The Reading Rush Wrap-Up 2020


The Reading Rush is officially over for another year and yikes, that was some experience. I won't delve into all the problems I had with how the creators/hosts of this readathon failed their audience and the black community by disrespecting their book club pick as it isn't my voice that ought to be heard, but I will say that I read Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid earlier this year and loved it. It's a book that matters, especially during this eye-opening period of history. Read it, and then discuss it. Never use black authors and their stories for clicks; a sentence that should never be needed to say. I won't be participating in this readathon again. These are the books I read over the past week:

The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield is a sixteen-year-old juvenile boy who has just got kicked out of his boarding school. There begins a few nights of  pure insanity for the youngster. This is arguably a modern classic that divides most readers - people either love it or hate it. I'm so disappointed to say that I sit right on the fence. I didn't hate this book like some do, but I also didn't really enjoy it. It was 'meh'. I found the writing compelling and it definitely gave me The Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes, but the overall story and characters left me feeling cold. 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
by Shirley Jackson
Gothic books are something I always enjoy, but I seem to forget to pick anything up in this genre. So I was excited to bump this up my TBR for this prompt. I definitely enjoyed this book more The Haunting On Hill House, I felt like the overall story was less confusing and the characters were all more likable. I did this via audiobook after someone on Bookstagram recommended it, and I'm so glad I did. The narrator really empathized the youth of Mary Katherine Blackwood, which I may of forgotten if it wasn't for the voice actor. I didn't think this story read as a gothic thriller however, it was much more of a creepy  contemporary so I'm glad I didn't put it aside for this years Spookathon. If you don't know, this is a story of a young girl and her sister, Constance, who have been shunned by their community after their entire family were murdered. 

A Simple Favor 
by Darcy Bell
A mommy blogger starts blogging about her friend who vanished. Which raises the question of every domestic thriller ever - did the husband do it? I watched the movie adaption of this last year and really enjoyed the insanity of it all. It was so cliche in the best way. The book however fell a little short. It was the epitome of a 3 star thriller that you read and inevitably forget. I definitely think that I might've given this a 2 star rating if I hadn't watched the movie first, as it helped me envision Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as the duel protagonist of this book which made both characters instantly more likable.

by Noelle Stevenson 
This is a graphic novel about a girl who becomes the sidekick to a villain. Adorable! I never thought I'd laugh so much when reading a graphic novel, but here we are. The small amount of characters in this story really amplified my interest overall, it helped me connect to each main character which I've never really experienced before when not reading a traditional novel. The artwork was fun but descriptive, just a great well rounded book. Would 110% recommend.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
by Heidi W. Durrow
After the death of her mother and siblings, a mixed girl moves in with her black Grandmother which leads to an identity crisis when it comes to race. This book left me feeling incredibly torn. Every time I started to enjoy the story, the author would write such a questionable sentence that I couldn't in good conscience give this a higher rating than 2 stars. The author used so many racist slurs to describe the black characters, which is disheartening but also conflicting as I'm unsure whether I ought to take offence as a white woman (especially as the author herself is mixed). 

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys
This is about a young Lithuanian girl and her family who are deported by Stalin's Russians to a work camp in Siberia during WWII. I'd been wanting to pick this YA novel up for a few years now as it's a side of the war that we don't often hear about, and for that alone this was a fascinating novel. However, I wasn't overly fond of Ruta Sepetys writing (a problem I also had with Salt to the Sea), as it felt rather juvenile in comparison to my usual historical fiction. On one hand, duh, this is YA and books such as The Alice Network are adult fiction. But then I think of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and feel a little more validated in my criticism. Meh.

The Mothers
by Brit Bennett 
Here we have a beautiful book coming to save the entire reading rush for me. This debut novel is about a seventeen-year-old girl who decides to abort a child. The father, a 21-year-old man who works at a local seafood restaurant, asks his parents - a pastor and his wife - for the money for the surgery. There starts a slow falling domino effect that spreads throughout the lives of the people involved. I didn't know what to expect from this book as I'd heard a lot about the authors newest book The Vanishing Half, but nothing really about this. Halfway through the book I already knew I was going to give it 5 stars, a strong statement but yes. This was the most perfect mix of contemporary, lyrical writing, character development, and brought about a great discussion on race and abortion without ever feeling preachy. If this has ever been on your TBR, I urge you to boost it higher. It's a wonderful book. 

Have you read Such A Fun Age? How did you like it?

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