Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created and hosted by Kayla Rayne @ Kayla Rayne and Trina @ Between Chapters. I used to do these videos when I was on BookTube, and I really miss them, so I’ve decided to try to do them on the blog every month from now on! Appropriately enough, this is also today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, so I figured I’d double up and kill two birds with one… post? In any case, here are some books that I’m thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving week to my fellow American readers!
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling // An obvious choice, but it had to make my list. I’m thankful for the constant magic and escapism the Harry Potter series has provided throughout my life. I’m thankful for this world that I can fall into just as easily now as I could reading this series for the first time in elementary school. I understand that this series is far from perfect, but it’s like your favorite old sweater you’ve owned for years and can slip into any time.
A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray // Another obvious one, if you know me at all (have I EVER done a TTT OR a Monthly Recs post without mentioning a Libba Bray book??? because I think the answer is no). This series, and Gemma, came into my life at exactly the right time. Not only is the world masterfully built and the writing gorgeous, but I so desperately needed to read a protagonist like Gemma. I related to her so deeply, and this series informed a lot of the person and the feminist I grew to become. Plus, though the queer rep in this series has its flaws, this was the first book I ever read with explicitly queer characters (and being queer was normalized), which, looking back, I think played a part in me accepting my own queerness. I’m forever indebted to my favorite middle school librarian for recommending this book to me.
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate // Again, who’s surprised? NO ONE! Noteworthy is truly the book of my heart. It features choir (MY LIFE), cross-dressing, a boarding school setting, and the best bi rep I’ve read. The bi rep in this book felt the most true to my own experience of any I’ve ever read, plus, the a capella/music plot was so intensely relatable for me. I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli // While we’re on the topic of representation, I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it was to see myself in Molly’s anxiety and her weight in Upside. Plus, I saw other parts of myself represented in the side characters of this story. I’m super thankful for Becky Albertalli as a person, too, for being the best local author and being so kind to me (and to everyone) every time I see her. Her books never fail to put a smile on my face, and the characters feel and act like real teenagers. Love love love.
The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke // I’m thankful for this book because, out of all the books I’ve read this year, this is the one that’s affected me the most emotionally and made me think the hardest. I read this back in July, and I’m reasonably certain I’ve thought about some part of this story at least once a day since. Plus, YAY for excellent YA historical fiction (it’s my absolute favorite genre, and it can be quite hard to find). I’m thankful to Katherine Locke for writing this beautiful story that I can’t get out of my head. (Also, this book is SUCH an underrated 2017 release. Please read it.)
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab // Like Harry Potter, I feel like I can slip into this world so easily and it will always welcome me back. In fact, this is probably the only series I’ve found that feeling in since reading HP. I adore V.E. Schwab’s writing, the worldbuilding, and especially these gosh darn characters who mean so unreasonably much to me.
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris // Honestly, I’m beyond grateful to my BFF Emily for shouting at me to read this book for so many months. It’s truly one of the most unique, brilliant books I’ve EVER read, and I recommend it to everyone. I’m also thankful for my reading experience with this book, because this story’s many, many layers completely and utterly enchanted me and allowed me to escape reality for a few days.
The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord // Another of my favorite books of all time, ever. I saw so much of myself in Paige, and so much of my friends in the friend group in this book. This is the nerdy, adorable YA book of my soul. I can reread it over and over, and it still gets better every time.
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky // Okay, so at first glance, this might seem like an odd choice, BUT. I adore this graphic novel series purely for the hysterical fits of laughter and bouts of escapism it has provided me over the course of this past shitshow of a year. My mental health has not been great for the past year or so, and the fact that I KNOW I can pick up a volume of this series and purely be entertained for a couple hours is more valuable than people may realize.
What books are you thankful for? Do you agree with any of my picks?