Recent Reads #1 / Blogtober Day 17

Last month, I only successfully read 2 books. I was in a HUGE slump, and I hated it. But with school and other things taking priority, I couldn’t focus on reading. This month has already been so much different. I’ve read quite a few books already, so I thought I would talk about some of them today in an effort to keep my wrap-up at the end of the month a bit shorter :)

maroon daydreams

Maroon Daydreams by Cheyenne Raine:

This was a really enjoyable poetry collection! I always enjoy Cheyenne’s writing, and this collection definitely showed me why. It’s very relatable, so I could connect with many of the poems in it. I also really loved the pictures that came with this one, they were a nice touch!

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo:

I did a whole separate review post on this series as a whole, so make sure to check out that blog post to hear my thoughts! I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but this was a really fun series, and I’m so glad I got to mark it off my TBR.

Ratings: 3/5 stars, 5/5 stars

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz:

This is a kids classic book of scary stories that I’ve actually never read. I picked up the bind-up of the three books from this collection for a school club, but I was actually pleasantly surprised! This one was good, but not amazing. There were a couple of creepy stories, but they didn’t really get me. Obviously, they’re aimed at children, so that’s to be expected!

Rating: 3/5 stars

Even More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz:

This was my favorite out of the three. I tabbed the most stories that freaked me out in this one. I think the stories were more original and interesting than the previous book. It was a pleasant surprise.

Rating: 4/5 stars

More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz:

This one was good. Nothing too memorable. I enjoyed it, but I was hoping this last one would be the best. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. There were a couple of good stories in this one, but none that really stuck out to me.

frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:

This is a classic that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. We all know the story of Frankenstein and his monster- or at least, we think we do. The original story is so much creepier, and it was actually quite sad, too. I listened to the audiobook which I think added to my enjoyment. I don’t know if I would have bothered to read it anytime soon had it not been for that.

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Guide to Netgalley / Blogtober Day 16

Image result for netgalley

Ah, Netgalley. Both a blessing and a curse. This site has been the cause of much of my excitement but has also been a factor in my stress. Today I thought I’d talk about my personal tips for Netgalley, and how to get the most out of it!

If you’re not familiar with it, Netgalley is a site where bloggers and book reviewers can request ARCs in exchange for an honest review of the book. It’s a simple way for people, both with large and small followings, to get their foot in the door for ARCs.

It’s how I first began reading ARCs. It took a while before I first got accepted. But don’t be discouraged! I hope the following tips will help you land some ARCs (maybe even your first)!

Keep your profile updated.

Your profile should always be up to date with the most important information about you. Include links to your social media sites, your blog/Youtube channel (if you don’t have one of those, it’s fine), and anywhere else you post about books (like Goodreads). Include the stats of all of those (how many followers you have, how many views you get, etc.). Also, include any other relevant info. This can be the genres you like to read, your location, etc.

Publishers want to be able to see as much information about you in as fast a time as possible so they can continue on with their job. Putting all of this basic info into your bio makes it easier for them to make a decision about whether to approve you for the ARC or not. If they don’t see that info right away, they probably won’t go looking for it on their own, and instead, they will just move on to someone else. Don’t give them a reason to say no before they even consider you.

Request from smaller publishers first.

When you are just starting out on Netgalley, you probably won’t get accepted by Simon and Schuster or Penguin Teen. Don’t be offended or upset by this. It makes sense from a business standpoint. Start with some smaller publishing houses to build up your profile first.

Another thing that publishers look at is your feedback ratio (I’ll explain this more in the next point). If you have never been approved for any books, they don’t know how good you are at reviewing books in a timely manner. But don’t worry- many smaller publishers still accept accounts with no feedback ratio, so start there!

netgalley

Eventually, you can work your way up to bigger publishers and may even be auto-approved by some (meaning you have unlimited access to all of the titles they post and don’t need to go through the waiting process).

But don’t request too many books.

Going back to the feedback ratio- the publishers can see how many books you’ve requested, how many you’ve been approved for, how many you were denied for, and how many you’ve reviewed. This all ties into your feedback ratio- this is the number of books you’ve been approved for to the number of books you’ve provided a review for (or feedback).

