Hello everyone, and welcome back!
Also hi so some months I don’t feel like I’ve read anything, and I’ve actually read a lot. (See: July.) Some months I feel like I haven’t read anything and I actually haven’t read anything. (See: this past month.)
Seriously, this is a four book round-up. Which is not to say that reading four books in a month is bad, because it’s all about goals! But four books in a month is pretty bad for me, given my givens. We’ll get into it, then I’ll talk to you a bit about reading slumps.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
This is a contemporary romance about a politician’s daughter who plans everything in her life, only her summer internship falls through and she finds herself stepping into the unexpected. She meets a guy through dogwalking, and the rest is a surprisingly long romance novel with a side of friend drama.
This is a fun enough poolside read if it’s still warm where you are and you’re prepared to stay out for many hours/days (don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen), but it’s not mind-blowing and there are far fewer dogs and dog-related shenanigans in it than I would like.
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
A dystopian future after a Civil War where pro-life and pro-choice sides agreed to peace under the following conditions: all life is sacred, but between the ages of 13 and the magic adult number of 18, parents (and the state) can choose to abort/“unwind” children, who are not technically “killed” because all of their parts are harvested for medical use.
This is about as messed up as it sounds. Full points for a creepy as heck premise and for giving me chills and a lot of disgust at points, but in terms of plot/character development, this feels a bit watered down compared to his later Scythe, which I love. (There are definitely similar elements, so it begs the comparison.) Still, at least the first book may be worth reading if you enjoy original dystopian worlds and feeling completely horrified.
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Juliet has recently lost her mother, and she’s leaving letters by her grave; Declan lost his sister and almost everything some time ago, and he’s writing back. They’re keeping it anonymous, but they go to the same high school. You see where this is going.
This is readable, and the characters definitely have tragic backstories that demand sympathy, but there’s not really enough development for them or non-predictable stuff in the plot to get invested in this one (or at least there wasn’t for me). If you enjoy feeling very sad for strangers who have seen tragedy, maybe, but there are better books about grief out there.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
In a world where Death-Cast predicts the end before it happens, two teen boys get the notification that it’s their last day. Lonely and isolated for different reasons, they reach out via the Last Friend app to find someone to spend the time with. Of course, they change each others’ lives.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on this prior to the release date, so I’ve already read it, but my full review is still to come. Short version: I think History is All You Left Me is the better of Silvera’s recent releases, but you will probably enjoy this if you were into The Sun is Also a Star. More on that soon, probably!
And on reading slumps: I think in the earlier summer, I built some pretty good momentum with Harry Potter re-reads, but I really fell into a mire at the end of July reading mostly books I didn’t end up liking very much, with the exception of Saints and Misfits. Despite some stand-out stories, I found Because You Love to Hate Me straight-up difficult to finish.
So I started August with a bit of reading hesitance, and given that, it probably wasn’t in my best interest to start off by plunging into a ridiculously long contemporary, given that a) very few contemporaries end up favourites with me, and b) it’s so much easier to knock out a bunch of short reads and feel accomplished. (In the end, I mostly enjoyed The Unexpected Everything, but it took a while to get through and it didn’t blow my socks off or anything.)
In my own defence, I tried to get back into things by picking up not-long absolute mood reads after that, but between those factors and a busy month, the damage was done.
I’m going to need to find a way to pick back up, and we’ll see how I get there. I usually don’t run into this problem because my read-picking mode is 90% mood reading, but sometimes a while goes by without a new favourite cropping up and the TBR pile starts to look more discouraging than exciting, if you get what I mean.
If you have any reading slump tips, leave them in the comments, and I’ll speak to you again soon!