Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher | Book Review [spoiler free]



Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher is a time travelling adventure novel with the bond between a mother and daughter at heart. Faye is a thirty-eight-year-old woman who is happily married with two beautiful daughters. Her life ought to be perfect. Only her life is dominated by the loss of her mother when she was seven-years-old. She aches to have her mum's advice, to hear her voice, to see her smiling face. One day after some decluttering, Faye's husband brings down a spacehopper box - the very one that Faye remembers playing in as a child. Overwhelmed by nostalgia, she feels a strange kind of connection to the cardboard. After a broken bulb leads her to standing inside of the four cardboard walls, she's suddenly transported back in time to 1977 where her mother is still alive. Torn between the past and the future, Faye has to navigate grief, expectation, and unravel the mystery that seems to surround her mothers death. 

I received this through Net Galley as an ARC and honestly adored it. I didn't know what to expect from Faye, Faraway as not only is it a debut by the author but the premise could've easily flopped. I saw on one site that it was marketed as a mix between Gilmore Girls and The Time Travelers Wife which really don't have anything in common. But it read beautifully. It was such a heartfelt story told through writing that was seamless. Faye as a protagonist was likeable and her problems truly felt like problems, which isn't always something easily accomplished when writing about a middleclass white woman who has the perfect family. 

The mother/daughter dynamics were written very realistically. I'm very close to my mother, so I always magnate towards books that have this as a central topic. I liked that Faye's expectations and memory of her mother were skewed by that daughtery love that so many of us are familiar with. It's so easy to see a parent through rose-tinted glasses. I liked learning about Faye's mother with her, and how different she actually was to the memories.

As with any book or entertainment that discusses time travel, this had the butterfly effect as a crucial storyline. I find this interesting, so although it didn't really bring anything new to the table to this conversation, it was fun reading about the characters discussing it. I'm glad the author brought up the consequences of changing time as she could've so easily skirted over it given that this book is more contemporary than fantasy. 

The one thing that surprised me was how heavily this book spoke about faith. I'm personally not a huge believer in the all mighty but can respect when someone is. However, I don't necessarily want to read about it in my fiction. I think Helen Fisher did a wonderful job at opening up a discussion on religion without ever seeming preachy, allowing it to take over the plot, or fully changing the main characters beliefs to make a "statement". It was handled with the utmost care, which I appreciate. 

Now for the problem.. Faye, Faraway wasn't diverse in the slightest. For a book that's being released in 2021, that's a foresight that can't be overlooked. There was a pretty huge list of characters in this book and, from my memory, not one wasn't white or straight. For that reason alone I had to knock one star from the rating. I hope Helen Fisher does anything to rectify this if she publishes another novel. (Please, please, please, correct me if I'm wrong as my memory isn't the best and I'm going solely from that and my reading notes here.)

All in all, this was a well rounded story that I devoured quickly. The writing reminded me of early Kristin Hannah and Liane Moriarty. It was easy to read while still keeping my interest. For a debut, I'm impressed. Again, thank you to Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read this before it's release date. 

Books I Want To Reread in 2021



I'm going to confess something embarrassing, most of the books on my 'favourites' shelf have only been read once. As a teenager, I was an avid rereader. I vividly remember finishing Shadow Kissed and instantly restarting the same book. (I didn't get out the house much) But as I've gotten older and my TBR list has become more hefty, I have a silly sense of guilt when I debate whether to reread something. It feels like a waste of time, but.. errr.. hello? Reading is meant to be fun! In 2021 I'm making a personal goal to reread some books that have been calling out to be for awhile now. Will they still be my favourites? Who knows! There's only one way to find out..

The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath

This is a 'descent into madness' story revolving around a young woman in the 60's. It's semi biographical with Plath taking heavy inspiration from her own experiences with mental health. There's something about Sylvia Plath's writing that speaks to my heart. It's dark, twisty, but painfully honest. I find myself in her words, which may be a truly awful thing to admit but, yes. This was her only novel ever released and I remember feeling so touched throughout it. It felt like a weighted hand over my heart and I'm both looking forward to giving it a reread and feeling truly darkened by the prospect of reading such a tragic book again.