For example, if you’ve been approved for 4 books, but you only reviewed 2 of them, your feedback ratio will be 50%. If you’ve reviewed 3 of them, your ratio will be 75%. The higher your ratio, the better your chance of getting approved. Netgalley recommends a ratio of 80% or higher, but I’d say try to keep it above 70%.

That being said, don’t go crazy and request every single book on Netgalley. Chances are you’ll be accepted for a lot more than you thought you would, and you’ll be stuck with a really low ratio, and will most likely not be able to review all of the books before publication. This is also unfair to reviewers who would love the chance to review a certain book but were unable to because spaces filled up.

So, stick to only those you are truly interested in and know you will read soon! Trust me, it makes life so much easier. I know it’s tempting, and I’ve fallen into the requesting trap myself, but don’t make the same mistakes I did.

let's chat

I hope these tips were at least a little bit helpful! Let me know what other advice you have for Netgalley users as well! We can all learn from each other :)

Jessica

24 Hour Read-a-thon Recap / Blogtober Day 15

Hello everyone! I recently did a 24 hour read-a-thon in order to get the amount of books I had on my TBR under control. I was in the middle of like 5+ books, so I needed to lower that number and work through some! Here’s a look at how it went:

12 am:

  • I stayed up for about a half an hour to read “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” I read the first “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” book a couple days before! I have a bind up of all three books, so my goal was to finish the other two during the read-a-thon. I got about 40 pages in before I called it a night. I am not a night person at all.

8:30 am:

  • I went for a run in the morning, I showered, and made breakfast. During the run and the making of my food, I listened to the audiobook of Frankenstein! I thought this would be the perfect read for this read-a-thon because it’s only a 7 hour audiobook (3.5 hours at 2x speed), and it is a spooky classic! I’ve never read it before, so I thought why not now? I was able to get about 2 hours into it, and I was enjoying it a lot!

scary stories

11:00 am:

  • I finished reading “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” It only took about another half hour or 40 minutes or so. The book is only about 100 pages, so it was definitely a quick read. I enjoyed this one a lot, it was better than the first in my opinion. I gave it 4 stars.

5:00 pm:

  • Then, I went to a few stores with my mom and grandma because I needed to buy some things for school. It took up a few hours, so we didn’t get home until about 3pm. I ate some food, and then I started the final book in the bind up of Scary Stories- More Tales to Chill Your Bones. I finished this one in about an hour as well. My favorite of the three was definitely the second one, but they were all pretty good!

8:00 pm:

  • I had four hours left to listen to 5 hours of an audiobook (about 2.5 hours on 2x speed). I tried to listen to as much as I could, but I honestly wasn’t in the mood to finish the book that night. I listened on and off until about 10:30 pm, and called it a night.

Final Stats:

  • Finished two and a half books.
  • About 300 pages total (I wasn’t keeping track, especially with the audiobook)

let's chat

I am happy with the amount of reading I did. And I finished Frankenstein the next day! So I definitely did a significant amount of reading over the course of the weekend, which is all that I wanted to do!

I love doing read-a-thons like this because I don’t usually get to spend a lot of time reading each day. This helps me make it a priority :)

Jessica

Get To Know Ya Tag / Blogtober Day 14

Tag

Hello everyone! I am here with another tag today. This is one I saw on May’s blog, and it looked like a lot of fun. I wasn’t tagged, but wanted to do it anyway :)

1. Favorite book of all time

 

 

This is too hard to answer with just one book. Here are my top 4 (not in order)

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

2. Favorite book five years ago

 

 

Again, I can’t answer this with just one answer, so I have 2 books that I remember loving back in middle school.

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3. Favorite duology/trilogy/series

For this one I would have to go with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. This was my favorite series throughout high school, and it means so much to me.

4. The last book you read

It’s been a few days since I finished a book, but I think it was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley!

5. The last poetry book you read

This one was Maroon Daydreams by Cheyenne Raine. It was really well written and a pretty short read!

