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Top 5 [April 2020]

Hello Dear Readers.

While we’re all at home, waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to provide a Top 5 (plus one) that focuses on fun, light, upbeat reads (yes, you’ve guessed it, romantic comedies).  Note: one novel is clearly not a rom-com. It’s a bit on the heavy side, but beautifully written. Fans of All the Bright Places will appreciate Liz Lawson’s The Lucky Ones.

There was one book though that I simply had to share.  George M. Johnson’s, All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto. It was my plus one because the story is poignant, honest and incredibly relatable, plus the cover is breathtaking! Basically, it’s a book that should not be missed.

I hope each and every one of you is safe and healthy and reading a very good book.

Here’s a few you should consider adding in that good book category:

All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

May is a survivor. But she doesn’t feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn’t know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day.

Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister…and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won’t let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach and May meet when ends up at band practice the same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band.

And after they meet, May and Zach might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.

Veronica Comics by Jennifer Dugan

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward.

She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is. Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels: the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. dharshanirymond

    ‘What I like about you’ kind of sounds like ‘Eliza and her monsters’. Sadly I have read a lot of survivors to lovers stories and ‘Lucky Ones’ doesn’t sound much different. Have you read all the books?

    1. Cece Beckman

      Not yet, but I’m getting there. Regarding ‘Lucky Ones’ I try to look at each book individually. Each book has a unique take and those books that I choose to read I always want to keep an open mind even though I may have read other stories similar to that book, possibly using tropes that have been used before. Since ‘Lucky Ones’ is a survivor story about High School shooting, I actually haven’t read any stories in YA that deal with this topic. Having said that, I want readers to know that these books (even with their similar tropes) and the events described in the narrative have a profound effect on the characters lives and subsequently those readers who are reading them. I’m going to start ‘Lucky Ones’ this weekend as it was recommended to me after I read ‘More Than Maybe’ and I think it’s a read that will probably have me a hot mess and my emotions shredded after I’m done reading it.

      1. dharshanirymond

        Cool. That’s one way of looking at it. Enjoy reading. Looking forward to your reviews

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