I’m sharing the new books that I read this month, but I also did quite a bit of re-reading, too! I just felt like I needed some comfort reads after starting and stopping three different books that I just couldn’t get into. I definitely have found myself getting sucked into a few TV shows rather than reading, and I’m working on finding a little more balance in November.
Here’s what I read last month.
Breathe and Count Back from Ten is one of my top ten books of the year so far, so I knew that I wanted to read more from Natalia Sylvester. This is a YA story that’s so perfect to read now before the Election. Mari is a Cuban-American high schooler whose father has been in politics for a while – but now he’s decided to run for President. Mari is incredibly uncomfortable in this new, much-larger spotlight, and is also slowly realizing that while she loves her dad, she doesn’t really know where he stands on any actual issues. And when she starts to learn more – because politics become personal after her friend is forced to move – she also realizes that she might not agree with what her father stands for at all. It’s such a great look at identity, and belonging, and finding your voice and your values.
This book fell a little bit flat for me – I love the concept, but parts of it felt like they dragged. It follows four high-school best friends – Melissa, Priya, Suki, and Tara – whose lives (mostly) don’t look exactly like what their senior superlatives had predicted for them. So during their 25 year reunion, three of the women (minus Suki, who is achieving her dreams but at the cost of a packed calendar) form a pact to become the “Most Likely Club” and to go after their dreams, maybe just on a smaller scale than their yearbook predicted. When Suki hits a major career bump, she’s brought in too – and the women are brought back together again. I loved the message about not peaking in high school – and about following your dreams in your 30s! – but it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
The Scholomance Series (A Deadly Education, The Last Graduate, and The Golden Enclaves) by Naomi Novik
I have been really into YA fantasy series in the last few year – this is absolutely a standout. The series mostly follows El and Orion, two students at the Scholomance – a magical boarding school of sorts. Except it’s the kind of boarding school that can kill you before graduation. Orion is the shining star of a protector, and El’s magic is innately drawn to the “bad” kind, though she’s always fought against it. Over the course of the trilogy, El and Orion start working together to save the students, the school, and the whole magical community. There are friendships and romance in the mix, too. It just totally sucked me into the world of the Scholomance and I could not put the books down.
I got an ARC of this book through NetGalley – it comes out on November 8, 2022. This is another YA fantasy series that I’m completely obsessed with. It’s the sequel to Legendborn, which I read last year, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it for months now. The series is really cool because it’s (loosely) based on the magic of King Arthur and Camelot – I am far from an expert, but it’s still fun to read and see the parallels. In Legendborn, Bree enrolls in a pre-college program at a university because it’s where her mother, who passed away recently, went to school. In an attempt to learn more about her mother’s life, she gets drawn into the Order… and learns that there was a lot about her mom she didn’t know. In Bloodmarked, Bree is embracing her power and her place in the Order, but has to fight against centuries of oppression and tradition and white supremacy culture. When her boyfriend Nick is kidnapped, Bree and her friends go against the Order’s wishes to try to get him back. But there’s a lot about the history of the Order, and about her powers themselves, that Bree still doesn’t understand – and she has to grapple with that, along with her attraction to Nick’s childhood best friend Selwyn. It’s such a captivating story, and I love how it adeptly combines issues of race with the legends of King Arthur. I highly recommend preordering!!
Shop the books: