Hi, friends! I know the season is technically not over yet, but my spooky mood begins pretty much as soon as September starts every year. This summer I read 25 books, which is somehow more than I thought I was going to be able to read. As such, I’ve decided to split this wrap-up into 3 posts. Today, we’re going to tackle the 7 books I read in June!
The season truly begins with SHINee’s “Boys Meet U” MV, because just like June, it’s full of energy and cheer and beachy goodness
The first book that I read this month was none other than I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. Since I had been on vacation for the first two weeks of the month and hadn’t read anything, I was worried I would be going into a slump. I picked this one up on audiobook, and I found it super easy to listen to and become invested in. The book follows Ben, who comes out as non-binary to their parents and is subsequently kicked out of the house. They go to live with their sister and begin a new life navigating what it means to have this identity and who they feel comfortable sharing their true self with.
While the audiobook was easy to listen to and I think Nathan, the love interest, was the sweetest being to ever grace a page, I didn’t love this book as much as everyone else seemed to. The things I did really enjoy were the realistic and healthy depictions of therapy, the way the coming out scene was done quickly as I know it can be hard to read, the way consent is actively present throughout the novel, and Ben’s anxiety presenting itself in more than just panic attacks (they double-check their text messages to make sure they’re sending them to the right person, which made me feel so seen because I always feel paranoid after I do that 😅). Still, I found Ben’s character to be sort of passive and I didn’t connect to them in the way I hoped I would. Also, there’s a part towards the end that I’ll try to speak about with as little spoilers as I can, but basically Ben gets upset as their sister for “making a scene” and doesn’t take into account her feelings and motivations and the whole situation felt very over-blown to me. Ben can be quite thoughtful and rational, and it felt strange to have this reaction come up. I did like it, but overall, it wasn’t too much what I’d expected. However, I’m super excited to see a non-binary character take the center stage in a YA novel! Hopefully this means we’ll be seeing more of them in the future 💗
The second novel that I read in June was The Becoming by Lynne Ewing. This book was actually the second to last book in the Daughters of the Moon series. My friend Jocelyn got me into them after we had a conversation about our favorite Sailor Moon characters, and I’d been tearing through them this spring. This book is probably the one I have the least to say about, because I didn’t seem to take any notes. The books overall are pretty light and very fast-paced. They’re not really to be taken too seriously, and I find it’s best to enjoy the ride. Also, this book was following my least favorite Daughter, Tianna, so. There’s not really much more to say there. 🙄
The third book I read this month was Kingdom Hearts: The Novel by Tomoco Kanemaki. If you don’t already know, I’m a huge Kingdom Hearts fan. The series owns my whole life, which I don’t mind, because it pretty much saved it. I’d been eyeing the novelizations since they started coming out in English, but I didn’t start reading them until I’d collected them all thanks to Madison Mary getting me the first volume. I don’t have a ton to say about this book, either. It’s very straight-forward, detailing the events of the first game, minus three or four of the worlds. I will say that it reads very much like a fanfiction, except maybe a bit more basic. The descriptions during fight scenes are quite lacking and they made me laugh because of it, right before I’d begin skimming to the next event. Kingdom Hearts is such an emotional series, so I was really hoping we could get more insight into the characters’ thoughts and emotions, but there wasn’t much in this novel, I’m afraid. Still, the first game is probably my least favorite in the series (at least gameplay-wise and the pacing of the cutscenes as well), so this isn’t a total surprise for me. I’m sure my bias played into this a ton, because despite missing so much, I still enjoyed it! I’ve heard that the later novels get better, so of course I’ll be continuing it!
The fourth book I read in June was Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins. Goodness, did I need this! The book was easily my favorite of the month~ It follows an American girl who begins attending a school in Scotland only to find that her new roommate is horrible — and a princess! A f/f hate-to-love story? With royalty??? THAT’S. MY. JAM.
I listened to the audiobook for this and I’m so glad I did because all of the accents were a ton of fun! The whole book was, really. As I was listening, I kept getting the feeling that this would make a great movie, and the more I thought about it, the more I wished it would happen. How many f/f romcoms do we even have? (and if you know of any, please suggest them to me! 👀) I suppose I thought I had more to say about this book, but I guess I don’t. I just really had a good time reading this and it gave me some major Parent Trap vibes!
