July Reading Wrap-Up

And, my summer of amazing books continues. Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama – A sophisticated, intricately told tale with something for everyone: A complex plot, multi-dimensional characters, a thrilling, chilling mystery, strong writing, a fresh spin on tried and true paranormal, a bit of history, and romance that will have you swooning. Full review HERE.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – I never thought I’d say this, but I loved Bitterblue even more than Graceling. This book… It wrecked me in every way possible. It romanced me, it made me laugh, it made me angry, it broke my heart and, at times, it absolutely horrified me. I can’t say enough about this novel. In my humble opinion, it was just about as perfect as a story can get. A definite favorite. Full review HERE.

The Doll People by The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, illustrated by Brian Selznick – Quickly paced and charming, decidedly contemporary but with a delightfully timeless feel, and illustrations that are gorgeous and perfectly match the enchantingly magical quality of the story. Full review HERE.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone – I’m a romance girl, so if I can fall for a couple, I usually end up a fan of the book. I thought Anna was a fantastic MC, and I found Bennett to be adorable. Their relationship developed believably (considering the absolute inconceivability of their situation), so I was rooting for them. I do wish Bennett’s love for music and the mystery of the “missing person” had been further developed, but I truly loved the ending of this book. Check out my interview with author Tamara Ireland Stone HERE.

*The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – This book was so unique in format (letters to an unnamed “friend”) and voice, it was nearly impossible to put down. The existing and emerging relationships felt genuine, and the characters leapt off the page, especially main character, Charlie, and his crush, Sam (played by Emma Watson in the upcoming movie!). If you haven’t read Wallflower, it’s a definite recommend!

*Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card –  I checked the audio version of this one out from the library and took it with me on a twelve-hour road trip. It wasn’t exactly a Katy Book (no romance, no butterflies, no kisses, TONS of battles and action sequences), but I can certainly understand why it’s become a classic. The writing is fantastic, the world-building exceptional, the depth of main character Ender and his plight astounding, and the ending… It’s one of those oh-em-gee! endings I love. Also, the audio version concluded with a long talk by Orson Scott Card about the history of Ender’s Game, the beginning of his writing career, and his thoughts on the writing process. It was fascinating.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick – I heard about this book when my friend Elodie raved about it, and it’s very much a Katy Book. It’s an upper YA “romantic drama,” which is what I write and what I prefer to read. BUT… I think the romantic drama is also one of the toughest genres to pull off well. Huntley Fitzpatrick does so beautifully. Sam and Jase are freaking adorable, and they share tons of sweet moments and steamy kisses. Plus, Jase’s huge family is awesome, and enviable characterized. Another recommend!

And, last but not least, July’s Book of the Month: *The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksFrom GoodreadsFrankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school. Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston. Frankie Laundau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done. Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.

I have to admit… When I read secret society and pranks in the jacket summary, my interest wasn’t exactly piqued.  But, I love books set in boarding schools (hello, Jellicoe Road) and Frankie came highly recommended by many of my trusted YA friends, including Erin BowmanCaroline RichmondCopil YanezGhenet Myrthil, and Sarah Enni.  Turns out they were all spot on in their gushing. Frankie was so perfectly fun and bizarre, I couldn’t stop turning pages.

Frankie has a pitch-perfect YA voice (even though the story is told in third-person). Protagonist Frankie Landau-Banks is brilliant, dry, and witty, and she’s not afraid to take charge and go after what she wants. That said, she can be sort of thick and she makes plenty of mistakes over the course of her story. But, that’s what makes her so endearing. The best part of this book was how it ended. I won’t give anything away, of course, but I will say that when I read the final page, I felt like every character had experienced the consequences he or she deserved, and that the conclusion was handled realistically, but with the same intelligence and charm the rest of the book possessed.

If you’ve yet to read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, I highly recommend you check it out!

Don’t forget to head over to YA Highway to check out other July favorites. 🙂

Tell me: What’s the best book you’ve read so far this summer?

*Gap Books

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37 responses to “July Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Yep, I have yet to read Frankie, but I seriously hear about this book everywhere. I’ll pick it up to read next. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Yay, FRANKIE!!!! I’m so glad you ended up enjoying that one, Katy! (And I completely agree with your thoughts regarding the end. Gosh, it’s like we see eye-to-eye on books or something 😉 )

    • Haha! I agree, Erin: We *might* have similar tastes when it comes to literature. Thanks for recommending FRANKIE. I might not have picked it up if it weren’t for your review. 🙂

  3. Frankie is on my shelf, staring at me, saying, “See, you should read me next!” I’ll have to bump this one up and read soon 🙂

  4. Oh, I LOVED Frankie! It’s been a while since I read that one, a while since I read anything E Lockhart. May need to fix that. 🙂 And I’m so glad you liked Perks. Every year, I get at least one student who lists that as their favorite read, and it is definitely one of mine!

