Allie is a born and raised desert dweller who wishes she was somewhere on the coast. She is often found sipping a craft beer or copious amounts of espresso around town at some of her favorite local haunts. Mental health and spirituality are some of her favorite topics to engage with and read up on, but you’ll also find a plethora of dystopian Sci-fi and YA novels in stacks around her room. If you ever want to geek out about superheroes, sustainability, or need a local food rec, come find her!
Here's to the quiet ones, the shy ones, the "I think about a lot but I say very little," ones. The sooner we take away the stigma of quiet being bad or that something is wrong if you're shy, the sooner kids like younger me feel seen and secure in who we are. This should be a new staple for school counselors, nervous parents, or adults who need healing over words we heard growing up.
I'm a sucker for a good apocalypse story... even one related to a global disease pandemic. Erik J Brown wrote about a new pandemic, one that came after Covid, and how two young men made it through and fell in love in the process. You'll be hard pressed to find queer representation in apocalypse romance stories since the genre is weirdly tied to heteronormative storytelling. This was a refreshing, quick paced, adorable, and funny as hell addition to a genre that had been in need of new blood.
When I first read Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, I could easily see the characters and the story in my mind and fell in love with them. It was a rare joy then, to open this graphic novel adaptation and be met with illustrations by Gareth Hinds that completely captured the aesthetic I saw only in my mind and characters exactly as I imagined. My hope is if readers have never read the story of Katsa and Po, and the unique abilities their Grace brings, that this graphic novel brings you into their world for the first time. PICK THIS UP!
I'm not normally a romance reader, but I just might be after reading Lease on Love by Falon Ballard. Sadie Green drunkenly swipes right on a guy and meets up for their date, only to find out it wasn’t a dating app she swiped on, but a roommate app! What follows is snarky and snappy dialogue, found family, and a bunch of millennials just figuring life out, working through trauma, and falling in love. Absolutely endearing, I may be re-reading it already!
Calling all fans of Studio Ghibli!! MONSTER FRIENDS by Kaeti Vandorn is for you! Whimsical monsters, cave exploration, and adorable interpersonal dialogue awaits! I want to pick it back up and read again just to keep immersed in this bright and sunny world of monsters Vandorn has created.
There is something mesmerizing and intoxicating about this book. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I was drawn into the story of two sisters. One presumed dead for years, until she slips up and ends up in the background of a news story, oceans and continents away from home. The other, desperate to find the truth of what happened to her sister, having grown into a woman bearing the burden of family trauma and heartache, follows the mystery to find what's real. Their stories — told separately — bring about some deep truths, deep secrets, and each sister finding her way again. The last chapter had me absolutely sobbing in the best way possible. Love finds a way, we just have to make it through to find it.
Jesuit priest Gregory Boyle’s first book, Tattoos on the Heart, introduced us to his brand of compassion. His second, Barking to the Choir, brought the power of kinship and connection. Now, in a time where the world doesn't look hopeful and society has forgotten the art of tenderness, Boyle brings his signature storytelling to remind us how to speak and care for one another and have tender mercy. Narrative parables pulled from his life working with gang members through Homeboy Ministries catch readers attention and leave you feeling like you were there during all the highs and lows, wins and losses.
Heartrendingly beautiful and raw. Ashley C. Ford opened up her life to the world and showed the quiet joy, aching sorrows, and traumatic moments of her life growing up with an incarcerated father and an abusive mother. This is a slow read, meant to take your time and sit in the anecdotes from her childhood while reading between her words the perspective she has now on her family and how she has grown and been shaped by the experiences of her youth.
I thought my heart was going to beat out of chest with the surge of complete adoration I felt for humanity after reading this. Humans are messy, complicated, problematic, and terrible at times, but also we are so beautifully complex and cohesive and we fight for each other even when the narrative tells us we don't. These are the thoughts and questions Hank Green explores in this "better than the first" sequel. If you need to be reminded about how great humans are because the world doesn't feel like that right now, Hank's got you covered. Oh, and don't forget to be awesome!
Right off the bat, Hank Green's writing style is vastly different than his brother, notable author John Green (yes they are two different people). Hank Green brings a fast paced and youthful approach to writing that makes diving into the story exciting and fun. What unexpectedly comes after is a story about the ups and downs of the social internet and humanity as a collective force when faced with a puzzling global phenomenon. Part science fiction, part social commentary, part Youtube stardom, AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING will pull you in and leave you diving for the sequel.
