History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Inside cover blurb:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Thoughts:

I really loved More Happy Than Not, so when I found out this author had another book that had just been released, I pounced. And boy, was it worth it. I loved this book even more than the last. So many complex relationships, so many feels. The writing style peels back the story in layers, switching between the present and past. Just fantastic!

Plus: Realistic portrayal of grief and mental illness, twists you do not see coming.

Minus: There’s not much to improve upon here, in my opinion.

If you like this book, try:

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Inside cover blurb:

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Thoughts:

I really wanted to like this book- the description sounded so intriguing and it’s blurbed by Neil Gaiman but…there were just too many birds for my taste I guess. And what I thought would be delightfully whimsical turned out to fall flat. I was sadly disappointed.

Plus: Cool concept, Magonia and its lore were appealing.

Minus: Magical singing…that says it all I think.

If you like this book, try:

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Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury

Inside cover blurb:

Tariq. Anupreet. Margaret. As different as their Muslim, Sikh, and British names. But in one moment, their futures become entirely dependent on one another’s.

While the rest of India anxiously awaits the upcoming partition that will divide the country into two separate religious states, eighteen-year-old Tariq focuses on his own goal: to study at Oxford. But for a Muslim born and raised in India, there is no obvious path to England—until Tariq is offered a job translating for one of the British cartographers stationed in India, tasked with establishing the new borders.

Margaret, the cartographer’s daughter, has only just arrived in India. But already she has discovered it to be hot, loud, and dull. She can’t go anywhere alone for fear of the riots and violence. Eager for a distraction, she finds one in Tariq.

But it’s Anupreet, another member of the staff, who has truly captured Tariq’s eye. She’s strikingly beautiful—but she’s a Sikh, so not someone Tariq should even be caught looking at. And yet he’s compelled to…

Thoughts: 

Some fairly decent historical fiction here. A compelling story line with interchanging narration, the author has done well in illustrating how people who inhabit the same space can be so radically separated by class, race, etc.

Plus: Two POC main characters, set in an important and often overlooked historical moment.

Minus: Felt a bit hole-y, the relationships between the main characters could have been developed more. Some elements seemed abrupt and out of place- for instance, the ending.

If you like this book, try:

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Inside cover blurb:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Thoughts:

This book was good from the beginning, but the second half blew me away. Aaron’s neighborhood and his group of friends seem so realistic. And the ending totally left me hanging! Particularly because I was reading it on a Kindle so I was convinced there was still more that just hadn’t loaded yet…still waiting.

Plus: Heart-breaking plot, a wonderful depiction of the ups and downs of male friendship. A twist you don’t see coming.

Minus: Still trying to get inside the main character’s head, but that’s honestly a good thing- this story stays with you.

If you like this book, try:

Image result for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Inside cover blurb:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Thoughts:

Wasn’t sure about this one at first, but it hooked me right away and I read it in a day. I know it’s a book about magic…but it really was magical! The underworld/other dimension bit was really well done. And I love Alex and Rishi <3

Plus: Kick ass POC characters, underrepresented magic and mythologies, awesome twist I did not see coming. Queer characters!

Minus: The climax of the story when our main character battles the Big Bad could have been more exciting I thought.

If you like this book, try:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray