It’s time for my (belated, as always) wrap up for the #DAReadathon! I managed to read a total of four books for this readathon, and so completed four of the challenges. I did get partway through my fifth, but ended up losing steam. Despite not hitting my seven book target, I’m not in the least disappointed. I really enjoyed all of the books that I read, so without further ado, let’s get into the books!
As always, the covers will take you to the Goodreads pages.
SIMON VS. THE HOMOSAPIEN’S AGENDA BY BECKY ALBERTALLI
I read this for the Expecto Patronum prompt. This was the first book I read for the readathon, and I’m so glad that it was. Simon Vs. follows Simon, who is closeted, as one of his classmates discovers Simon’s sexuality through his private emails with a boy named Blue, and proceeds to blackmail him. This book dealt with some pretty heavy topics, like concealing your sexual identity, and also having the control over deciding who you reveal your identity to and when completely taken away from you. Aside from this, it deals with complicated friendship dynamics really, really well. For all the seriousness of its subject matter at times, it still managed to be a really cute, really enjoyable read. Simon is an absolute joy. It’s so easy to relate to and sympathise with him. The whole cast of characters was great, and I loved that it dealt so much and so well with friendships. Each of these relationships felt very real and well-developed. This book just left me feeling so happy. I do kind of wish that we’d seen more of Simon’s relationship with Blue after we find out Blue’s actual identity, but I really enjoyed the inclusion of their emails to one another. Albertalli managed to cover two entirely different ‘coming out’ experiences incredibly well. This definitely deserves all the hype it gets. I practically read it all in one sitting, and it’s one that I can see myself reading again in the future.
IF I WAS YOUR GIRL BY MEREDITH RUSSO
This was my second pick, and I read it for the Expelliarmus prompt. If I Was Your Girl is about Amanda, who is transgender, as she moves in with her father and starts at a new school after, it’s revealed, she was attacked at her previous school. Amanda is an easy character to relate to. Her concerns about not fitting in are pretty much universal, however, Amanda also has to consider her own personal safety in a way that a cisgender student absolutely wouldn’t. This book never shies away from referencing the extreme violence that trans people face, and its a constant concern for Amanda and for her father. It does get quite dark and upsetting toward the end, but even so, it maintains a sense of hope. The book also includes flashbacks to Amanda’s experience with transitioning, and it’s here that I think it’s important to mention that in an author’s note at the end of this book, Russo says that she wrote this to be easy for cisgender readers to digest, and I would say that this is clear in the ease with which Amanda is able to transition. This isn’t a criticism, as of course, Amanda’s experience will be the experience of other trans people, but I do think it’s worth pointing out as Russo explicitly states that she doesn’t intend, or want, for this to be the one book about trans experiences that cisgender people read. I do find that it’s easy ,when talking about marginalised voices, to hold up one book above all others, and never encourage people to explore more. I really appreciated that Russo included this in the author’s note—and it certainly had the intended effect on me, because I’ll definitely be picking up more books by trans authors.
EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU BY CELESTE NG
I read this for the Lumos prompt, and it was a bit of a change of pace from the previous two I’d read so far for this readathon. Everything I Never Told You follows a Chinese-American family in the aftermath of the death of their parents’ favoured child, Lydia. It’s a very character focused novel, focusing on each member of the family in turn as they deal with Lydia’s death. The novel is set during the 1970’s, and through the parents, James and Marilyn, it looks at the microagressions each of them face. James due to his ethnicity, and Marilyn due to being a woman who hopes to work in the science industry. Due to this, each parent has very high hopes for their eldest daughter, and the novel portrays how suffocating this was for Lydia. It also looks at how, as a consequence of their focus on Lydia, they often ignore the sucess or happiness of their other two children, Nath and Hannah. It’s very subtle, which is why it works so well, and why it feels so deeply sad. The writing in this book is excellent. Celeste Ng portrays everything so vividly, and she manages to make a book that is frequently depicting the mundane into one that you cannot put down.
LABYRINTH LOST BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA
Finally, I read Labyrinth Lost for the Stupefy prompt. I’d read so many glowing reviews for this book, and for the most part, it didn’t disappoint. This book is an urban fantasy novel about Alex, the most powerful bruja in a generation, who in an attempt to get rid of her power, accidentally sends her family to the world of Los Lagos. I loved the concept of this book, and I liked that it was inspired by Latinx culture, as I haven’t read any fantasy in that vein. I also really did like Alex’s dynamics within her family. While initially she might not be the most sympathetic character, for the most part her actions felt believable to me. I completely loved the world of Los Lagos, this was absolutely the high point of the book for me. My only issue was that, at times, it felt a little underdeveloped, both in terms of the characters and the world building. However, it was a really fun book and I had a really great time reading it. I look forward to reading the next book in the series! Especially because of how it ends!
Those were all the books I read for the readathon! I also picked up, and got most of the way through The Vegetarian by Han Kang, but I’ve yet to finish it. I also started tracking points, but then lost track and stopped. In any case, I’m really glad that I participated, it was such a great way to kick of my year of reading!
If you also participated, I’d love to know what you managed to read! If you’ve also posted a wrap up, or any reviews, feel free to link them in the comments! 🙂