I’ve done a few of these mini round ups of holiday reads in the past, which have always gone down well so I thought I would introduce you to the three books I read whilst away. I took four books with me, but didn’t really start reading until midway through the holiday when we were stuck in our hotel room one day because of the rain, up until then we’d been go-go-going, and whilst I often picked up a book at the end of the day in bed, that ended up being more of a switch for my eyes to go to sleep.
Fly on the Wall by E Lockhart
This popped up on my Amazon homepage as a suggested buy, and I loved the first book I’d read by E Lockhart, we were liars (which I spoke about here) the book was really beautifully written so I had high hopes for this. I really like YA fiction for getting be back into the swing of reading after I haven’t had time to read since mid last year, and this was an easy one to my head back into it (add to that that it’s actually a pretty short book as well).
The story focuses around one girl, Gretchen – a student at a swanky Arts high school where being ‘normal’ meant you stood out more as quirkiness was the key. In the first section we learn about Gretchen, and her obsession with every boy in the school and her trying to decipher what any encounter with what one of them means, the second section and main bulk of the book is the twist, and the third is the conclusion, what we learned from the twist. Which disappointedly, wasn’t really a lot.
I didn’t enjoy this too much overall, it was a bit cringey for me and when the twist in the story came it was like, oh really – we’re going there are we? My most hated part of the book was that everyone in the school called penises…. gherkins – no teenage girl would refer to it as that, let alone boy would refer to it as that every time I read it referred to it I wanted to tear the book into two. I was hoping for some deep and meaningful ending to tie the book together, but sadly at the end of it I felt like I had wasted my time in reading it, luckily it was a quick read and took me just a few hours to read.
The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
Another Author I’ve read from before is Nicola Yoon (I reviewed Everything, Everything recently), I picked this up in hope that it would be a good book for picking up and putting down as the first had very short chapters, and this one was the same. The book is set in New York in mostly one day and focuses around two main characters, Natasha – a girl who loves science, data, facts and figures about to be deported with her family after her father is caught with a DUI, she’s doing everything she can in effort to stop them being deported. Daniel is a dreamer, from a Korean background whose parents have big dreams of him becoming a doctor and going to a big name college (like his older brother, who is entirely an arsehole). He is enroute to the a college interview for Yale, but has a dream of being poet.
This is a sweet story about fate, and how the two almost cross paths and cross paths through the day – whilst the book mostly switched between being from Natasha and Daniel’s point of view, there would be sections where words might be defined (like the Jamaican term Irie), and small sections from other characters point of view such as the parents of Natasha and Daniel. The book had a special way of making every character relevant and part of the fate that the story has from start to finish.
This is a really good book to get your head back into reading, most of the sections/chapters are under 5 pages long and that makes it a motivating page turner, as you just keeping thinking okay… just one more!
Finally, can we talk about how pretty the cover of this is? I heard in another review of this by a book youtuber since I read It that the cover was actually handmade with pins and string… now I want to try that as a craft!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Finally probably one of the hot topics of the moment, The Handmaid’s Tale, I’d never heard of this cult classic book until I saw the trailer for the show somewhere around the start of the year, once I read up on the blurb, I knew it was going to be something that I wanted to read before I watched it, and I’m so glad I did. I’d been itching to start watching the show, which had been racking up episodes but despite having this sitting waiting since March, I wanted to save it as a honeymoon read.
This is intense, compared to YA, the line spacing is squidged together a bit more, the font size slightly smaller, add to that it requires a lot more concentration. I found myself reading a chapter (which might have been under 10 pages long for the most part) and requiring a 10-15 break before starting the next, while I absorbed up every word, the language isn’t particularly challenging, it’s just such a heavy read.
Without spoiling it too much, it’s in a time where woman start failing to be able to conceive with the population dwindling, the society becomes split – only certain people are allowed wives depending on their rank of power. Handmaid’s are given to households of Commander’s and their wives who are unable to reproduce themselves, and the handmaid’s job is to try and conceive amongst going to the market to go pick up produce for the kitchen (that’s a rationed system).
Whilst it’s a book that was written in the 1980’s it feels entirely relevant, the book is described as science fiction, which feels incorrect to me – for me it’s dystopian future, but a future that feels like the past. It’s a tale of reverse feminism, a loss of human rights, both harrowing and heartbreaking being entirely dark and thought provoking.
I’m just starting to indulge in the show, and whilst it’s always easier to watch the show not the book, I 100% recommend reading this book first. It’s genuinely one of the best reads I’ve ever read.
The fourth book I was hoping to read was the Circle, and I would have started it on the plane home had I of not packed it in my suitcase! Ben and my sister have both read in in preparation for watching the Netflix Movie, and both enjoyed it. I’m planning to keep reading and making it more of a habit again now I have time, so fingers crossed you’ll be seeing a review on that soon. If you have any other books you think I should be adding to my to-read list let me know!
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