YALSA caught me off-guard this year with their reading challenge. I was expecting a March 1st start date like last year, but instead it began on February 12th. Sneaky, sneaky. As with previous years, there are some great books listed. Multiple books are on my Amazon TBR, such as Circe, Educated, and Damsel. And there are other books that will take me out of my comfort zone, such as Speak: The Graphic Novel and Hey Kiddo.
Because I’m getting this out so late, I’ve rolled my February reads into this post:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I love the epic-ness of Children. The world-building, rules of magic, the characters (both their growth and dynamic between them), and the storytelling were fast-paced and fascinating. I am looking forward to both the sequel and the film adaptation.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The story itself was sweet and earnest, and I loved the dynamic between Frances and Sebastian. The climactic scene was both silly and heartwarming, and the whole thing left a nice warm fuzzy (and this is coming from a person is generally cynical).
…and also my March reads because I am now REALLY late getting this post out:
Silver Spoon, vol 1-4 by Hiromu Arakawa
I’ve come across this manga before, but never thought much of it because a city boy going to a rural ag school isn’t my cup of reading tea. That being said, I love it when I am pleasantly surprised by enjoying a story more than I thought I was going to, and Silver Spoon was definitely more engaging and earnest than I was expecting. While Yuugo’s initial motivations were less than positive, he slowly found his place (even though he slid into it sideways). Watching him figure things out ranged from sweet to silly.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
This is the second time I’ve read Akata Witch, and I was able to pick up on more of the details. I love the dynamic between Sunny and her friends, and the fact that at times they are truly tested – no safety net and the potential for death. The rules of magic and the magical society are also interesting.
#murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
The premise of this book is what hooked me – convicted criminals are sent to an island to survive against government sanctioned executioners. However, main character, Dee, was convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, and when she arrives on the island, ends up kicking over the anthill. Overall an entertaining read, though it didn’t grab me as much as I was hoping it would.
Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Illegal definitely pulled on my heartstrings. The obstacles Ebo overcomes to reunite with his brother, the journey they go on together in order to find both their older sister and a better life, the tragedy suffered (it’s a punch in the gut), and finally the reunion – it was very well-written and well-illustrated story.
The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown
I don’t have a lot to say about this one other than it could have been better. It felt disjointed and gave a somewhat superficial view of people’s realities in leaving/staying in Syria. It was hard to emotionally connect with some of the experiences as it felt like the readers were barely dropped in before being whisked off again.