2 April 2018

March Reads


I always love when the time comes around to talk about a bunch of new books. Initially I found it hard to get into a book this month - I really hate it when that happens. But soon enough I blasted through a couple of new YA reads, one of which I really rate. As I go on in life - that makes me sound really old - I realise the importance of reading for pleasure and reading what I want. My to-read list is looking a little sad after finishing off these four this month, but hopefully I'll add a few more exciting releases to my pile soon - please let me know if you have any recommendations for me! Here are my thoughts on the books I read in March...

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
If you're a regular reader of my blog you might have heard of my love for Sara Barnard's books - I really think she is one of the best writers out there in the YA world. However, I didn't enjoy this release as much as her previous ones. Her first book Beautiful Broken Things is very similar to Goodbye, Perfect - or at least the themes are - so I didn't find it as groundbreaking or exciting. It's about a student-teacher relationship, and those can generally be pretty cringe. But differently this is told from the perspective of the girl who's best friend is groomed, as she tries to find out why someone who has always been a straight A student/'good girl' would ever be this delusional. I don't have a problem with the storyline, it's just that I found it quite repetitive and slightly dull at times. I do think Sara Barnard explores female friendships incredibly well, and this is the main focus of the book. She also includes a YA relationship that is already established from the beginning, which is incredibly refreshing. I just don't think the story had enough zest, which hasn't been the case for her other books. Definitely pick up A Quiet Kind of Thunder, but I wouldn't really recommend this one.

P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones*
I had zero expectations for this - I love it when I'm pleasantly surprised. This is a young adult book set in a small rural seaside town in Australia. It's quite a quiet, poignant book but one that I found incredibly powerful. It was really hard for me to put this down as I got closer to discovering the whole story and mystery behind the main character Gwen's (or Pearl's) life and the death of her mother - not a spoiler. The author explores grief and mental illness incredibly well in this book. The descriptions of the small town and the sea are beautiful and simple, and the characters are interesting and slightly different to what I've read before. It's a gentle, slow story for sure, but it doesn't drag at all and is perfect for when you're in need of some quiet contemplation. P is for Pearl feels incredibly authentic and the characters are realistic and interesting. P.S the author initially wrote this story when she was 16! This is for sure my favourite book of the month.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I remember falling absolutely in love with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell a few years ago, so I thought I would give Landline a try. This is an adult book as opposed to YA the author is known for. I don't usually connect with characters older than me because I'm at that weird stage where I'm not a teen anymore and I don't feel like an adult, but anyway, I think I didn't enjoy this because I couldn't really relate and didn't connect with it much. It follows Georgie, who's marriage is breaking down. When she discovers she might be able to fix it thanks to a magic phone that can reach the past, she becomes fixated on it. As a TV writer, she's meant to be writing a really important show with her best friend, Seth, but instead she becomes almost obsessed with being able to call her husband, Neal, from the future and the past, as she tries to figure out if she really loves him. The story is basically incredibly dull, as nothing really happens until the end. The book is really one long conversation/argument between Neal and Georgie as the try and repair their relationship. The author goes to great lengths to show how much they supposedly love each other, but it didn't feel genuine, nor did I care. I think this book does show that you have to work at a relationship/marriage and it's not just about 'true love', but for me the ending wasn't rewarding at all, and Georgie really didn't have her best interests in mind - let that be elusive AF because spoilers. Some people loved this book, but I'm having a hard time understanding why.

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
Even though this was an incredibly short read, it was a really interesting, thought-provoking one. It explores the relationship women have with power. In order for them to have power, women have to act and dress more like men in order to be accepted - and even then they're prone to harassment and abuse. Mary Beard gives examples of how women were treated in the classical world and compares those examples to the modern day, revealing some scary parallels. Frighteningly, we still don't even realise how differently women are treated in comparison to men, even in small ways. It's a simple concept I thought I knew all about before, but I definitely learned something new when reading. Mainly that in the modern day, 'strong women' only become 'strong' when they are more like men - for example they can't wear lipstick and carry a handbag around without being taken seriously, because we judge these things subconsciously. Masculinity equals power, something that has been embedded in culture since the classical world. Mary Beard suggests we need to redefine power in order to make any progress. This book is simple and short, however it's one that really had me thinking.

*Review Copy


-Emma
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