Young Adult books I read in June 2018 – Reading Wrap up

On to my Young Adult wrap up! In total I read about 6 YA books – though  a couple of them weren’t SUPER long so I’m not sure how impressive that is. Also, are you all ready for some CONTROVERSIAL opinions lmao good because I only have one and personally don’t think it’s that bad but i’m not tagging the book just in case cause I know how much people LOVE it. You’ll have to dig through the rest of the reviews to find it though. To be honest, MOST of the reviews get hella long under the cut…. woop woop.

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    • Thoughts: 4/5
    • Rating: This is a pretty dang good novel! I’m usually not super into poetry, but Woodson’s writing is on point throughout the book. She has a great way of just stringing the words together in order to just PUNCH you in the gut. I see why this book won so man awards – it DESERVES it. I’d argue this is a pretty important book for kids to read -the discussion of race and the civil rights movement is probably some of the most top notch stuff I’ve read in a kid’s book.
    • I still have to say though, I still think that this book would have been better in prose. The subject matter and writing was enough for me to really enjoy it, but honestly don’t think the book being written in poetry helped the book at all. I still think this style of book writing may just… not be for me? I have a couple of YA books told in verse on my to-read shelf, so we’ll see. I’m still willing to give books in this style a try!
    • The book also peaked my interest in Woodson’s other works. I’ve already added several to my library queue to pick up sometime in the near future.
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
    • Thoughts: 4/5
    • Rating: Not much to say about this one other than it was SUPER cute and really poignant for a little kids book about a robot in the wild being accepted and becoming a mom. The parent stuff was SO fucking good in this though I can imagine parents bawling while reading some of it. It ends on a really bittersweet note, but there’s a sequel so I’m hopeful this series won’t just break my heart.
    • Also the audiobook for this is pretty damn cute I definitely recommend it if you just want to like. Feel joy for a couple moments in your life. Maybe some sadness too but mostly joy.