    • FRANKIE was my first E. Lockhart book, if you can believe that. Now I’m definitely a fan, and I can’t wait to read more of her work. And yeah… I can’t wait to see the WALLFLOWER movie. I really enjoyed the story, and I LOVE Emma Watson!

  5. Frankie Landau-Banks sounds so good–I have to add that one to my list.

  6. So, I need to read that book 😀 I don’t even think it’s on my TBR yet and your review clearly tells me I need to fix this soon!
    I am glad you enjoyed MY LIFE NEXT DOOR (thanks for linking to my review by the way Katy!)

  7. I really enjoyed my life next door also — I was AMAZED by how many characters she was able to fully flesh out. Also, I loved them all, really.

    • Yes! The characterizations in that book blew me away. I was prepared to sort of gloss over all the siblings because I didn’t think I’d ever remember them all, but I totally did, and I totally adored each one. That really says something!

  8. Out of all those, I’ve only read one. I can usually do better. I’ll have to get reading some of these…

  9. Great choices! We agree on the Time Between Us points (def the mysterious missing person!!). I couldn’t finish Bitterblue 😦 But I love Fire and Graceling. And I really want to read MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. My favourite book of July was GONE GIRL. I can’t stop talking about it…..to everyone! 🙂

    • Yeah, I read your review of GONE GIRL, and now I totally want to check it out. 🙂 I’m sad that you didn’t love BITTERBLUE like I did, but to each her own. Not every book is for everyone, which is something I really love about the literature world… All the different opinions!

  10. So glad you enjoyed FRANKIE! It’s been a while since I read it so you’re making me want to re-read it. One good thing about having a horrible memory when it comes to books is that I don’t entirely remember the ending so it’ll be like a brand new experience. Ha!

    I want to re-read THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER too, and I have to check out the others on this list. 🙂

    • I’m the same way about remembering book details… They escape me as soon as I start something new! And yes, I’m so glad I read WALLFLOWER before the movie debuts. Now I can’t wait to see it!

  11. I have some of these already on my TBR list (FRANKIE’s actually already on my Kindle), so I should really get around to them. I’m thinking it might be an idea to read WALLFLOWER before it hits theatres. 🙂

  12. FRANKIE! That was my first E.Lockhart and, as much as I adore Ruby Oliver, it’s probably still my favorite.

  13. Haha, FRANKIE was my pick this month, too! What a fun read 🙂

  14. Stephanie Allen

    Shadow and Bone is still my top pick. Although, if Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass novellas are any indication, this might not be the case much longer…

    • I need to get my hands on SHADOW AND BONE… I have heard such amazing things about that novel. I’ve also heard that Sarah J. Maas’s novellas are fantastic. So many books, so little time. 🙂 How’s your rewrite coming, by the way?

      • Stephanie Allen

        I KNOW. There really just needs to be more hours in the day!

        The rewrite has been coming along more slowly the past couple weeks since I’ve been on vacation, but when I get home next week, I should be ready to punch out the last 15k or so words. Thanks for asking! 🙂

  15. Frankie! Yay! I love the narrator’s voice–although I wondered if actual teenagers would love it as much as I did, and I think I read it during AP season, or something, so I didn’t get feedback from my usual crew of teen readers. But great picks–I have MY LIFE NEXT DOOR waiting for me after I get through a few more Netgalley titles!

    • I’ve wondered that about a few of my favorite YA novels… Would they have resonated with me so entirely if I’d read them at, say, sixteen? But yes, FRANKIE rocks, and I hope people of all ages read that book! Hope you enjoy MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. 🙂

  16. Whoa, you’re busy, busy with all those books! Awesome choices!
    I’m a reader and writer of Katy Books too, you know. It has to have romance, at least a little!

  17. Another vote for Frankie! We did this one a few months ago for our YA book club and it’s great.

    • I need to find a YA book club! A real life one, at least, because I already belong to an online version that rocks. And yes, FRANKIE is fantastic! 🙂

  18. So, so, SO many great recos, Katy!!!!

    I just bought ENDERS GAME this past weekend and I’m very much looking forward to reading it! I also picked up MY LIFE NEXT DOOR – and thanks to you and Elodie, I think this one may shift up on my TBR list. 🙂 I completely need to read WALLFLOWERS before the movie comes out – not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to that one! And FRANKIE just went on my list, after reading Elodie’s review and now reading yours!

    So glad you also loved BITTERBLUE. Yep, that one was an excellent read for me – and the entire series is on my list of all-time favorites (I think FIRE was my absolute fav out of all of them).

    Great list of books – you had a busy July!

    • Yes, the Seven Kingdoms books blow me away. Love, especially, BITTERBLUE. And I hope you’ll let me know what you think of ENDER’S GAME and MLND. They’re so different, but I really enjoyed them both. 🙂