Full disclosure, I am not a parent. BUT... I have worked with kids of all ages. This book is needed and game changing when it comes to explaining this topic to kids. The illustrations are detailed while not being graphic, the material is presented in a way that informs in inclusive language, and I feel this could be the new go-to for families of all kinds. Making a Baby takes the uncomfortable tension out of "the talk" and presents sex, bodies, and medical choices in a new and direct way, while also being adorable and heartwarming.
HILARIOUS! If you like shenanigans, mischief, quirky townsfolk, and laugh out loud funny dialogue, Squirrel Do Bad is the graphic novel for you! Perfect reading level for those kiddos wanting to move up to reading longer novels on their own.
One sweltering hot night in a New York City blackout leads to steamy romances and long walks through the city. Six authors, six stories, all connected through the one night. A celebration of Black teen joy, generational stories, and young love. The perfect summer read!
Have you ever been in the middle of a book and just known it was going to become important to you? We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman caught me unaware and before I knew it, tears were flowing. A love letter to bookstores, to music, to found family and restoring broken things. The characters within this novel are real depictions of what life throws at us and how communities can rally to not only stand in support but also allow us the space to put ourselves back together. You will inevitably fall in love with this one.
Hot take: I loved this more than the first one. Hear me out though, whereas Ready Player One built the groundwork and became a cult classic, Ready Player Two came in to show how it can all go wrong and become something new. Ernest Cline gave readers everything we wanted from the main story: 80s references and easter eggs abound, but the ending gave something completely unexpected and out of this world... literally.
I think I have talked about this book once a day for the last month, that's how much it has stuck with me. Fans of Andy Weir's first novel, the Martian, will find PROJECT HAIL MARY is a return to Weir's masterful realistic sci-fi storytelling. Readers will immediately be thrust into a spaceship bound for a suicide mission with no memory of how we got here. As the story progresses and memories return, Weir takes readers on an emotional journey on the pressures of being humanity's last hope and how an unexpected encounter can change the course of everything.
Incredibly charming, absolutely endearing, and to top it off, tears were shed. Molly Knox Ostertag hit all the right chords in this brilliant queer realistic fantasy.
Picture this: Pirates of the Caribbean mashed with the Little Mermaid, but gay. The detail given to world building by F.T. Lukens had me smelling the salty air, my blood pressure rising due to the political intrigue and high stakes, and face blushing from the depth of the affection and budding romance. Magic, kidnapping, treachery, and more abounds amidst themes of coming of age, queer identity, and family dynamics. I keep finding my thoughts drifting back to these characters long after finishing this book.
In Pipetown, the last "pure" human society, lives Wynd, a boy with pointed ears, a sign of magic, that he has to keep hidden or else face extermination. But there is a way out, a city filled with magic and others like Wynd. With the help of the buff and handsome royal gardener, a spoiled crown prince who envisions ruling a kingdom where magic folk and humans can coexist, and Wynd's best friend Oakley, a chase ensues as this ragtag bunch tries to flee to a new life. James Tynion IV brings his DC comics background to write this captivating tale, and has me impatiently awaiting the next installments of Wynd's magical journey.
Do you struggle with believing in yourself? Well so does a yeti and a ghost and even Nessie! You're in great company. Seriously, this book is ADORABLE and quirky and perfect. Always remember, I believe in you, and so do they!
After the year of isolation and stagnancy we all just experienced, Wintering by Katherine May should be required reading. As we start to ask the question of what can be learned from hard seasons, May answers with deep truths and beautiful insights. I wouldn’t have ever guessed that her personal journey with chronic sickness and the hibernation patterns of dormice would work together to make me cry, but cry I did. Every few pages I needed to stop reading and take a moment to myself as May created space to process emotions I didn’t have a name for. It is simply a beautiful work on finding joy and peace through life’s toughest moments.
Here's to the adventurers, the whimsy chasers, and the memory makers. The Night Walk by Marie Dorleans spoke to core memories I made as a kid. My parents would wake me up for a "too well to attend" school day and off we would go on an adventure. Read this while planning your next spontaneous too well to attend day.