I’m on a “great book” streak, so I just wanted to share three recent reads I very much enjoyed…
Dangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas
In a word: unputdownable.
A bunch of teenagers go on vacation, one gets murdered, and her best friend (the protagonist) is arrested for it. There’s a shifting timeline, tons of reasonable doubt, but still, you’re not sure if she’s going to be blamed — and you have no idea who actually did it. I had my theories — and I was wrong. I did not see that ending coming.
I wish some of the secondary characters had been developed more, I wish we got more pre-crime scenes, I wish the prosecutors hadn’t been such cartoon villain antagonists, and I wish the logistics of the crime made sense to me in the end. But overall, this was a great read — perfect for vacation (even though I didn’t read it on one.) 7/10 stars.
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
I’ve had a fascination with Greek mythology ever since I was little, and a fascination with Troy ever since I had to do a report on lost cities in middle school. I’ve never actually read The Iliad, but I did read an abridged version of The Odyssey in high school, which I also adored. So I’m not sure why I haven’t picked up any retellings of any of these classic stories until now.
I loved this book. This is the story of Achilles (obviously) as told through the eyes of Patroclus, another Greek who was one of his good “friends”. If you’ve seen the 2004 film (of which I have fond memories as I watched it while studying abroad in France), Patroclus is depicted as Achilles’s cousin. However in The Iliad itself, it’s strongly implied the two were lovers. In this book, that subtext rapidly becomes text. It’s the story of two boys growing up together, slowly falling in love, becoming lovers, and then — well, you know how Achilles’ story ends, right?
What’s interesting here is that even when you know full well how the story ends, as well as what several of the plot points are going to be, it doesn’t take away from the tension of the story. This book was heartbreaking and real, despite its fantastical elements, and so beautifully written it made me want to weep, (which I did at the end.) 9/10 stars.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I’ve owned this book for months and I just cracked it open last week. Why? I think I hesitate when it comes to hyped-up writers. But fortunately here, the hype is well deserved. This is the story of Natasha, a Jamaican immigrant, on the day her family is due to be deported for being undocumented, searching for a way to stop it from happening. On her way she meets Daniel, the son of Korean immigrants, and (since this is a YA romance I don’t feel bad spoiling this) they fall for each other.
I’m not usually a fan of insta-love, but as the entire novel (for the most part) takes place in one day, it doesn’t feel as immediate as it actually is. There’s beautiful writing, really interesting musings on immigration and family dynamics and what happens to dreams deferred, and a super unexpected ending that made me cry. I loved this book so much I immediately went and ordered her other one (Everything, Everything, which is apparently also amazing.) 9/10 stars.
Have you read anything good lately? My TBR is 250 books long and I’m already behind on my reading challenge for the year, but that will not stop me from adding to it!