Category: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Fragile Ordinary

Author: Samantha Young

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Before Wednesday, I’d never read anything by Samantha Young. The Fragile Ordinary was the chosen book for one of the clubs I go to for the month of January, and I was intrigued. I didn’t finish it until this morning, and holy smokes! Samantha Young, where have you been my whole life?! This book was unique, powerful, and heartfelt, but I wish that there had been more clarification on some issues, but nonetheless, this book packs one heck of a punch. Lyrical, painful and true to life, The Fragile Ordinary was a fantastic novel, despite a few little things that I wish had been wrapped up. A contemporary romance with a healthy dose of coming of age, I loved this book so much! It makes me wish that I’d picked up one of her books a whole lot sooner! This may be one of my favorite books of 2020!

               Comet Caldwell hates her name with a burning passion. Comet is the name of a girl who isn’t shy, awkward, and greatly prefers books to people. Her two best friends, Vicki and Steph, have been encouraging her for years to take a leap of faith, be a normal teenager for once. But after being bullied at school by classmates and being ignored by her parents for pretty much her whole life, Comet has decided that life is better avoiding the spotlight. But when a young American boy named Tobias comes to her school, she feels an almost immediate attraction to him. Comet must decide whether to stay the same, or change and become a better person.

               This book; honestly, at first, I didn’t know what to think. I saw Comet’s name and almost laughed; it was such a surprise. It took me a little while to get into it, but I took Wednesday and yesterday off work so I could at least read most of it before we met last night. The pacing was breakneck, and I was almost immediately entranced by Comet’s voice, colorful and shy and sweet, but also ringing with so much pain. I really related to Comet, at first: the insecurity, the desire to hide in literature, as well as her writing aspirations! I loved watching her character development as the book went on. She transformed from a shy, quiet and kind of repressed little mouse into a freaking lioness who takes what she wants, whether it’s first love, her career and what she wants to do after high school, or making amends with her distant, cold parents. And the ending! I adored it! The only issue I had with it was that I wish there had been things in the narrative that were explained more clearly, and it made me cry! A lot! But nonetheless, I will be looking into more of Young’s books, because this one was a total knockout! The bottom line: Emotional and cathartic in the best way, I loved The Fragile Ordinary! Next on deck: The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher by Andrzej Sapowski!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-fragile-ordinary-by-samantha-young.html

Title: The Never Tilting World

Author: Rin Chupeco

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Never Tilting World, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Rin Chupeco is one of my favorite authors, so when I found out she had a new book coming out in October, I put it on hold immediately. Ever since, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, begging to be read. I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was finished with Good Omens, I dove in. In this rich, fully realized fantasy world, two goddesses are at war. After a catastrophic event called The Breaking, the planet has stopped turning, literally. Resulting in one side of the planet stuck in endless night, and the other in constantly scorching sunlight, four young people are forced to try and fix their world, even if it means unearthing secrets that could change everything. Full of monsters, magic, deadly secrets and political intrigue, I loved this series opener and can’t wait for the next book in this duo!

               Lady Tianlan is a Catseye, a bodyguard for the goddess she serves. Still reeling from being the only survivor of a deadly mission in the Abyss, she is drawn to her goddess’s sickly daughter, Odessa. When she ordered to go back to search for answers, she wonders if her demons and ghosts will conquer her. Odessa, for her part, knows that she can do more than what her mother allows. Frustrated from being stifled and looked after all the time, she steals away on the ship Lan is commanding. On the other side of the world, the other goddess’s daughter, Haidee, comes across a fire worker, and together they leave The Golden City. Forced to work with her people’s worst enemy, she discovers that her mysterious companion has secrets of his own. Two sister goddesses broke the world, and now two sisters must save it. But it turns out there are forces bigger even than the goddesses, and they are working to bring about a darkness more dangerous than anyone could ever know…

