This week I celebrated my second birthday under quarantine. I was told that I don’t have to count birthdays during the lost year, so I’m happy to report that I remain 36 years old. Just kidding. I’m 38 and it’s FINE. Really. I don’t know why I continuously have anxiety about aging because I am going to be an extremely fun elderly person. I should be embracing the fact that I’m one year closer to attaining my true form, and yet. Anxiety is an irrational thing and my brain is predisposed to produce extra. Womp womp. Let’s switch gears and get to the books already.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert-The highly anticipated conclusion to the Brown Sisters series did not disappoint! Eve Brown is the youngest of the Brown sisters as we met both Chloe (review) and Dani (review) in earlier installments. Eve feels like the failure in the family. She’s always struggled with follow through and doesn’t have a terribly impressive work history. She’s tried everything from music performance to culinary school to event planning, but nothing has stuck. Then her parents decide to temporarily cut off her trust fund payments until Eve proves she can keep a job. Before you know it, Eve is taking a long drive to clear her head, going to a job interview on a whim, and accidentally running over her would-be boss with her car. Woops. Jacob Wayne always keeps himself under control. He’s fastidious, punctual, and has no time for nonsense. He has even LESS time for that sort of thing when the flighty interviewee he just dismissed RUNS HIM OVER. Maybe it’s the head injury- maybe it’s her lovely singing voice. Maybe it’s the tasty food she prepares. But somehow, despite all odds and reason, Jacob soon finds himself drawn to Eve. This is the most adorable enemies to lovers trope! It’s also fabulous autism representation, as BOTH Eve and Jacob are on the spectrum. It’s cute, funny, and bursting with nuisance water fowl. Talia Hibbert is magic, don’t miss out!
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee- This book was a mixed bag for me. Let’s start with the stuff I loved. First, LOOK AT THAT COVER. That is the most joyful, adorable cover. Because I do most of my reading digitally, I rarely get all swoony over cover art, but this one is perfect and I love it. Also, our main character, Skye Shin, is Korean, plus-sized, and bisexual- all representations that are often left out of popular YA titles. She’s also bonkers talented, a dynamic singer and dancer. Despite her mother’s constant criticism about her weight, Skye has entered a televised K-Pop competition for both dancing and singing. And she’s killing it. Now, I know nothing about K-Pop. I’m one of those people who kind of tuned out of the music scene after high school and therefore know very little about… Anything cool or current. I didn’t get any of the references to songs or choreography, but anyone with half an imagination can pick up on the excited, energetic, ultra competitive vibe of the K-Pop scene described in this novel. Unfortunately, the story felt weirdly rushed to me. It’s about a televised talent show, but I felt almost no tension. It moved so quickly between rounds that it felt like a missed opportunity to create a more exciting storyline. All in all, though, I’m very glad this book exists and I hope it makes a group of under-represented teens feel seen.
The City We Became by NK Jemisin- This one took me quite a while to get into- I think I might have fared better via audio than eyeball. (I read The Broken Earth Trilogy with my ears and I think that was a very wise choice on my part.) This book is wildly creative and centers on the idea that a city can become “alive.” In this case, the city is New York. The essence of each borough of the city is embodied within a human, and some interdimensional tentacle monster is trying to take them out. It’s intense and brain-bendy. I think NYC natives would really love this book, but as an outsider, I probably missed out on a lot of inside references and such. I mean, my Midwestern self didn’t even know that Staten Island was an official borough of NYC! I thought it was sort of like Long Island? You know, city adjacent but not official? And I had no idea it was… Well… The city’s angry racist armpit. (Sorry to any Staten Islanders who are not, in fact, racist armpits.) I’ve never been to New York and I’m the product of bland suburbia (which is the antithesis to living city-dom, according to Jemisin.) Despite the complexity of the story, once I was invested at the halfway point, I couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend this to folks to enjoy sci-fi and fantasy, gritty urban stories, and anybody who knows anything about New York City. But even if you are none of those things, you might dig this book. I certainly did. I’m curious as to where this series will go next. Will we stay with New York or go to a new city? I’d be very interested in reading about the “birth” of Chicago. Because, you know. Chicago has always been “The City” in my world.
What a week of books! What have you been reading, Bookworms?
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