#RereadSomeBooks

It’s February.

You know what that means?

Probably not. I’ll tell you, so that you know.

Every February (okay, the last three consecutive Februaries), I reread books. Specifically, I reread Holly Black’s CURSE WORKERS trilogy. Last year, I made a rereadathon out of it. And it was fun! Blog posts were involved, playlists were made. And…Curse Workers is pretty much all I read.

So, things are getting rearranged. College and life (I know, the worst words for any youthful blogger to pull out, basically just synonyms for ‘excuses’) are, unfortunately, requirements. But damn it: BOOKS.

And as such, no formal rereadathon will be happening this time around.

HOWEVER.

[dramatic music builds]

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My dearest (if meager) reader base

(hint: that’s you)

is hereby cordially invited to join me in the Second Annual February Rereadathon (Formerly: Curse Workers Reread) and participate on The Social Medias using hashtag #rereadsomebooks.

There, you’ve been invited. Go forth and re read some books.

My TBR will be up soon. Don’t stress over yours too much.

-l.

The Graces

Some books are treacherous. Very treacherous indeed.

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  • Author: Laure Eve
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre vibe: Small town witches, basically.
  • At a glance: Everyone is in love with the Graces. River is, too, but in a different way than most of the rest of the school. River knows they’re witches; and she’ll give anything to join them. Guess who makes a lot of bad decisions? Everyone. Literally everyone in this book.

Alright. Feast your eyes on that gorgeous American cover. Then go look up the rest of them. Admire this stupidly beautiful book. Go find a bookstore and give it a good, long petting. It deserves it. Go on.

Finished?

Good. Now you can read it. Just be careful when you do.

Know me well and you’ll know that this is the kind of book that I just can’t resist. I live for these kinds of books, though they’re few and far between. They sound a bit like this: enchanting, a little intoxicating, vaguely confusing or unsettling, and very very witchy. Two of my favorite “genres” are rich kids and sunshine and there’s some weird magicky shit going on in this small American town. Combine the two and I’ll give you my heart.

In the vein of April Tucholke, Laure Eve spins something unsettling and a little bit whimsical with the greater part of THE GRACES. The Grace family themselves are as untouchable and delectable-looking as anything could be, and River’s quest and determination to be close to them is just all consuming and strange as their presence.

One of the most impressive parts of this book is Eve’s insightful musings on the difference between being involved with people, and being an outsider. The phenomenon of being the moon-person orbiting the established planets of any given social circle or setup is one that’s hard to get across, and Eve accomplishes it with a kind of raw brilliance that speaks to the little part of me that knows very well what it’s like to look in from outside.

And add to that River’s sheer determination to surpass merely being known and become a true piece of what she sees from the outside so clearly, and what you then have is a situation that’s pretty much impossible to leave unfinished. Because the most dangerous part about this book?

You can’t simply put it down.

There are times in life when you have to take a break from reading (shocking, I know, I’m sorry). And this is a book that seeps out of reading time and into other-time. “How are things going?” you’ll wonder, as you’re driving to work. “What’s going to come of all this?” and you’re not satisfied until you’re reading again.

Dangerous, isn’t it?

So, overall, this book is…

  • 4/5 stars
  • for people who like magic, emotional dissonance, and untouchable people
  • wet sand between fingers, not toes. looking at the water and wondering if there are sharks underneath.
  • Setting Fires (feat. XYLØ) by The Chainsmokers

Be Good Be Real Be Crazy

Some books are exceptions to even the strictest of rules.

  • Author: Chelsey Philpot
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre vibe: Road trip + complicated romance
  • At a glance: Mia is Homer’s Anywhere Girl, and now she’s leaving. He offers to drive her to her new home, and his genius little brother gets included in the deal. Mishaps ensue and lots of quality moments are had.

Okay, here’s the deal: It’s gonna be super hard to talk about this book and not sound dry, and it’s gonna be super hard to give you a full-on review because of it. Here’s why.

Chelsey Philpot is a voice for the ages. The way she writes is like poetry. It’s the kind of wordsmith skill that you can’t even be inspired by; you’re too busy drowning in it. It’s storytelling bliss.

So, in light of knowing how lovely she is, none of this will suffice to talk truly about this book until you read it, because Chelsey’s are the only words that are right.

I participated in a self-imposed #5Books7Days challenge again this year, and though I weighed in just under 5 actual books, I’m pretty pleased with myself. BE GOOD BE REAL BE CRAZY was the first full book I finished. The journey of this book was a short one.

Begin: The week before Christmas, browsing my local B&N and realizing, “Holy shit, that’s Chelsey Philpot!

Middle: Christmas giftcard purchase #1.

End: #5Books7Days day 2, and the book has been thusly devoured.

This book is an exception to quite a few of my strictest book rules. There are certain things that are automatic turn offs to specific people–every reader has one or two, or a few. Some are more prominent than others, based upon just about anything. Mine usually just so happen to be teenaged pregnancy, and the end of the world. 

Things this book has? Teenaged pregnancy, and the end of the world. Come chapter five, I was asking myself, “are you going to be able to finish this? Will you end up hating it? Will it do something you just can’t excuse?” and I asked myself whether I wanted to quit while I was ahead or not. 