               I adored this book! It wasn’t perfect, but it was damn near close. With this series opener, she has penned a fantastic debut with multiple voices. The worldbuilding was fantastic, and the pacing was breakneck. As soon as I was done with Good Omens, I started this book and devoured it in less than three days. I loved the magic system, as well as the broken world that the characters lived in. This book had everything I love: war, magic, romance, monsters, political intrigue and secrets. There were times when the narration was a bit stilted, and at times it was difficult to keep track of who was speaking. Nonetheless, this series debut was absolutely wonderful; it might be one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait for the next one! The bottom line: Richly detailed, romantic, dark and mesmerizing, I loved The Never Tilting World!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-never-tilting-world-by-rin-chupeco.html

Title: The Women in the Walls

Author: Amy Lukavics

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Horror

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Amy Lukavics wasn’t an author I’d read before, until the October book for our book club was chosen. On the very night I finished Nightingale, one of my friends in the club dragged me over to the shelves and found The Women in the Walls, demanding that I take it home, because it was even scarier than Nightingale. I didn’t believe her, honestly, because Nightingale was pretty damn freaky, but this book, man! This is the second book I’ve read by Lukavics, and I can promise you all that it will not be my last. In fact, I’ve already got The Ravenous in my library stack, and she also begged me to read her debut, Daughters Unto Devils. I’m an addict for this woman’s writing. I’m obsessed! This chilling and ghoulish, gory ghost story is still stuck in my head, and I just finished it this afternoon! The Women in the Walls just might be my favorite in her entire body of work, depending on how I find The Ravenous.

               Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three years old, and ever since, she’s lived in an old, Victorian mansion with her cold, distant father and her eccentric aunt, Penelope. Penelope’s daughter, Margaret, is Lucy’s cousin and best friend. When Penelope disappears one cold, rainy night, Lucy finds herself entirely alone as well as utterly devastated. Margaret begins spending time alone in the attic, claiming that she can hear her mother’s voice through the walls. Forced helplessly to watch while her only friend’s sanity unravels, Lucy slowly begins to realize that her family, as well as the house itself, is hiding ancient and deadly secrets that have led her to a dark legacy that has marked her and the rest for generations. And Lucy realizes, too late, that some secrets are better left buried…

               This book was, in a word, weird. But I’m starting to realize that that’s Lukavics’s thing: gothic, spine-tingling horror with a ton of gore and more than a healthy heaping of terror. It was a little confusing for me at first, because I could not figure out, at first, whether the story took place in the Victorian era. Once I got past though, this book sucked me in entirely. There were times when I wanted to put it down, but I couldn’t, because I just had to know what was going to happen! I was thoroughly creeped out as the book went on; I was constantly paranoid and jumpy, due to the claustrophobic feeling of the Acostas’ home. I was hypnotized by Lucy’s chilling, honest narration, and the pacing was breakneck. This book grabbed my throat and didn’t let go, even after the last terrifying page. This might be a ghost story, but it’s certainly not run-of-the-mill; it is decidedly unique. I don’t want to give away anything about the twists and turns and the monsters of the novel; I’ll keep those as a surprise for anyone reading who hasn’t read the book. The other characters, particularly Margaret, Penelope, and Lucy’s father, were fantastic foils to her, and I especially enjoyed the creepy, terrifying promise of the ending. As I said before, this book may be my favorite of the two books I’ve read by Lukavics; I’ll certainly never forget it. The bottom line: Spooky, chilling, gory and shocking, I loved The Women in the Walls! Next on deck: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-women-in-walls-by-amy-lukavics.html

Title: Toil & Trouble

Author: Augusten Borroughs

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Nonfiction/Autobiography

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Okay, so I have a confession to make: Before now, I’ve never read any of Augusten Borroughs’s work until now. Of course, I’ve heard of him; by now, he’s a household name. Running with Scissors, anyone? But I’ve been curious about this witchy, magical memoir since before it came out. Toil and Trouble explains how Borroughs is a witch, and so have many of his relatives, including his own mother. But Kelesea, you say! Witches aren’t real! Ah, but we all know that myths and folklore, and that other dreaded m word, are often rooted in truth. And to discount everything he says, well. I can’t really ignore the proof. Funny, honest, and entertaining, I usually tend to steer away from anything that even slightly smacks of religion. But that isn’t to say that I don’t have an open mind; this book was unusual and informative, and I very much enjoyed it. Now I’m curious about the rest of the books in his body of work. Full of unusual wisdom and magic that is very real, I loved Toil and Trouble!

