What I Read in October

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

In October, I didn't have as much time as I usually do to get my reading on because, you know, wedding. Have I mentioned that we're getting married? Oh, I guess I've mentioned it. Sorry to be one of those people. Ugh.

That said, I got in wayyy more reading than I expected to, probably because I needed more of an escape than usual in order to deal with some of my stress. I was also fortunate to land on eight books I really liked, which made for a lot of good reading & good stress relief. Here's what I went through in October.

The Unclaimed Victim by D.M. Pulley

This was the second book I read for Cleveland Magazine's holiday issue, & my full review of it will appear in print & online soon. It's a local historical fiction novel, an Ohio author's take on the real-life Torso Killings as told through the stories of two women, Ethel & Kris, living decades apart, who both undertake their own efforts to find the Cleveland killer - & risk their own lives in doing so. It's got a major twist at the end that I did not see coming, which made it all the more sinister. ★★★☆

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Breakfast Club with a modern-day bent: Five high schoolers find themselves in detention together, but one - the creator of a controversial gossip app - is dead before the day's end. Though the story's final twist is one I saw coming, it was written well enough that I didn't mind. This book approaches sensitive, serious subject matter such as death, domestic violence, suicide, sexual identity, & bullying in age-appropriate, respectful ways that still allow the story to flourish as a juicy drama. ★★★★★

Love Always, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

This YA novel is the third in a series about high schooler Lara Jean Song Covey, an all-around goody-goody now in her senior year & deeply in love (ah, high school) with her first boyfriend, Peter. Unfortunately, the other books in the series moved a bit faster & had more substance, but I still love the characters because, by now, I care about them. In all honesty, though, this book was so sickly-sweet that it was a bit of a slog to finish. ★★★★☆

How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat

I have a hard time with books about social media because they feel so transient, soon rendered irrelevant by ever-evolving digital media. Still, I loved this novel about high schooler Vicky, who suffers from anxiety so severe that she invents a bold Instagram persona to help her feel less lonely. When the account goes viral, Vicky has to face her fears and her classmates - & soon realizes she's far from the only one who feels alone. At one point, this story made me straight-up sob. ★★★★☆

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This is might be my favorite book of the year so far (& the first I purchased from the newly reopened Visible Voice Books). The cover calls it a combo of John Green & Rainbow Rowell, a descriptor that couldn't be more spot-on. Simon, a closeted high school junior corresponding via email with a mystery suitor, is being blackmailed by a classmate who promises to keep his secret in exchange for being set up with one of Simon's female friends. ★★★★★

The Serial Killer's Apprentice: And Other True Stories of Cleveland's Most Intriguing Unsolved Crimes by James Renner

My favorite local crime writer does it again with this book of unsolved local true crime stories, from the now-famous (& now-solved) kidnappings of Amanda Berry & Gina DeJesus to the suicide of a reclusive identity thief who was once thought to be the Zodiac Killer. In 1967, a local 20-year-old bank teller stole $215,000 & disappeared without a trace! This was a quick, fascinating look at a dozen curious cases I can't stop Googling. ★★★★☆

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

This book took me awhile to get into, but by the end, it had me feeling a whole lotta feelings. It jumps around, telling various stories in the life of New York native Andrea, who has a decent job, an unstable love life, a lapsed passion for art, & a young niece who's dying of a terminal illness. Something about the book is so touching, so relatable, so familiar. As you watch Andrea grow up, you can't help but reminisce about the ways you've done the same. ★★★★★

This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

An old friend of mine used to be roommates with the American Horror Story actress, & since hearing about how great (& normal!) she is IRL, I've loved her. Her book was no exception, written in a chill, down-to-earth, hilarious voice that sounds like her own. She hits on serious topics, like depression, body image, domestic abuse, & race, but she also tells funny stories from her own life & dispenses advice on funnier subjects, like dating & her job as a phone sex operator. ★★★★☆

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.

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