Friday, July 31, 2015

Top Five of 2015 (So Far)

Half the summer might be gone, but there's still time for beach/cottage/weekend reading. Here are five of the books published this year (so far) that I've enjoyed the most.

1. The Just City by Jo Walton (Thessaly #1.)
What is presented as a grand experiment involving the goddess Athene to recreate the Just City as described by Plato's Republic, is also a well-constructed narrative about consent as more than how it relates to sex. Walton's passion for the discussion and cast of interesting, relatable characters from throughout history—including Sokrates—make it a satisfying read. While the story does takes a few chapters of alternating viewpoints before it finds its feet, The Just City remains one of the best books I've read this year. ( | Kobo )

2. The Apple Throne by Tessa Gratton (United States of Asgard #3.)
I still feel this is one of the best ends to a YA trilogy that I've read; I'll miss this world Gratton constructed. In The Apple Throne, she weaves together threads from the previous two novels and the three novellas to give us the fate of Soren Bearstar (everyone's BFF) and Astrid Glyn (the Lady of the Apples.) In addition to the conclusion of that love story, and updates on characters we've previously met, there's a new tale about the various kinds of strength young women have. The narrative reinforces Astrid's agency and its importance while valourizing kindness. ( | Kobo)

3. The Awesome by Eva Darrows.
A feminist take on Supernatural, this paranormal focuses on a Mother-Daughter team of monster hunters and celebrates being comfortable in one's own skin. Maggie Cunningham is loud, crude, and kind of a jerk—but she's got a good heart. This is also one of the few YA's that has a young women unapologetically owning her sexuality. There are so many books about boys on quests to lose their virginities, and it was long past time we got one that features a girl doing the same thing. ( | | Kobo)

4. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge.
Hodge's second book finds its inspiration in a mix of Little Red Riding Hood and The Handless Maiden set in an alternative history France (or a second world largely inspired by historic France.) Only Little Red is a member of the king's guards who hunt the wolves while bidding the time before they succumb to being them, and the Handless Maiden is a prince. Both seek to stop a magic dark forest the wolves serve from invading the kingdom. Hodge is one of the best at crafting intricate puzzlebox books; while the structure of this one isn't quite as tight as Cruel Beauty, Crimson Bound's mystery and reveal are expertly executed. ( | | Kobo)

5. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.
From Harry Potter references to royal residence facts, The Royal We is a love letter to the way we all get swept up sometimes in the doings of Will and Kate. This romance novel tackles and realistically portrays what it would be like to become a princess—the good and the bad of it. With complex characters you'll care deeply about and the Fuggirls's signature celebrity-culture commentary, it's a perfect weekend/cottage/beach read. ( | | Kobo)

This upcoming fall is full of superb YA titles, many of which feature goats, so look for full reviews of what I've been reading early to come soon.

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