               Augusten Borroughs is a witch. And no, not the kind with warts, green skin, and flying monkeys, but a true witch, more aware of the natural world and the forces that move within it. A family gift passed down by his maternal grandparents, he has always been able to sense when something is wrong. Sort of like Lassie, but a lot vaguer. He does work spells, that’s for sure, but it’s definitely not over a bubbling cauldron of unusual ingredients. Turns out that real witchery is worked in tiny, miniscule doses. Borroughs uses this opportunity to get to know himself better, and to form a connection with his roots, his strained relationship with his mother notwithstanding. Desperate for answers and trying to combat crippling mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety. This memoir was honest, hilarious (I was snorting with laughter practically every other paragraph), and heartbreaking. I loved learning about Augusten, his husband and dogs, and his complicated family history.

               This is the first book I’ve ever read by this literary powerhouse, and I can promise you all that it won’t be my last. It was honest, funny, heartbreaking and surprising. Nowadays, people believe witches to be pure fiction, forgotten relics of an earlier, simpler time. But Augusten, digging deeper into his family history has always known that he was different, though in a way that he didn’t understand at first. Almost all of his relatives on his mother’s side of the family have different manifestations of the gift. One of my favorite parts of the book was exploring the author’s complicated relationship with his mother. But I also adored the way that he used magic in small, tiny ways that change the course of his life little by little: keeping trees and other plants alive, trying to convince his husband, Christopher, to move out of New York and into the countryside, to help stave off cancer. It’s clear that magic is in Borroughs’s blood as well as his family tree, and I really liked it. At times, I wish I’d read more of his biographical work; it would’ve given more context to what was happening. Nonetheless, this memoir was one of my favorite books of 2019, and I enjoyed it very much. The bottom line: Funny, honest, and raw down to the bone, I loved Toil and Trouble! Next on deck: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/12/toil-trouble-by-augusten-borroughs.html

Title: Kill the Boy Band

Author: Goldy Moldavsky

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve had Kill the Boy Band at the top of my library stack for a while now, and when I realized I couldn’t renew it anymore, I pushed it to the top of my stack. As soon as I was finished with The Grace Year, I dove in, and I devoured this dark, twisty, humorous mystery in less than a day. It was like something peered inside me and took out everything that made me tick as an obsessed fan girl. The Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC, One Direction—it doesn’t really matter which boy band it is; Moldavsky took the very essence of that feeling and turned it into a book, only she frames the plot around a circle of toxic fans and one of the members of a fictional band called The Ruperts. Darkly funny, thoughtful, insightful and shocking, I loved Kill the Boy Band; I’m really mad I didn’t discover this gem earlier!

               They didn’t mean for things to turn out this way; it was all an accident. They got a hotel room hoping to get a sneak peek of the boys they love so much, The Ruperts. What starts as a night of harmless, nostalgic fun quickly spirals into a nightmare, straight out of a horror movie. But when the girls get their hands on Rupert P., they also have the boy’s phone and his most dangerous secrets. When said Rupert ends up dead, the girls are soon turning on each other, and the narrator begins to worry if these events actually happened, or if they were all figments of an overactive imagination…

               I loved this book! I started it right after I finished The Grace Year, and I was immediately obsessed. The prose was sharp, spare and snappy, and I was either gasping in shock or giggling out loud. The pacing was breakneck and almost against my will, I’d devoured the whole story in a matter of hours. I loved the way that it showed a thoughtful and nuanced take on girls and young women, as well as their desires, hungers, and wants, and what can happen when those things turn to obsession. I also adored the narrator, as well as the three other girls who get swept up in the madness that eventually leads to the boy in their keeping dying under mysterious circumstances. Who killed Rupert P.? Why? And that ending; it landed like a punch to the gut, it was so unexpected! A dark, funny, and slightly gruesome take on the experiences of an obsessed fangirl, gone too far. The bottom line: Hilarious, dark, honest and more than a little twisty, I loved Kill the Boy Band! Next on deck: Toil and Trouble by Augusten Borroughs!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/kill-boy-band-by-goldy-moldavsky-review.html

