Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Book Reviews - Quadruple Feels

For this round of books, there were so many feels in so many ways. It was one of those quartets where I really dug a little something (or a whole bunch) about each of the reads!

Kind of Coping: An Illustrated Look at Life with Anxiety by Maureen "Marzi" Wilson (who is on IG as @introvertdoodles) was the realest of real looks at anxiety told through comics. As someone who knows the anxious life well, this one resonated with me on so many levels. I laughed as there were so many situations I had definitely comically found myself in. I nodded because she illustrated perfectly what anxiety can be like in both analogy and actual experience. I even cried as it was just so many feels of what anxiety can be to manage. The simplicity of her illustrations are what make them so great. She truly has a gift for explaining anxiety in a way that just works. Here are a few of my favorite of her pieces from the interwebs.

Image result for @introvertdoodles anxiety
Image result for @introvertdoodles anxiety
Image result for @introvertdoodles anxiety
I could literally post pictures of each page of the book because there was something great about each of her illustrations. I read through this one and felt emotionally refreshed. There's such value in knowing someone else knows what your life is like - even the tough stuff. This is a wonderful read for talking about mental health and understanding the ups and downs of how people/you get through.

Read this book if - You want a unique (and helpful) read on mental health. You want something that illustrates what it is like to navigate mental health.

Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein is a great YA #ownvoices read about being a teen with a chronic illness. The story is inspired by the author's own health experiences making this one all the more real in describing what the main character goes through. The story focuses on Erica "Ricky" Bloom. Ricky has been newly diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. She is also starting at a new school. When the story begins, Ricky has straight up stopped going to school (unbeknownst to her parents) because it was just too much to navigate. Right off the bat, it subtlety speaks to how systems and processes can be exhaustive and exclusive. Eventually, she is found out, and she has to learn how to navigate the school, including her classmates, her teachers (especially missed work), and the building itself. Her parents are also recently separated, so she's managing this new normal. Finally, she's managing her care. One of the pieces I appreciated about this dimension of the story is the way they talked about finding the right doctor. She seamlessly wove into the story the importance of having comfortability with provider even for teens. I overall appreciated reading a story about a character with an identity that isn't often spotlighted. Ricky also just had this cynical sense of humor that I really dug. Overall, this book so wonderfully shared the struggles of chronic illness, as well as how Ricky learns to navigate all the things happening in her life. This one won't be out until June (once again, NetGalley allowed me the early view), and this will be one that you'll want to be sure to check out. 

Read this book if - You want to read a YA book that focuses on allowing voice and space for an identity. You want to learn more about chronic illness through a fiction (but very real) read.

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen was a good ol' chick lit read of sorts. I don't read much of this anymore, and I have grown to love the author's thrillers (written with Greer Hendricks), but this was a good revisiting of the genre. The book focuses on three roommates who are navigating life in NYC. Cate is navigating a new role at Gloss magazine. As it does, the new job comes with new issues to navigate. Renee is also working on Gloss. When a beauty editor position opens, she wants the gig. However, she is also overcome with some impostor syndrome, and she turns to unhealthy strategies to overcome. Finally, Abby shows up to fill the third roommate spot. She is the sister of a colleague, and she's left her job as a nanny for reasons she doesn't want to discuss. The story explores the secrets each of these women keep, the relationships they manage, and the struggles they have to find success and happiness. It was just a good book - I recognize that's a bit of an ambiguous statement, but that's what it was. The characters were compelling, and for three stories running simultaneously, I wanted to know what was going to happen. It was a well-told read on navigating love and career and family and all the things. Again, just a good book.

Read this book if - You want some well-written chick lit that focuses on struggles to fit in and find happiness in life and career.

What Remains True by Janis Thomas is a sad book. There's no other way to put it. However, the way it tells the story is beautiful. This is the story of a family navigating grief. Five year old Jonah has been tragically killed, although you won't know how until the final pages. However, what you do know is that the family is broken. They are overcome with sadness and anger and regret all the feels. Above all else, this is a story of a family trying to get through the unthinkable. The story is told through multiple narrators - Mom, Dad, Sister, Aunt, Jonah, and the family dog. Each person is going through something and is holding a secret inside. Their stories are told both after the accident, but the tale also works through everything that happened in the before. It was a hard read because there's so much pain, but again, it makes you think about resilience and how to get through something so awful. It was a heavy read for sure, but I think it's important to have books about grief. There is nothing easy about navigating it, and this story shows that from multiple angles.

Read this book if - You are looking for something full (SO FULL) of all the feels.