ARC August Update: If Only I Had Self-Control…

At the start of August, I set myself the target of reading 5 of my ARCS; halfway through the month, I’ve read 3 and become a little waylaid, as I will explain…

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
This was completely wonderful and I am now obsessed with it. You might know Safran Foer from his previous novels (Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), but Here I Am is a big step up in terms of length and scope. It focuses on a Jewish family in the USA, set against the backdrop of a huge crisis in Israel, and it is brilliant. My review will be over on Fourth and Sycamore in September.

Notes on Being Teenage by Rosalind Jana
A guide to surviving adolescence, this combined useful advice with personal anecdote, as well as interviews with ‘real life’ teens and celebrities, in order to provide help in navigating the teenage years. Although I am far too old to worry about most of what is covered here myself, a lot of it resonated with me based on what I see as a teacher of teens, as well as filling me with fear that one day my daughter will be a teenager. I had a few books like this when I was a teenager and I know I found them helpful and informative, so I think teens would feel the same way about this.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
This is a YA fantasy set in Brooklyn (to be begin with), featuring a multitude of witches  and demons. I enjoyed the aspects of it which represented a different culture, although the fantasy itself was a bit generic; my full review will be on Fourth and Sycamore in September.

Flushed with a sense of achievement at having read 3 of my ARCs, I got a bit click-happy on NetGalley and ended up with a load more. This is probably false economy or something. Anyway, in addition to the 3 books above, I’ve read:

Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz
A YA contemporary about immigration, this provides something quite different in terms of combining politics with romance. My review will be up in November.

As I Descended by Robin Talley
YA retelling of Macbeth, with lesbians, in a boarding school. What’s not to like? My full review will be up in September, but suffice to say I really enjoyed this.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by various UK YA authors
I was so happy to receive an eARC of this; I’m always on the lookout for good short stories to use at school and there were plenty here. It’s also a really good introduction to UK YA authors for a reader new to the scene, featuring Juno Dawson, Lisa Williamson, Holly Bourne and Benjamin Zephaniah, among others. I really enjoyed the whole anthology and I’ll be posting a review (and buying a copy of the book) soon.

So this leaves me with Simon Mayo’s Blame, which I’ve already started, and Tim Lawrence’s Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor to read in order to fulfil my original goal. Not wanting to sound arrogant, I am fairly confident they’ll be read by the end of the month. If reading was in the Olympics, I’d be sitting with Claire Balding right now, wearing a gold medal and talking about how sexist John Inverdale is (apologies to non-Brits who have no idea what all this means). I’ve picked up a couple of other ARCs, like The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and The Wangs Vs The World by Jade Chang, but I think these can wait till next month.

Are you taking part in ARC August? How are you doing and have you read anything amazing?