My first attempt at a weekly recap instead of a monthly! I’m excluding the books I read on Monday and Tuesday, as they were incorporated into the May Wrap-Up post! Mostly four-star reads this week! All very enjoyable, but nothing made it to the ultimate favourites shelf! I had intended to start joining my Stacking the Shelves posts with the weekly wrap-up, but it became longer than I had anticipated! Let me know your thoughts on this blog format in the comments at the bottom!
I have A LOT of books to read for work, so I had planned to read as much as possible in the past few days! It was my high school reunion, however, and I didn’t get through as many as I had hoped!
The Other Side of Summer – Emily Gale (4 stars) (Australian author)
I fully intend to review this book in full – it was totally gorgeous! It’s almost a middle-grade read, so the writing is simple but lovely. Summer is thirteen, and dealing with grief. Not only has she lost her brother, but her mother elects to stay in England when the family moves to Melbourne. Then she starts seeing a boy, who may or may not really be there! It is just beautiful, and will be top of my recommendations over the next few months!
When My Heart Was Wicked – Tricia Stirling (4 stars)
This book was only very, very short, but it was incredibly intriguing. Lacy strives to be good. She is interested in biology and herb lore, and likes to use her skills for healing. Her step-mother, Anna, is a wonderful influence, keeping Lacy on the right path. But when her father dies, Lacy is forced to move in with her mother, Cheyenne. Lacy feels that every moment spent in her mother’s company turns her bad. There is some magic realism going on, but it doesn’t detract from the main storyline which highlights aspects of negative familial relationships.
Bro – Helen Chebatte (4 stars) (Australian author)
This is a story of racial warfare in a school in Western Sydney. The generic Christian boys’ high school is divided into four social groups based on race – the Lebs (Lebanese), the Rez (Asians), the Ozzies and the FOBs (fresh-off-the-boat). A fight club is started, pitting boys from different groups against each other. I found the story incredibly realistic; the language used by the boys was very true to form (though with less swearing I’m sure!). It also lends itself to education purposes, leading to a discussion about racial tensions in Australia.
Akarnae – Lynette Noni (4 stars) (Australian author)
Alex Jennings tries to enrol at her new school, but ends up in an entirely new world, Medora. Some students find her, and take her to their school, Akarnae. Noni creates a sense of magic, but tries to highlight that it isn’t actual magic, just different technology. I disagree though – it still felt totally magical! The school environment was really well-written. There was a big deal about Alex being Chosen, and she got to have some cool adventures because of that, but it did a little bit overdone and obvious. However, I still really enjoyed this one!
Thanks for the Trouble – Tommy Wallach (4 stars)
I really really loved We All Looked Up, and was interested to see what Tommy Wallach would do next. This book didn’t disappoint! Parker doesn’t speak – he communicates through a notebook. He hangs out in hotels, mostly because people in hotels are easier to rob. He meets Zelda, a young girl with silver hair who claims to be immortal. She intends to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, but agrees to have one final day of fun with Parker. I really liked the characters, and I loved the little twist at the end of the novel. It might have been a bit TOO easy, but it annulled my problems with the manic pixie dream girl trope used here, as well as the unexplored magic realism. It was just a very cute, easy read with lots of wonderful quotes about relationships and the nature of love! Two of my favourite moments:
They loved each other like the ocean loves the shoreline – eating away at it, little by little, day after day. They loved each other like the sunlight that makes the plants frown, then scorches the leaves and bakes the moisture from the earth. They loved each other like the seagulls love the bronze statue they’re always shitting all over.
Flowers. I fucking hate flowers. What kind of asshole buys you something that you have to take care of? ‘Here you go, person I supposedly love, here’s an additional responsibility for you. And if you fail in your duties, you’ll have a flowery corpse on your hands. You’re welcome!’
Withering-by-Sea – Judith Rossell (5 stars) (Australian author)
A wonderful children’s book about a little girl and a BIG mystery. Stella lives with her three aunts at the Hotel Majestic. Her life is full of lessons in deportment, sewing, and French, yet she much prefers spending her time poring over her Atlas. She witnesses a crime, and becomes involved in keeping a very old kind of magic away from an evil magician. However, he is very persistent and kidnaps her a few times! The illustrations dotted throughout are wonderful, and there is still an overarching mystery about Stella’s past – I hope we find out more in the second book, Wormwood Mire, due out later this year!
The Tinderbox – Hans Christian Andersen(4 stars) (Little Black Classic #23)
I adore these Little Black Classics! There were a collection of stories in here – I was surprised at how short The Princess and the Pea is for such a well-known tale! My favourite story was Little Claus and Big Claus – it’s a good thing to be smart and wily, rather than big and brawny!
The Suffragettes – Various (4 stars) (Little Black Classic #94)
This little book is a wonderful introduction to the suffragettes and their struggle! It has a really good mix of primary sources – articles, parliamentary bills, images. It offers a great overview, but is still relevant for the feminism debate today!
What did you read this week? What do you think of my weekly recap format? How could I improve on it?