Spring 2021 book reviews

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

This book requires some suspension of belief, but once you’re safely in that YA thriller mindset, it’s a wild ride.  The story is set in an image-obsessed San Diego where two young girls find themselves tangled up with disaster and tragedy while also exploring their attraction to each other.  I loved the intensity of this story, which is a retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray.  I think if I’d read the original text first, I might have a better grasp on the references, but I felt just fine without it.  Highly recommend this book for thriller fans and anyone who’s looking to diversify their romance reading!  4 stars.

I received a copy of She’s Too Pretty to Burn in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.  My review, like always, is entirely genuine.

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I’ve been on a thriller kick lately so this book was right what I needed.  This story about a girl with anterograde amnesia (meaning she can’t make new memories) is crafted so you as the reader discover new things as Flora discovers them.  It feels like you’re riding along in her brain, which makes the story so immersive and unlike anything I’ve read before.  4 stars.

The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

Hear me out: YA short story anthologies are a criminally underappreciated genre!  I loved this short story collection about radical young women throughout history.  From circus performers to movie stars, this collection features some kickass girls and is a jolt of feminist energy.  4 stars.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

I picked up this novel for my Contemporary Writers class and ended up having mixed feelings about it.  It’s obviously well-crafted but the story wasn’t enjoyable; I definitely wouldn’t reach for it on the beach.  It makes you think, but it worth the read.  4 stars.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I totally see what the hype is about!  I read Six of Crows last year and loved how intricately Bardugo builds her worlds.  This book is no exception!  Alina was so dynamic as the narrator and had one hell of a character arc.  Can’t wait to watch the entire Netflix series in one weekend.  5 stars.

This isn’t part of my review but my Kindle mixed up the percentages when I was reading this book so I thought I was only halfway through, but then I turned the page and saw that the book was OVER.  It was a really jarring experience to finish a book when I thought I had a good 3 hours of reading left.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

After my Shadow and Bone hangover, I picked up this monster of a book.  It took me a good while to finish, which was due to how packed this book was with description.  And I loved it!  Harkness is such an atmospheric writer and this was the perfect book to turn to.  I read a review that said this book reads like a grown-up and (slightly) less problematic version of Twilight, which is a pretty accurate assessment.  4 stars.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

I don’t normally reach for historical fiction which is why I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Paris Library!  This based-on-a-true-story novel follows the librarians of the American Library of Paris during the Nazi occupation.  I liked the dual timeline so we got to see characters from two perspectives, but felt that there were some craft-based choices that didn’t suit the story well.  Nonetheless this was a great read for readers who love to read about reading.  4 stars.

I received a copy of The Paris Library in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.  My review, like always, is entirely genuine.

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