Everything I Never Told You
Celeste Ng

After a young girl is found dead in a lake, the question arises as to whether she died of suicide. Told through two timelines, we read about the grief the family is experiencing from the loss and we go back to the events that led them to it. This was a truly beautiful book that shattered my heart and clumsily put it back together. Celeste Ng has such a talent for writing about family dynamics that are complicated but ring oh so true to real life. Some people much prefer her second novel Little Fires Everywhere, but for me, Everything I Never Told You is a much more harrowing story. Lydia, the main focus of the story, was a wonderfully written teenage girl who you just wanted to hug. The story is hers, and yet it's told through the other members of the family. It's a really fascinating look at how so many teenagers are almost blanketed by their families own issues. They can get lost in the pain of others. It was a different take on what could've otherwise been a regular 3 star book that focuses on mental health. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood starlet who's always been known for her messy love life - being married seven times does that to a woman. Reaching out a unknown journalist, Evelyn Hugo agrees to a "tell all". Will the world finally learn who her actual true love was? This is a book community darling. Everyone has read it and 99.8% of people love it. Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favourite authors and this is an epic novel with a great cast of characters, a compelling story, and is very worthy of a reread. I may go with the audiobook to switch it up, have you listened to this? Would you recommend?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky

Is anyone surprised that this coming-of-age novel is on this list? I tend to reread this book at least once a year. Charlie's story touches my soul in a way that no other book does. It helped me at a time where I really needed to not feel alone about the state of my mental stability. I recently bought the anniversary addition that has added a new letter at the end, so I'm eagerly anticipating this reread. I can't wait to cry all the tears. If you didn't already know, this book is told through a series of letters where Charlie, the protagonists, works through his trauma of losing his Auntie. In high school he meets a ragtag group of friends who welcome him with open arms. It's about identity, love, depression, abuse, and growth as a teenager. Truly wonderful.

Me Before You
Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark is struggling to find her way as a 20-something girl who still lives at home. When she gets hired to take care of Will, a man who is confined to a motorized wheelchair after a car accident. Together they form a friendship that pushes both to step outside of their comfort-zones. This book got a lot of backlash because of it's disability rep, which I fully understand. I solely enjoyed it because of Lou's character. She inspired me at a time where my life was drastically changing and I needed some inspiration. For that reason, I want to give it a reread to see if it still holds up as a favourite. 

Love Letters to the Dead
Ava Dellaira 

Laurel is a teenage girl who is struggling with the death of her sister. An assignment in class starts a chain of letters that she obsessively writes to various famous people. This is a complete risk as a reread. I first read this when I was around 13-years-old and was seeking something similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I remember being impressed with the writing and finding the inside not matching the outside as it read more adult than I was expecting. Was 13-year-old me smart enough to know that? Probably not, but there's only one way to find out. 

Are there any books that you're hoping to reread this year? Let me know! 

7 Items Of Clothing You Need To Remove From Your Closet Right Now


Having a good closet clear-out can be the ultimate form of destressing. I am forever guilty of letting my wardrobe get out of control - we're talking clothes piled on the hamper, hangers all crazy, nothing in order - and it really puts my brain in a slump when getting read. In this post I'm going to be giving you 7 "clothing prompts" that I guarantee you can declutter right now. Clothes are beautiful and it's a true blessing to be able to have a full closet, but sometimes they can be the cause of some mental instability. I've said it before and I'll say it again.. sometimes your relationship with clothes can be like an actual unhealthy relationship. I sometimes purposefully trigger myself by trying on clothes that I wore as a literal teenager just to make myself feel awful about my eating habits/exercise routine. It's insanity. As people, we need to learn to let go of the things in our lives that repeatedly bring us unhappiness. I digress, get to your closet and let's do this together.

  1. Those jeans that haven't properly fit for years (if ever). Whether that's because of them being too small, too big, they are uncomfortable when you sit, or maybe you simply hate the way they make your butt or legs look. It's not worth it. Donate them to a thrift store or a charity shop. Even if they do one day fit, it's not worth the years that you will look at them in your closet and feel crap.
  2. The dress that you used to wear when you were younger so still hold onto despite it not being your style anymore, the fit no longer works, or it's looking a little tatty. Getting rid of the clothing item won't make the memories disappear. 
  3. The "special occasion" piece that you hold onto despite knowing that you wouldn't want to rewear it for a similar event. I've been guilty of holding onto a dress that I bought for a wedding or party, telling myself that I would reuse it but knowing in my heart that I'd want to purchase something new as I rarely have the opportunity to buy a new swanky dress. It's okay that a dress cost you a small bomb because you don't want to add to fast fashion, even if you aren't going to rewear it. You paid to feel beautiful that day. Self love, people. 
  4. The broken piece of clothing that you always say you'll get fixed or tailored but it's still been sitting in your closet for ages. If you didn't go ahead and do the alterations straight away, you don't like the piece enough to warrant keeping it. Make a pledge to yourself to get it fixed within the month, if it remains untouched, bye-bye. 
  5. That item of clothing that fits but makes you feel horrendous whenever you put it on. The stomach drop feeling that comes from putting something on and looking in the mirror only to hate your body is NOT worth it. Save your future self from heartbreak and donate, donate, donate.
  6. That pair of shoes that you bought because they're beautiful but they either rub you, you can't walk in them, or they are the wrong fit. How often do you actually pull them out to admire their beauty? Shoes take up so many space if you're limited with room, it's not worth it!
  7. That item of clothing that you always debate getting rid of every time you do a closet clear-out. Trust your instincts! I go back-and-forth so many times with various pieces because I'm an indecisive lady. But know in your heart that if you've debated it before, you'll debate it again. 