Title: Come November

Author: Katrin van Dam

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Series: Come November, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Come November was the book club book for one of the clubs I go to, Young Adult for Adults. I finished it last week and I still can’t get it out of my head. This book is van Dam’s first, and I was so happy when we realized that she was writing a book about November’s younger brother, Daniel. This story was so unique, I will never forget it. It was emotional and more than a little stressful, but I’m so glad that I was able to accompany November on her journey through life. It wasn’t perfect, but I liked that a lot as well; it felt like it was truer to life that way. This debut novel was strong and beautifully written, and even with the flaws, it is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. I won’t forget November and her family! Props to the head of the book club for picking this book. (You know who you are!)

               Rooney Harris knows that the end of the world isn’t truly coming, but trying to say that to her passionate and flighty mother is next to impossible. She knows that she’s the only responsible one for herself and her brother, Daniel, since their mom joined a cult called The Next World Society. On November 17th, her mother and countless others are going to be taken away to live on a new planet and live with otherworldly beings who will save anyone brave enough to part with all of their worldly possessions. But the day finally arrives, only to cause massive disappointment and confusion when it doesn’t actually happen. Rooney’s already complicated existence gets even scarier when she finally reaches out to her father, who left their mother behind years ago to start over with someone else. Rooney begins to learn to let people in, and that nothing about her life is quite what it seems.

               I loved this book. It was a hell of a kick, right to the feels, but I just adored it. It made me so stressed and emotional, at times. There were times I got so emotional that I had to walk away, set it down. But I finished it in a day, and I still haven’t been able to get November’s poignant, sad voice out of my head. The pacing of this book was breakneck; it enthralled me, right out of the gate. I also adored the other characters in the novel: Rooney’s parents, Daniel, Anjelica, Mercer, and the Fishers. Rooney, though, was the star: I loved her defiance, her rage, her sweet but broken writer’s heart. I loved the ending, too, even though it left me feeling a bit cheated at first. Upon further thought and discussion, I liked that there were some loose ends, because in all honesty, that’s usually how life goes. Nothing is ever cut and dried, and I liked that. Katrin van Dam has outdone herself with Come November, and I’m so excited for the sequel! The bottom line: A lyrical, darkly funny and thoughtful debut, I loved Come November! Next on deck: Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/come-november-by-katrin-van-dam-review.html

Title: Frankly in Love

Author: David Yoon

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Series: Frankly in Love, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve been curious about this book since before it came out, so, as soon as I was able, I reserved it at my library. Since then, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, begging me to read it. I picked it up, expecting a love story, but to call this book a love story would be to do it a major disservice. This book is about family, identity, self-acceptance, racism, and true love, and everything in between. Frankly in Love is that rare book that perfectly embodies the young adult genre, in the best kind of way. David Yoon has penned a fantastic and unforgettable debut, and I can’t wait to see what he delivers next! Frankly in Love just might be one of my favorite novels of 2019; I just finished it on Saturday night, and my heart is still aching from following Frank on his journey through life!

               Frank Li is a boy who is stuck between two worlds: his all-American upbringing and the expectation of his Korean parents and culture. He longs to be himself in a world that is always trying to press him into a mold. When he meets a white girl named Brit, he knows that his traditional, straitlaced and racist parents will not approve. He concocts a plan to stay under the radar: pretend to date a childhood friend, also Korean-American, named Joy Song, while dating Brit. But things get complicated when he begins having feelings for his fake girlfriend. What could possibly go wrong?

