I actually managed to follow a tbr. Who even am I? I’m honestly so proud of myself, it’s obnoxious. But, in case you skipped that post because you knew it was unlikely I’d follow it or if you just want to know my thoughts, let’s hop into it.
Day One: Level Up by Cathy Yardley
I absolutely adored Level Up, which is essentially a book about roommates falling in love. Tessa not only falls for Adam, but she also makes friends and those friends were everything. The book is nerdy and a quick read, but it was utterly delightful. Also, apparently Cathy Yardley is Latina? So I read this in part for Latinx Heritage Month and now I’m anxious to continue devouring the entire rest of the series. The audiobook is available on Audible Escape (as is the whole series, I think).
Day Two: Thirsty by Mia Hopkins
This book caught me so off guard. It’s about Salvador Rosas, or Ghost, who has been out of prison for a little bit now, but is still trying to save enough money to get an apartment where he’ll be able to bring his brother when his brother gets out of prison. He went to prison for stealing cars (and presumably got an enhanced sentence for being in a gang). He winds up living in a garage behind the house Vanessa Velasco lives in. Vanessa is a widow and now single mom and she is not here for anything that’s going to jeopardize her daughter’s future. I really enjoyed this book. It’s written solely from Salvador’s perspective and I will admit that I missed having Vanessa’s perspective, especially toward the end. But I did really enjoy it. Also, the audiobook is available on Audible Escape (as is the sequel!).
Day Three: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
For my full thoughts, I would definitely refer you to my ARC review of this one and The Write Escape, but to keep it short and sweet, this was cute, but definitely not my favorite. I’m really over men who should know how to express their emotions still not expressing their emotions even though I’m fully aware that not expressing emotions is absolutely a real life trait of so many men in their 50s.
Day Four: Pride by Ibi Zoboi
This audiobook is narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo, which was honestly the best part of this book. If you go into this expecting a YA story about a rising senior who is very concerned about gentrification and falling in love with a rich boy, you might enjoy it fine. I went into this knowing it’s meant to be a Pride and Prejudice retelling and it just did not give me the same warm and fuzzies at all. That said, this book was definitely not written for me. It’s not only written for a YA audience, it’s also written for kids of color, specifically Black and Latinx kids, and that’s a good thing. I’m really glad that this book exists in the world for kids who deserve to see themselves reflected in the books they’re reading. But on a personal level, I didn’t love this.
Day Five: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
I absolutely adored this book! I wasn’t sure going in how I was going to feel about another YA contemporary, but I genuinely loved this book so much. It’s about a Cuban American girl, Rosa Santos, who has made her choice about college based on where she can go that will let her study abroad in Cuba. She knows her abuela is 100% going to freak out about her decision so she’s procrastinating letting her know. There’s also a festival she volunteers to help organize, the goal of which is to save the marina. Oh, and also, she’s got a huge crush on a boy with a boat, which is bad because the Santos women are cursed. Rosa is attracted to multiple genders, but I didn’t notice any label being applied to her. The romance in this was adorable, but the family relationships shine! CW for grief because this book absolutely made me cry. I think this one might be available on Audible Escape as well. (I listened on Hoopla.)
Day Six: Stripped by Zoey Castille
I absolutely despised the first chapter of this book and nearly permanently DNF’d it, but I was committed to my TBR since I was so close to finishing it. I’m so glad I stuck with it because I actually wound up enjoying it so much more than I was expecting based on my feelings at the beginning. Robyn is a mess. Like, really, truly a disaster and she drones on and on about it for FOREVER in the beginning. Meanwhile, Fallon starts out seeming like such a great guy who has a tiny element of dissatisfaction with his life (he’s a stripper), but is otherwise a fully formed competent human being. Eventually though, Robyn grew on me, but wow, she really does not have a good excuse for being a disaster. The secondary characters in this book seem not fully formed also. That said, I enjoyed this book but just keep in mind that if you’re a person who’s had to pick up slack for your flaky colleague, you’re going to really struggle to relate to Robyn. (Also, this comes from a woman who is like 5-15 minutes late on any given day, but has never been late to something actually important. *knock on wood*)
For my thoughts on The Write Escape, please see that ARC review. Short version is that I didn’t really like it, but a lot of other people have so taken my opinion with a grain of salt.
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende was not on my TBR, but I had my whole drive back to NC to go so I decided I might as well get a jump on my October Latinx reads. I had the audio of this one out from the library and so I put it on. This is a blend of historical and contemporary fiction à la The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, in that there is an enigmatic older woman who provides us with the driving force of the historical aspect. Alma Belasco is a Jewish immigrant who left Poland for the safety of her aunt’s home in California. When she arrives in CA, she befriends her cousin Nathaniel and the son of the gardener, Ichimei. With WWII looming on the horizon, the reader has an idea of what’s to come. And indeed Alma and Ichimei are separated when Ichimei and his family are sent to a concentration camp for Japanese immigrants and American citizens of Japanese descent. (Forever angry about this aspect of American history so I appreciate it being shown here.) Irina, our main character in the present (2013?) day also has a past that gets explored, which requires some content warnings surrounding child sex abuse though it’s not explicitly on page. I found this book a little difficult to follow sometimes and also this is NOT a romance. It’s… definitely literary fiction, which is just not my cup of tea. I was relieved to see a few reviews talking about how this is nothing like Allende’s other books because I have two more on my October TBR. Oh, and also WHY CAN’T PEOPLE GO TO THERAPY?
Anyway, did you participate in ContemporaryAThon? If so, how did it go? What was your favorite read?