If this at all helped you to let go of a piece of clothing, tell me! I'd love to know. You're beautiful.

Mid-January Book Wrap-Up


I recently took to Twitter to ask whether readers prefer a hefty end-of-the-month wrap-up with way too many books, or to split into two posts that each have 5-10 reviews. The latter won by a landslide, so here we are! It's officially mid-January and I've already read 11 books. I'm on a roll. Here are just some of the books I've read thus far. 

Punching The Air
Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam

Amal is a 16-year-old Black teen who is wrongly incarcerated for throwing a punch towards a white boy. While in prison, he explores his love for art, poetry, and meets other black men who have faced similar injustices in the world. This is a brutal book to read (or listen to), the verse style of writing may make it seem beautiful but it's honestly gut-wrenching. The truth behind the injustice that Amal experiences broke my heart. Amal was a beautifully layered character, I felt his pain and ached to see the art he was creating. This is a phenomenally done coming-of-age novel that is a necessary read for the book community, especially now. I hope to reread this book one day and be gratified that our world has changed so drastically. What's your favourite coming-of-age novel?

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4)
Seanan McGuire 

Lundy is a young girl who feels alone in life. There appears her door. Venturing into the magical world that's founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she finally feels like she's found her place. But everything comes at a cost in the Goblin Market, which Lundy soon learns. This was a reread for me as I'm participating in the Buzzword reading challenge. (The prompt for January was to read a book with "dream" in the title), and it holds up as my favourite of the Wayward Children series. It's incredibly fun with a great friendship taking center stage. Seanan McGuire has a knack for building these quirky worlds but I think this this fourth installment from the series is the most vivid. We have a goblin market, fair trade as currency, and a beautiful friendship between two girls. Adore! 

Love Story 
Erich Segal 

Oliver and Jenny are from two different paths of life. He is the popular Jock who comes from a rich family, and she, the wisecracking beauty that is underappreciated at their school, comes from nothing. When they form a romantic entanglement, it causes quite the stir. But at what cost? We've all read stories like this before. It's the classic popular/nerd trope that is more often seen in movies than books. Love story was written in the 1970's, and was initially a screenplay that Erich Segal then adapted into a book to help hype up the forthcoming movie. You can tell. This was a mere blimp of a novel, coming in at just over 100 pages. In many ways it reminded me of a Nicholas Sparks novel, where you read it already picturing the movie and not necessarily the book. This felt like an afterthought, which is essentially is. I'm glad I read it, as I can now watch the movie without that bookworm guilt. But I don't feel like it was necessary. For the time, I imagine this was a very original story, but it just doesn't hold up well.

The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
Lori Schiller, Amanda Bennett

In her early 20's, Lori Schiller became suicidal and was plagued by terrifying voices in her head. She had undiagnosed schizophrenia. This is her memoir where she recounts the many times she was pulled into the world of psychiatric hospitals, drugs, therapy, and countless relapses. For the time, no one really knew of schizophrenia so it was truly difficult to read about Lori's experiences with getting a diagnosis. She had various doctors who just wanted to drug her up, lock her in a room, and forget about her. Reading something like this in the 2020's when we have come so far with our take on mental health was a journey. I do think the novel dragged on for a little too long, some of the sections could've been summarized in a paragraph. My only other problem was the blatant fat shaming that continuously happened throughout this book. I fully understand that it was meant to be a commentary on weight gain while on medication, but it felt very black&white. It continuously mentions Lori's height vs weight and it made me feel rather crap about my own body, despite not having a similar weight mass to her. I just want to mention that as if you're currently struggling with body image, I wouldn't recommend you pick this book up. Alas, all in all, this was really interesting and if you have any interest in learning more about illnesses that aren't often discussed in media, I recommend this. I especially liked how we have chapters from various people in Lori's life who were there during her hospitalization. It added a view point that we needed.

