Posts in Book Reviews
The Book We've Always Needed

Becoming by Michelle Obama is so worth the hype, y’all. Listening to it on audio felt like I was having coffee with Michelle herself (she narrates!), learning just what her love and her husband’s love for our country cost her. How it changed her. And how she took that love and forged a path with it—a path for women. A path for people of color. Her passion and love made a way for people to dream big.

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Streams of Mercy by Barbara Duguid

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher, P&R Publishing. This in no way affects my opinion of this devotional.

I can't believe 2018 is coming to a close soon. This time of year I find myself reflecting on the wonderful books I've read as well as the devotionals I plan to dig into in the new year. I've acquired quite a few life-changing devotionals recently, including Love Came Down at Christmas by Sinclair Ferguson, an advent devotional that I just started.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I’ll try to trace the hold the book has on me, but what can I really say? Reading Station Eleven is like slowly peeling an orange, tearing it bit by bit until you’re at the sticky center. It’s sweet and it lingers, but oh, it stings, that little sun in your hands.

It’s a story about nostalgia: not only for what could have been but for what still exists buried underneath—like fingers on an out-of-tune cello playing a hollow song from muscle memory. Or maybe it’s always there, buzzing above our skin, like light moving over the surface of the waters, over the darkness of the undersea.

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Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Oh, I devoured this summer contemporary like candy. Or maybe honey is the right word; the prose is so smooth and draws you in instantly.

There's no better feeling than picking up the perfect book for your season of life—the perfect read you're craving. Ghosted was sweet, heartwarming, heartbreaking, gushworthy, swoonworthy, and a story I will always look back on fondly.

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Oh, I adore this book. Kelly is a masterful storyteller, and I feel this one was brewing in her for a while. Lovers of middle grade—no matter their age—will come away with their own kind of sticky-sweet starlight: more joy, inspiration to forgive and cling to hope, and love multiplied.

This is a story about magic, how lies and sorrow and fear can rule and ruin, but how even the brokenness of the mad can be repaired with strength and hope.

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Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

While I'm so grateful to have received this book from the publisher, I'm sad to say it wasn't for me. I can see how this book would be a favorite for younger (snarky?) readers, and the writing was decent, but I just couldn't stomach the YA cliches, bad attitudes/angst, pretentiousness, and other frustrating elements.

I really REALLY wanted to love this book, and I do think fans of John Green or "witty" romance will potentially enjoy this book. I did like, for the most part, how the author portrayed depression and how it can take many shapes in our lives and in the lives of people we love.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Like many other reviewers, I am astounded by this book. I don’t think the right words will come, but I’m going to try.

This book deserves all the hype it received. It was like a sucker punch to the heart in the best way. But it hurts, because it exposes everything.

I’m sure The Hate U Give wasn’t written so white people like me could better understand what it’s like for a black girl like Starr to live her life and experience the injustice she experienced.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a touching coming-of-age story about a fifteen-year-old boy named Ari and his best friend, Dante, and their unique experiences in El Paso, Texas, as Mexican-American teenagers.

I listened to the audio version of this story, and while I do believe it was overhyped, I’m fully aware that my personal listening experience could have been completely different if I had physically read the book. Don’t get me wrong: Lin-Manuel Miranda was a brilliant narrator and I thoroughly enjoyed his voice for all of the characters.

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A World without You by Beth Revis

I finished A World Without You by Beth Revis almost a month ago. It’s strange, but I found myself waiting to put words to how I felt about this book. It seemed like a monumental read for me, and a part of me didn’t want to face those intense emotions.

Immediately upon finishing the book, I gushed on Twitter—as I so often do—and eventually found myself private messaging with the author back and forth. Side note: I will always be grateful that Twitter fills the gap between author and reader.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This is a rather quick review, but I couldn't skip over this enchanting book. Every Heart a Doorway was my kind of strange, and I don't think I've been this in love with a storyline/premise in a long time. As others have mentioned on Goodreads, it's dark, atmospheric, and heartachingly lovely. There was something so unsettling about these characters who have traded in their own families and "old lives" for other worlds—the worlds they truly belong to.

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

—Stephanie Danler, Sweetbitter

This book will forever leave a sweet-bitter, craving-it-always taste in my mind. I devoured it.

This coming-of-age foodie story is so much more than a young twenty-two-year-old girl moving to New York City on a whim, stumbling into a coveted job at a top NYC restaurant. It's about remembering, having experiences instead of just wanting them, and oh, every page aches with loneliness—truly.

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

I can't even begin to sum up this weirdly stunning, magical book.

I absolutely loved everything about it. But then again, I seem to like most YA contemporaries these days with a little magical realism sprinkled in for good measure. Well, that's not entirely true; it's not easy to get it right. But when an author does get it right? Good gracious, I have GOOSEBUMPS.

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I tend to believe that most people cannot easily come to grips with identity or the strange and beautiful sorrows of life until they unravel the stories of their family histories and peel away the layers of where they come from.

I also tend to believe that, like author Leslye Walton’s strange kinship with the daffodil, some people can achieve beauty only after a long, cold sulk in the rain.

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

In honor of Banned Books Week, I thought it only fitting to talk about the one and only Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Every now and then you read a book that grips you so fiercely, you know you carry a chunk of it with you wherever you go. I’m not talking about book hangovers, I’m talking drunk-in-love, full-on-can’t-stop-won’t-stop-smiling-or-crying stories.

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