If you can believe the horror, I was without WiFi at home for the first two weeks of April; I know, poor me. This did mean that I got a lot of reading done when I would otherwise have been frittering away my time on Twitter or reading The Walking Dead fan theories. Here’s what I read in April:
- The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I really liked this; since the third book in the series came out, I’ve been hearing about The Winner’s Trilogy all over Twitter and I decided to finally read the copy I’ve had on my Kindle for ages. Even though it’s mainly a romance, I really liked all the politics and history; I’ll be grabbing a copy of book 2 soon.
- Demon Road by Derek Landy
This was scary and funny in almost equal measure, and entertaining enough to make the bonkers plot (teen discovers her parents are demons and want to eat her) enjoyable. My two complaints: it is too long and there are too many diversions in the main plot. I’ll be reading the sequel soon though.
- Nod by Adrian Barnes
Overnight, everyone in the world, apart from a very select few, loses the ability to sleep. The whole world falls apart. This was creepy and compelling and I’ll be reviewing it for Fourth and Sycamore soon.
- The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
I loved this beautiful book. The Alaskan setting made it something really different and all the different narrators and their converging stories got to me. I read this as an e-ARC but I’ll be frittering away some of my hard-earned (okay, earned) cash to buy a physical copy to stroke.
- The Year of the Runaways by Sanjeev Sahota
This was a bit dull to start with but came to life when the story went back to show why the titular runaways came to England from India; their backstories are compelling and made me more interested in the characters. It’s a hefty book but one worth reading.
- Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe
I reviewed this contemporary YA here; Sutcliffe borrows from the 2011 London riots, as well as using a dystopian medication culture to comment on how young people are marginalised and manipulated. It’s clever and entertaining.
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Part two in my continuing effort to get up to date with the Raven Cycle before the final book comes out. I enjoyed this and I think I’m a bit obsessed with Ronan now, although the supernatural-Welsh-king-magic-psychic-dream-thieving doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I also find Blue really, really annoying and this makes me slightly less than enthused about reading the third book, as I assume from the title Blue Lily, Lily Blue, that it’s all about her.
- Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
Three generations of women, complex relationships, fully developed characters and family secrets; this was really good. I didn’t find all of it entirely convincing, but I got a bit obsessed with the mother. Review here.
- Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
More time travel: what is this all about? This time, it finally made actual sense. This was slightly slow at the start but the second half was very good and I liked the writing style. Review here.
- Think Twice by Sarah Mlynowski
This was a borderline tragic waste of my reading life, albeit a short one because it only took me about an hour to read. I liked Don’t Even Think About It, but this was vapid and pointless.
- Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
This is a beautifully weird little book about what happens when two bored gods give human consciousness to a load of dogs. It sounds ridiculous but it’s relaly excellent. Review here.
- Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
I don’t know how someone who doesn’t even like dogs ends up reading two books in a row about dogs, but that’s what happened to me here. This was very, very understated and quiet; it didn’t quite grab me but it is a good book. Review here.
- Desolation by Derek Landy
I enjoyed Demon Road sufficiently to request this on NetGalley and I was a bit disappointed. I’ll post a full review in May, but I felt like a lot of the humour of Demon Road was gone, replaced with some really questionable content.
- Carol by Patricia Highsmith
I expected this to be a lot more romantic than it was; I found Carol herself to be a complete meanie, which makes the central relationship less appealing. Review here.
- The Haters by Jesse Andrews
I loved Me and Earl and the Dying Girl an actual ridiculous amount, so I had high hopes for this and they weren’t entirely fulfilled. I really like Andrews’ style up to a point, but that point is a really dubious sex scene that I can’t quite believe hasn’t set the internet on fire. Anyway, review to come in May.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Oh, but this was weird. I should have expected that really, but who ever expects to read about someone pulling a worm out their foot?
- Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
I was surprised by how much I liked this (bearing in mind that I requested it on NetGalley at a time when I was being less than discerning in my book choices). The story of the tragic Milbourn women was fascinating and I do love to read about a spectacularly messed-up family.
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
So clearly I basically read the whole of the Raven Cycle in April. My lack of interest in Glendower reached its peak here, but so did my love for Ronan, so it all balanced out in the end.
- Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
A dreaded love triangle but an appealingly messed-up one; I really enjoyed reading this odd fairy-tale-esque YA about three oddly named teens and their spectacularly wrong relationships.
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I’m just going to say it: I hate this book. I hated it five years ago when I first read it and I still hated it in April when I had to read it again to revise it with my sixth formers (big thanks to my colleague who went on maternity leave after teaching them this HIDEOUS book). It’s hard to put into words my many and varied objections with this book, but I’m going to try really hard to eviscerate it in a blog post soon.
- Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange
I don’t like to really slate a book (apart from The Lovely Bones, obviously – Sebold has made her money so nobody cares what I think of that) but this was a particularly silly book about silly teenagers making terrible decisions. And giving each other deeply unpleasant nicknames.
- Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
I’m still processing my feelings about this book but, at present, they include immense admiration, abject horror, vague repulsion and an intense need to listen to Nirvana. I’m in the process of writing something deeply profound about it but I might need to inhale some Jack Daniels first.
- The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
I am crap at reading graphic novels, because I have a stupid tendency to just read the words and ignore the pictures, thus defeating the whole object. But when I retrained my brain to actually look at illustrations, I enjoyed this. In what seems to be a recurring theme this month, it was really weird.
- Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson
How conspicuous is it now that I was desperate to get to 100 books by the end of April and started reading really short books? This was one of those teeny World Book Day things and it was actually surprisingly good; the story of a teenage girl who miraculously gets rid of her acne and becomes popular should have been cliched and silly but this really wasn’t so now I’m forcing all my students to read it.
- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
I had a massive saga with Amazon (who I now, hilariously, refer to as SHAMazon – I know, I’m very witty) in which they LOST MY DELIVERY of this book and I had to wait two whole days for the replacement. Don’t worry, I’m in touch with a human rights lawyer. I’m sure I have nothing to say about this that everyone in the world hasn’t said. But it was my favourite of the series and Ronan is my poppet. That is all.
So that’s April – 25 books read and, more importantly, my Goodreads total now reads 100 out of 151 for the year. My aim is to hit the target by July and then
start talking to people again read loads more books.