Book Reviews · Reading

Quarantine Reads #2: LOL-fails, immersive fantasy + a harrowing tale

Hello, I’m back with another round up of my quarantine reads. We have now reached the end of our isolation and can now go on one state-mandated walk per day!!!! (YAY) I’ve recently decided to take a little break from PhD work for a couple of days and have subsequently read quite a lot (also yay!). Here are the books I’ve read recently:

39005618._SY475_Emma Nash is back….and determined to work out the world of friendships and relationships once and for all (…ish).

Now she’s in the sixth form, Emma’s expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she’s spending more time with Emma’s not sure what to do with herself.

So Emma’s got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity. Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma’s fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again.

Would going back to creating a life for herself online reaaaaaallllyyy be so bad?

OH EMMA. I read and loved Editing Emma a while back, and decided that the midst of a global pandemic it was for the best I read something funny and uplifting. And it was. I read the Friendship Fails of Emma Nash in one sitting, laughed uproariously throughout and felt thoroughly better for it. Chloe Seager has given us such a strongly humorous narrative voice in Emma, and the discussions surrounding sex, masturbation and slut shaming was great to see in YA fiction. I really *really* hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Emma. This truly is a spiritual successor to the great Georgia Nicolson books!

44647479._SY475_Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankensteinin Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?

I WILL READ ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING FRANCES HARDINGE WRITES. Seriously, even if it’s something as mundane as her shopping list, I’ll read it. I received Deeplight at Christmas and have been waiting for the best time to start it, and being trapped in the house for an extended period of time was the prefect opportunity to do so. Frances creates yet another multi-layered fantasy world that feels so realistic and yet at the same time is so completely different to our own world. Matched with this immersive world was the equally unique concept of ‘godward’–the powerful remnants of dead gods. Beautifully written, exquisitely told, Deeplight is another star studded gem to add to Frances Hardinge’s already incredible backlist.

43725039._SY475_10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

I picked up this book on a whim at YALC a few years back, and I’m really glad I did. This is a heartbreakingly powerful read about a school shooting told from four different perspectives. This is one of those stories that is brutal to read, but impossible to put down. I read it in one go (I know, it’s becoming a habit), and I’m still processing my feelings about it. What I know for sure is that this is a powerful piece of literature.

SO, those are the books I’ve finished recently. In the boredom I’ve also pulled my unread books from my shelves and put them in piles on the floor, so I will probably have another one of these posts up soon. Happy reading everyone, stay safe.

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