(Be sure to check out the promotional link I have at the bottom of this post! #partner Libro.fm)
Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid
- I read this book twice this year – one in print format and once on audio. Both formats were equally fantastic; you can’t go wrong with this one. TJR proves her writing giftedness by crafting a story with snippets of various people’s points of view in a unique and intriguing style. The last 50 pages were so brilliant and beautiful to me; I didn’t see the twist coming. I felt all the feels and I took a sigh when I finished. It’s just one of those books. No doubt about it: this is one of my favorite books of the year!
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by: Cheryl Strayed
- Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves) recommended TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS to me and said it’s one of her favorites…and I’d have to agree! Within a few minutes of listening to this book, I ordered the hard copy where it will live on my favorites shelf forever (if that’s not a testament to how good it is, than what is?!!?). Strayd’s advice is relevant to all and I think everyone can find nuggets of truth relative to their own situations in each of the letters Strayd answers. I’m sure my copy will be highlighted and underlined and perused many times for years to come!
With the Fire on High by: Elizabeth Acevedo
- I loved this book about a teenage mom trying to finish high school and raise her daughter alongside her grandma. The food descriptions had me salivating and also made me wish I understood food combinations so I could make meals like the ones described. Though it’s a little idealistic at times, I still found myself so connected to the characters and the story. And as a grown adult I felt admiration for the way Emoni conducted herself and for her determination to put her daughter first.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by: Elaine Welteroth
- This book is a gem. Welteroth narrarates her own story (with cameos from her mom and dad, too) and I think that added to the overall impact for me. I could only hope to raise my own daughter with half the grit and determination that Welteroth has. She is fire and I’m inspired! Welteroth’s passionate drive make me jealous. When she was met with roadblocks she barreled through them and tried even harder just to be able to prove others wrong. She has a backbone and stood up to racist comments, and also offered incredible insight to those experiences. (Don’t miss the end of the audiobook where Welteroth has a conversation with her parents; it is PURE GOLD! I just love this little family and I can fully understand how Welteroth became the amazing individual she is!)
Ordinary Girls by: Jaquira Díaz
- While I technically haven’t finished this audiobook by the time of this writing, it has made an immediate impact on me. Díaz’ writing is incredible and I have had several moments where her words have stopped me in my tracks. If you’re looking for a memoir that will give you all the feels, this is it!
How We Fight For Our Lives by: Saeed Jones
- As a poet, Jones has a way with words that are powerful, eloquent, and impactful. Jones’ essays are an examination of what it means to be a young gay Black man living in the South. Not only does he ruminate on national headline stories, he also dissects his difficult relationships with his mother and grandmother. I loved Jones’ honesty and vulnerability; Jones gives his readers his heart and soul and I literally cried tears several times. Once again, books prove to be a window into another’s world – a place to learn empathy and compassion. I’m so grateful to be able to gain that understanding and I’m so appreciative of authors that open up their lives to help us become better humans. (Listen to Jones’ interviewed on the KERA Think podcast.)
The Girl He Used to Know by: Tracy Garvis Graves
- After a chance encounter many years after their relationship ended, Anika and Jonathan meet again and rekindle their romance. Alternating between present day and 10 years prior, we discover what led to their demise the first time around. This is a sweet romance and I found myself rooting for Jonathan and Anika from the beginning. While I sort of found Jonathan’s character a little “too good to be true”, I was also hopeful that there really are men out there with his character given the circumstances of the relationship (#nospoilers). Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Light We Lost will love this one!
Frankly in Love by: David Yoon
- In all honesty, this one is a toss up for me. It started off strong, but quickly fizzled as I kept going. At first, I loved the dialog amongst the characters, but after awhile it just felt cheesy and repetitive. However, I loved the deeper dive into racism and how Frank and his friends addressed it and acknowledged that their own parents harbored some deep-seated racist attitudes towards others. For this reason alone, I can’t totally write off this book.
Red at the Bone by: Jaqueline Woodson
- I switched between reading this one and listening to it. As Melody’s family prepares for her coming-of-age celebration, they reminisce on the decisions and events that got them to the present day. We hear from Melody’s grandma, grandpa, mother, and father, and through their own voices, we learn a lot more about each of them, individually and collectively. I loved Woodson’s writing and and I loved the individual voices that contributed to the whole picture. It’s a short audiobook (just under four hours), but the amount of ground Woodson covers is astounding.
The Grace Year by: Kim Liggett
- Holy wowzers…I love dystopian books and this made my head spin! When young girls reach the age of sixteen, they are shunned for a year from their patriarchal community in hopes that they will lose their “power”. This year is referred to as The Grace Year and none of them have any idea what happens during their seclusion because it’s not something that’s ever talked about. Parts of this book really stood out to me. For example, it reminded me of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Power all combined together. It’s just futuristic enough that I’m not nervous about it actually happening in real life (yet).
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