A Bundle of Books Posts

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, tells the story of Simon Spier, a sixteen-year-old gay teenager who has yet to come out to his family and friends. It’s not that Simon is necessarily afraid to come out, he’s simply not ready to do so. Yet, the one person who does know about Simon’s sexual identity is his anonymous gay pen-pal, Blue, who attends Simon’s school and with whom he develops a close relationship with despite not knowing who he is. However, when one of their private emails falls into the wrong hands, it is used to blackmail Simon into doing their bearer’s will. Should he not do what is asked of him, Simon’s sexuality will be revealed to the world – and Blue’s privacy put on the line.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda became a staple read in the bookshelves of contemporary book lovers everywhere in 2015. When the film adaptation, renamed as Love, Simon, was announced the YA contemporary world went absolutely wild. I’ve owned the novel for a couple of years now and hadn’t gotten to it just yet but the excitement around the film’s release made me want to read it immediately! I wish I read this book sooner because it is such a heart-warming and funny read despite the serious topics it deals with. There are trigger warnings for bullying, outing, and harassment in this story yet these, as well as the complex themes, are dealt with gently in the novel and the film. Being a straight woman, I cannot speak for the queer representation but what I do know is that this is a light-hearted and positive take on the coming out narrative. But this is not the main focus of the novel. Rather, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda focuses on the convention of coming out and subverts this by emphasising the importance of being who you are unapologetically.

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks

Publication Date: 5 August 2012 (First published 27 September 2011)

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Where To Purchase: TakealotExclusive BooksBook Depository

Rating: 

Laini Taylor is an author who is known for her strange and enigmatic stories. Her books have always intrigued me with their unique synopses, but also intimidate me immensely with just how vague they are. I’ve been unsure about giving Taylor’s books a try for years because of these contradictory feelings but I decided to finally take the plunge and read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. All I knew going into this novel was that the main character is a talented, blue-haired artist living in Prague, leaving me absolutely clueless about what the story is. However, I’m quite happy that this was the case! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a mystical, spellbinding novel that takes your imagination for the ride of its life! Taylor’s writing is absolutely exquisite, the perfect fit for this transcendent story. Whilst I enjoyed the novel overall, I did have an issue with the way other storylines were incorporated into the main plot arc, making the reading experience feel quite disjointed. Otherwise, I gave Daughter of Smoke and Bone a well-deserved rating of 4 stars!

Title: Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Hachette UK

Publication Date: 4 January 2018

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Where To Purchase: Takealot, Exclusive Books, Book Depository

Rating: 

Sara Holland’s debut novel, Everless, is perhaps one of the most underrated YA Fantasy releases of the year. There has been very little attention given to the novel and those that have read it are indifferent in their opinion. Whilst the story may have some issues that many debut novels suffer with, it is one of the least predictable and dare I say original YA fantasies that I have come across in a long time. The infusion of mythology into an archaic world makes for a fantasy that reads more like folklore and creates quite an immersive reading experience. I loved the journey this book took me on with its many twists and turns; however, there were a few issues with the characters that I could not overlook, resulting in my 4-star rating.

2018 has so far proven to be the year of amazing releases, such as The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and Everless by Sara Holland, and it doesn’t seem like this is going to change any time soon! There are so many releases I am looking forward to seeing hit the bookshelves for the rest of the year, especially a few of the more popular titles. However, I decided to give myself the task of researching into some lesser known releases and see if there are perhaps any that pique my interest. It would honestly be an understatement to say that I was quite surprised by what I found! It amazes me just how many books are out there that sound like they have great stories to tell yet they aren’t as well-known as others. By doing some digging of my own, I’ve found three upcoming YA August releases that I (and maybe even you) have never heard about and are officially on my “to-read” list! Here are my most anticipated releases for August 2018!

Publication Date: 7 August

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Valentine is the daughter of a murderer and has tried to escape her mother’s reputation for years. However, when new murders occur in Valentine’s small town, most cannot help but link them straight back to her. The only person that believes that she is innocent is the son of a man her mother murdered – Rowan Blackshaw. Valentine goes on a mission to find the real killer of these latest murders but once she discovers the truth, she must confront her own dark secrets – even if it means losing Rowan.

So much about this novel intrigues me! Being set in the late 1800s, the gothic setting and murder mystery immediately ignited my interest. I expect this to be an atmospheric read and filled with many twists and surprises. I also enjoy novels that have a generational aspect to them so I’m hoping that we get to read the story behind Valentine’s mother and the murder she committed.