 

 

6. What book most influenced your life?

This is such a hard question. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was definitely a very important read that touched me in so many ways. I also want to mention Turtles All the Way Down and Every Last Word because those are two books I really saw myself represented in. This one is tough, I feel like there are so many.

7. A book that made you ugly cry

The Starless Sea actually made me cry a couple of times, I really love that book. I wouldn’t say “ugly cry,” though. A couple of tears just slipped. 

the lady rogue

8. A book that made you laugh

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett definitely made me laugh over some of the witty banter! Jenn Bennett’s books always make me both swoon and giggle. She gives her characters so much life and depth!

9. A character you’d like to be for the day

I would love to be Celia from The Night Circus. That entire world is so incredibly cool, and to be able to live in it would be incredible. Also, she has magic powers, and that would be so fun. There really aren’t a lot of worlds I’d actually want to go to or characters I’d want to be because they usually go on some crazy and super scary adventures that I would not do well in if I’m being honest. I’m not meant to be a YA protagonist. But Celia is someone I’d love to be.

10. A book so good you dreamt about it

I’ve definitely dreamed about going to Hogwarts when I was younger. I can’t remember ever dreaming about any other books though.

Emma in the Night

11. A book you DNFed

I DNFed Emma in the Night by Alice Walker for now. I want to pick it back up, but I wasn’t in the mood for it when I first picked it up. I also DNFed The Diviners, but again, I’m going to read it eventually, I just picked it up at a time where I couldn’t focus on a super complex narrative. I am actually very excited to read both of those, though! I don’t truly DNF (abandon completely) that many books. If I don’t want to read a book I know it from the first page most of the time, so I don’t even consider it started.

12. What book are you most excited to read?

I’m really excited to read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. From the people who’ve read ARCs, I heard it was really good. I feel like it will totally be up my alley, so I’m excited to pick it up as soon as I can! I’m also excited to read Poemsia by Lang Leav, which is her second novel! I enjoy her poetry but haven’t had a chance to pick up Sad Girls, her first novel, yet. This one is about…you guessed it! A poet. I probably won’t get to it for a while, but it’s on my TBR!

let's chat

I hope you enjoyed this post! I tag…

Kim / Jordan / Vinny / Melanie 

See you tomorrow!

Jessica

Currently Reading / Blogtober Day 13

Hello! Today is a chilly day, so I’m snuggled up in a warm blanket, I made myself some tea, and I’m about to start reading a book. Sundays are the perfect day for this type of activity.

I thought I would tell you all about what I’m reading and what my thoughts are so far. I’m really proud of myself because I’m actually sticking to a TBR for once. It’s incredible. I am currently in the middle of 4 (technically 5, but I put one on hold for now) books, and it’s stressing me out just a little bit, so I thought I would tell you what they are! Maybe this will get me to read them faster (hahahahaha please send help).

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin:

This is an e-ARC I got a little while ago, but I wasn’t able to read it before the publication date. I am now trying to buddy read it, but it’s been a bit difficult to get into. That being said, I’m still only a few pages in, so I can’t really give my thoughts on this one yet. The e-ARC is also formatted a bit awkwardly, so that’s putting me off from it, too. I’m hoping to pick it back up over the next few days and get a little deeper into it!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert:

This is another e-ARC, but luckily I’m enjoying this one a lot more! I think it has actually helped me get out of a slump I was in for a few days. I’m almost done with this one now, so I think it’ll be around 4 stars for me! It’s a cute romance and it’s a quick read. I might even finish it by tonight if I have some time. It comes out next month, so I recommend checking it out if you like romances!

 

Disconnected, Volume 2 edited by Michelle Halket:

This is an anthology of poetry and short stories by a ton of different poets that I love! Basically, one person writes a poem, and another writes a story inspired by the poem, and so on! I love the concept so much. I have only read a couple of the stories so far, but I’m loving them! This book is already out, so make sure to pick up a copy if you’re interested!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand:

I also have an ARC of this one (oops I didn’t realize these were all ARCs), but I’m actually listening to the audiobook of it. The physical copy was a bit intimidating, and it just happened that I got the audiobook from my library a few days ago. I really love the story! I’m so glad that I finally decided to pick it up, and I will most likely be continuing on with the series at some point!

let's chat

Those are all of the books I’m currently reading! I’ve had a pretty good reading month so far, especially compared to last month’s. Let me know what you think of these books if you’ve read them.

