Book Reviews

Recent Library Book Reviews

Whenever I travel home, I make use of my library so much. Where I normally live, there isn’t a huge English language selection, so when I have the opportunity to use other libraries, I always take it. For these books I wasn’t going to write individual reviews and so I thought it might be fun to do a summary of all my reviews – graphic novels and more!

Graphic Novels

Book Review Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

I re-read Monstress Vol 1 and 2 which has the most gorgeous comic book art I have ever seen. Seriously, it’s so stunning and the world building is rich and there are cats. Do I even have to say more than that?

I am currently reading volume three and OH WOW the world building just explodes and I’m wondering how long this series will be!

I read Invisible Kingdom which is a series I would continue, but the first volume was a bit slow.

I really loved the premise of this Graphic novel, excuse me but space nuns? You have to see this as being the start of a series because otherwise it feels a little cobbled together? But when you think of this as the first volume for a series then you start to appreciate the little touches of world building. We get to know each MC away from each other, their struggles and the intricacies in their lives. When they finally come together it feels like it’s been a while coming, but I loved the interactions we see. Additionally I really liked each of the characters separately too and I definitely think I’d read another volume of this!

YA Books

I had heard about Technically You Started It because it’s written entirely in text messages and found it so fascinating! But it also has bisexual and demisexual rep which just made it even better.

If you’re searching for a book told unconventionally, then Technically You Started It could be the book for you! Told entirely in text messages it makes you wonder about how we convey information. Nowadays with internet friendships I think it becomes almost like we share so much of our lives in text only, but I’ve never read a book like this. At first it got some getting used to. A lot of it felt a bit like trying to piece together a mystery especially since events happen on page that we never see, we just hear about. Because of that, I had to take breaks, reading only text can be a lot, but I really liked this book.

It was cute and entertaining and had amazing LGBQIA+ rep – demisexual and bisexual characters – so a total win! I loved that they had convos on the page about the rep and figuring it out. And the MC also has generalized anxiety which was discussed so overall it was such a good book about figuring ourselves out. I loved how unique it was, but also how you could tell their personalities right from the beginning. They had unique voices and it was great to see how people get to know each other, how they let each other into their lives. I also loved that at one point the MC goes to a fan convention! Overall, this book was so fun and entertaining!

Novellas!

I have been a fan of the Wayward Children series for a while, so you know I had to read Come Tumbling Down!

Ugh I wanted to love this so much more and I really loved the beginning. It was great to be back with the characters you know and love and also to be back with Jack! I loved that this featured Jack’s OCD and queer relationship on the forefront. While I really liked the last sequels, for me the latter half of Come Tumbling Down was difficult for me. I loved the writing, there are quotes that I just adore, but the latter half felt totally rushed and it felt oddly easily wrapped up at the ending? I also didn’t love the world of the Moors so maybe that was it? But overall for me it was a pacing issue that I couldn’t reconcile.

And being a huge fan of Sarah Gailey’s hippo series, I had to read Upright Women Wanted.

Excuse me but queer librarian spies? Um hello?! I knew I wanted to read this book for the premise alone, but also I’ve been a huge fan of Gailey’s work ever since the Tor.com hippo novellas – seriously, go check out their earlier novella series! So I knew that I would pick this up and I got to say, I love the world building. It’s set in this Western kind of dystopic setting, but Upright Women Wanted is such a celebration of queer moments in a world that actively persecutes them. The world building can seem pretty bleak, with only approved materials, but underneath that outward shell is a core of resistance. The librarians are the ones who distribute the materials, but they’re a network where queer people can find the moments of happiness denied to them. The wild west, horseback, camping vibes were amazing in this book and it transport you to another setting.

The characters were really wonderful, I just wish we got some more depth on some of the side characters. I loved the bits I saw, and there’s so much queer diversity within the group (nonbinary, f/f relationship, and more). And I loved the sense of freedom they felt, but also there’s this undercurrent of fear. Upright Women Wanted has a fabulous balance of being hopeful in this environment which does not celebrate their happiness of free expression. It’s in these moments where we are looking for the wrong thing, where we can stumble across the right thing. The ending felt a little rushed, and I want so much more of this world, so I hope it becomes a series because I WANT MORE!

Middle Grade

I read something in most categories – if you count those graphic novels as adult! Under the Broken Sky was a book I got on Netgalley and….never managed to read. But I did now and wow this was so much more emotional than I was prepared to read. Under the Broken Sky was intense. It’s a middle grade told in verse about a Japanese orphan, and her sister’s lives, in occupied Manchuria during WW2. It’s an incredibly emotional book about a child’s perspective of war, but also their struggle for survival. Natsu and her sister Asa have to navigate not only their food, but also their sense of identity and family. They have no support system nearby and they hare deeply confused. It talks about a period of history I had no experience with as well as the tensions between the Chinese and Japanese – readers definitely need to read the afterward because it talks about conditions during Natsu’s life. How does Natsu and her identity change as her situation changes, as her family changes? How does she navigate the world post war and those whose lives haven’t been touched by the war. The last 25% definitely made me so emotional as she’s forced to make hard decisions for herself and her sister.

Discussion

Do you have access to a library where you are?


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