               I loved this book! It was hilarious, heartbreaking, honest and tender; it might just be one of my favorites of 2019. I was laughing, crying, and screaming throughout the whole book. Frank’s voice was honest, funny, and poignant; my heart ached for him as the book went on. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately spellbound by his narration. I adored Frank’s friends also, especially Joy, Q, and the Limbos. His family, too, was a fantastic foil to him; I loved the way it portrayed his parents and the immigrant parents-half-American dynamic. One of my favorite things about this book was the way that it highlighted racism! Unfortunately, that is a horrible and outdated practice that still persists in the lifeblood of America today. I loved the way that it went deep into Korean culture; it was as informative as it was funny and entertaining. I also adored the romance in this book; it reminded me of when I first fell in love with my husband. I was swooning as the book went on. I loved the ending; it was so heartbreaking and bittersweet. The only thing I didn’t like was that I wish there had been more said of Hanna, and her situation with Frankie and their parents. I wish she’d been more involved than she actually was. Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed Frankly in Love! One of my favorite books of the year! The bottom line: Hilarious, honest, heartbreaking and wonderful, I loved Frankly in Love! One of my favorite books of 2019! Next on deck: Come November by Katrin van Dam!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/frankly-in-love-by-david-yoon-review.html

Title: Loki: Where Mischief Lies

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Mackenzi Lee is one of my favorite authors of all time; I read The Montague Siblings series and became obsessed. So, when I heard that she was writing a book from the point of view of one of my favorite Marvel antiheroes, Loki himself, I was ecstatic. As soon as I had a space in my library stack, I reserved it at my local library. It’s been sitting on the top of my library stack for a while, and once I realized I couldn’t renew it any more, I dove in right after I finished Renia’s Diary. And for the most part, Lee did a fantastic job! I loved Where Mischief Lies; I’ve been curious about the young Loki for a long time now, and this book did a fantastic job of filling in the gaps. There were a few little things that I wish had been fleshed out, but overall, this was a fantastic entry into the Marvel canon, and I hope there’s more in the works! Long live Loki, god of lies, mischief, and magic!

               Loki has spent his whole life in the shadows of his father, Odin, and his brother, Thor. He longs for a chance to rule Asgard, even though he knows that Odin won’t give him a chance. On top of that, he only has one friend in his father’s court: a fellow sorceress named Amora. When Odin sees a vision in The Godseye Mirror of Loki leading an army of the living dead, Loki realizes that his father thinks he may be the catalyst that sends Ragnarok into motion. When a routine political intrigue mission goes awry, Odin metes out a terrible punishment: Loki must journey to Midgard, or Earth, to investigate a series of mysterious deaths. Once on Earth, Loki finds someone that he never thought he’d see again, and he discovers that he may be able to change the fate that everyone has envisioned for him…

               I loved, loved, loved this book! Mackenzi Lee is one of my favorite authors, and Loki is one of my favorite antiheroes in the entire Marvel canon, so this was a match made in book nerd heaven! The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately spellbound by Loki; even his younger, more naïve self was fabulous! He was one of my favorite characters in the book, and I also adored the dynamic between himself, Thor, and his father, the formidable Odin. I really liked the other characters, too: Amora, Theo, Mrs. S, and the rest of their ragtag team of mythbusters. But my favorite thing about this whole book was Loki’s growth throughout, and the way that he grew into and accepted himself, regardless of how everyone else saw him. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, what a way to end with a bang! Lee has done a fantastic job of filling in the gaps of how Loki became the sly and wily god of mischief. I loved it, so much, and I really, really hope that there’s more in the works at Marvel! I was totally obsessed! The bottom line: Hilarious, honest, dark and thrilling, I loved Loki: Where Mischief Lies! Next on deck: Frankly in Love by David Yoon!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/loki-where-mischief-lies-by-mackenzi.html

Title: Season of the Witch

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Horror

Series: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Sarah Rees Brennan has been one of my favorite authors for years now; she won my heart with her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, and I loved it. Ever since, I’ve kept an eye out for her new work. When I found out she was writing a brand-new prequel series for one of my favorite Netflix Original shows, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was so stoked! It’s been sitting at the top of my library stack for a few weeks now, and as soon as I was finished with Kingdom of Exiles, I dove in. I devoured this prequel novel, the first in a series, in less than a day. The book takes place the week before Sabrina’s sixteenth birthday, and the night of her Dark Baptism. Torn between what her family expects of her, what she wants, and the love and care of her mortal friends, Roz and Susie, and most important of all, her boyfriend and first love, Harvey Kinkle. Sabrina is at a crossroads, contemplating what she wants. But darker forces than she knows lurk in the forests of Greendale, and they have plans for her…

