As far as numbers go, I read quite a bit in February. I read six titles: three novels, two graphic novels, and a novella. Even though I read one less book than I wanted to, I still felt pretty satisfied with everything I read this month. No complaints so far in 2016!
“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven
When this book came out early last year, I instantly wanted to read it, but as time went on and more and more mixed reviews came about, I started to feel a bit dissuaded. On one of my Goodreads groups, though, the February group pick was for a contemporary novel. I saw this as my opportunity. I nominated it and it got picked. I’m glad I finally decided to pick this one up because my initial desires were validated.
One winter day, two teenagers accidentally meet on their school rooftop contemplating life, death, and suicide. Finch has struggled to stay “awake” most of his life, knowing he’s just a ticking time-bomb. Violet can’t figure out how to pick up the pieces in the wake of her older sister’s death. In their shared moment on the brink, Violet and Finch save each other. When they are paired to work on a class project together, the two find camaraderie and ultimately love. But while Violet begins to piece herself back together, Finch finds himself fighting to stay whole.
It’s hard to talk about my thoughts on this book without giving away too much, but I thought Niven made some brave choices that made for a story that is beautiful and powerful. It handles the subject of mental illness in a way that feels deeply personal and it’s very eye opening. If you are sensitive to subjects of mental illness, suicide, and abuse, I would tread lightly into this book because it can be pretty dark.
All in all, as I like to put it: if it’s not soul-crushing, then what’s the point?
“Glass Sword” by Victoria Aveyard
After having my heart ripped out by Niven, I decided to jump into Aveyard’s cheery dystopian-esque world, because I’m a glutton for punishment.
For those of you who haven’t read last year’s hype monster “Red Queen”, it’s about a young pickpocket named Mare who lives in a world where class is divided by blood. Silver bloods harness special powers and rule and the powerless red bloods are left to serve. When Mare is gifted the opportunity to work in under the King’s family she quickly finds that she, a red blood, has a power of her own. With the threat of rebellion, the royal family must keep this discovery a secret, disguising Mare as a lost Silver Princess. Mare must learn to cope in a world where no one can be trusted and one false move could cost her life.
I started by quickly reading the recently released novella “Steel Scars” which takes place prior to the first book in the series “Red Queen” and gives us insight on Captain Farley and her involvement in the revolutionary Scarlet Guard. It was an interesting read that gave a nice build up of a couple of relationships that we see in “Glass Sword”, but a lot of it was bogged down with boring letters between Farley and her higher ups and mission details that felt a bit tiresome. I appreciated the new info, but it wasn’t the most exciting read.
“Glass Sword” on the other hand, made for a pretty strong sequel. Again I won’t go into too much detail, but I thought this was a fun read and really took this story in the right direction. It wasn’t perfect by any means, it still felt a tad unoriginal and one major climactic scene is glossed over, but otherwise I like where this story is heading.
“Scott Pilgrim VS The World” and “Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness” by Bryan Lee O’Malley
So it only took forever and a day for me to get to these two books.
My February reading challenge was to read a graphic novel, so I upped the ante and read two. I love the “Scott Pilgrim” movie and I really enjoyed reading the first book. It only made sense to move on to the rest of the series.
If you were born under a rock, “Scott Pilgrim” is about 24-year-old Scott who wants to date the beautiful and mysterious Ramona, but first he must defeat her seven evil exes. Of course with all this, awkwardness and hilarity ensues.
Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed reading both of these, although, I definitely enjoyed book three a bit more. Honestly, this series isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoyed the movie I strongly encourage you to give this series a read.
“The Disenchantments” by Nina LaCour
I try my best to plan out my monthly reads in advance, but every now and again a book catches my eye and I have to pick it up. This month it was “The Disenchantments”. I’ve actually wanted to read this book for a while, and I finally couldn’t avoid it. It was a good impulse because this is probably one of my new all-time favorites.
Colby and Bev have been best friends since childhood. Now that they’re free of high school, they plan to hit the road one last time with Bev’s band, The Disenchantments, and then set off for a one-way trip to Europe, forgoing all college plans. When Bev admits she never planned to go to Europe, Colby finds his life catapulted into chaos and his friendship and love for Bev in question. Colby’s got one week in a bus with the world’s worst girl band to figure it out.
This book had everything I love in YA contemporary. It was meaningful, had fun and unique characters, and plenty of musical references. For me this book was very relatable. As someone who’s had to walk away from and lose several life-changing friendships, watching a character like Colby struggle and ultimately grow from his own similar experience was moving for me. I really appreciated this read.
“You get close to people. You get farther from them. You learn how much you love them, and then you say good-bye, believing that you will be together again, someday, when your lives curve back into one another’s.” –“The Disenchantments” by Nina LaCour