Binti (Binti #1)
Nnedi Okorafor

Binti is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. There she meets an array of people who may be the start of a new life for her. Chaos ensures. I'm not going into the full plot as it would ruin the book as it's so short. For a sci-fi novella, this felt like an entire journey. I was worried that it would be info dumpy and confusing, but alas, I was wrong. This was incredibly fast-paced with a main character who becomes instantly likeable. It was incredible what the author managed to do with so little pages. I'm interested in continuing with the series, which I wasn't expecting. I'd recommend this to people new to the sci-fi genre.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North

When Harry August dies, he is reborn. His life restarts at the exact same time, to the exact same woman, in the exact same place. Nothing changes. As he ages in each life, his memory resurfaces of his past. There are other people like him who have created a "club" of sorts, and they all band together to try and better lives (their own included). But when a string of murders start happening in each timeline, they have to band together to figure out which one out of their group is responsible. I wanted to love this novel as the trope of reliving a day or life always intrigues me. But.. meh. I enjoyed Claire North's writing, it was beautiful as always. She manages to make the most simplistic of lines seem weighted with importance. I just think this book suffered from being way, way, way too long. There were many chapters that were unnecessary and made the overall story drag. I didn't particularly like any of the characters as they never felt layered - they weren't onions. This was still a fascinating story, the idea was brilliant, but the execution just lacked which lessened my enjoyment. It often seemed too heavy on the telling, rather than the showing. 

*Faye, Faraway 
Helen Fisher

Faye is a thirty-seven-year-old happily married mother of two young daughters, but she is still struggling with the childhood trauma of losing her mother at a young age. When a spacehopper box from her childhood resurfaces, the last thing she expects is to suddenly be transported back in time to 1977 where her mother is still alive. Torn between the past and the present, this is a story of the bond between a mother and daughter and how the intensity of that can tipple throughout someone's life. I adored this novel. It was everything that I was hoping it'd be. The story was incredibly heartfelt with some truly great female characters. It got a little cliché at the end, but in a Kristin Hannah way where it starts to feel like an early 2000's movie. The entire book read like a warm cup of tea. Definitely be on the lookout for this when it gets released later this month.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster #1
Naoki Urasawa

Tenma is a promising surgorn at an elite hospital in Germany. But when he refuses to prioritise operating on the rich instead of a young boy, he loses all credibility within the hospital walls. When a serial killer starts killing and it seems connected to Tenma himself, everything gets a little crazy. Me and my husband have recently created reading bingo boards for each other to complete throughout 2021. He put this manga on mine. I've never read a traditional manga before (As I don't think Chi's Sweet Home counts..?), and it was fun! The plot and style of art was very gripping, I just found the overall story a little predictable. I would be interested in continuing though as for a first volume, not bad at all!

Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker

A cute graphic novel about a witch who works at her grandmother's bookshop and the adventures that happen when she falls for white wolf Tam Lang. I was expecting this to just be a fluffy read that would make me smile for 30ish minutes. However, I was really inspired with how it wove more serious topics into the fantasy. My only quim was how the plot itself sometimes dragged and it felt like the artwork was doing more.

Any of these books interest you? Lemme know!

**Faye, Faraway was an ARC I read through Net Galley.

21 Books I Want To Read In 2021


    All bibliophiles make a similar list to this, right? I'm dreading if I'm still alive and reading in 2050 as.. that's a lot of planning. I'm not going into the synopsis of each of these books, instead I'm putting in the link to The StoryGraph so you can go over and see if any of these interest you. SPEAKING OF.. I created a StoryGraph account because we all hate Amazon. Come add me!

