Here’s another batch of Netgalley mini reviews! I’m actually a little behind this time because I’ve been catching up on eARCs (I keep drowning in them), so you can expect #5 very soon as well!
Manjeet Mann – Run, Rebel
I requested this because I saw it was a diverse verse novel. I’m a huge fan of verse novels, so that was all I needed to know.
I knew from the prologue on that this would be a truly beautifully written, feminist novel. And it honestly only got better.
This book is about Amber Rai, who wants to be an athlete. She lives with her illiterate parents who hardly speak English, and so they need her to translate for them and to help them navigate in a society they don’t understand. Her father is an alcoholic, he’s abusive, and he’s very misogynistic. All Amber wants to do is be able to make her own choices, and not have her life planned for her like her sister’s.
The themes made this quite a heavy read, but it was also very hopeful and empowering. There’s a lot of depth and a lot of character development, and not just from the main character. I’m honestly in awe with how well written this was, and with how the author needed so few words to make such a strong point.
Rep: Indian MC
CWs: parental and domestic abuse, alcoholism, panic attacks, bullying, mention of an honour killing, vomiting, mentions of diets
Gene Luen Yang – Dragon Hoops
I’m not the biggest sports fan, and while I’ve seen and enjoyed a few basketball games, I never knew the ins and outs. I actually learned a lot from reading this graphic novel, it was really interesting. I think there’s something to be said for having someone take you along on his own learning journey, because that makes this graphic novel very accessible.
I especially appreciated how much this book delves into things like racism and sexism in sports. I also loved how meta it was, because that kept things light and added some humor.
Unfortunately though, this wasn’t entirely my thing, so at times, I felt my interest fade a little. This was especially the case because this is a rather long graphic novel, and not everything felt as relevant to the story.
Sandhya Menon – Of Curses and Kisses
For the most part, this was a very entertaining Beauty and the Beast retelling. I hadn’t read a contemporary retelling of this before, and I really liked how it handled the original story. Especially the curse storyline worked really well, I thought.
Unfortunately, I felt like I never really got to know the main characters very well though, which made the romance feel underdeveloped for me. The story was pretty slow to start, and while it did pick up in the second half, I also feel like it stayed a little on the surface.
All in all, I had fun reading this, but I feel like it will be a fairly forgettable read. It didn’t live up to Sandhya Menon’s other books for me.
Jenny Lee – Anna K
Having read Anna Karenina last year, this was such a treat. I love retellings, and it was so refreshing to see a retelling of something that’s not a fairytale. This is a pretty close retelling, but it’s updated in very crafty ways so that it reads contemporary, and I thought this was so well done. This is not to say the book is exactly the same as Anna Karenina – it definitely has some surprises in store. I would very much recommend this to fans of Anna Karenina and/or Gossip Girl. Please do be aware that you will likely not enjoy this book if you don’t like reading about unlikeable characters.
Rep: biracial (Korean & white) MCs, Black Jewish MC with anxiety, Jewish MCs
CWs: attempted suicide, overdose, fatal train accident, car accident, rape/dubious consent, cheating, animal death, depression, fatphobia, diet talk, drug (ab)use, alcohol use, mention of panic attacks
Have you read any of these books?
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