Patsy (and all of the women except Audrey and Silver) sound so whiny. It didn’t help with my feelings about the book, but I can’t say it totally hurt it either. The author did a good enough job at losing me in the end herself.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
I’m on page 222. I may come back to this one, but it’s a lot slower than I want/am in the mood for right now and is frustrating me moreso than delighting me. So. We’ll see how I feel later.
Perfect cover is perfect, tho.
(I forgot to add the date to this. It was July 24, 2017.)
True story: The more I think about Blame, the angrier I get.
3 thoughts on “#AMonthofFaves: Three Books Worth the Hype…Or Not”
I obviously need to read more Jemisin because rage. I read her for the first time this year and started with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Love, love, love. I can’t wait to read more of that series and The Broken Earth.
I. Must. Read. ‘The Hate U Give’.