Five Most Recent Reads | January 14th 2021

For 2022, I made the decision that I would start sharing these ‘five most recent reads’ posts rather than continuing with my ‘favourites and disappointments’ style posts. So here we are today with the first of those posts.

These are my first five reads of the year—we’ve got a bit of a weird bunch; some non-fiction, some YA, some adult, so let’s just jump straight into it.

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc

My first read for 2022 was finishing off Disfigured, finally. I started this months ago but had to put it down (we’ll talk about why in a second), and then I decided to pick it up again in the last few days of the year. Not only does this discuss disability in fairy tales, but Leduc talks through her own experiences with disability, primarily during her childhood. Some of the things she went through are incredibly similar to what I went through, though we have different conditions. It was all a little too much at times and brought up some trauma responses. Even with those not-so-easy moments, this was an absolutely phenomenal read, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re interested in disability or literary studies, or both. I have a very basic understanding of fairy tales which basically begins and ends at Disney, but Leduc writes in a way that you don’t have to come to this book with a huge amount of knowledge on the subject, she talks through it all without ever dumbing it down.

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

I’ve been avoiding reading None Shall Sleep ever since it came out. While Ellie Marney is one of my favourite authors, this is a book about a serial killer and that terrified me. That being said, Silence of the Lambs is one of my favourite movies and I knew this had those kinds of vibes so I knew I had to read it. I’m glad I did—while it was definitely creepy and takes ‘messed up’ to a whole other level, it was so worth the read. The crime parts were great, but what really made it for me was the characters. It’s the same in every Ellie Marney book—her characters always feel like they could just walk off the page and Emma and Travis are no different. They are both really interesting characters, but they really come to live in their interactions with one another. All in all, it was just wonderful to be back reading an excellently plotted, completely messed up book from Ellie. Now for a little bit of shameless self-promotion, you can see the little liveshow chat that Mel and I did with Ellie Marney a few months back—we mostly talk about Every Word, but there’s some stuff about None Shall Sleep and more in there too!

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Only a few days into the year and I’ve already got my first DNF. I know a lot of people loved this and I really did give it a go—I read the first 150 pages but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I’m not a huge fan of multiple perspectives in books (though there have been some that I’ve loved), but with this one, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters or how their stories would intertwine. I can see why people do love it—it’s really well-written, the magic system and world-building are both intriguing but it just wasn’t the right book for me. I think maybe I’m not actually into adult fantasy apart from a couple of specific authors, but if you love intense fantasy stories, a little on the darker side then you’d probably really enjoy this. Since this is a DNF, I won’t give this one a rating.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

I can’t believe it took me an entire year to read this. I bought this as soon as it came out in January 2021, even started it then but it’s taken me this long to actually get around to finishing it. I think that’s mostly because I’m not really a contemporary YA reader anymore—there are authors, like Angie Thomas, that I’ll make an exception for but on the whole, it’s just not a genre I read too often anymore. I have to admit that I did struggle with parts of this—I have a terrible memory so I was constantly forgetting whether different characters and events were important to things that happened in The Hate U Give or not, but apart from that, I really enjoyed it. It’s a very different type of story from The Hate U Give, but it’s still very emotionally charged and it’s just a really beautiful story of fatherhood.

The Boy From The Mish by Gary Lonesborough

I know I just told you about how I don’t really love contemporary YA anymore and now I have a contemporary YA to talk about, but apparently, that’s just how the world works sometimes. I was pretty excited about this one last year—I mean, a LoveOzYA that’s gay and First Nations and written by an own voices author? That sounds incredible. I did really enjoy this—it was super adorable in parts and intense and heavy in other parts, but it all worked really well together. I loved seeing the way the relationship between Jackson and Tomas developed throughout the book. However, I didn’t love the writing style. It was the only thing I didn’t like but it did sort of draw me out of the story at times. However, everything else is here was incredible. I can only imagine how this book will change the lives of so many teenagers so I’m so glad it’s out there even if it didn’t quite work for me.

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