What I've Read This Spring and Summer

Monday, July 17, 2023


I haven't posted a books recap since March because I guess I am sort of not really a blogger anymore these days? Ugh, I hate that for me. But I'm always trying to get back into it and not disappear entirely, so here's what I've been reading for the last few months. As you'll see, I've been particularly into one genre in which alllll the books have extremely similar covers, oops. 

The Black Queen by Jumata Emill
Nova is murdered the day before she's supposed to be crowned the school's first Black homecoming queen... and everyone assumes her enemy, the rich, bratty, racist Tinsley, is behind it. I liked the perspective flips between Tinsley and Nova's best friend Duchess and Tinsley, though the former was written to be so mean that it defied reality; I don't love when a character like that exists at all, much less gets a redemption arc. Still, I couldn’t wait to learn how their story ended. ★★★✰✰
Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones
I mostly really enjoyed this book, about two teen BFFs who start a podcast about a girl who disappeared from their hometown two decades again... but wow, was the main character an idiot. Like, it’s one thing to be quirky and offbeat, but Cam was just straight-up not smart in her decision-making — and a bad friend, at that. I far preferred her best friend, the other protagonist, but we didn’t get as much of her. The ending was fairly predictable, but it was a decent read overall.
Missing Dead Girls by Sara Walters
Tillie transfers schools and meets Madison before the year even begins, but on the first day of classes, their peers receive a mass text blaming one girl for the death of the other. This book was billed as a thriller, but in reality, it was a love story, a friendship story, and a sort of meandering bit of mystery that just didn't work for me. This book had so much promise, but it simply didn’t deliver, preferring to focus on flowery in-the-moment language over cohesive long-term storytelling. ★★★✰✰
No Way Home by Jody Feldman
This book was terrible bordering on unreadable. I stuck with it only because the idea of it was so good: A teen girl is studying abroad as part of an American/Italian exchange program when the Italian teen staying with her parents FaceTimes her holding a knife to their throat as they sleep. She goes on a wild goose chase set up by her host family, trying to find... what, exactly? No idea. This book was promising in plot but an utter mess in execution. Do not read it. ★★✰✰✰
Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz
A college student returns home from a vacation abroad, but his influencer girlfriend doesn't come back with him, and she's never heard from again — or is she? Where could she be, and what has he done? This book got some negative reviews for not being realistic enough in its portrayal of young people online, but for me, now a certified old person, it was an interesting, fast-paced, fun read. It had a mystery twist that I sort of saw coming and sort of never imagined, making it unpredictable enough to be worthwhile. ★★★★✰
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
Najwa is back at her first Scrabble competition since her best friend died — or was murdered? It seemed like a cut-and-dry scenario at the time, but now Najwa is getting messages and riddles from Trina's long-dormant Instagram account. When she pairs up with Trina's ex to try to get to the bottom of things, what they uncover makes Najwa mistrust everyone she thought she knew. A fun read with an impressive vocabulary and a realistic portrayal of the nuances of grief. ★★★★✰
Four Found Dead by Natalie Richards
This book was… fine? Weird? Not nearly as good as it could’ve been? In theory, it’s an interesting premise — a bunch of teenagers stuck in an abandoned mall with their murderous boss. But, like… there are only so many descriptions you can take of an abandoned wall and the same teenagers running around it trying to escape said murderous boss. It got really repetitive really quickly, dragging the whole thing on for much longer than it should’ve. ★★★✰ 
Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
Four years ago, Tripp and two classmates found their teacher's body in the woods. Now, his old friend-turned-enemy Brynn is looking into the case as part of an internship. Though a few reviews say this book has too many characters, I like that about it. Real life has a lot of characters, too, and when books only ever mention a select few, it's easy to predict what’s coming. In this one, the truth of the case was anything but linear, full of moving parts, misdirects, and mini-mysteries within the larger one — a proper, satisfying mystery. ★★★★✰
You'll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
This isn't my favorite McManus book, but she really knows how to craft a story, and this was no exception. When one-time friends Ivy, Matteo and Cal find themselves skipping school together for an impromptu trip to Boston, they happen upon the scene of a crime and race against time to figure out who killed their classmate. It was all horribly improbable, as McManus's stories often are, but it was still a great read. ★★★★✰

What are you reading? Any recommendations for me? Follow me on Goodreads to keep in touch and to 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 the 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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