March Reading Wrap-Up

I only read books with blue covers in March. 😉
As always, cover images link to Goodreads pages.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – This is a story about unlikeable people who find themselves in some incredibly unlucky situations, then proceed to do idiotic/drunken/terrible things to one another. There’s not a lot of light or hope in The Girl on the Train, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an engrossing story. It’s a mystery told from the perspective of multiple female narrators who are bizarrely linked and lack major reliability points (alcoholic, liar, adulteress). The men of this novel, too, are shady characters. I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to root for and who I was supposed to hate — even at the story’s conclusion, my feelings regarding Rachel, Anna, and Scott were particularly muddled, though that didn’t make me less fond of this novel as a whole. All in all, The Girl on the Train is a twisty, smartly plotted adult debut, one I had trouble putting down.

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes – Another strong debut, this a contemporary YA. MC Hallelujah (Hallie, Hal) has had a rough several months thanks to this ass, Luke, who’s been harassing her for reasons we don’t discover until midway through the novel. Through a serious of unfortunate choices at a youth retreat, Hallie finds herself lost in the woods with her estranged friend, Jonah, and new girl, Rachel. The Distance Between Lost and Found is a captivating survival story. These kids are legitimately lost and suffering terribly; they’re injured, starving, freezing, and fighting off wild animals — it sort of reminded me of Hatchet at times. It’s also a tale about Hallelujah reclaiming her voice and autonomy after the Luke “incident.” It’s a joy to watch Hallie change and grow and toughen up. Her newly formed friendship with Rachel is authentic and fun (despite their whole lost-in-the-woods situation), and her slow-build romance with Jonah is adorable and kind of perfect. I’m very much looking forward to Kathryn Holmes’ future books.

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski – I could rave about this novel for days. I’m a self-professed Contemporary Girl, but I love this fantasy series SO MUCH. I recently read a review that commented on how (and I’m paraphrasing) this follow-up book is packed with tension even though the plot itself is rather slow. And yes — exactly. I mean, things definitely happen in this second installment of The Winner’s Trilogy, but Marie Rutkoski takes plenty of time to build a rich, compelling world, plus tons of suspense. Arin and Kestrel are some of my favorite YA characters. They’re incredibly smart and courageous. They make difficult decisions with selflessness and poise. They make sacrifices for love. And, they have aMaZiNg chemistry — even when they’re hating on each other. The Winner’s Crime includes some new and compelling characters, and it’s full of twists and surprises. My only complaint? Its brutal cliffhanger ending. I need The Winner’s Kiss, like, yesterday!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Read my thoughts on this debut HERE, in yesterday’s YA Book Club post.

Drowning Instinct by Isla J. Bick – This story’s voice took some getting used to. Its tone is very conversational, and there are times when protagonist, Jenna, slips into 2nd person narration because she’s telling her tale to a police officer (readers don’t find out why she’s talking to this officer until the story’s climax). Once I read a few chapters, though, I was hooked. Poor Jenna. She basically has the worst luck ever; everyone she meets seems to be out to break her. Even her apparently altruistic chemistry teacher, Mr. Anderson, crosses some decidedly fixed barriers. While he was entirely inappropriate, I’m still on the fence about whether he’s truly a “bad guy.” Honestly, there are no real heroes or villains in Drowning Instinct. It’s hard to find any one character to root for because they’re all layered and flawed and just… sad. And for me, that’s this novel’s greatest strength — its characters, and its unflinching delivery. If you’re a fan of dark contemporary written in shades of gray, check this book out.

What’s the best book you read in March?


12 thoughts on “March Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Jennifer Pickrell says:

    Okay, I’m completely convinced now that I need to pick up The Winner’s Trilogy. Although I think I’ll wait until the final book is out b/c a cliffhanger ending will drive me crazy 🙂

    I just started DISTANCE last night and I’m already really liking it. Except for Luke (naturally). I want to punch him in the face.

  2. crystalschubert says:

    Had not heard of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, but that looks gooooood! Adding it to my TBR list immediately.

    Also, I am with Jennifer on waiting for the final book in that Winner’s trilogy. I’ve heard so much good stuff about it, but I hate waiting on sequels because I inevitably forget so much from the prior books.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I get that you want to wait, but aaah! I am so anxious for EVERYONE I know to read the WINNER’S books. They are just so freaking good! You’ll have to let me know if you agree after you read the trilogy, Crystal. 🙂

  3. Rachelwrites007 says:

    I really liked Kathryn Holmes’ book and I am on a never ending hold list at the library for THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN…seriously I am #676!!!!!! I am waiting for the hype to cool down on WINNER’S CRIME so I can read it without having to wait long 😉 and my best March read was a tie between THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT (think Meg Cabot meets Emery Lord w/politics!) and KISSING TED CALLAHAN (AND OTHER GUYS) which I think is out in April…it is super fun super fluffy. I’m sorry you didn’t love Faking Normal but happy you read it! I really like Courtney’s voice/writing style and am eager for next book(I believe you can only improve right? plus her book is part of #TeamSadie aka people who have written books about Sadies LOL! 😛 )
    Hope your April reads are just as successful!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      No, I really liked FAKING NORMAL. It’s just that I finished it yesterday, so it didn’t make this post. I’ll chat about it in my April post, though. I thought it was a really strong debut, and Bodee was freaking adorable. Hope you get to read GIRL ON THE TRAIN this decade. 😉

  4. Jaime Morrow says:

    THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND is on my TBR list and I actually just requested it from the library yesterday! Can’t wait to read it, especially after hearing your thoughts on it. You already know what I thought about THE WINNER’S CRIME (love) RED QUEEN (not so much). Can’t wait for Book 3 in the former series. I always love hearing what you think about books, Katy. These kinds of recs are the kind I rely on, so thanks! 😀

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Likewise! It’s very nice to have book soul mates whose recommendations I can count on. Looking forward to hearing about what you’re reading next, Jaime!

  5. Erin Funk says:

    I can’t wait to read THE WINNER’S CRIME, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to. Buying more books before we move probably isn’t wise lol, so I need to stick with the nice pile I got for Christmas, which I’ve left out for now. I’m so glad you enjoyed it though, and that makes me even more eager to get to it! Great reviews, Katy!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I bet you’ll love THE WINNER’S CRIME when you finally get to it, Erin. Totally worth the wait! In fact, you’ll have an easier go of surviving until the final installment if you give yourself as little time as possible between books. 🙂 Have a great week, lady!

  6. Kaitlin Bartlett says:

    I second your demand for THE WINNER’S KISS, like now. Before reading it, I’d heard there was a pretty serious cliffhanger, but I wasn’t prepared for it! This is one of my favorite high fantasy series, for sure. ❤

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Yeah, that was probably the most ruthless cliffhanger I’ve read. I just care about these characters SO MUCH! Definitely one of my favorite fantasies as well, Kaitlin. Here’s hoping THE WINNER’S KISS lives up to the excellence of the first two books. (I think it will!)

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