Bye!

Jessica

Books I Meant to Read Last Year / Blogtober Day 12

Hello! Today I am doing another post inspired by The Library Looter’s Blogtober list. I am going to share three books I meant to read last year with you guys, and they are all ones I still haven’t read.

I know, I’m disappointed in myself, too.

I actually have a post up about the books I want to read before this year ends, but I made one of those last year as well. These are 3 that were on that list:

 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

I initially planned on reading this at the end of last year, near the Halloween season. That didn’t happen. I tried to start the audiobook this year, but I felt like I needed the physical, so I stopped. I will read this eventually. I swear. It’s just a longer book, so I don’t have the motivation to start it. BUT, there are a bunch of read-a-thons happening for this book very soon, and I may possibly join one!

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

This book I will probably get to either this year or early next year. I really feel like I’m going to like it, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. The goal is to read it in November if I can, but who knows what will happen. I need to get through my October TBR first!

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

I’ve talked about wanting to read this one (and the second book) so many times. I’m actually embarrassed that I haven’t read it yet because of how I often I said I was going to. But I just haven’t been in the mood for it, even though I’m really interested in it. I will get to it eventually, definitely at some point in 2020, and I want you all to hold me accountable for that.

let's chat

What books did you mean to read last year and still not get to? I feel like I could make this list incredibly long because I am so bad at getting to the books on my TBR.

Jessica

Favorite Horror Films / Blogtober Day 11

Recommendation

When I was little, horror movies used to absolutely terrify me. I would get nightmares from even the smallest parts of the film, but I would still watch them anyways. I loved the thrill and feeling of being scared.

As an adult, I still watch horror movies whenever I can, but they don’t really have the same effect on me. I still love them, though and I enjoy reading mystery/thriller novels, though. I wanted to share some of my favorite horror movies with you guys for today’s post so that you can stock up for the week of Halloween!

*Also, I’m not a film critic in any way, so this is just my opinion. Don’t take it too seriously.

Image result for insidious

Insidious:

If I’m being honest, this is probably one of the only horror movies that still scares me. I just remember it having a lot of jump scares and creepy, realistic scenes. I watched every single movie from this series with my childhood best friend. We actually had movie nights almost every Friday, and this was one of our favorites.

The Ring:

This is a classic. I loved it so much when I watched it  for the first time, and I still really, really like it. I actually bought a DVD of this movie when I was like 12 at a festival I went to with my family, and since then, I have re-watched it numerous times. It is so well done, and it’ll definitely give you goosebumps.

Image result for the ring

Mama:

I have only watched this one once. I honestly don’t remember much from it. But I watched it when I was on vacation in Poland when I was around 11 years old, and I remember it scaring the living daylights out of me. I couldn’t sleep for the next two nights. I don’t know if my opinion on it would have changed now, but I’m still keeping it on here.

 

The Silence of the Lambs:

This is another classic. I watched it just a few year ago for the first time, and I thought it was amazing. I’m planning on re-watching it very soon, too, because it is perfect for the Halloween season.

Image result for a quiet place

A Quiet Place:

This one was GOOD. I feel like I haven’t watched many recent horror films, but this is one that I was able to see. Watching it on the big screen definitely enhanced my enjoyment as well. It was super atmospheric and spooky.

Image result for devil movie

Devil:

This is one I watched so, so long ago. I just remember it scaring me a lot. It’s about a group of people stuck in an elevator, and one of them is the devil. It’s such a cool concept. Highly recommend it.

 

 

let's chat

Do you like horror movies? If so, what are some of your favorites? I need recommendations for some more recent ones because I’ve been very bad at keeping up with them!