  1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is at the top of my TBR as I know I'm going to love it. I desperately want to pick up The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield after Victoria over at WhatVictoriaRead raved about it, but as this one has been on my TBR longer, I'm trying to prioritize. Welp.
  2. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. This will be my first Meg Wolitzer novel! It intrigues me as it's, well, short, but I'm interested in watching the movie.
  3. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. The trope of someone reliving their life over and over always intrigues me (Yes, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is my favourite), so this has been on my radar for a few years. However, the length always puts me off. 2021 will hopefully be the year that I stop being intimated by TOMEs.
  4. Tangerine by Christine Mangan. I tried to read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier last year but couldn't get into it, I hear that Tangerine has a similar vibe so I'm hoping that it'll be a stepping stone into my love for gothic fiction.
  5. There There by Tommy Orange. I tried to read this last year through Libby as an audiobook, but it was not working for me. Since then, I found it at a used bookstore for $2. So, yay! 
  6. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. This sounds like it's going to be a brutal read but with a great pay off. I feel like I've seen many booktubers haul this but not actually read it.
  7. The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. It's already known that I'm trash for a Reese's bookclub pick, despite my complicated history with either giving them 2 or 5 stars. This has the means to be a Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine for me, so fingers crossed.
  8. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This has a similar plot to The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, only far more daunting because of it's intense size. May be the scariest book on this plot.
  9. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. Have you ever wanted to read a book that you know is going to be terrible, but maybe fun terrible? Yup. This is that for me. I feel like it's going to be fast-paced, over-the-top, ridiculous thriller that will keep me invested. 
  10. The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett. Breaking my own rules by including a non-fiction on this list? Yes. As I've mentioned before, me and my husband have a tradition of buying a new book to kick off the new year with. However, after spending far too long in Barnes & Noble without finding anything, I instead decided to instead read a book that I bought last year. 
  11. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. Another Reese pick? Yes, but this plot would interest me no matter what. It seems a little like a fictional take on Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi, which is also on my TBR. (So many books, too little time.)
  12. Verity by Colleen Hoover. I read two Colleen Hoover novels last year and enjoyed myself immensely. I've been recommend Verity as my next book by the author, so here we are.
  13. Often I Am Happy by Jens Christian Grøndahl. I'm making an effort to read shorter books this year, so this fits the bill perfectly. It also sounds very interesting. 
  14. The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie. Time to shame myself.. I picked this up because I liked the cover. I didn't even read the synopsis. I rarely do that, but yes, shame on me. So I have to read this to soothe my brain and just hope that I will enjoy it enough to warrant keeping it on my shelf. 
  15. Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healy. The premise of this vaguely reminds of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which makes it very appealing to me. 
  16. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. The only true classic that makes it on this list. I've never read any Virginia Woolf, so this will be my introduction into her writing.
  17. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. This is a huge risk as I truly haven't seen anyone else talk about it. I solely picked it up from a library sale because the cover was gorgeous. I enjoy historical fiction that focuses on females who were ahead of their time, so as a concept the synopsis of this should be right up my street.
  18. One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. This has sat on my shelves for a few years now, but it was only reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman last year that bumped it up my TBR list. I'm dubious as to whether it'll be similar, but I crave more of the same so I'm going into this with high hopes.
  19. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beunes. After a spell of reading some really bad thrillers in 2020, I fell out of love with the genre. I'm hoping this very original take on a slasher thriller will revive the joy I used to find from the genre. Time hopping serial killer? Final girl who wants revenge? Yes, please.
  20. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I can't put my finger on why this book intrigues me so much, but it's been on my active TBR for literal years now so it's about time that I finally pick it up. 
  21. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. I'm trying to tackle the hella daunting Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge and this is the one that's next on my priority list. This modern classic will either become a favourite, or it will not have aged well and I'll end up cringing my way through it. Yup.

What 3 books are you hoping to read in 2021? Do you create a similar list to this? Let me know!

TBR | January 2021


Okay, so I'm switching it up once again! I have never committed to doing a monthly TBR before as I'm a huge mood reader and always felt the need to include 10s of books on TBRs to be taken seriously in the book community. I'm trying to get rid of that negative mental negativity, so here we are. I may just include 3 books on these pasts and that's perfectly okay, however in January I have a decent amount as I'm trying to hit the ground running in January. Unless it's a reread, I will be using the StoryGraph/Goodreads synopsis to talk about the synopsis of each book as I don't want to accidently spoil myself for a plot point like I have done so many times when trying to find my own way to describe the novel. Without further ado, let's delve into my January TBR.


Punching the Air
Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white. Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

My husband listened to an ARC of this last year and has urged me since to pick it up. I begun to audiobook on December 31st and got to 47% in one sitting. This is undoubtedly a difficult book to listen to. The racism injustice that Amal faces is beyond fathoming. I have no doubt that this will be the first book I finish in 2021. 

