Books, Books, Books

I haven’t mentioned books I’ve enjoyed in a while, so I figure it’s time. Here are four vastly different books that I’ve recently read and quite enjoyed.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan (Fiction)

It’s no secret that I love J. Courtney Sullivan’s books. I mean, I picked Maine as the second book for my library’s book club. So, obviously, I was excited by her third novel, which differs greatly from her first two. The Engagements follows a few stories over a decade – there’s one about the woman copywriter who coined the phrase “A diamond is forever” (this part is loosely based on fact, which was absolutely fascinating to me), and then four other stories that feature different types of relationships at different stages. There’s the elderly couple who’ve been together for ages, the down-on-his-luck man who  wants to provide a nice Christmas for his wife and kids, the woman scorned by her fiancé, the couple with a child who refuse to get married. As the book progresses, the stories slowly come together in a beautifully, unforced way that made me smile. It’s not always a happy book, but it’s a realistic book that showcases how there are many different kinds of love and marriages, and how the diamond ring has come to symbolize it all.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney (YA contemporary)

Like Sullivan, I’m a fan of Whitney’s books. When You Were Here, though, proved to be my favorite. Right before high school graduation, Danny loses his mother to cancer. He’s now alone with just a lifetime of memories and questions unanswered. So he leaves everything behind, and travels to Tokyo, where his mother was receiving treatment, and unwraps not just her hidden life, but also the lesson that how he should live may be answered in how she died. The book was absolutely moving and lovely, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Horde by Ann Aguirre (YA post-apocolyptic)

I started the Razorland Trilogy when it was first released, so obviously i’m thrilled that last month the conclusion finally landed in my hands. I feel like this is a series no one talks about, but should. It’s a very gritty, very intense post-apocolyptic world where Deuce, Fade, Striker, and Tegan live. They battle zombie-like mutated creatures and try to save themselves and their loved ones daily. That was book 1. In book 3, they’re still fighting, and though they’ve suffered many hardships and loses, and though their spirits are dying, Deuce knows she needs the courage and strength to lead an army against a horde of these creatures. I realize this all sounds far fetched, and even I was weary to read it at the beginning, but believe me – this series is utterly fantastic. And the ending did not disappoint at all.

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge (graphic novel) 

Such a lovely book! Will is a creative girl, who creates lamps out of old objects to battle her fear of the dark. When a hurricane hits, she has to battle not just her darkness fear, but also her own personal demons left behind from a family tragedy, to make it out okay. Quite simply…beautiful drawings, beautiful story. A great book for anyone looking to (pun time) shed some light on a personal situation.


After reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, my first reaction was “That was AMAZING.” My second was “I need to make a mixtape.” It’s true; music played such a huge roll in that book, I felt compelled to hear the songs Charlie heard, so I rushed to Napster (kind of dates how old I am, doesn’t it) and downloaded every song mentioned in the book. I still have the mix CD. It’s fantastic.

I haven’t really been inspired to do that again…that is, until I read The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. About a not-so-great girl band touring the Pacific Northwest, the book has it all – road trips, small towns, coming of age, and music, music music. After first reading the description, I knew the book was for me…and after actually finishing the book, I know I was right to assume that. I really quite loved it.

Colby and Bess had a pact since the end of middle school – once high school ends, they’re taking a year off and exploring Europe. But as they set off on Bess’s band’s tour, Colby learns Bess doesn’t plan on leaving with him anymore. She wants to go to college. What follows is Colby learning where everything went wrong, and figuring out what’s right for himself. There are realizations, basement gigs, kisses, photographs, graffiti, wrong turns, and everything else that makes road trips great.

So once finishing the book, I had to find all of the music that framed it – the songs by Sleater-Kinney (of which I already had), The Runaways, Heart, The Supremes. As it turns out, technology got the best of me. Apparently a playlist has already been created on Spotify.

And how cool is that? With books and technology changing, what a neat way to keep up with the times.

That said, I highly recommend The Disenchantments if you’re looking for a fantastic coming of age young adult novel. And while you’re out it, check out the playlist to soundtrack your reading experience.