Hey guys! Today I am back with another book review! I am pretty impressed within myself that these book reviews are almost becoming a monthly occurrence. If you want to see more book content, check out my TikTok (@leaveittolea) because it’s slowly becoming a booktok account haha. So today I have three books, two older ones and one recent bestseller.
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
You know I bought this book a while ago by the fact that I got this through Scholastics hahaha. This stand-alone dystopian novel follows Molly as she travels from Canada to the US to bring her grandparents back home. Along the way she befriends Spill, a mysterious boy who helps her out.
First I enjoyed the fact that this was a stand-alone novel and didn’t focus on toppling some corrupt government. I find that’s all YA dystopian novels seem to be so this was refreshing in a sense. I also found the reasoning behind the current situation was quick reasonable and realistic, but I do wish it was explained a bit more. But that’s a difference between YA and adult novels, is that YA focuses on relationships while adult focuses on the world more.
Now I found the main character Molly to be a little one dimensional. Her one trait was that she was quick naive. This caused her to be kind to everyone and get into trouble. I wish there was just more depth to Molly because I just found her annoyingly stupid at times. Also, she’s into farming so there would be sections that just focused on farming. I often find myself going “okay let’s finish farming and get on with it”.
I decided to give this a 3/5. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. If you are a big fan of dystopian novels then check this out.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
So I had high expectations going into this novel because it was on the top of the New York Times bestseller list for months. And honestly? I was kind of let down. Like I thought this was going to be like Educated by Tara Westover where I was blown away and made me think and question everything. And while I did cry at the end for the majority of the novel I was bored! Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Where the Crawdads Sing follows two timelines that slowly intertwine through the novel. The one timeline follows Kya, a girl who lives by herself in a marsh after her family abandoned her. The other follows the murder of Chase Andrews, who lived in the same small town as Kya. As the novel progresses, Kya grows older and we learn of her relationship with Chase.
So first when you hear that there was a murder you would think it would play a bigger part of the story. I love a good thriller, but the murder was the secondary plotline. A large part of the novel is actually the descriptions of the marsh landscape. The passages were beautifully written but were so numerous that I got so bored. After I finished the novel I found out that Owens is a zoologist who was written many nature books so it all made sense.
I think I would summarize my feelings towards this novel as bored for the majority of the time. Yes, there were some sad parts where I cried and yes there were some nice romantic parts. The majority of the novel was descriptions of the landscape or descriptions of Kya’s loneliness which I didn’t find very captivating. I think some readers might connect with Kya more and would therefore enjoy the novel more but I didn’t have that.
I gave this a novel a 3/5. The ending saved this novel from being any lower because it did make me cry. I think that if you enjoy nature descriptions than you would enjoy this novel. Or if you are someone who resonates with stories of being alone or distanced then you might enjoy it as well. But to be fair I seem to be in the minority because most people on Goodreads absolutely love this book. So proceed with caution is all I will say.
Hunger Journeys by Maggie de Vries
This book was really interesting! First, Maggie de Vries is Canadian and I love supporting my fellow Canadians. As well, I’ve read many novels set during World War 2, but nothing from a Dutch, non-Jewish perspective. The war impacted everyone’s lives and I didn’t know that much about what happened to the Netherlands during this time. I’ve been to Amsterdam and visited the Dutch countryside so it was fun to read a novel of a place I’ve visited and be able to visualize where they were.
The story follows Lena as she travels from her hometown of Amsterdam to Almelo with her friend Sofie to find food for her family. Along the way, they befriend two German soldiers. Lena also develops connections to the Dutch resistance.
I think what was interesting is that all the characters were flawed. Even Lena was flawed and she struggled with her flaws throughout the novel. There were moments where I liked Lena and Sofie and other moments where they annoyed me. The only thing is that there was very little character development throughout the novel. I would Lena developed a little by the end but Sofie was annoying throughout.
My other major issue with the novel was how rushed the ending was! So many events and changes happened to the girls and then everything was just over? I was just left wanting more.
Overall I would rate this a 3/5. I was really interesting compared to other war novels I’ve read, but the lack of character development and the rushed ending made the book average.
And those are the books I’ve read. As always, let me know some of your book recommendations! I have a long to-read list but I can always add more books to it haha.