  • Updraft on Fran Wilde
    • Thoughts: 4/5
    • Rating: *bangs pots and pans* Y’ALL ARE SLEEPING ON THIS SERIES! This is SUCH an inventive, well paced Fantasy YA. The characters are diverse and compelling, the world building is fucking INCREDIBLE. Sure it’s got some pretty standard young adult tropes, but I think the takes on it are interesting enough to keep people engaged. Mostly the pacing for this book works SUPER well. YA has a tendency to either fall into two categories: break neck or molasses. Wilde does a great job of having the story bloom pretty naturally. I honestly do not get most of the criticism this book seems to illicit – if anything I think the story is just a bit too dour for the kind of world it’s set up, and it’s a bit of a struggle to fully be all in for the general *ANGST* that kind of sits with the majority of the novel, especially with such a bright setting. There were some parts of the ending of the novel which were a bit ???? as well. But all in all an excellent ya fantasy novel.
    • Also for people saying “Kirit is just the chosen one” meet me in the pit honestly because that’s not what this book was trying to say about her character and story at ALL did you read the same book I did.
    • Also dude there are like patently given reasons why the main character doesn’t get along with some of the other female characters (and one of these relationships is some of my FAVORITE in the whole book that starts as antagonism!!! But it doesn’t!!!! stay that way y’all!!!!)  other than “”””Girl Hate”””” I swear to god y’all are just mad there’s no romance in this book.
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    • Rating: 3.25/5
    • Thoughts: Listen. I get why people love this book. I really get it. There are some really interesting plays on the chosen one trope in this, and both Simon and Penny are my SWEET CHILDREN who I would go to war for but. Y’all this is just okay. It still reads like a derivative of another work, but without the fun gratuity of it all. There’s a ton of telling and not showing since the book starts up with them being in their 8th year, but writes like there’s a bunch of ~history~ that ends up having to be kind of just fed to the reader . The beginning of this book is a SLOG until Baz shows up – it kind of just stews for 150 pages. There were just a ton of things brought up plot wise that were dropped like a hot potato if you weren’t paying attention. And just…. there wasn’t enough romance? Like I feel weird complaining about it, but Simon x Baz is the conceit I was sold on for this novel and I felt like I got some crumbs. I pretty much tore through AO3 after reading this trying to find fic to fill the total of two feels I got from this book. (That complaint I admit is a bit biased though)
    • Also how were y’all not pissed as hell at the ending of this without knowing that there’d be a sequel because if I read this before I knew there’d be a sequel I’d be BOILING with rage.
    • Not an unpopular opinion: Agatha as a character just was not for me. I really get that she was struggling a lot, but she also came off hella fucking bratty some of the times.
    • UNPOPULAR OPINION: Baz is just okay lol. Like listen I get he just pretends to be an asshole and has ooey gooey feeling underneath but the man is still a grade A dick. Sometimes for seemingly no reason other than ‘i have no idea how to express my love other than being MEAN’ which just. I’m twenty five goddamn years old I am so tired of that shit. The angst was fun though. And still a better more compelling character than his HP counterpart (don’t get me started on how little I care about Malfoy alright)
    • All in all like. I liked this. It’s fine. I can’t wait to read the sequel. But that’s all it is. Fine. I think I missed the Rowell train like several years ago cause this just does not do it for me.
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
    • Rating: 4.5/5
    • Thoughts: You should read this book if you like being sad. I’m dead fucking SERIOUS I was fucking BAWLING at the end (though from what I hear about Silvera’s work, all of his stuff is SAD). Silvera has a really great writing style – each character has a GREAT voice when he writes in their perspective. The world building was pretty interesting as well – he really goes into exploring the concept of the DeathCast throughout the novel. The pacing in this is excellent as well – Silvera does a great job of building and building as characters interact and grow and the plot marches inextricably on.
    • But honestly, Mateo, Rufus and all the other characters REALLY sell this novel. They’re all so flawed but lovable and full of life. They feel like real fucking kids man. It hits really really close to home just seeing these kids live their last day, trying to make sense of it all and come to terms with their life. Their relationships with each other are so touching, you’ll get to parts of this book, and the writing will just squeeze your heart. It is so so wonderful. I love Mateo and Rufus the most though. My beautiful children.
    • I do have to say, I still felt like the message the story was trying to get across felt a bit pedantic sometimes – and some of the non main character chapters felt a bit unnecessary. But I think Silvera still really succeeded in what he was trying to get across. It made me think a lot about my own relationship with death. Which after this book somehow didn’t make me an anxiety ridden mess, haha.
    • PS – Mateo x Rufus is my fucking OTP I’m so so so MAD at the end of this novel I’M SO FUCKING MAD.
  • The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
    • Rating: 4.5/5
    • Thoughts: For some reason I keep picking up books that are absolute SOBBERS this month. I spent the last like 20 minutes of audiobook with tears rolling down my face just openly weeping. This is a WONDERFUL middle grade book – it does an amazing job exploring the 1947 Partition of India from the perspective of a child. Hiranandani has a talent for capturing the voice of the main character, and you just really really feel for this poor girl and her family. The writing is pretty stellar – it’s incredibly emotive. There were ending was a bit jarring, but it’s not enough to really denote the book any points.
    • This book is a lot though. Fuck, it’s a lot. I can imagine some younger children really struggling to get some of the themes here. Not because they won’t understand, but because it’s rough. I do think this is a fair and exceptional tale with pretty good handle on its history and its message. I think it helps to read this in conjunction with learning about India’s history and the events leading up to the Partition of India. I think I enjoyed this book so much because I was well informed about the context surrounding it – I can imagine others being either confused or put off by it otherwise, since it doesn’t really contextualize itself a ton. (though as a children’s book, I would never expect it to)
    • I definitely recommend picking this up as an audio book, Priya Ayyar is an excellent narrator, and to be fully honest, this would probably be more of a four star read without her work. It’s a short audiobook too – less than 6 hours. Give it a look if you have the chance.
    • I also have to admit this was a bit personal for me – the grandma in this book reminded me of my SO’s sweet grandmother and it brought me close to tears in some of the not – as – emotional times because I kept thinking about her and how sweet and wonderful she is. (I know, I am an absolute BABY)

As always, I’ve saved my longest wrap up for last. I read SEVEN adult novels this month as well. Look out for that soon!


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