In May, I ended up reading a total of 28 books. That’s a little less than I normally read, especially if you consider that a bunch of these have been graphic novels, but I’ve been working a lot more than usual, so I just had less time to read.
At the start of the month, I shared my goal to read as many books as possible by Asian authors for API Heritage Month. You can find my TBR here. Out of my full wrap-up, 14 of the books I read were by Asian authors, and I read 7 of the books on my TBR. I’m just really not too great at sticking to a TBR. Of course I will be reading Asian authors year-round, but I wanted to follow up on my May TBR for a moment.
In June, I’m hoping to read a little more, because it’s Pride month and I’m participating in a readathon!
In this post, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews of my 4 and 5 star reads of February. Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!
Alex Gino – Rick
Finished the audiobook with tears in my eyes. This book is so beautiful and so so necessary.
The book follows 11-year-old Rick who starts middle school, and suddenly everyone seems to be getting crushes. Except for him. There’s also the issue of his best friend, who’s actually really mean. And when he starts spending more time with his grandad, he finds out that they have more in common than he thought, and he gains a lot of support.
I love love LOVE what this book did in telling us (pre)teens can and do know if they’re asexual. Because no, not every kid is automatically asexual until they hit puberty. Kids do have crushes. In fact, even though I hadn’t realized I was asexual back then, because I didn’t have the language to describe how I felt, the years between ages 10 and 15 were some of the most difficult ones in my life because all my peers were getting crushes and talking about kissing and sex, and I felt so different. I couldn’t be happier that kids today get to see themselves in books like this.
And this book didn’t just tackle asexuality (and aromanticism, because at the end of the book Rick’s not yet sure if he’s ace, aro or aroace). It was super educational in discussing the entire LGBTQ+ community and explaining terminology and pronoun use.
By the way, the audiobook is narrated by Alex Gino themself, and I would highly recommend it. It’s short but sweet and they did a great job.
Melissa Bashardoust – Girl, Serpent, Thorn
I read Girls Made of Snow and Glass in 2017 and… didn’t like it. Seeing all the hype surrounding the author’s new book, I really wanted to give her books another chance. And I’m SO glad I did, because this was… absolutely exquisite. I’m honestly thinking I should reread Girls Made of Snow and Glass as well, because I’m starting to doubt my own judgment (or like, sometimes things just hit different when you give them a second chance a few years later).
Like I said, the only word I can really use to describe Girl Serpent Thorn is exquisite. The writing, the morally grey main character that you can’t help but love, the setting (which actually had the same sort of feel as Girls Made of Snow and Glass), the slow but steady unraveling of the plot, it was all just perfection.
Even though I don’t read them very often, because it can be hard to find good ones, I really love books with morally grey main characters, because it’s amazing to see their development. Here, the main character starts off so likeable, and throughout the book I found myself rooting for her despite some of her choices.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who loved Forest of a Thousand Lanterns.
Sarah Kuhn – I Love You So Mochi
While I did expect to enjoy this, I did not expect this would be a 5 star read. It spoke to me so much more than I expected it would. Listening to the audiobook was such a wholesome, emotional experience.
I absolutely loved the main character’s relationship with her grandparents. This book deals with complicated family relationships, but the love between them was tangible.
The story is culturally rich and very focused on creativity, and that made it vibrant with flavours and colours. It made me feel like I was traveling along with Kimi.
And yes, I really liked the romance too. Akira was such a loveable, well developed love interest. I love how the romance was portrayed very realistically, without ignoring the real life problems they faced.
S.K. Ali – Love From A to Z
Many people told me to read this, and they were all right. This is exactly my brand of contemporary: incredibly well written and with a meandering sort of story-telling that’s more slice of life than anything else and tackles various different subjects.
That said, I didn’t feel as emotionally invested as I would have wanted to until over halfway into the book, but that’s a me problem. If I’d been able to finish the book faster, I’m sure I’d have felt more invested. I think a reread at some point might actually end up being 5 stars, because this really was such a good book.
Rep: Pakistani-Caribbean Muslim MC, Chinese-Finnish Muslim MC with multiple sclerosis, various side characters of colour
CWs: islamophobia, racism, cultural appropriation, past death of a parent, past death of a grandparent, mentions of drone strike
Marie Lu – The Kingdom of Back
This was the first Marie Lu book I really clicked with, it was beautiful! Honestly, I just finished it and I feel a little weepy. It was just so quietly emotional.
I loved how this is a light fantasy: it’s mostly a historical fiction (and such a good one!), but it has some fantasy aspects. It reminded me a lot of Wintersong, both because of the subject and because of its vibe.
Beth O’Leary – The Switch
This was another wonderful feelgood novel from the author of The Flatshare. I don’t really want to compare them, but I enjoyed this one just as much. It had such an interesting cast of characters – it was especially so great to read about the older people! – and it dealt with a lot of different topics, while never getting too heavy.
CWs: past death of a sibling, grief, panic attack, hospital, cheating, intimate partner abuse, mentions of cancer, some diet talk
S.K. Ali & Aisha Saeed – Once Upon an Eid
This is one of those rare anthologies where I actually enjoyed every single story. It was so wonderful to get a glimpse of what it can be like to celebrate Eid!
Roshani Chokshi – The Silvered Serpents
The Gilded Wolves was one of my favourite books of 2019. I picked it up and fell absolutely in love with the world and its characters. And The Silvered Serpents was no different. I read most of it in one sitting and felt so immersed in this interesting, atmospheric world, filled with suspense and character development. While I’m SO happy I got to read this early, it’s also going to be such a long wait for book 3!
Adib Khorram – Darius the Great Deserves Better
I’ve been wanting a sequel ever since I first read Darius the Great Is Not Okay in 2018, and couldn’t be happier that we were actually blessed with one. The first book was so special, and I can confirm this one is as well.
It actually took me a while to get into this book. I reread book 1 first and dove in right after finishing that, and because of that, I had some trouble adjusting to the tone of voice. Because this book is set a few months after the first book ends, and Darius goes through a lot of character development in between books that we never get to live through with him. For instance, he comes out to his family and gets his first boyfriend. I felt like Darius had gained a lot of confidence off page, and that altered his tone of voice a little.
However, I got into the book really quickly and then it was just a really great read again. And I can only agree with the title: Darius the Great really DOES deserve better. This is one of the purest characters I’ve ever read about and I would gladly give my life for him.
Actually, the ending left me craving another sequel. I want to know what happens with Sohrab! I want to know what happens with Darius and [redacted]!!
Randy Ribay – Patron Saints of Nothing
I don’t know what to say about this book, it left me speechless. Please, please take the time to read it. It’s one of those books I expected to be good, but that still blew me away with how engaging and impactful it was.
Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi – Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
You can find my review here.
Charlie Mackesy – The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Very cute and hopeful, but I did really miss a narrative element.
Colson Whitehead – The Nickel Boys
I didn’t review this, but it was a really impactful read.
Talia Hibbert – Damaged Goods
I was a little hesitant to read about Laura, but I loved her, and I loved this book. It has this hurt-comfort aspect that I really liked.
CWs: (past) domestic abuse, trauma, past death of parents, violence, mentions of alcoholism, fatphobia
Talia Hibbert – Untouchable
When writing this post, I’m actually still reading this book, but I only have a little bit left, so I’ll definitely finish it today.
How many books did you end up reading in April? What was your favourite read of the month?