Part 1 of these two posts summarising my thoughts on the books I’ve read over the past few months covered the books I read towards the end of 2015. Part 2 is a list of six of the books I’ve read so far in 2016. From now on I’ll hopefully be able to do individual posts for each book, and be able to discuss them more in-depth. For now, here you have it.
Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowel
I read this book in one or two days and I loved it. Everything about this book is a little silly. Not only is it a novelisation of a series that a fictional character writes fanfiction about in Fangirl, but also a thinly veiled reference to Harry Potter. So in a way it’s essentially Harry Potter fanfiction. To be honest, I am confusing the hell out of myself trying to work out the best way to describe exactly what this story is. But that doesn’t matter, because the important thing is that it’s delightful. The plot goes from being too slow paced to happening pretty much all at once, and at times feels kind of juvenile, and the spells are all ridiculous, but somehow it still made me read through it as fast as I could.
Title: Me Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
I finished this fairly recently and I still can’t really remember what stood out to me about it. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, but it’s probably not going to be a story I remember much ten years from now. What I do remember liking about it is that it’s one of the few books about cancer I’ve read that doesn’t romanticise cancer at all. Not only do the characters not fall in love, Greg, the protagonist, doesn’t even really acknowledge that they become friends. It’s established that he’s not exactly the most reliable narrator so realistically they did become friends (and in the film adaptation, which was also written by Jesse Andrews, this is a lot clearer), but really it’s just a book that pretends it’s a college application essay about that time he was forced by his mother to hang out with a dying girl, and how that definitely didn’t change his life in any way at all. Oh, and Earl is the best.
Title: The Royal We
Author: Heather Cocks
This was an enjoyable read. I liked the beginning better than the end, but I’m a sucker for stories like this one. I have a larger than average interest in contemplating the meaning of fame and how to navigate it in a way that allows you to be yourself and also the person the world wants you to be. Which is a huge part of this book. The royalty aspect of the story adds another layer, because not only are you ‘famous’ and sought after by people all over the world, you’re born into it and unable to know anything other than that. I thought the story was a tiny bit too long and there was perhaps a few too many chapters that felt a bit one track, but overall I enjoyed it. Throughout at least half the book I was not sure if I even wanted Will and Bex to end up together, because there were overwhelming reasons why they shouldn’t. But I liked that it was never simple, that there was no easy fix to their problems, because that’s true to life in those kinds of situations.
Title: The Captive Prince Trilogy
Author: C.S. Pacat
What can I say? I read this because of Tumblr hype. It’s certainly nothing I know how to classify simply as either good or bad. It has some good bits, and for better or for worse, I could hardly put it down once I had started the second book. But the things I disliked, I disliked enough to make it hard to really vouch for the series as a whole now that I’m a few weeks away from binge reading them. I love Laurent, I enjoy the mutual trust and respect between the main characters, despite their animosity. I liked that, surprisingly enough, the third act reveal wasn’t actually a reveal after all; that Laurent had known the big secret the entire time. I liked that the book actually did surprise me a few times. I didn’t like the sex slavery, the fact that there were barely any female characters of importance, and I found the whole thing a bit too rushed and a bit too focused on the sexual aspect of the Laurent and Damen relationship. That being said, it is nice to see fiction that employs the tradition of fanfiction where romance (and for this story specifically, same-sex romance) can be used within genre fiction without detracting from the main story.
Books I’m currently reading:
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.