June was such a mixture of rock-bottom lows and some of the best moments of my life. My A-Level exams started on the 5th of June through to the 15th, and it was rough. I’m self-taught for health reasons and so there was even more pressure on to do well, and to make sure that I was studying as hard as possible. The exams themselves were so intense, some of them lasting for over three hours. I’d come out exhausted and in pain, but couldn’t take a breath before diving back into studying for the next one.
Then, it was all over. On the evening of Friday 15th, I danced out of college and went out for a meal with my family to celebrate. It was amazing to spend time with the people I love and to just unwind and live. The next day, I gutted my room and got rid of all traces of the subjects that had held me prisoner for so long (bit dramatic but I’m bitter over all those many, many hours I spent sweating over it all).
In place of A-Levels, books have finally made a reappearance in my life. I reorganised my bookshelves and begun the re-read I’d been thinking about for months.
Onto the Stats!
In June I read 6 books, which I’m really happy with considering I wasn’t reading at all until after halfway through the month.
Of those 6 books, there were 2 5 star reads, and 3 4 stars reads.
The format I used most this month was physical books, accounting for 3 books, ebooks accounting for 1, and I also listened to 2 audiobooks. No library books this month!
Onto the Books!
❀ Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
This book was perfect to read in the summer heat, even if it made me long to live near the water. The characters were extremely relatable and the family dynamic was wonderful. You can find my review here.
❀ The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
This middle-grade was so unique and written in a way that just had me completely immersed in the setting. Hardinge definitely has the ability to transport a reader into a world and make the story consistently atmospheric. I had conflicting thoughts of Faith’s character, mostly due to her privilege as a white, upper middle class member of society. I loved the feminist theme of Faith wanting to delve into science and breaking away from Victorian society’s views of women, but I just wish it had been more intersectional, e.g. race or class. Especially in a setting in which Faith’s family has servants, I think there was definitely opportunity for Faith’s privilege to be discussed. The ableism present in this book also made it impossible for me to give it 5 stars.
❀ More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
I didn’t review or rate this book because I feel that I really did miss something from this book. It may be that I listened to the audiobook while I was too distracted, but I just didn’t get the hype and ultimately didn’t enjoy the experience of listening. It’s totally a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ with this one, and I recognise how much this book means to the queer community.
❀ An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
This was a re-read in preparation for Ember, and it was every bit as fantastic as I remember – I maybe even enjoyed it more this time around! I love the characters, the plot, the setting, and the wonderful woman Sabaa Tahir is. The stakes are so high that I was constantly enraptured and just couldn’t put it down.
❀ A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
Even though I rated the first book in the series five stars and couldn’t pick fault with it, somehow I managed to enjoy Torch even more. We got to see more of the world in this book, and discover even more about the politics of the other groups in society, and expand on the threads woven throughout Ember. The mystery element and plot twists are just as effective. WHAT A BOOK!
❀ Final Draft by Riley Redgate
I listened to this book as an audiobook and so found it more difficult to review, so I thought I’d just do a mini review here. As a protagonist, Laila and her journey was extremely relatable. I loved how the book tackled to subject of creative writing, fiction, and the struggles of being a writer from the perspective of a young person, and how work can slowly unravel into an addiction. I really enjoyed the f/f relationship in this book. I found it very realistic and not overly fluffy. As well as Laila being on-the-page pansexual, she is also Ecuadorian and French Canadian, and plus-size, all of which I cannot speak for, but it was woven realistically and each aspect of her identity was explored in some form in the narrative.
The writing really was beautiful. There were so many breath-taking lines that it made me wish I’d read this book as a physical copy because I personally absorb writing better when I’m reading, but I still managed to appreciate the story a whole lot. Another aspect I really enjoyed was the sex-positivity, which isn’t present in a lot of YA.
I’d totally recommend, though perhaps as a physical book rather than the audiobook if you have the same experience as me (and I wasn’t a huge fan of the narration).
Overall, a pretty good reading month! I have to say I loved re-reading my favourite series, and discovering some lovely new contemporaries!
What were some of your favourites from this month?
Until the next one,