Hey There Bookworms,
I took a break from my regular updates last week because I wanted to highlight some awesome romantic comedies authored by Black women that feature Black people in the starring roles. If you’re a rom-com reader, I highly encourage you to check them out! But, because of that break, I have extra books to talk about this week. BLM protests are still going strong, Coronavirus is still out there, and JK Rowling continues to besmirch the joy her fans once found in her work (transphobia is not a good look.) I’m still working from home, trying to wrangle an extremely strong willed toddler, and I have been cooking more than I have in my entire life. (I do not enjoy cooking. I am not good at it. If I did not have a child whose health and well-being I care about more than my own, I’d be living on cold cereal and microwave popcorn. But I can’t even make microwave popcorn while Sam is awake because it’s a major choking hazard for kids under the age of 4 so HERE WE ARE.) I’m also feeling guilty for wallowing in self pity because I’m basically swimming in good fortune. Because, you know. Stable job, supportive bosses, super great kid, loving family, a safe place to live, and so on, etc. So while I pull myself together, let’s talk about some of the books I’ve been reading, shall we? We’re going in chronological order, otherwise my head might explode.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez- I have so many feelings about this book, which kind of makes sense because the book is an all-over-the-place feelings fest. Julia is NOT her parents’ perfect Mexican daughter. That role belonged to her older sister Olga, until she was killed in a tragic accident. Julia and her parents are understandably shattered by the loss. Grief manifests in all sorts of different ways in different people, and it’s painful to read about from anyone’s perspective. Julia and her parents make all kinds of mistakes while trying to work their way toward a new normal. The grief and loss are complicated by Julia’s family history, so all of this raw emotion is laid against the backdrop of the plight of undocumented immigrants living in Chicago. When Julia is sent back to Mexico for a time to stay with family, she begins to see her parents in a new light. It’s uncomfortable and sad, but ultimately kind of hopeful. Anyone who has ever navigated a complicated sibling or parent relationship, please be warned that this book will probably poke you in tender places.
Intercepted by Alexa Martin- I’ve seen this series floating around in the romance and rom-com world for a while now, but I always avoided it because my disinterest in sports truly cannot be quantified. I’m one of those awful dismissive people who has used the term “sportsball” in actual conversation. Luckily, I got over myself because it’s delightful. Intercepted kicks off a series about NFL players and their love interests. Or, more specifically, the awesome women who happen to end up with NFL players in spite of themselves. Marlee Harper is in a long term relationship with her high school sweetheart, who just happened to wind up in the NFL. She somehow manages to navigate the catty world of NFL WAGs (wives and girlfriends) only to discover she’s dating a big dumb cheater face. As she works on rebuilding her life, she finds herself drawn to yet another NFL player- her ex’s team’s new quarterback. But it’s not like she’s intentionally chasing pro athletes! She and Gavin (AKA Hottie McQuarterback) had a fling once when she and her cheating ex were on a break- and she was fully under the impression that he was an investment banker. Now Gavin is trying to prove to Marlee that he’s nothing like her ex while the gossipy WAGs absolutely go wild. You don’t have to love sports to love this series. I’ve already got the next two downloaded to enjoy via audio.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord- It must suck to have a debut novel coming out in the age of EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE 2020, so I’m trying to incorporate some debuts into my reading. Pepper is an extreme overachiever, pushed to excellence after she’s relocated from Nashville to an extremely competitive NYC prep school. She’s the heiress to a fast food chain, but until recently, that chain had been a single hometown burger joint. Pepper’s family isn’t faring quite as well as Big League Burger, but that doesn’t stop Pepper from pitching in as the resident Twitter genius behind their corporate account. Jack is the heir apparent to a much more modest family food empire, one with which he has a love/hate relationship. But his complex relationship with the family business doesn’t mar his desire to defend its honor when Big League Burger attempts to steal its iconic signature grilled cheese recipe. Jack is the mastermind behind the underdog restaurant’s Twitter account, and the gloves come off. Of course, when this all starts, neither Jack nor Pepper realize that they’re Twitter-feuding with a classmate. Look, if you don’t see the rivals to lovers trope and the #PepperJack from a mile away, you haven’t been paying attention. There is one of the aspect of this book kind of took me aback. Jack is secretly the creator of a social media app that has taken his high school by storm. I’d assume this was just an odd case of “look at this secret genius kid” if the very next book I read didn’t have a similar story line. I am, admittedly, medium old, and was about to graduate college before Facebook was even available to me (back in 2005 you had to have an email address at a participating university to get an account, so, yeah.) But I’m just like… Who are these kids and why are they so smart and have I actually fossilized yet? Sorry. I got ahead of myself. Tweet Cute is a very cute little story, and gets deep into its feelings about all the identity crisis type stuff teenagers go through. It was an entertaining read as an adult, but I can see it meaning a lot to the teenage crowd for whom it was written.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson- I have never mentally “Awwwwwww!”ed as hard has I did when I finished this book. It was just that sweet. This is another 2020 debut, and it’s by a Black author, starring a Black girl. Liz Lighty is not the type of girl you’d expect to see running for Prom Queen in Campbell, Indiana. The overwhelmingly white and wealthy small town just outside of Indianapolis is certifiably prom OBSESSED. Liz is poor, black, and awkward. She’s got a core group of friends, but she’s not exactly popular. Intense musicianship of the clarinet variety doesn’t quite carry the same cache as being the captain of the Pom squad. Unfortunately, the scholarship Liz was counting on to attend her dream school didn’t come through. She thinks all her hopes for the future are dashed until she remembers that the Prom King and Queen are awarded substantial scholarships- enough to make up for the one that fell through. So Liz throws herself into the lion’s den of Prom Court chaos, and in the process meets the impossibly cool and impossibly cute new girl… Who also happens to be running for Prom Queen. Will she fall for her competition? Will she pull off the most impressive underdog Prom campaign Campbell has ever seen? This book is super charming and fun, and, yes, features a school specific social media platform. Seriously, kids these days. I don’t get it. You should absolutely read this and revel in the joy of a Black girl getting a happy ending. Uh, spoiler alert, I guess. Whatever, I didn’t give you the details. Just go read the book, it’s delightful.
I’m currently working my way through Fumbled and Blitzed by Alexa Martin because apparently I cannot get enough NFL WAGs in my life. I’ve also just started The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, which has one of the greatest opening chapters I’ve ever read. This week’s reading is looking mighty promising. Oh! I almost forgot. Side Note for anyone invested in the Sammy-Chaos Bromance. My incredibly fun neighbor had the idea that Chaos should visit Sammy at our house. She packed that cantankerous kitty into his carrier and walked two houses down so that Chaos and Sammers could visit through our glass front door. For a change of venue, naturally. It was ridiculous and fun, even if Sam did have a bit of a meltdown when I wouldn’t let him open the door to pet the cat. One day they shall meet face to face, and Chaos will wise up and RUN from my handsy toddler. But until that day, the two shall remain the best of friends.
What are you reading this week, Bookworms?
If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home!