Apart from taking summer classes, I have been able to get more reading done this summer. Quarantine brought a break and period of rest that I anticipated and always desired. Below are my non-class related reads.
Divergent, Insurgent, and Four: The Transfer by Veronica Roth
I have to be honest with you, this is not the first, second, or third time I read this book. I love the series and movies alike. However, this was the first time I read my own copy of this book! I finally bought it and I felt like it was the first time. I also visited Chicago and was able to recall references.
Divergent centers on Beatrice Prior, a girl who lives in a faction-dominated Chicago. There are five factions: abnegation, candor, erudite, amity, and dauntless. Tomorrow, after sixteen years of living in her parents’ faction, she gets to choose where she ‘belongs.’ The story continues in the trilogy.
I also reread some of the collection stories that Roth put out after her trilogy one of which being Four: The Transfer. Again, I’ve read it before, but I just love the storyline and plot so much!
The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel
I received this novel as a gift from one of my professors (thank you again!). I saw this novel while browsing and it caught my eye. The story centers on family drama and the relationships cousins have. As a fellow only child, I could easily relate because my cousins felt like sisters to me. Of course, as the title suggests, the dreaded ‘kid table’ is present even as teenagers. I believe everyone experienced the moment and anticipation of ‘being old enough’ to be at the adult table. This coming-of-age story shows the growth of the cousins through the holidays from good times and bad. Once a kid, always a kid.
I love coming-of-age stories because it transforms the fictional element where the reader can feel, learn, and attribute growth from the character in their lives.
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
As you know, I love musicals! I saw Hamilton the week it came out and loved it. My parents saw it live in Philly for their anniversary last year. But, since then, I listened to the soundtrack. It felt enriching being able to see what they sang. It’s like putting a face to a name. Thus, with my enjoyment, I wanted to know more about it. I like to think of this as a guidebook or annotated program of the Broadway musical as there are notes of characters and symbols.
Bookshop on the Corner and Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
I cannot stress more about these books! I saw Bookshelf on the Corner while I was in Australia and wrote the title down to buy it later. Not only is this set in the United Kingdom, but the main character is a bibliophile! Nina loses her job at the bookshop she works at and decides to open a book van. This is a dream and being able to read about it is amazing.
While Bookshop on the Shore is not a continuation, as said by Colgan, I recommend reading it after because the characters reappear in this book. While the focus is not on Nine, she is a driving force as readers see what happens next.
Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
The book is an epistolary novel as it is written in a matter of letters. This is one of Jane Austen’s earlier works. In Love and Friendship, young Austen includes clichés and wit in her epistolary novella. Through the letters written to Marianna, Laura shares her lessons of love and friendship. Read the full review here.
The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
I’ve been looking for more books involving d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing characters as well as sign language. The author, Alison Gervais, is hard-of-hearing and uses her experience with the main character. Maya attends a hearing school after moving from her state and school of the deaf. The story centers on her experience at hearing school during her senior year. I love reading the sign language indicated in capital letters and the inclusion of Deaf culture within. Fun fact, September is deaf awareness month!
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
I found this book after searching for novels similar to Divergent. While I can see some similarities, I see more Maze Runner, Ender’s Game, and what I expect Hunger Games to be. Every year, certain students are chosen for testing and, if they pass, University. These individuals become scientists, doctors, and teachers. If you’re not chosen, you work as a gardener or under someone who did attend University. Readers follow Cia as she endures the testing. While I enjoyed the first book, I am not compelled to finish the trilogy.