The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
Amanda Bennett and Lori Schiller

At seventeen Lori Schiller was the perfect child -- the only daughter of an affluent, close-knit family. Six years later she made her first suicide attempt, then wandered the streets of New York City dressed in ragged clothes, tormenting voices crying out in her mind. Lori Schiller had entered the horrifying world of full-blown schizophrenia. She began an ordeal of hospitalizations, halfway houses, relapses, more suicide attempts, and constant, withering despair. But against all odds, she survived. Now in this personal account, she tells how she did it, taking us not only into her own shattered world, but drawing on the words of the doctors who treated her and family members who suffered with her.

At the start of a new year, me and my husband BilliamSWN have a tradition of buying a new book to kick off the new year. We were in a bookstore for at least 40 minutes and I couldn't find anything, so to work within the conditions of our plan I chose to pick up The Quiet Room as my first book of the year as I purchased it last January but never got around to reading it. This sounds like everything I want from a non-fiction that's centered around mental health. I haven't seen anyone talk or mention this book within the book community, so hopefully it'll end up being a surprise and I can bring more attention to it. I actually haven't read any non-fiction talking about schizophrenia in my lifetime, so that needs to change. Side-note: how beautiful is this cover?

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North

Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message." This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

This has been on my TBR for literal ever. I remember when it got released in 2014 and being interested. I hope to finally tackle the TOME in January. This novel is on my 21 Books I Want To Read In 2021 list and I just got the audiobook through Libby, so yay! Perfect timing. I've previously read Claire North's other novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope and enjoyed it. The mix of contemporary and science worked for me.

Often I Am Happy
Jens Christian Grondahl

Ellinor is seventy. Her husband Georg has just passed away, and she is struck with the need to confide in someone. She addresses Anna, her long-dead best friend, who was also Georg's first wife. Fully aware of the absurdity of speaking to someone who cannot hear her, Ellinor nevertheless finds it meaningful to divulge long-held secrets and burdens of her past: her mother's heartbreaking pride; Ellinor's courtship with her first husband; their seemingly charmed friendship with Anna and Georg; the disastrous ski trip that shattered the two couples' lives.

In 2021 I'm hoping to finally read the shorter books on my TBR. I always put them off as I know I'll fly through them and might feel dissatisfied. However, this little novel sounds incredible. It's giving me A Man Called Ove and Firefly Lane mash-up feel and I'm ready to get my heart broken.

Nnedi Okorafor

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Another short one! It's almost ridiculous how many times this novella has been put onto my monthly TBR's only to go unread. I have no idea whether I will enjoy this book as sci-fi as a whole isn't my usual genre, but there's only one way to find out!

All Adults Here
Emma Straub

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence? Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is intentionally pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.

Did this solely make it into my library holds because of the gorgeous cover..? Yes, but since getting it I've seen an abundance of people compare it to Anxious People, Grown-Ups, and even Normal People. I adored all three of this books so this really is a no brainer. I'm going into this completely blind and hope to be amazed. 

You Should See Me In A Crown
Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she's willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

I'm so excited for this one! I'm planning on buddy reading it with the flawless @m.is.reading. This YA contemporary has some major buzz surround it in the online book community. Everyone has loved it or at the very least, found it cutesy and worth the read. It was also the first YA pick for the Reese Witherspoon bookclub, which excites me greatly as I'm trash for a "Reese's Pick". The cover is also flawless.

In An Absent Dream
Seanan McGuire

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should. When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

This will be my first reread of the year as I'm participating in Kayla from BooksAndLala's Buzzword Reading Challenge. Each month you have a buzzword and January was 'Dream'. I was initially planning on finally picking up Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath but I got a tad confused with dates and had to instead pick up something short and snappy. I've been meaning to reread the entire Wayward Children series to establish what I love about it. I adored this reread! There's something so magical about In An Absent Dream. It reads like a dark fairytale.

Love Story
Erich Segal

Opposites in nearly every way, Oliver and Jenny are kindred spirits from vastly different worlds. Falling deeply and powerfully, their attraction to one another defies everything they have ever believed—as they share a passion far greater than anything they dreamed possible and explore the wonder of a love that must end too soon. 

This is a really random pick for the month, but we recently signed up for HBO Max and it reminded me that I wanted to watch the movie adaption of this romance classic, but of course, I pledged to read the book first. I'm surprised at how short this novel is (coming in at just over 100 pages). I enjoy a little 'opposites attract' romance, especially from a modern classic. Have you read this or watched the movie adaption? Let me know your thoughts on either!

So there we have my January TBR. Is there anyone on this list that you're hoping to also read soon?

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