The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron: I’ve liked Sharon Cameron’s books in general, and this is another solid one from her. It’s a slightly different take on a dystopianish society–although it feels familiar in some ways, it also reminded me that sometimes tropes are tropes for a reason. And in the second half of the book, there are some interesting twists that change how the story unfolds.
The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier: review coming later
The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders: My friend Shae sent a copy of this one to me because she thought I’d like it–and I did! It’s a Victorian mystery with some Dickensian elements (loosely inspired by parts of David Copperfield). I liked that it features an older woman as the detective, and Saunders does a nice job of weaving in everyday details without clunkiness.
Nomad by William Alexander: Sequel to Ambassador, which I also loved. I read this one just after the election, and a story about a Latino kid saving the world through diplomacy while facing his father’s deportation was both heartbreaking and really affirming. Alexander is great at quiet, kid-centered SFF, which engages thoughtfully with political issues and tells really valuable and beautiful stories.
The Pocket Emily Dickinson: I went to look for a few poems and ended up reading the whole thing. Lo, the power of poetry, I suppose. [that’s a quote]
First Class Murder by Robin Stevens: Look, I just really love the Wells & Wong books. They’re 1930s-set middle grade mysteries, which sounds pretty simple on the surface. But Stevens actually tells a really complex story, and there’s a lot about friendship and identity and privilege woven into the whole series. This third book started off a little slow, but it ended up being possibly my favorite yet as we see both Daisy and Hazel dealing with their family histories and the realities of growing up. (ARC read through Edelweiss)
Ms. Marvel Last Days by G. Willow Wilson: Every time I read a new volume of Ms. Marvel, I think that it couldn’t possibly be as good as the last one (because the last one was so good). But every time I am wrong! If I had to only read one comic series for the rest of my days, it would be Kamala, no questions. I love the depth of relationships shown here, the way Kamala’s family and culture and faith influence but don’t define her, the balance of hope and struggles. It’s just so good.
Goldie Vance vol. 1 by Hope Larson: My friend Kate gave me this one for my birthday and I really liked it! It’s a 1950s mystery, set in a hotel, and featuring a young detective. There are so many black and Latinx characters, which is nice to see, and the comic does deal with privilege and prejudice to a certain extent. I also really liked the art! It felt very fresh and clean and bright, which fits Goldie’s character well.
Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers: I reread this with my friend Ally and WHOOOO BOY WE HAD FEELINGS. (I talked about this one at length recently enough that I’m not going to go into more detail at the moment.)
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria: 1919-set historical fantasy, which seems to be a Thing at the moment? But I liked this version–the friendship between Ada and Corinne really drove the book for me (you all know how I love a good female friendship). I kind of saw the big twist coming, and there were a few clunky moments, but overall I found this one pretty solid. (I can’t speak to how good the representation is, and I’m not finding a ton of reviews for this one? If you have thoughts, I want to know.)
Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley: This book is definitely a case where I can’t step back from my adult reaction enough to say fairly whether I think this is a successful book for kids. It’s a nuanced look at friendship and family and class; Gertie’s complicated feelings about the people and events in her life are compelling. But I wanted something to break free a little bit sooner, I guess. Whether a kid would feel the same way is a question I keep wondering about and not really coming up with an answer for.
Diva Without a Cause by Grace Dent: I’m really sad that only the first two books in this series have been published in the US. I liked this one quite a bit–it’s thoughtful and sharp and funny. In a certain way some of the concerns do feel very specific to the UK, and yet I think that 1) the overarching themes are totally relatable and 2) it’s good for us to read outside of our own culture!
Bandette vol. 1 by Tobin and Coover: Another recommendation from Kate. I LOVE IT–the story feels fresh, although the art feels retro and that’s a combination that works really well for me, it seems.
Rogue Heroes by Ben MacIntyre: I like MacIntyre’s non-fiction style; I was less interested in the subject of this book. [I could say more about this, and the fact that MacIntyre tries to push back against the glorification of hypermasculinity that’s almost inherent in his subject, but doesn’t entirely succeed. I’m not sure I’d be entirely coherent enough to make it worthwhile, though.]
New and Selected Poems, vol 1 by Mary Oliver: Rereading this volume and realizing I need to read vol. 2, since there are whole chunks of Oliver’s career that I’m missing! I am occasionally impatient with Oliver, and yet every time I feel this way, the next poem pulls me back and reminds me of why I love her.
Ahsoka by EK Johnston: I love Johnston’s books and I love Star Wars, so this seemed like a natural fit! The take on the universe, the aftermathy kind of story, was really interesting to me, and I liked the look at everyday life and resistance. This is about what happens when you lose the war; it seems unfortunately apt at the moment. Also, Ahsoka’s relationship with Kaeden and the way that played out seemed like a story I haven’t seen a lot of, in a way that seems realistic and true to the characters.
Guile by Constance Cooper: On a personal level, I found the story, characters and writing fairly strong (I do think it dragged in the middle) I am wondering about the representation and portrayal of bayou culture–not because I saw anything inherently problematic, but rather because it’s hard to tell how well Cooper has written it from the outside.