Jessica

Grisha Trilogy Spoiler-Free Review / Blogtober Day 10

Review

I finally read the Grisha trilogy. I know, it took me long enough!

Everyone and their mother has read this trilogy, along with Six of Crows. It was about time I read it and gave my own review. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone because I avoided spoilers myself for so long, so I decided I would do this as a bulleted review of things I liked and disliked in each one!

shadow and bone

Shadow and Bone: Rating- 4.5 stars

  • It had me hooked from the beginning!
  • I really liked Alina, and I grew very protective of her, especially in the beginning when she was much weaker and didn’t fully understand her powers.
  • The pace was good and there was plenty of action.
  • The characters were done really well, and I liked the way they were all written (even if I didn’t like all of their personalities).
  • The ending definitely left me wanting more; I was so happy that the story wasn’t over yet.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm: Rating- 3 stars

  • This was my least favorite of the trilogy; it definitely suffered from middle book syndrome. It wasn’t terrible, it just had a lot missing.
  • I think it was still an important book because it helped with character growth.
  • BUT, it was unnecessarily long- a lot of the action from the first book was gone.
  • This book was basically just about Alina’s love triangle/square/pentagon(?).
  • I didn’t like any of Alina’s love interests in this one, honestly.
  • The ending was really good though, and it left off on a great cliffhanger again.

Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising: 5 stars

  • This one was my favorite.
  • There was so much of the action that was missing in the previous book.
  • At the same time, it still had so much character development.
  • Alina is a character I’m still very protective of, and I have grown to love her so much, despite her flaws.
  • Actually, all of the characters had flaws, but that’s what made them so interesting.
  • I don’t understand why everyone hates Mal so much, he’s so sweet and willing to risk everything for Alina.
  • Nikolai is my favorite though. The Darkling is the worst sorry.
  • The ending was so satisfying, and I’m definitely excited to go back to this world with Six of Crows!

let's chat

I’m extremely happy that I finally managed to pick up this series. Everyone told me it was really bad compared to Six of Crows, but I actually really enjoyed this trilogy! If Six of Crows is better than this, then I know it will be an instant 5-star read. I am very excited for the tv series that is in the works for this world, too. Have you read this series? What were your thoughts?

Jessica

The Sunshine Blogger Award / Blogtober Day 9

Tag

Hey, loves! I was recently tagged to do the Sunshine Blogger Award by Sofi from A Book. A Thought. and I thought it looked like so much fun (yes, I was tagged months ago. I’m late to everything, just ignore it.)! Thank you so much to her for tagging me, I’m honored!

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions asked
  • Nominate 11 more blogs and give them new questions

The Questions:

What was the last book you strongly disliked?

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey. I gave it one star because I did not enjoy it at all. There were so many issues I had with it. You can check out my rant review on Goodreads here.

How does your star rating system work for your reviews (if you use one)?

Again, you can find my rating system on Goodreads. I scale the books I read from 1-5 stars. I do not rate DNFs, and I do not rate (most) books I have to read for school. Here’s a basic rundown:

  • 1 Star- I really didn’t like this book and I would never recommend it to anyone. I had a really hard time finishing it, probably came very close to DNF’ing it.
  • 2 Stars- This book had potential but there were many things that made me dislike it. Usually, I liked one element of it, but not enough to enjoy the whole book (i.e. just the plot, characters, etc.)
  • 3 Stars- I enjoyed this book- It was well written and was solid structure-wise, just not one of my favorites! Probably wouldn’t read it again.
  • 4 Stars- This book is great. Nearly perfect and I would recommend it to many. I loved it so much, and it’s definitely well written. Might consider re-reading!
  • 5 Stars- Wow, I love this book. I probably finished it quickly because I couldn’t put it down. Flawless and perfect in my opinion. Absolute favorite book and can read it over and over forever.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I actually only really like plain pizza! Occasionally, I’ll get a white pizza with broccoli or a ziti pizza, but that’s as crazy as I’ll get.

EE1B8357-B0E4-4298-9D66-D74147D2D08E.JPG

Would you rather read a great plot with mediocre characters or a boring plot with amazing characters?

