For the longest time I suffered through a reading slump. I either had no interest in reading or couldn’t pay attention and kept reading the same page over and over again which led to me giving up completely. But in January, I finally made some headway and managed to start AND complete 6 novels. That’s a fairly low number for my old self but for recent times, that’s pretty damn good!
I’ve been wanting to clear my bookshelves of books that I’ve purchased and never read so that’s what I started with. I chose to give list the books I wasn’t going to keep on my paperbackswap profile. (If you haven’t checked out the site before, I highly recommend it. You get a credit for every book that you send to someone else. Feel free to add me!) Now, onto the books!
YOU // Caroline Kepnes
This one has been talked about a lot lately because it recently became a tv series that started on Lifetime, was cancelled and has since been picked up by Netflix. I actually picked this one ages before it was a show … and never read it. Yeah.
Anyway, I watched the show on Netflix (and totally binged it in one day. Shhh.) The show was great and renewed my interest in the book so I took it off my shelf right after New Year’s… and COULD NOT put it down. YOU is a seriously messed up book. It’s really intense, there’s a lot of vulgarity in it, and well Joe is a sociopath. He fixates on a girl he just met in the bookstore he manages and stalks her to find out everything about her and then finds ways to keep running into her to make her fall in love him, as he is convinced that she’s meant to be his.
Since the story is from Joe’s perspective, it’s definitely interesting but also uncomfortable since, in a weird way, Joe comes across as somewhat likable and you catch yourself starting to understand why he does what he does. I had planned on reading the sequel after this, but after binging the show and reading the book, I needed a break from Joe. But I highly recommend both forms, the show, of course, adds and changes things, just a heads up.
The Female of the Species // Mindy McGinnis
This one was actually recommended to me by a friend at a local bookstore. She knows that I’m always looking for new psychological thrillers and this one is actually a YA title. She described it to me as a feminist Dexter type and that was all I needed to know.
This is another that needs to come with a warning. This is a novel about the insidiousness of rape culture and contains graphics and violent images. It’s also told in alternate voices so if that’s something you dislike, best to avoid this one.
We follow Alex through her senior year as she makes tentative new friendships, something she’s not used to, and continues to go unpunished for her crimes. She’s something of a crusader and even sees herself as one. It’s actually kind of hard to hate her at times, even though you know you probably should. I literally could not put this book down and devoured it in a just a few hours. That’s how engrossed I was. Seriously, I cannot recommend it enough.
The Nowhere Girls // Amy Reed
Warning: rape, assault, violence. Are we seeing a trend here? While yes, it tackles some pretty rough subjects, I had to read this one because a) rape is way too common and so are rape apologists and b) feminist novels make me happy.
When Grace learns that Lucy, the former occupant of her new Oregon home, was run out of town after accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape, she is furious that no one ever helped her. With the help of her new friends at school, the Nowhere Girls, an anonymous group of girls who want to fight the misogyny that is running rampant at their high school, is created.
I loved, loved, LOVED this book. Grace sometimes made me want to smack her but Rosina (the fiesty lesbian Latina) and Erin (quiet, geeky and dealing with Asperger’s) were two of the best characters I have come across in a long time. Amy Reed truly fleshed out her characters in such a remarkable way. I loved that aside from discussing rape culture and misogyny in general, misconceptions about sex and female sexuality were also discussed. Something that needs to happen more, especially in YA stories.
Beautiful Broken Girls // Kim Savage
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I won’t lie, the cover definitely drew me in. But so did the synopsis.
After her death, Mira Cillo sends Ben on a quest for seven notes that explain why she and her sister Francesca drowned themselves in the quarry. I was hoping for a thriller with a twist like Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten, but was extremely disappointed.
Beautiful Broken Girls was very slow moving, dealt with topics that I did not expect (stigmata and other religious ideals) and kept bringing up things that apparently had no relevance to the story as they were either never mentioned again or only used as a poor twist tactic. There wasn’t a character that I found likable and I actually almost gave up a couple of times but kept hoping it would get better. Sadly, it didn’t.
The Wicked Deep // Shea Ernshaw
Okay, first of all, the cover is included above as well as in the title link. Just look at it. It’s glorious. This is a YA supernatural thriller that takes place in Oregon. I’m partial to Pacific Northwest stories since I live in that region. I picked up an autographed copy last year and finally read it. And it did not disappoint.
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow, where two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchcraft. They were drowned in the waters surrounding their coastal town, rocks tied to their ankles to keep them from floating up. But these sisters return each year to possess the bodies of three teenage girls so they can lure boys to the deep waters and get their revenge. Enter Penny, a local girl who can see what other people cannot and wants to end the curse once and for all.
This one was a perfect book to read on the rainy days we had throughout January. I would light a candle in my apartment, cuddle up with some chai and a blanket on my couch and immerse myself in this creepy and beguiling story.
The Hazel Wood // Melissa Albert
The Hazel Wood is another one with a gorgeous cover. I actually got mine via Owlcrate, which sends books with exclusive covers so mine was a gorgeous green cover with gold highlights. But the reason I wanted to read it so much was because I love faerie tale like books. Especially dark ones and this one didn’t disappoint.
Alice and her mother have been on the run for as long as she can remember and they have always dealt with some pretty bad luck. But when her grandmother, the author of a bestselling book of truly dark faerie tales, dies alone on her estate called The Hazel Wood, Alice discovers that her bad luck before was nothing compared to how horrible it could become. Soon Alice is embarking on a quest to save her mother and tangling with people who seem to be from her grandmother’s own book and who are more vicious than anyone could have imagined.
*swoon* Yep, I devoured this book too. Absolutely loved it. It’s dark and yet beautiful at the same time. It’s lyrical and blunt, charming and horrifying. And a sequel was recently announced so I may have done a happy dance when I read that. My favorite part was the re-telling of the tales from the grandmother’s book. They reminded me of Grimm’s faerie tales and I wish there had been more, but it looks like Melissa Albert may be releasing those tales in a separate book which also made me squee with happiness.
And those were my January Reads! What books did you read in January? Was there one that you loathed or loved? Let me know in the comments! Oh, and please feel free to add me on Goodreads!