Hello, fellow readers of the internet!
Recently (who am I kidding, these ARCs are from ages ago), I’ve been approved for loads of ARCs – and me, being the lazy person I am, read them all but didn’t write reviews. Oops.
This is a pretty diverse array of books, some of which I adored and some of which I found… meh. Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me these e-ARCs of all the books!
On A Summer Night by Gabriel D. Vidrine
This was such a good book?? So soft and fluffy with just the right amount of angst – I practically breezed through it in one sitting. I was a bit wary going in because it seemed a little ~childish~. But this is what I needed – I’m so used to reading LGBTQ+ books from the POV of 16 or 17 year olds, and it was refreshing to see the viewpoint of a 14 year old! I honestly cried while reading this; I could relate a lot with Casey. The parts about being young and scared for the future as a queer teen really struck with me.
- I loved that this book didn’t bury any type of sexuality! There are so many LGBTQ+ novels that focus solely on romance, and make it out that if you don’t feel attraction, you’re weird. But that’s obviously wrong? And the author portrayed that in Casey’s best friend, Ella – she’s aroace, and completely proud of her identity. Something that irked me, though, was that the characters only speculated others to be gay or bisexual – other MGA sexualities do exist! Please remember pansexuals, polysexuals, and omnisexuals next time 😦
- All the characters were extremely well rounded! Even the assholes were written really well – I wanted to punch in Ryan’s nose so hard, but he and his friends were portrayed pretty realistically.
- The writing style was pretty easy to read! It didn’t fuss around with unnecessary metaphors, everything was to the point – but there were still some really beautiful lines. I finished the book entirely on a two hour flight and I loved it ❤
- I liked the plot, too! Simple, realistic, but also refreshing – it followed a bi, trans boy going to normal camp for the first time. Naturally, he was nervous; and we get to see all his experiences. From the good, the bad, and the dirty. The pacing was also pretty good; it was set in a span of two weeks and never felt too slow or too fast.
It’s for the trans teens of our generation, for every queer kid that feels left out, for every fourteen year old struggling with life. Absolutely adorable and needed.
The Electrical Venus by Julie Mayhew
(HELLA COVER APPRECIATION)
I really enjoyed reading this! It’s about a biracial “exotic” girl called Mim, and about Alex, who’s a one-armed acrobat. The story’s set in eighteenth century England, and in a circus (similar to Caraval, but also way way different) – I’m a sucker for a good steampunk novel, so of course I had to read it.
- The layout of the book was so beautiful! The chapter images, changing perspectives, switches between first and third person – they were all so intriguing? I especially loved the little illustrations of animals before each chapter ❤
- The writing style was really easy to read? It was sort of diary-like, but at times it felt a little dry. A bit too deep in descriptions, maybe. The best part was definitely how they included the feelings of Pig and George the parrot (who, let’s be honest, were the true stars of the show).
- I loved the characters so much!! Mim was snarky and funny and a bit headstrong but Alex,, god I would die for him. He’s so soft and beautiful and trying so hard and skshskhsjs??? And their relationship was so sweet and unhurried !!!
- Something I would’ve wanted is more backstory? Especially for Abel and Joe, I just feel like it would’ve brought the whole thing home. Sometimes they felt a little unrealistic.
I’d recommend it to anyone looking for character-driven historical fiction, or just something breezy and intriguing!
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
I enjoyed this book! A lot! It was funny and snarky and everything Leah is. But I’m not going to pretend like it doesn’t have any problems – because it does. And I’ll be talking about some of those issues. But still; it’s a book about a fat, bisexual MC who dates a girl! And it’s on the NYT bestseller’s list! So yes. I loved it 🙂
- Leah. She was… everything I expected. And a bit more. Wonderfully sassy, wonderfully snarky, and wonderfully Leah: but sometimes she seemed a little rude? I get that it’s her character, though; so I’m (mostly) okay with it.