I definitely prefer a boring plot with amazing characters. Characters always make or break a book for me. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about the action in the story either. I need to be able to relate to or connect with the characters in some way in order to enjoy the plot. I also don’t need a book to be plot-heavy as long as the characters are great.

However, by great characters, I don’t mean that they have to be morally good. I love villains. I love morally grey characters. They just have to be fully developed and be done well!

How many books are you currently reading, and which one is your favorite so far?

I honestly couldn’t tell you because I’ve started and stopped a few books that I still plan on reading. If we’re going by Goodreads, it’s three. But this is subject to change at any minute. As far as favorite, I don’t feel like I’m far enough into most of them to be able to decide that just yet. I’d have to say The Secret History as of now, but that’s because I have read the farthest in this one!

What was the last book review you posted?

It was a review of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern and I’m kinda really proud of it, so you should check it out ;)

sunshine blogger

Do you prefer MG, YA, NA, or adult books?

I don’t have a preference between YA, NA, and adult. I enjoy all of them equally. I do tend to read mainly YA, but I have definitely branched out to more adult and NA books in the past year. However, I don’t tend to gravitate towards MG. I’ve read a few MG books in the past year or so, but again, I need to be able to relate to the characters in a book, and as I’m past the suggested age for MG books, I do not really relate to them anymore.

Is there a popular author you’re NOT interested in reading anything by? (Elaborate if you’re comfortable doing so!)

Sarah J. Maas. I’ve read ACOTAR but never continued the series. I’ve just heard many problematic things about her and her books. I also don’t plan on reading anything else by Rainbow Rowell because of the racism in Eleanor and Park (which is the only book of hers I’ve read). Basically, whenever an author is problematic, I write them off from my TBR list.

What marginalized rep would you most strongly like to see more of in books?

I think any and all marginalized rep is important. There are still many minority groups that are not getting the recognition that they need and deserve in books. Race is obviously one that needs more representation, as well as sexual orientation and chronic and mental illness.

Do you listen to music while reading?

I technically can, but I usually don’t. If I’m in a really noisy environment where I can’t hear my own thoughts, I might put in headphones and listen to acoustic music. But when I’m just at home, I don’t.

Do you prefer book twitter or bookstagram?

bookstagram

If I answered this a few months ago, I would have said book twitter- I spent more of my time on there and have made most of my friendships because of it. I thought Instagram was nice for my creative side and for building an audience, I never really used it for creating friendships and actually meeting people. But I’ve been spending a lot more time on Instagram in the past few weeks, and it’s definitely growing on me. I’ve actually found that I spend less time scrolling on Twitter and more time on Instagram, especially recently!

You should definitely follow me on both Instagram and Twitter, though! I post a ton of updates on each platform :)

My Questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Do you write in (annotate) your books?
  3. What’s your favorite tv show?
  4. What’s the last book you rated five stars?
  5. What genres do you read the most of?
  6. Do you buy books based on covers? If so, what do you look for in a cover?
  7. What are your favorite books tropes?
  8. How do you organize your shelves?
  9. Do you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks?
  10. What fictional world would you want to travel to the most?
  11. How many books do you own that you haven’t read yet?

 

I Tag…

Kerri // Nikki // Amanda // Kristin // Chloe // Holly // Tiffany // Avhlee

let's chat

Thanks for reading, and again thank you to Sofi for the tag! I had so much fun doing this.

Were your answers similar or very different to mine? Let me know!

Jessica

I Read 5 Books With Anxiety and OCD Rep / Blogtober Day 8

I’m always looking for books that I feel represent my anxiety and OCD in the most authentic, realistic way possible. Some of my favorite books are Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone because I could truly see myself in the characters they portrayed. It’s so hard to find books that make me feel this way, though.

This summer, I set myself a challenge of reading books with these two representations to potentially find a new favorite read. I asked for recommendations on Twitter, and I chose five books that I was the most interested in. I documented my thoughts along the way, and I was pleasantly surprised as well (mostly).