I kept reading. And I’m so, so glad that I did.  Because this book damn well blew me away, and while it may not have changed my mind about some of my least favorite tropes, it definitely proved to me that some books truly are exceptions. 

BE GOOD BE REAL BE CRAZY is a sprawling sort of novel that is also quite contained in its set of goals. A focused set of issues for each character is expanded upon, rather than a lot of issues being thrown at just a couple of people in a short amount of time. 

Because in the end, this book is really about just that: the people inside of it. Homer, Mia, Einstein, and the entirety of the supporting cast are all given full marks for fullness of character and all-around awesomeness. 

This book as kind of a whirlwind. I loved reading it and I love having it on my shelf, and that, I think, is the highest mark I can give a book, really. This is something you want in your brain. Philpot’s words are some ou want to carry around with you all the time. Guarantee it. 

So this book is: 

  • 5/5 stars
  • The smell of gasoline in the heat, the knowledge that you’re going somewhere, even if you’re not sure where it is, and it’s simple kinds of joys. Like a good book. 
  • For people that want a roadtrip and some deep thoughts and a beautiful, beautiful set of words. 
  • Name by the Goo Goo Dolls

 

Every Hidden Thing

Some books are undoubtedly, absolutely, inexplicably, every single thing you have ever wanted, and everything that you didn’t even know that you did.

Welcome to my favorite book of the year.

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  • Author: Kenneth Oppel
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre vibe: PALEONTOLOGY ROMANCE. NEED I SAY MORE?
  • At a glance: Samuel’s and Rachel’s fathers are paleontologists. Feuding paleontologists. Whenever Rachel and Sam meet, sparks fly. Whenever their fathers meet, fists do. Then the two pairs find themselves prospecting the same stretch of badlands territory for the same fossil. More sparks, more fists, and plenty of dinosaurs.

Alright, let’s start off with a scientific fact: At the very top of my Favorite Things list is Indiana Jones. The pitch for this book? Indiana Jones meets Romeo and Juliet.

You bet I’m sold.

Top it off with getting to meet Mr. Oppel at TTBF in Austin this year, and I’m practically swooning. (Oppel’s Airborn was my first venture into steampunk almost five years ago. I owe a great deal of my imaginative qualities to this guy. Thanks, Mr. Oppel.)

There are a thousand things I want to say about this book. I want to pick apart every piece of it that I loved. I want to excavate it from the rock it’s in right now and tell you “Look at this beautiful fossil I’ve found!” and then somehow get you to read it and love it and display it with pride in the museum of your bookshelves.

But that may be a bit excessive, and also, I doubt anyone has the time for that.

So what it boils down to is this: This book is so good that the last time I was this starry-eyed over a story, I was watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for the first time.

There is something quintessential about an adventure story. About dust and science that just goes together. About the excited light in a certain adventurer’s eyes when he tells you what he’s up to. A girl and her dreams and her fight, an unyielding land, an unknown frontier. There isn’t a good way to sum up the feeling that this kind of story gives me, because they’re the reason I make stories of my own, and the reason I love stories in the first place.

Every Hidden Thing is a masterpiece. The find of a century. It’s the crowning jewel of any aspiring geologists rock collection, the first treasure in a chest, a clue on a map long since discarded. It’s feeling like a kid again, wanting to be a treasure hunter or an astronaut or a scientist and not knowing yet that it took more than a hell of a lot of enthusiasm to get there.

Samuel and Rachel are some of the strongest protagonists I’ve read this year. Oppel has always been an author with master craftsmanship, and the narrative power of this duo is a cut above even the rest of his work. Pile on top of that the depth of their relationship, and the complexity of their individual struggles, and what you have is one of the best kind of characters you can ever see on the page: enthralling.

The supporting cast as well was phenomenal–Rachel’s and Samuel’s fathers were just as much a part of the story as Rachel and Sam themselves. There wasn’t any part of this book that seemed unfinished or under appreciated.

This book is a whirlwind. ( And that’s without mentioning the racing-heart and muttered “oh god please no please no please no please” that happened when the last few scenes started up. Ohhh boy.) This book is a gigantic boulder rolling towards you, and it’s standing under a huge fossil in the museum and being dwarfed by it. Wonderment and a thirst for adventure.

You can’t top that, can you?

So, overall, this book is…

  • 5/5 stars
  • For anybody that’s ever wanted to don a fedora and hit the pavement looking for something awesome. And people that like kissing. And people that like dinosaurs.
  • Dust on the bridge of his nose, something heavy in your hands, cool water on a hot day, safety. Just safety.
  • THIS PLAYLIST that I made specifically to make you want to read the book!

Hey, if you’ve been here awhile–thank you so much for reading! It’s been a hell of a year in a lot of senses of the word, and if this blog brought you anything from a brief “wow her jokes are super dumb” chuckle to a new book, I’m glad! Looking forward to a bright and book-filled 2017. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line on Instagram or Twitter, and stay tuned for some more fun stuff coming up this year!

-l.