- The fat rep! I love how the main plot was not about Leah “coming to terms” with being fat or whatever, and also how she hardly mentioned it but it was still an important part of her identity? Does this even make sense? I don’t know, but the fact that there was a fat, queer MC (something you hardly see in YA) made me really happy.
- The other characters! oh my GOD Simon and Bram!!! I died!!!!!!! I love seeing them all happy and cute and sdsjshjh!!!!!!!! Also Abby is an angel and we must protect her from everything. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
- The writing style. It was easy to read, and also I breezed through the book in two hours. And it was so hilarious??? I snorted my milk.
Okay, so let’s get into some of the… issues I found. Spoiler alert?
- The “low-key bi” conversation. Basically, Abby mentioned to Leah that she didn’t know exactly what label to use for herself, and said that she might be “low-key bi”. And Leah SNAPPED. She went on a huge tirade on how she couldn’t be low-key bi, how she had to be either bisexual or straight or gay and I found it. Hurtful. Absolutely no queer person would ever say to someone who was questioning – it can be really degrading and harmful. And yeah, maybe Leah didn’t mean that, but it’s worth noting. I don’t understand how it got through queer sensitivity readers, though?
- Abby x Leah. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love them! Honestly, they’re absolutely adorable. But for some reason, I feel like it was sort of… forced? In this book. I mean, there was development! But most of it was in the past? And Leah was referring to things that happened ages ago? I don’t know; Leah was really rude to Abby as well. Meh.
TL;DR: a good book with an f/f romance! has a few issues, but I still adored it.
The Possible World by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz
This is a really, really good story that’s beautifully written. Clare and Lucy and Ben – it’s amazing how well the author has managed to link all the stories together. They’re all the main characters in their stories, one was never neglected in favour of another. The plot tied together so well and it was poignant and pretty wow I can’t explain how I feel about this??
- The writing was, to put it simply, like music. It’s just so beautiful?? And every sentence made me want to read the next ,,, it added to the whole mood of the story so well!
- The transitions between the POVs are interesting, and I was never bored during a different person’s point of view! All the characters are written so so well, and they’re so unique? I would highkey die for every single one of them. (LEO MY SMALL CHILD)
- I loved how the focus was not really romantic love?? Love was an important factor, yeah, but more familial and friendship-y and idk I just love when that happens in books!!
I loved this book because of how bittersweet it was; and I wanted to keep reading it. It’s so important and will probably become a classic in the future tbh 🙂
(Also: this is way different from the kinds of books I usually read; I’m pretty sure it’s classified as adult? But the description was so intriguing I had to pick it up and boy am I glad I did omf)
All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
I have really mixed feelings about this book?? To be honest, I feel like it dragged on too much and was unnecessarily long. The first half and a bit felt completely useless. Nothing really happened except two characters falling in love (and it was really insta-lovey), then this huge tragedy (oof drama) and then a time jump.
- The characters were so cliche? Catherine is the kind of girl who thinks of herself as plain and boring (wattpad vibes) and Elliot is the kind of guy who sees himself as the lord and saviour of all. Both of those tropey character traits pissed me off so much ugh. Also, they both seemed really fake and all of their conversations were the exact same?? It was always Catherine saying “oh no I’m so ugly and stupid” and Elliot saying “nooo you’re amazing and beautiful!!!”
- About the plot: It’s clear from the beginning that the home lives of both Catherine and Elliot are pretty shitty. I can’t say much without spoiling tbh- just that Catherine’s been keeping a secret from everyone and it’s uh,,, scary?
- The only reason I’m giving it three stars instead of two is because of the ending: it was unexpected??? Also extremely well thought out,, wow I’m still reeling. It was probably the one redeeming feature of this book.
I don’t know if I should recommend this book or not?? It’s not terrible it was just really ,,,, meh. Read it for the ending maybe? The romance is cringey and the characters are underdeveloped but the mystery level is intriguing!
Have you read any of these books? Do you want to?? If you read them, what are your thoughts? Also are you just as lazy as me when it comes to reviewing books???? Talk to me!