The fifth book I read in June was Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. This was another audiobook read for me (I guess I was really trying to avoid a slump, huh?) and it was an astoundingly quick one — and thank goodness, because I really didn’t like this one. It follows three friends as they make their way to a convention for a weekend of fun.
The very first note that I’d written down was “pls don’t make me listen to the word ‘epic’ one more time” and although that was written at the very beginning of the novel, it extended the whole way through the book. I hate to admit this, but I was cringing a lot. The whole “I’m so nerdy and geeky and quirky” thing falls right into “I’m not like other girls” territory for me, because, well. Look. I get it. Being chronically awkward sucks. But I also can’t take seriously whenever someone declares that they’re an outcast for being into fandom, especially when fandom has gotten so incredibly big in recent years. I haven’t met a single person who has been branded as a nerd who should be bullied for being a Harry Potter fan. I get yelled at regularly for not being into it, it’s that popular. The fandoms I’m most active in, none of them are Western fandoms that are super popular/normalized in my part of the world and I still get teased for it by people in popular fandoms here. I was super down for discussions of what fandom can do for you, and the community that comes from it, but I couldn’t take this constant acting like everyone was super weird and strange for liking popular media.
Even so, there were things I did like. One of the characters is a YouTuber and it was refreshing to see a character have this role and not be designated as either an asshole or an airheaded influencer type. Even though she has fans, she’s still a fan of other YouTubers and gets nervous around them. It’s a nice reminder that we’re all still human. Possibly one of my favorite parts of the book, and this might sound a little strange, is when she blurts out that another character is a slut. She reflects and corrects what she said, and I really appreciated it because that stuff is internalized, and just because we know better doesn’t mean it magically goes away. We have to work for it, and that’s exactly what she did.
One of the characters mentions that “my weird is normal here”, and I guess that’s just what happened for me with this book — it just wasn’t for me.
The sixth book of June was Wilder Girls by Rory Power. This was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year — I mean, just look at that cover! Sadly, I closed the book feeling rather disappointed.
The book follows a group of girls at a boarding school that has been quarantined after an illness called the Tox has taken over. It causes some seriously gruesome side-effects. If you’re not into body horror or get queasy easily, maybe you should sit this one out. Despite the fact that I was warned about it, somehow I still wasn’t ready for it 😅
It took me a while to get used to the writing style. It was quite choppy, but eventually it fell into place with the tone of the story. It felt like things were running out of time. It gives you the sense of things changing over time as the Tox took more and more lives. There’s a change in POV about 35% of the way in, and it was jarring to me for some reason. I guess I would’ve expected a POV change a bit earlier than that. Still, the voices were distinct and it was easy to tell who was speaking at any given moment.
But… I was bored while I was reading. I don’t know why, but it felt like I was slogging through a lot of the beginning. I kept waiting for things to happen, but it didn’t feel like anything did until much later in the book than I would have liked. It did pick up later on, but it still wasn’t enough to make me feel too engaged. I also really hated the ending. It felt quite abrupt. I can handle unresolved, but it felt like I was missing a few pages, at least. I talked to Jocelyn about it, who really loved the ending, and she told me it felt appropriate to the horror genre. I can see what she means, and appreciate that, though the ending still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
The seventh and final book I read this month was Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo. This is a graphic novel that follows the life of Raven as she comes into her powers and…. that’s about it. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, exactly. Apart from the cartoon in the early 2000s, I don’t have much knowledge of the characters in the Teen Titans. My favorite always Starfire, with Raven as a close second. I am, however, a fan of Gabriel Picolo’s artwork of Raven and Beast Boy, notably. When I found out about this book’s release, I knew I had to try it out.
It was pretty short, and it completely felt like it. I felt like things were moving fast from the beginning, and sometimes it felt like I was missing parts in between, like I was being shown everything as quickly as possible. The artwork was really beautiful, though, as expected from an artist as talented as Gabriel. But overall, I felt like I was missing something by the time I reached the final page.
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So, those were all of the books I read in June! Looking back, it seems like I had a pretty so-so month. Thankfully, the next month was there to make up for it… 👀
Have you read any of these books? If so, do we share the same or different opinions of it?
See you next time~!