Hey guys! Today I am finally posting the reviews for the books I read in December. I know we’re halfway through January, but I just had other posts I wanted to get up first. If you ever want to be more up to date on what I’m reading then follow my TikTok account (@leaveittolea). I’m better at posting my reviews more promptly there and I do monthly wrap-ups as well. Okay let’s get into it, we have three books today.
If you’ve read my 2020 book list, then you already know that I love “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. This is my top book of 2020. It might have surprised some of you because I loved Throne of Glass, but this book is perfect. The novel follows Starr, a black girl who witnesses her best friend be shot by a police officer and follows the repercussions of this event. This is a young adult contemporary novel.
I purchased this novel in the summer following the Black Lives Matter movement. I wanted to read more books by black authors to help me understand their perspective and educate myself. I think this book allowed me to step into Starr’s shoes and I learned more about the black community. I think everyone should read this book because it does an amazing job of talking about racism and police brutality in a simple and approachable way.
This book has an amazing cast of characters that are all unique, well developed and add something to the story. Starr has a large family and I love the interactions between her and her family. I also liked the relationships Starr had with her white boyfriend Chris and friend Hailey. I think they show how to be a good and bad ally.
I thought the book was well-paced and balanced between intensity and break. The only downside I had was that it’s pretty rooted in 2017 with its references to social media and pop culture. Therefore it could feel dated but at the same time, it’s a good snapshot of what life was like and how people felt at that time. I grew up during this time so I related to it easily.
I give this book 5/5 stars. There isn’t anything I would change. As I said, I would recommend this book to everyone and I’m interested in reading more by Angie Thomas.
The next book I read was “In a Holidaze” by Christina Lauren. Sorry that I’m reviewing a Christmas book after the holidays, but you can always add this to your list for next year. This book is a Groundhog Day meets Hallmark Christmas movie. The novel follows Maelyn who must re-live her Christmas holiday at her family friend’s cabin. Maelyn must figure out her feeling for her two family friends and save the beloved cabin her family stay at. This book is an adult romance novel.
The main character Maelyn (or Mae for short) wasn’t my favourite. I just didn’t like the way she reacted to what was happening. I found her to be controlling and sometimes annoying. But despite my lack of fondness for Mae, I like the romance she has with Andrew. The scenes between the two of them gave me butterflies. 🦋💕 I also liked the rest of the characters. There are four families who all come together so it’s a large and fun cast. Benny was my favourite character. I also liked the discussion of being a big kid but also an adult because I related to that.
I like how the holiday spirit was sprinkled in. It wasn’t as cheesy and holiday packed as a Christmas movie but it satiated my Christmas spirit wishes. But it was better than your cheesy Hallmark movie in the sense that they kissed before the end and the relationship was more developed. I will say that the groundhog day plotline was mediocre, I’ve read it done better before (aka Before I Fall).
I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read. I would consider reading more by Christina Lauren though, I’ve heard really good things about some of their other novels.
The final book I read in 2020 was “The Here And Now” by Ann Brashares (the same author who wrote Sister of the Travelling Pants). This was a book that’s been on my shelf for a while. I do try and alternate between newer and older, and I do want to get through my bookshelf more in 2021. Anyway, this book is about Prenna who travels from the future to the present because her time is falling apart due to climate change. Prenna follows all the rules set out by her community until she meets Ethan who helps her change the present and future. This is a young adult science fiction novel.
I thought the concept was interesting. There is a whole group of people who ‘immigrated’ into the past with all these rules. I must say reading about a plague hits a little too close to home during a pandemic. This book is an eco-dystopian, which is where climate change destroys the world. This was my first time reading one and it was interesting but not necessarily my all-time favourite genre.
There was one major twist that I did not see coming, and I’m unsure if that’s because I was oblivious or if the writing wasn’t good. It wasn’t set up well and I was just surprised. The ending wasn’t some huge change as well, it was a relatively small ending. I know a lot of people on Goodreads didn’t like that but I didn’t mind.
*SPOILERS* What I didn’t like was that Prenna and Ethan didn’t end up together in the end. Yes, there was a logical explanation but it didn’t satisfy me. Maybe it’s because I’m a hopeless romantic, but I do prefer it when the couples end up together. Because I didn’t get the satisfying ending the romance felt pointless and therefore I think it could have been excluded. Brashares could have easily made the relationship platonic and still have the same ending. So that kind of pissed me off.
Overall I gave the book 3/5 stars. It was an interesting concept and it was easy to read. If anyone is looking for an eco-dystopian novel then I would recommend this. But the ending annoyed me and therefore it lost some points.
And those are my book reviews! I’m currently the Shadow and Bone trilogy and I’m on book three so expect a review for that series pretty soon! Let me know in the comments what book you’re currently reading and if you have any recommendations. 😊