BOOKS RECOMMENDED BY YOU

What’s a book you’d recommend to everyone? 

About three weeks ago, I asked my Instagram followers this exact question. There were so many great responses and recommendations, so I decided to compile a list of diverse and interesting reads for those of you who are hunting for your next book to devour read.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Recommended by Violet (@girl_with_the_third_eye), this autobiographical comedy written by a South African author urges one to question the status quo while delivering smart humor.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Gabi (@ourworldofwords) steadfastly maintains that this is her favourite novel of all time! A Finalist for the 2018 William C. Morris Award, this emotionally poignant debut novel about a biracial teen who struggles with social anxiety and dreams of attending art school delves into the importance of understanding self-worth.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book comes highly recommended by Ana (@bujowithana) and Yylen (@booktopsleeper).  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is pegged as psychological fiction and LGBTQ+ literature full of old Hollywood glamour. It unfolds the fictional life of a Cuban actress in a cinematic fashion.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

@buttons.studies says that this is the best book she’s ever read! Nominated for the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, Rooftoppers weaves elements of fantasy and historical fiction together to tell the story of a girl who discovers a secret rooftop world.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Martina (@marty.reads) and Clarissa (@wavypages) both recommended this young adult, fantasy fiction novel about a lost city and its sinister past. Full of lush, descriptive writing and intricate world-building, Strange the Dreamer has long been on my own to-read list! 

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This novel is one of Ciara’s (@cyra_bear) favourites! First published in 1987, Norwegian Wood is a beautiful, bildungsroman tale of loss and romantic relationships. 

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

A contemporary young adult novel recommended by @bookhuggerreviews, Radio Silence is a story about two teens who start a podcast together in an attempt to find their own voices without conforming to the expectations of society.

There were so many more great recommendations, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with a long list! I am eager to read all of them myself, and I hope that you can find your next read in this short list of interesting, diverse books. 

REVIEW: THUNDERHEAD

thunderheadTITLE: Thunderhead

AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster

SYNOPSIS (Goodreads): Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?


SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:

THAT WAS LITERALLY THE CRAZIEST POSSIBLE ENDING EVER.

Though the unexpected cliffhanger absolutely killed me, I still enjoyed Thunderhead, the sequel to Scythe. The world-building is really something else. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. Thunderhead is smart and packed with enough action to keep the audience guessing until the final reveal. It deftly explores the concept of mortality and reconciliation with our humanity in a technology-driven futuristic utopian society.

I do wish that Citra and Rowan had more interaction and page time together. It was slightly disorienting to read about Rowan’s situation and then shift to Citra’s newfound life as a scythe, completing her gleanings. I also felt that some of the secondary characters who were introduced weren’t all that essential to the plot. There was definitely a surprise character that I totally DID NOT expect to make an appearance in this book…

However, I really loved the interactions between Scythe Curie and Scythe Anastasia (Citra)–give me a book all about their adventures together and I’ll gladly devour it in a single sitting! Both women are incredibly smart, and it was so interesting to delve into their thoughts and understand their perspectives in trying to manufacture a method to untangle themselves from the dangerous situation they were mercilessly thrown into.

Another interesting yet unsettling aspect of the book was the smart inclusion of the Thunderhead’s thoughts and feelings as a preface to almost every chapter. These interjections should have been jarring to read, but instead, they were almost poignant to a point, allowing me as a reader to glean (hahah) a little more insight about the history of the glittering world that the story is structured around.

Overall, though Thunderhead has a bit of “middle book syndrome,” it reads exactly like what it’s supposed to be, a (good) second book of a series that sets up a promising premise for the third. I can’t wait to see what else Shusterman adds to this series!

RATING: 3.75/5*
*Thank you to Simon Teen for sending me a copy of Scythe and Thunderhead! This in no way impacted the nature of my review, and all thoughts represented are my own.