Hello lovelies! How are you? I hope you’re having a lovely month and that you’ve read some amazing books! I’ve been having a really good reading month so far, I’ve already read 9 books and I’ve been celebrating Pride by reading some wonderful queer books. So why wait ’till the end of the month to shout about them, right?
Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’m so happy I decided to pick up this this graphic novel (originally a webcomic), cause it’s the cutest! It’s a love story about two boys who meet at their all boy’s school, become best friends and fall in love. Charlie’s openly gay, Nick thought he was straight – until Charlie.
Their story is sweet and fluffy and really cute, the kind of thing you can’t help reading with a cheesy grin on your face. The characters are so soft and pure, they’re like the definition of precious cinnamon rolls and the way their relationships blooms is just beautiful.
If you’ve read Oseman’s YA novels you’ll know they have a slightly darker vibe and while this is a very fluffy, heart warming read – it’s not entirely without it’s angsty moments.
I really like the art style in this, it’s simple, but charming and fits the tone of the story perfectly. And it’s really good fun seeing characters from Oseman’s books, like Charlie’s sister, Tori, and Aled Last (From Radio Silence) make an appearance. I’m really excited to continue reading this comic!
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I wasn’t expecting to fall so completely in love with this book, but I did. It’s set in New York over one summer and follows two teenage boys, who meet by chance and start a relationship. It’s like a 2019 remix of the classic 90s rom-com. It’s got the meet cute, the missed connections, the grand gesture and of course, those magic New York moments. As rom-com fanatic, I ATE THIS UP. From the hilarious meet-cute in a NYC post office, right ’till the bittersweet ending, I just adored everything about it.
The main characters, Arthur and Ben, are both really lovely, layered and realistically flawed teens. Sometimes they’re brave, sometimes they’re scared, sometimes they mess up, sometimes they rise up. (Did I just make a Hamilton references. I honestly don’t know.) The romance between them is realistically awkward and kind of messy, but also beautiful and soft and meaningful. And it’s not just the romantic relationship that are beautifully developed, I loved reading about the family dynamics and friendship groups. I’m so glad platonic relationships were as big a part of this book as the romance. I especially loved how close and affectionate Ben and Dylan’s friendship was, it’s so nice to see soft friendships between teenage boys in books.
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh ⭐⭐⭐1/5
I have very mixed feelings about this one. It has such a cool premise, but it took me a long time to actually start caring about what was going on. I only got invested once I got to know the characters, cause they’re incredible and by far my favorite thing about the book. The main character, Odessa (also known as Sparrow) is a bisexual necromancer and I loved her and her found family of necromancers. Their relationships and interactions felt very real and loving There’s also a badass sapphic beast mage, who’s bonded to a grizzly bear and a princess who’s an inventor, in a land where change is forbidden. (The bear was my favorite character, of course)
The world-building and the plot didn’t live up to my expectations though. There were so many cool elements and ideas, but the world building wasn’t detailed or complex enough for my tastes. I wanted more vibrant descriptions, more history, more information about the different kinds of magic and how they work. The lack of that made this a very light read, especially for a fantasy, which isn’t necessary a bad thing. When I was reading it I flew through the chapters, but when I put it down I didn’t feel e a strong desire to pick it back up.
I Can’t Think Straight by Shamim Sarif ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’ve been very lucky with my contemporaries this month, cause I adored this one as well. It’s a f/f romance novel set in Amman and London, about two women from different backgrounds who meet and fall in love. Tala, a Palestinian Christian who splits her time between Amman and London and is engaged for the fourth time and Layla, an Indian Muslim women, who lives in London and dreams of becoming an author.
I listened to this on audio and I think that was a good choice. Because the main criticism I’ve seen is that the point of view shifts too much, sometimes several times on one page and I think that would’ve bothered me a lot more if I’d been reading a physical copy. On audio it all flowed really well, probably due to the pleasant narration. There’s a simplicity to the writing, but also something melodic that I found really compelling and easy to be swept up in.
I loved both Tala and Layla, they’re strong, smart and interesting women. I could sense the chemistry between them in every interaction, which made the romance easy to root for. Their flirty discussions are everything!
Style by Chelsea M. Cameron ⭐⭐⭐
Style is a short and sweet YA romance about a cheerleader and a nerdy girl falling in love. Stella’s the cheerleader, who’s waiting till college to come out and start dating girls. Kyle’s the nerdy girl, who thought she was straight until she started feelings thing for Stella.
So this is a romance, but it’s also a coming out story. It shows the girls exploring their sexuality and what it means to be a girl who likes girls. They talk through things like how and when to come out, what the possible reactions are and how they feel about it all. I loved how open and honest their relationship was, they were always so supportive of each other’s journey. And it was just so cute seeing these girls go from not getting along at all, to catching all these feelings. I love the hate to love trope, it gets me every time!
I also loved that both girls had really strong friendships with their best friends, even though I do wish we’d gotten to see more of those relationships. Cause all the side character were pretty one dimensional. I know it’s pretty typical for a romance novel to focus on the leads and their relationships, but it’s still something that frustrates me. I also found the writing style a little too basic. But all in all, I definitley recommend this if you’re looking for a sweet, fluffy f/f romance!
Have you read any of these books? Or would you want to?