Recent Reads, June 2023

I’m back! Last week I ended up taking some unplanned time off from blogging – my personal care attendant (PCA) was away on vacation, and my schedule was a little different than normal… and my free time to blog a little more limited. But things are back to their normal routine now!

I did a lot of reading in June! I read so many things that I loved, which made me want to read more – it’s such a nice feeling when I finish a book and feel like I can’t wait to dive into the next. Here’s everything that I read in June.

Pageboy by Elliot Page

This was an incredible memoir, but also really difficult to read at times (content warnings for abuse, eating disorders). In chapters covering different periods and situations from his life (not necessarily in chronological order), Elliot shares about growing up, acting while trying to hide his real self, and eventually coming out and transitioning. There are some incredibly difficult passages to read, but it does end on a hopeful note. If this is something you’re able to read, I highly recommend it.

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

This was the first book I’ve read by Ali Hazelwood, and while I love women in STEM representation, it wasn’t my favorite. Elsie is an adjunct professor at a university, trying hard to land a full-time role, and supplements her income by working as a fake girlfriend. But her two worlds collide when Jack, one of the men interviewing her for a professor position, is also the brother of one of her fake girlfriend clients! And Elsie and Jack turn out to have a little bit of chemistry themselves. It’s a cute story, but I just found Jack to be super flat and to have no real personality himself, so I didn’t find myself rooting for them as a couple. I do still want to read another book by Ali Hazelwood, though.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

If you’re even remotely on Booktok or Bookstagram, you’ve likely seen or heard about this book – it’s so popular right now that you can’t even find a physical copy of it! Amazon is sold out until the end of the month. But it’s worth the wait – or worth picking up the ebook! Violet is a first-year student at Basgiath, where you go to learn to be a dragon rider… if you survive. There’s also a love triangle of sorts, and political machination, and family betrayal. But my favorite part is that Violet (just like the author!) has a connective tissue disorder that’s the equivalent of what we would consider EDS, and the book has some really great moments talking about disability and accommodations, just using other words. I am counting down the days until the next book in the series comes out in November.

Paris by Paris Hilton

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Paris Hilton’s memoir! I’ve always been aware of Paris, but didn’t watch The Simple Life or her later shows, so my knowledge was limited – I’d mostly heard about her in the last 10 years, when the horrific experiences she had at the “boarding schools” came to light. She’s really open about so many things in her life – the persona she put on, growing up with ADHD, her family, the physical and emotional abuse she went through, and how she’s built her empire. I really recommend this one!

All the Right Notes by Dominic Lim

This is such a sweet rom com – if you ever watched Glee, I think you’d enjoy this! Back in high school, Quito was in the choir (directed by his dad), and became good friends with jock Emmett when he joined too. Quito always wondered (hoped…) there might be something more, but after an incident in college, the two grow apart and stop talking. Years (and many states!) later, the two run into each other and end up teaming up again to work on a send-off choir concert for Quito’s dad… and maybe for another chance for sparks to fly.

The Daydreams by Laura Hankin

This is SUCH a fun book. It follows the cast of The Daydreams, a hit TV show reminiscent of something you’d have watched on Disney or Nick. After an incident at a live show years earlier, The Daydreams has been off the air, but fans have been clamoring for a reboot. 13 years later, the stars – Kat, Liana, Noah, and Summer – have all gone in very different directions, but all agree to come back for a reunion special. The story jumps back between the past and the present, as we figure out what exactly went down 13 years ago, and what it means for The Daydreams now.

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

I loved this queer romance – I honestly haven’t read many books with trans characters, but this is a great one in my opinion. Dean, a (not out) trans man, is cast as Romeo in a “nontraditional” version of the play. But as rehearsals continue, Dean realizes he doesn’t want to only pretend to be a man in the play – he doesn’t want to wait until college to come out. It’s part coming-of-age, part coming out, part romance, part family drama, but overall a really great story.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

I raced through this book – I could not put it down! June and Athena both graduated from Yale the same year, and both published their debut novels at the same time, but while Athena’s career took off, June’s has been floundering, and she’s a little bit bitter. So when Athena unexpectedly passes away with a finished (but not yet submitted) manuscript for her next novel, June decides to steal it and pass it off as her own. June makes excuse after excuse for herself and her actions, and works hard to keep the truth concealed. It’s so interesting to read, because she is truly the epitome of an unlikeable character, but I could not stop reading! It’s not subtle – there’s an excellent rationale for why people shouldn’t tell stories of identities that aren’t their own – but it’s SO good.

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

This story follows a family of Vietnamese women through generations, after a woman was cursed for leaving a marriage to follow her heart. After one woman in the family visits a psychic who tells her that there will be a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a son in the family in the next year, she decides to reunite the family before it’s too late. It’s a really great story of generational family drama, and trauma, and healing.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

This was my first book by Christina Lauren, and I really liked it! Millie is a college professor who decides to make a profile on a dating app with her (male) friends / colleagues. When she matches with one of them (who is also her best friend that she just had a no-strings-attached hookup with!), she sends him a short message thinking he’ll realize it’s her… but he doesn’t. They two keep messaging back and forth, but will Millie confess it’s her before it’s too late? It was a little predictable, but still extremely cute.

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