               This book was awesome; of course, I’m probably biased because I’m obsessed with Sarah Rees Brennan and this new rendition of Sabrina, gone darker and closer to the actual source material. I also liked the way that it took what was already established in the show and expanded upon it. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately spellbound by Sabrina’s frank, wry voice. I also loved the way Greendale itself, and its secrets, were a beloved character in and of themselves. I loved the way that the book took all of the side characters and made sure that they had the spotlight. But I think my favorite part of this novel was the spotlight on Sabrina’s wayward, carefree cousin, Ambrose, as well as the villain. I wish there had been more said, overall, about Sabrina’s other family members, but overall, this book was really enjoyable, and I’m really looking forward to the next book, which comes out in December. Sarah Rees Brennan has outdone herself again! The bottom line: Dark, more than a little spooky and chilling, and wonderful, I loved Season of the Witch! Next on deck: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/season-of-witch-by-sarah-rees-brennan.html

Title: Nightingale

Author: Amy Ludavics

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Horror

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Nightingale was the October pick for my young adult book club at the one of the libraries I go to, and I’m embarrassed to tell you all that I forgot about it until the day we were supposed to meet, and because I’d forgotten, I was halfway through an anthology I’d started a few days before! Luckily, I reminded my friend who gives me a ride and we were able to make it. However, I didn’t finish the book until later that week. It’s been two weeks, and I’m still absolutely stunned. This is the first book I’ve read by Amy Ludavics, and I can happily inform you all that it certainly won’t be my last! In fact, that very night one of my other friends demanded I take home her sophomore novel, The Women in the Walls. Nightingale was her third novel, and even after all of this time, I’m still not quite sure what to think of it. It was dark, gory, terrifying, and strange, but there were several loose ends that I wish had been elaborated on more. Nonetheless, this book was a great mashup of science fiction and horror, and I loved the feminist overtones! One of my favorite books I’ve read in 2019, hands down!

               June Hardie has always known that she’s not normal. After all, she’s not drawn to improving her homemaking skills, despite her mother’s persistence. Nor does she long for a fiancé. Instead, she dreams of being a writer. In 1951, she is considered strange and even radical. When a strange and astonishing accident happens, harming one of June’s acquaintances, her parents, fed up with her behavior, commit her to Burrow Place Asylum. With awful, inhumane conditions, abusive staff members, and brutal torture disguised as medical treatments, June’s new home is more like a prison. She fears that the people who run the asylum are preying on her deepest fears and darkest secrets, and she isn’t alone. The other girls begin to show signs of mysterious, unexplained powers, and June begins to realize that some things are just better left alone…

               This book was nothing less than a knockout, for me. Horror is one of my favorite genres, and I especially love to indulge in it when fall begins, all the way through Halloween and beyond. I feel bad for forgetting about this book, but I’m so happy I was able to attend Young Adult for Adults, and I loved Nightingale. The pacing was breakneck, the prose almost hypnotic; this was horror at its finest. I also loved the way the book made me feel: paranoid, claustrophobic and on edge. That’s how you know you’ve got it, folks. That unexplainable, explanation-defying feeling of having found a winner. (Shout out to the head of our book club for picking it! Absolutely fantastic!) I also adored June, who was years ahead of her time, and her ambition to become a writer. I felt a real kinship with her as the book went on. But I think the best part of the novel was the horror elements. Blood, gore, hallucinations, monsters and supernatural powers? Sign me up! It kind of reminded me of Stranger Things a little bit. I also loved the historical details, though I was grating at most of the other characters, the adults in particular. I loved the girls June formed friendships with, especially Eleanor. That ending knocked me flat, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it, exactly, and I wish there hadn’t been so many loose ends. Nonetheless, Amy Ludavics has proven herself to one a formidable and memorable author, and I can’t wait to dive deep into her other works! The bottom line: Terrifying, thought-provoking, feminist and perfect to get in the mood for Halloween, I loved Nightingale, despite some strange loose ends! Next on deck: His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allen Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined by Dahlia Adler!

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