I read a total of 41 books in August, which I’m really pleased with. In this post, I’ll share my 4 and 5 star reads, so as not to overwhelm you with reviews.
Ryan La Sala – Reverie
You can find my review here!
Kelly Barnhill – The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Sometimes a family is a witch, a swamp monster, a tiny dragon and a little girl.
Bridget Collins – The Binding
I’d seen some mixed reviews for this book, but I’m pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed this, mostly because it reads like a historical novel rather than a fantasy. I was intrigued from the start, and the writing was engaging, but it was a little confusing how the first and second part of the book were connected. But then I read the third part and… OH! The story was so intricately woven together, and I’m honestly impressed.
Rep: m/m romance
CWs: illness, death of a side character, homophobia, animal abuse, fire, mention of incest
Akemi Dawn Bowman – Summer Bird Blue
This had me sobbing in the first chapter. Actually, this had me sobbing throughout most of the book. It’s just such an intense novel, and so intensely relatable.
Rep: biracial questioning aroace MC, biracial side characters
CWs: death of a sibling, grief, internalized aphobia, car accident, hospital, near-drowning experience, panic attack
Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice
Well, I guess I’ll be buying A LOT of books…
Robin Talley – Pulp
I’ve quickly become a huge fan of YA historical fiction, especially if they have LGBTQ+ themes, and this is one of my favourite ones yet.
It’s a beautiful and really interesting story about two teens in different time periods. In 2017, there’s Abby, who gets obsessed with a lesbian pulp novel as a coping mechanism to deal with her parents’ divorce. And in 1955 there’s Janet, who deals with the extreme homophobia of her time period by secretly reading these pulp novels and writing one of her own.
I absolutely loved how detailed this book was, it really took its time to tell the story, and set such an elaborate historical background. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about LGBTQ+ history through reading this novel.
It was especially amazing to see the storylines come together, as there is a bit of a mystery at the center of this novel as well. This makes the book not only interesting, but also very engaging. I listened to the audiobook, and I finished it within 24 hours, even though it’s a pretty long book.
Rep: Jewish lesbian MC, Vietnamese side character, Indian side character, Black bisexual side character, Brazilian non-binary side character
CWs: (internalized) homophobia, racism, mentions of transphobia, mentions of outing, mentions of murder, mentions of suicide, mentions of a car accident
Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell – Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
This was more or less a cover buy and it couldn’t have been more accurate, because this graphic novel is beautiful. The art work is truly incredible: muted colour tones, lots of detail, and varied panels. Combined, this worked incredibly well, and it makes this one of the most creative graphic novels I’ve read. The art literally gave me goosebumps with how pretty and evocative it was.
Story wise, I really enjoyed this as well. It’s a quiet novel, and story and art really enhance each other. I do wish the relationship between one of the side characters and an adult man was discussed more. It wasn’t condoned, but I still felt like it could have been addressed more appropriately. Other than that though, this was a really amazing story with a lot of character growth.
Rep: lesbian Asian MC, lesbian side character, f/f couple, m/m couple, side characters of colour, LGBTQ+ side characters, fat side characters
CWs: abortion, relationship with a minor, cheating, racism, underage drinking, mentions of vomiting
TJ Klune – Ravensong
While Wolfsong is about Ox, Ravensong is about his friend (for lack of a better word) Gordo. The book starts by alternating flashbacks of Gordo as a kid and young teenager and chapters describing what happened at the end of Wolfsong from Gordo’s perspective. This proved a helpful way to connect the books and to pull the reader into Gordo’s story.
While this book is quite a lot slower than Wolfsong, I still really loved it. This book has just so many elements that I love, like the found family trope, and they work so well together. There’s an action-packed plot, but there’s especially a lot of character depth and lots and lots of fun banter, and just. So much angst.
Rep: gay MC, gay side characters, bisexual side character, aromantic side character, asexual side character, Hispanic side character
CWs: murder, violence, parental abuse, trauma, death of side characters, loss of a limb, sex scenes, some ableist language, mentions of cheating
TJ Klune – Lovesong
I didn’t review this novella, but I did really love it. I really can’t wait for Heartsong.
Robin Benway – Far From The Tree
This was heartbreaking and unexpectedly uplifting at the same time. There are some heavy topics, but they’re discussed in a really hopeful way, which was just beautiful to read. I especially adored the sibling relationship, and there was a lot of character growth from all three main characters.
Rep: lesbian MC, half Mexican MC, lesbian love interest, Mexican love interest
CWs: teen pregnancy, adoption, slutshaming, alcoholism/addiction, racism, mention of deportation
Camryn Garrett – Full Disclosure
You can find my review here!
Natasha Ngan – Girls of Storm and Shadow
That cover is just iconic. There was no way this book was going to be better than Girls of Paper and Fire, and it wasn’t, but I did really enjoy it. It has an amazing cast of characters, and it seems like it deals with trauma really well.
James Brandon – Ziggy, Stardust and Me
Can I please just have alllll the LGBTQ+ historical novels? There’s really something special about them, and this one was no different in that sense.
This is actually a very heavy novel, and it’s really violent at times. But it’s also such an important novel, about a boy dealing with and trying to overcome internalized homophobia in a time where homosexuality was still seen as a mental illness. At the start of the book, he genuinely believes he’s sick, and then he starts to grow as a character, which I thought was so well done.
Jonathan is in no way a perfect character. He’s flawed, he makes mistakes, but he truly stole my heart. He’s just so pure, and I can’t.
Oh, and of course you have to listen to David Bowie while reading this. I don’t make the rules.
Rep: gay MC, gay Native-American love interest, biracial side character
CWs: (internalized) homophobia, conversion therapy, electroshock therapy, homophobic slurs, mention of suicide, racism, police brutality, hate crimes, violence, racist slurs, sexual assault, past death of a parent, alcoholism, mentions of drug use
Sumaiya Ahmed – Lost and Found
This poetry collection deals with some heavy topics, like sexual assault and growing up in a culture that silences girls and doesn’t think mental illness is real. While most of the poems weren’t personally relatable for me, that doesn’t mean they didn’t make an impact.
Many of the poems really packed a punch or made me think, and that’s the best that poetry can do, right? I think this collection will be very relatable to many brown and/or Muslim girls! It also has some beautiful illustrations.
The writing style has true potential, and I often really loved it. However, the use of commas isn’t always consistent, and there are some other issues and typos that make it hard to follow the poems sometimes. Overall though, I thought this was really good!
CWs: suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide, sexual assault, depression, anxiety, sexism, mentions of genocide, mention of menstruation
Aminah Mae Safi – Tell Me How You Really Feel
Heavily inspired by Gilmore Girls, this is a truly lovely romcom. Both of the main characters go through a lot of development, and the book got enemies to grudging allies to friends to lovers just right. I do think the relationship between the MCs and their families and best friends could have been handled more elaborately, but I had a great time reading this.
Rep: Indian-Persian MC, Jewish-Mexican MC
CWs: alcoholism, absent parent, car accident/hospital, (internalized) misogyny, mentions of homophobia
R.F. Kuang – The Poppy War
I was blown away by this book. I was drawn in from the very first page, as the writing style is really engaging and often funny (at least at the first half of the book). But it’s also a really heavy, brutal fantasy. It’s over 500 pages long, but it never felt too long, as it was just so interesting to read, and I only want more!
CWs: genocide, rape, gore, abuse/assault, drugs, self harm, racism, fatphobia (not challenged)
How many books did you end up reading in August? What was your favourite read of the month?