Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Book Reviews - All in the Feels

Whew, y'all, this is a round that was so darn full of feels!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was a book I read in one sitting because I was so drawn into the story. The characters and relationships were so beautifully written that I just needed to know what happened. The story begins with Celestial and Roy. As newlyweds, Roy is arrested and sentenced to jail for a crime he didn't commit. The next 12 years are the couple figuring out their relationship in such difficult circumstances. They were just beginning a marriage, and now they have this unimaginable challenge standing between them. The story is told from multiple perspectives as the years pass, and as we all know, this is a storytelling device I love. It is especially powerful here as you see marriage and relationship and emotion from multiple perspectives. This is just masterful and wonderful storytelling that I absolutely loved. Even through heartbreak and pain, it is so beautifully done.

Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen is a middle-grade novel just overflowing with emotions in such a wonderful way. The story is about two sisters on a road trip with their aunt and uncle. Olivia has seen her sister Ruth navigate depression her whole life. She sees Ruth's depression is especially bad, and she wants to help. She devises a scavenger hunt to remind Ruth of good times. She hopes these moments will bring joy to her sister as they search for treasures that allow them to reminisce. This was an honest and emotional look at what it's like to navigate someone else's mental health struggles. It was told in a way that was accessible to the target audience, but also got someone many years past that audience in her feels. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this March 2021 release!

It's Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst is a book I read back in March just as the pandemic was beginning. Back then, I listened on audiobook, but I purchased a physical book, so I could mark my favorite passages. I do prefer the audio version as the author reads it in a way that had me all up in my feels. This was a book I loved revisiting because so much of 2020 was nothing like it was supposed to be.

Outlawed by Anna North was such a unique read! I mean, y'all, it's a feminist spin on a western! Admittedly, I don't read a lot of westerns, AND I really dug this one! The Hole in the Wall Gang is a group of women who have been fled and/or been shunned by their communities. For some of these women, it's because they can't bear children which is an expectation of them as wives and/or allegations of witchcraft. The story focuses on Ada who finds her way to this gang led by The Kid, and the story is then told from her point of view. With her story, Ada explores the dynamics of the gang and the stories she's able to learn about some of its members. It's sad to hear how they've had to leave their homes, and it's also about how they were able to find a community. With this gang, there is a risky plan that develops to gain some power, and it creates some divisions. Again, this was such a different way to experience the west, and it also had the added dynamics of identity and relationships to add more layer and depth to the story being told. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this January 2021 release!

Onto the next ones!