More Recent Reads!

Overall, April and May were pretty good reading months: quantity was down but quality was up. I am so excited to share with you what I have been reading! 

Kind of a Big Deal

Shannon Hale

What happens when we peak in high school; When we are on top of the world- well the high school world at least. Naturally, we try to take on the rest of the world. That is exactly what Josie Pie does; while technically still in high school she auditions for Broadway. Unfortunately this is not her big break. Josie takes a job as a nanny which sends her across the country where she can hide out and lick her wounds in private. Her life has stalled until she finds a magical bookshop. When she opens a book, she is instantly transported into the story. With each new story she learns something about herself, her life, and where she has found herself.

The concept of being drawn into a book was immediately intriguing to me- I would love to be transported into my favorite series, there are also series I would want to avoid *The Hunger Games* (I do NOT volunteer as tribute). The idea that stories are meant to reflect our lives and teach us something is true, if portrayed a little on the nose in this story. Still it was fun to travel through different worlds and see different genres play out so theatrically. The twist at the end, while not huge or out of left field, was not easily predictable but still added a depth to the story that increases its impact.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and it has inspired an idea for a future blog post- stay tuned! 

The Project

Courtney Summers

I have heard nothing but rave reviews of Courtney Summers’ other book, Sadie, but when I picked it up the content matter was a little too heavy for me. When this book was announced, I kept it on my radar to pick up. This book centers around a cult. Judging by my previous posts you can probably guess I love stories about secret societies: this was a whole other level. We follow two sisters’ perspectives: one that was part of the cult a few years ago, the other that lost her sister to the cult in modern day. When a young man’s mysterious death points to the cult the younger sister begins an investigation that will change everything.

While I did not find this content triggering, I found myself on edge throughout the book. The persistent gaslighting made me very uncomfortable- which I think was the point so mission accomplished! Cults are not something I have much knowledge of or interest in so this was the first book I had read on the topic. If I am being honest this fictionalization teetered on too intense for me so a nonfiction account would likely be too much for me.

I do not give star ratings anymore (more on that at a later time) but if I did, I would not know what to rate this book. As a rule of thumb I love when a book makes me feel something and this book made me feel many things. Those things however were uncomfortable- not uncomfortable in a “my worldview is expanding and I am trying to process my new understanding of the world” sort of way more of a “I have pulled back the curtains and gotten a glimpse of something I’d probably rather not have”. I will definitely be reading more from Courtney Summers.

The Curie Society

Janet Harvey

It is absolutely no secret that women have been behind a number of advancements in many fields throughout history. It is also no secret that they haven’t always gotten the credit they deserve. Marie Curie- yes that Marie Curie- started The Curie Society to empower women in STEM. In this first installment we follow three new recruits into the society as they train and go on their first mission.

Many people are fairly surprised to learn that I studied Chemistry in college- I have zero aspirations to be a chemist and I am not using the knowledge I learned (except to understand my friends’ nerdy jokes). Why did I spend two years earning a minor in Chemistry? Honestly because I enjoyed it! Sure there were times that I struggled but I lived for the satisfying feeling of when things clicked and my whole world shifted as I incorporated what I had learned into various problems. The most fun however was when I was able to apply the concepts I knew to problems I had not seen before. The skills I learned in my General Chemistry labs and lectures also helped me see the world from a new perspective.

Why did I just spend a whole paragraph in the middle of a book review dedicated to my time studying Chemistry? Because the skills I learned in those courses are some of the same skills The Curie Society teaches- it was much more glamorous and exciting watching them do it when compared with all the time I spent at the library. I loved getting to watch as the characters’ worldview and ways of thinking expanded. I also loved going on adventures with them! I am so excited for the next installment!


Tracy Deonn

I really cannot contain my excitement and love for this book! It was the May read for Not Ya Average Book Club (NYABC), Loganberry’s Teen Book Club. I am so glad I read this for the book club so I could gush about it with other people who enjoyed it as well! If you are interested, I will also do a post about our book club!

This is surprisingly one of the first books I have read based on Arthurian legend. Percy Jackson got me hooked on Greek mythology so I was happy to expand my reading into another legend. We meet Bree the day her mother has been killed in a horrible car accident. Bree then goes to UNC Chapel Hill for a pre-college summer program where she discovers the Legendborn. The Legendborn are the descendents of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table tasked with protecting the world. Over the course of the summer, Bree learns about this secret society and how her familial history is entangled with magic.

One of the strongest elements of this book was the diverse cast of characters. These characters were full of depth and nuanced. They were people that I would love to hang out with- well some of them at least. I appreciated that there was not tokenization in the diversity- each character felt like a whole and necessary person without whom the story would not have felt complete.

At first the length of this book intimidated me but I am so glad I picked it up. The story was rich and nuanced and was able to highlight generational trauma without being too heavy to a point of distraction. When you pick this book up- and you definitely should- be aware that there is a table at the end that shows the bloodlines. This will help keep track of all of the characters.


Andrew Root

I picked this book up because I thought my younger cousin would like it. We read it together and she enjoyed it! Fern is a unicorn and all she wants to do is code and to run her experiments in peace. The other unicorns don’t understand her and make fun of her. When the dance is in jeopardy and only Fern’s expertise and tools can fix everything, the other unicorns learn how cool math, science, and engineering actually are.

As someone who lives in the intersection of loving all things glitter and finding Chemistry fascinating, I appreciated Fern’s love of STEM. There is definitely subtext about individuality and what happens when someone breaks from the norm of their group but we will save that conversation for another day. I really enjoyed the art style of this book; it was fun and whimsical as a unicorn should be.

I am currently reading way too many books. I am easily distracted by two things: books and glitter. One book I am in the middle of is Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I was speaking with a customer about how it’s taking me forever to get through because while I love it and I’m so drawn in by it, I know it is going to gut me. The customer reminded me that “…the best ones always do.” This is so very true but I always make sure to have balance in my reading so as not to burn out.

So far this year I have read 40 books. My list of books to read is growing so these reading updates may be longer in the future! I am looking forward to telling you all about what I am currently reading in another update soon! Have you been reading anything you want to gush about? Let me know in the comments and happy reading!

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