Friday, December 22

Recently Read | September + October 2017

Friday, December 22

Continuing with my catch up!

What did I read during the months of September and October?


Top Read


The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis


Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.



The Female of the Species is another FYABC pick that I likely wouldn't have read otherwise. It's also not an easy novel—by any stretch—but I'm once again very glad I read it.

People who don't read a lot of YA novels don't often realize how well YA books can tackle timely, sensitive topics. The Female of the Species is a prime example of this, and McGinnis absolutely pulls no punches with the story. The main character, Alex, is a complicated anti-hero; you can't help but root for her even as you find out just how dark she can get. She grows a lot in the novel, too, and it makes her someone

It's also the kind of book that is hard to read, but I absolutely couldn't put it down.


Honorable mentions



Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.



Bardugo certainly knows how to weave a tale, and the ones included in this collection—which are the stories children growing up in the Grishaverse would have heard growing up—feel both fresh and familiar.

I also enjoy the feminist spin on the more familiar tales, and the many strong female characters who prove that ladies can save themselves quite well, thank you. And the illustrations of the stories (done by artist Sarah Kipin; see more of her work here), which get more detailed and change as the plot progresses, are fabulous companions to the tales.


The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re every girl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.



The Nowhere Girls is a brutal, powerful read that, unfortunately, is all too timely in our current political and social climate. It's not an easy read, but the characters are the kinds of heroes we need in YA these days.

The book is similar to The Female of the Species in theme, but it's easier to connect with The Nowhere Girls' main characters. I particularly appreciate how Reed wrote three main characters who weren't traditional YA MCs; one is chubby and plain, another is on the Autism spectrum, and the third is a lesbian and Latina. Additionally, Reed doesn't shy away from examining the many different sides ofthe situation, even including the viewpoints of the story's men's rights activists. (Which are SUPER gross, but do serve a purpose in progressing the plot. I promise they're not just there for sensationality's sake.)


Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.



I love how McLemore mixes magic and culture in her novels, and sincerely appreciate how she includes non-binary, non-straight characters without turning them into tropes. Reading Wild Beauty felt a little like getting lost in a dream, and I hated waking up at the end.

This is the seond year in a row that one of McLemore's novels has been one of my best books of the year, and I hope this trend continues for many years to come.


Other reads


★★★★

The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter | Invictus by Ryan Graudin | P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah. J Maas

★★★

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry | Rosemarked (Rosemarked #1) by Livia Blackburne | Spinning by Tillie Walden | Uncanny by Sarah Fine


Have you read any of these books? If not, what have you read lately that you'd recommend?

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