March has been one long month where university load got to me and I couldn’t read more than six books. I usually try to read more but this time I forgave myself and let it go. It’s more important that I keep my academic and social life going as much as my reading life.
Without much further ado, let’s get to the books.
INFINI (AERIAL ETHEREAL #2) by Krista & Becca Ritchie (★★★★/4 stars) — Infini comes as #2 of a series but can be read on its own (I don’t advise it though, because you’ll get more enjoyment if you read AMOUR AMOUR before). It revolves around the same Russian acrobatic family: the Kotovas but this time it focuses on the younger brother of Nikolai Luka and his childhood best friend Baylee.
What I liked about this was how diverse it is. Baylee Wright, the love interest who has her own point of view and is a developed character, is not white and deals with depression. I kind of forgot her ethnicity but when you check out the boards the authors made for the characters, you’ll see my point. Besides Baylee, you have her brother Brandon and his best friend who’s Chinese (AND WHOSE NAME I FORGOT, I’m the worst.)
The book deals a lot with what goes on in their lives during their forced separation and some of it is not pretty. Luka for example deals with kleptomania and an eating disorder so be careful for that. The ebook I got had trigger warning though so that was great of the authors. It is definitely not for people who are sex-repulsed since it has multiple descriptions of sex scenes and discussion. It’s rated for 18+ readers as well.
What I love about this is what I love about the authors’ other works: the family. Family is a big theme and you can’t read a Ritchie work without getting somewhat very connected to the people in the book. They all love one another so dearly and in the end, when the Kotovas all stood together, it saved the book from a three stars rating for me.
BELOVED by Toni Morrison (★★★★★/ 5 stars) — I read this for my Special Author class where we’re reading three of Morrison’s novels. Let me just say that I’ve read SULA by Morrison before but no way was I able to comprehend the beautiful and poignant way Morrison writes not for the class I’m taking. My professor sort of doesn’t care for “spoiling” so she told us beforehand of everything in somewhat over-all kind of way so I knew what I was going to read going in it. What a surprise did I get when I fell absolutely in love with the book. The characters are so well-rounded, from Sethe with pain itching itself so deep in her soul, Denver and how much I sympathized with how much she just wanted to be seen, Paul D’s tin box of a heart especially got me very emotional and even Beloved: the seven lettered baby whose only retaliation to being dead is to wreck havoc.
This is a story of an escaped slave, who got mistreated so badly at the plantation she was sold to so don’t go into this expecting something light and airy. There are multiple point of views, sometimes they could be confusing but you just have to pay attention to the paragraphs and how they start. The setting jumps from present time in Ohio to twenty years prior in Cincinnati at the plantation called Sweet Home.
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson (★★★★★/ 5 stars) — This book was chosen (by me) for my newly made book club at university. I wanted a book with important themes that’ll get the girls at the book club talking. This is my second time reading it. Well, I listened to the audio-book a big chunk of the book since I was very busy. My second read is as good as the first one. This book is important and I recommend it.
IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo (★★★★★/ 5 stars) — There is also this great intensity in the blurb about Amanda’s secret. I think it’d be much better if any future readers who didn’t read this to approach this like they would any other contemporary. You’ll have great girl friendships, some tension between Amanda and her father, a lonely girl who Amanda trusts called Dee, and a lot of fluffy feelings between Amanda and Grant, the boy who likes her. I actually read this because one of my good friends Mason really likes this and I trust their reviews a lot. I read this in company of Mason’s own story, which is referred to as #EnbyLoveStory on twitter a lot. (I even had my own hashtag when I read the story #MariamReadsEnbyFinally, check it out, it’s amazing.)
This book is so important to read for me as nonbinary. I sympathized greatly with Amanda and understood completely why she kept her “secret” a secret. However, one thing I didn’t like was how the only bisexual teen, who actually referred to themselves as bisexual ended up doing something so ugly to Amanda. I wish they got some sort of redemption. Of course, they didn’t do it JUST because they were bi or anything, but I don’t know. In the end, that tiny thing didn’t stop me from appreciating this wholly.
The author’s note is also very important to read in the end. As you’ll know, Russo is also trans and it is so important to support diverse books that are also #ownvoices. Please check this out.
This kind of book reminds me why it’s so important that books that reflect reality both in a positive and the gritty negative are important. Yes, I want realistic books, but books that give trans kids happiness and fluff are equally important. Not all books should be realistically ugly and traumatic, sometimes you can write a cute romance about a high school girl who just happens to be trans. I also loved how the parents handled Amanda’s transitioning. The chapters of the past were so beautiful to read despite them being set at a very difficult time in Amanda’s life.
A CONJURING OF LIGHT (SHADES OF MAGIC #3) by V.E. Schwab (★★★★/ 4 stars) – Fast paced end of an exciting trilogy.
PETER DARLING by Austin Chant (★★★★★/ 5 stars) – incredible retelling with beautiful portrayal of a trans-boy who charms the ever malicious Captain Hook.