I’m dubbing April… The Month of Stunning Debuts. I read some established authors as well, but man… Mindy Raf, Tess Sharpe, Emery Lord, Meredith McCardle, and Brandy Colbert totally blew my mind with their 2014 debut novels. Color me impressed. Here are my thoughts on all of the books I read in April… (As usual, covers link to Goodreads pages.)
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle – Since reading Shine, I’ve become a fan of Lauren Myracle’s style and prose, and this latest story about Wren and Charlie’s blossoming romance was very good. It’s one steamy book, friends, and I kind of loved it. It reminded me of Judy Blume’s Forever…, though there were enough differences to keep me engaged. My only (tiny) complaint has to do with the conclusion. While I appreciate endings that leave room for the reader’s imagination to fill in some blanks, I could’ve used one more scene for the sake of closure. Pick this one up if you’re a fan of mature contemporary YA romance.
The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf – Izzy is a genuinely hilarious narrator, the issues she’s dealing with are real-life and deftly handled, and there’s a ton of heart beneath the humor in this novel. I loved following along as Izzy learned to step away from herself and her insecurities so she could view situations for what they truly were, and I loved how she slowly began to stand up for herself and take ownership of her actions, good and bad. I also loved how Izzy’s familial relationships and friendships deepened, and how the girls at her school banded together after a really stupid boy did a really terrible thing. And I love how the novel concludes, how Izzy uses her art and her portfolio to give that really stupid boy the finger. My full Bookanista rec is HERE.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I had no doubts about Speak’s quality going in — I’m not sure why it’s taken me forever to read it. I’m so glad I finally picked it up. There’s a reason this book’s been popular for fifteen years. It’s evocative and heartbreaking and written in an untraditional way that feels undeniably perfect as a means for telling Melinda’s story. Speak is an important book about sadness and isolation and guilt, and I think it’s an amazing conversation starter for all sorts of readers. A big recommend if you’ve yet to read it.
Far From You by Tess Sharpe – Ugh. This book hurt my heart. Every single chapter was just… sad. And messy. And hopeless. Of course I loved every minute I spent reading it. If you’ve been around my blog, you know I’m a sucker for sorrowful novels, and Far From You is definitely that. It’s also a mystery, and a romance, and a story about recovery and truth and deep, deep bonds. I love, too, that Far From You is a story with a bisexual protagonist, but that the story isn’t just about Sophie’s sexuality. It’s a part of her, one that complicates her relationships big time, but she’s got layers upon layers of character that make her incredibly fascinating. Love this book. Another recommend!
The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle – Time travel done right. The Eighth Guardian is full of twists and betrayal and fascinating historical reference; the stakes are unbelievably high. Amanda’s exactly the kind of protagonist I love. She’s sassy and smart and doesn’t put up with crap from anyone. She’s so courageous, and she refuses to bow to those in positions of power, no matter the sacrifices she has to make to do what she believes in. This is a smart book, guys. It’s fast-paced, and the writing is top-notch. It’s a novel that makes you work for answers, and the payoffs are huge. Read my full Bookanistas recommendation HERE.
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – I’ve already written and scheduled a Bookanista recommendation for this spectacular debut. It’ll go live a week from today and I hope you’ll read all of my ravings about how much I love, lOvE, LOVE this book. Until then, let’s just call it a new favorite.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert – I bought this because sometimes I choose books based on their covers, and this one is gorgeous. Plus, two of my favorite authors (Nina LaCour and Courtney Summers) blurbed it. It’d be an understatement to say that Pointe lived up to my expectations. Basically, it blew my expectations out of the water. That has a lot to do with Theo, who is a unique, compelling, and conflicted protagonist. She’s this graceful, beautiful ballerina, but she smokes and swears and drinks. She keeps secrets, but she’s loyal. She makes mistakes, and she’s refreshingly real. I like that she’s a black girl and that she has eating issues, both of which play into who she is but don’t define her. Pointe is a truly impressive debut, and I highly recommend it.
Tell me… What’s the best book you read in April?