Here are my thoughts on those five books:

the rest of us just live here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness:

This was the first book that I read, and unfortunately, I started off at a not-so-great point. I gave this book 3 stars. It was just extremely average to me. I was actually even a bit confused during some points of the story, especially in the beginning, which also hindered my enjoyment.

Nothing stuck out, and the OCD representation was lacking for me. It just didn’t feel like the best representation, but I can only speak from my experience with the MI. One thing that I really appreciated was its diversity in the characters.

Rating: 3 stars

final draft

Final Draft by Riley Redgate:

Things definitely went up after that first read, though. I was initially really scared to read this book. I have wanted to read it ever since it came out because, duh, it’s a book about writing. I’m a reader, but I’m also a writer, so getting to combine those two? Incredible. But, my expectations were set really high, so I was worried that I would be disappointed.

Luckily, I wasn’t. I loved the writing style of this book. It was done really well, and I found myself underlining so many quotes that I enjoyed. The cast of characters is also so diverse. The main character, Laila, is pansexual, biracial, and plus-size, and she also deals with anxiety. I loved the representation of MI in this one. It hit very close to home, and I related to Laila in so many other ways, too.

What I really loved is that Laila has many flaws. She is not a perfect character by any means. She goes through many changes from beginning to end of the book as she struggles with her writing. I appreciate the way her character was done. It didn’t sugarcoat anything. But, this is definitely not a book for everyone, especially if you don’t like character-driven books.

TW: death, depression, anxiety

Rating: 5 stars

you asked for perfect

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman:

The next book I read was another really incredible one. I have never related to a book more in my life. I have been an ambitious person my entire life. I have always dreamed of my future college & career over boys & cool experiences like most of my friends.

But the pressure students face is insane. It can be extremely draining and stressful. I cried during this book because it got me thinking about my own high school experience & how much I hated it because of the expectations my school placed on its students. I was so unhappy for 4 years because I felt like I was suffocating the entire time.

The anxiety that Ariel struggles with as a student is SO RELATABLE. That feeling where “you think you constantly need to be doing work and if you’re not then you’re a failure” is very true.

I do wish this book had been a little longer so that some of the scenes could have been a bit more fleshed out. But it was so beautiful & very true to my competitive high school experience.

Rating: 5 stars

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia:

This book I’m still a little torn on. The anxiety representation was amazing. Again, it felt super realistic, and that is the main factor I look for in MI representation. However, it took me a really long time to get into. I have never been as big into fandoms as Eliza is, so the entire time I found myself struggling to connect to that aspect. And it’s the entire plot of the story.

But, I did really like the characters and I think this was a super unique story. Also, it has illustrations inside which just added so much life to story for me.

Rating: 4 stars

four weeks, five people

Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu:

The final book was actually suggested to me by EmmmaBooks. I’m sure you all know Emma on Youtube. She is one of my favorite booktubers ever. I trust her opinions and recommendations for books with MI representation, so when I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it.

I had actually never heard of it prior to this, so I went in completely blind.

There was so much representation in this one. It follows five different characters who suffer from different MI and are all taken to a camp for a “wilderness treatment experience” over the summer. This book gave me representation for OCD and anxiety, as well as depression, narcissistic personality disorder, anorexia, and dissociation.

While I can only speak to the OCD and anxiety, the rep was so realistic. I could truly feel the pain and emotions that all 5 of these teens were going through. It doesn’t sugar coat mental illness; it tells it how it is.

It also doesn’t have an unrealistic “everything gets better and they all live happily ever after” ending. I really appreciate the way this book handles the subject matter, and I’m so happy I got to experience it and these characters.

TW: the above mentioned MIs, panic attacks, suicide/self harm, and possibly more.

Rating: 4 stars

I’d say in order from my favorite book to least favorite, this is how it’d go:

  1. You asked for Perfect
  2. Final Draft
  3. Four Weeks, Five People
  4. Eliza and Her Monsters
  5. The Rest of Us Just Live Here

let's chat

That is all for today! I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe found some new books to add to your TBR. If you have any recommendations for other books with mental illness representation, please leave them in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!

Jessica