Hey! I’m going to talk you through everything I read in May 2020.
This month I managed to read a total of 9 books and 3324 pages. I read a mixture of middle grade, YA, and adult. As well as a range of romance, dystopian and fantasy amongst those three categories.
Girl Online on Tour – Zoe Sugg – 3 stars
A couple of years ago whilst on holiday in LA, I picked up the first Girl Online book fr
om a second-hand book shop in Santa Monica, and proceeded to read the whole thing that day on the beach. I’m the type of person who likes to finish book series so when I came across the sequel amongst my library’s e-books I knew I had to read it.
I remember really enjoying the story of the first book, and whilst I did enjoy Girl Online on Tour’s story, I thought it settled in the realm of slightly unbelievable. (SPOILER AHEAD) There was something deeply unsettling about an adult sabotaging a relationship between two teenagers, it didn’t sit right with me at all. I appreciate that management often gets involved in public relationships when it comes to celebrities but I didn’t think it needed to be done in such a malicious way within this book. I actually think I would have preferred the storyline if the blackmailer had turned out to be a crazy fan instead.
Despite this, I really liked seeing the character development in Penny, she really grew in confidence in this book and I’m interested to see where the final book in the series will take her.
You Know You Love Me (GG) – Cecily Von Ziegesar – 2.5 stars
This is the second book in the Gossip Girl series. I love the TV show and have watched it numerous times, so I thought I would give the books a shot.
I only gave this book 2.5 stars as it is very cliche and simply written. It’s interesting to see the difference in the characters between the tv show and the books, to see which characters are missing and which seem to have different personalities despite being ‘the same’ character.
The first book in the series was essentially the first episode of the tv show, with a few subtle differences, but this second book held storylines that were unfamiliar to me.
If you’re looking for a light, humourous, and easy read about a bunch of rich-kids in Manhattan then this book is for you!
The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary – 4.5 stars
The Flat Share was one of my favourite reads from this month! It tells the story of two flatmates who despite living together and sharing a bed, have never actually met. They communicate through sticky-notes left around their shared flat until they finally meet by accident!
As well as the main plotline that occurs between the two protagonists, Leon and Tiffy, there are also a few really engaging sub-plots. In particular, the subplot involving Leon’s brother really added to the story and to the likeability of the characters. Unlike many subplots in novels, the ones in The Flat Share came across as very genuine which I really appreciated.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a light romance read.
Normal People – Sally Rooney – 4.5 stars
This was by far my favourite read of May. If you haven’t heard of Normal People yet then you can’t have been on the internet in the last month. After binging the BBC adaptation of this novel in a matter of days, I knew I had to read the book.
Whilst the tv show really played on my emotions, the book seemed far more gentle (or perhaps this was because I knew what was coming). Rooney’s writing style is completely different to anything I have ever read before, her narrative is close to her protagonists, she lacks the use of speech marks, and she manages to make the mundane interesting.
Normal People follows the relationship between Marianne and Connell. Despite coming from the same town and attending the same school, Marianne and Connell lead very different lives; in school, Connell is popular but shy. His mum had him as a teenager and she works as a housekeeper for Marianne’s significantly more well off family. In school Marianne is unpopular, bullied, but very studious. The two have a secret love affair whilst at school, and the book follows them through this and until the end of college.
I think the reason this book has been such a hit is due to its sincerity. It read as a realistic relationship between two intelligent, but mentally plagued, young adults as they learn more about themselves and each other.
If you haven’t read this book yet (or watched the TV show) then I implore you to buy or borrow a copy now – you will not regret it.
My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite – 4 stars
My Sister, The Serial Killer has been on my radar for a while now. This was the month I finally got round to giving it a read. I was expecting this to be somewhat of a mystery novel, perhaps a YA thriller at around 400-500 pages. If I had to predict the storyline I would have assumed that our protagonist slowly discovered over time that their sister was responsible for multiple killings.
My predictions, however, were far from right. This novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite gives us a glimpse into Korede’s life where she helps clean up the mess every time her sister, Ayoola kills another love interest. Korede is overshadowed by her sister, who she describes as far more beautiful than herself.
As well as not being the storyline I was expecting, the novel was also not in the format I expected either. It was told in, what I would describe as, short stories. It wasn’t a completely linear narrative and it jumped days (maybe even weeks) at a time. This kept the book short and very quick to read.
Although this book did not meet my assumptions about it, I enjoyed it all the same. It told a story of familial love, and how family members can make huge sacrifices for us. Again, this is a book I recommend reading.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling – 3.5 stars
The final Harry Potter book! After beginning the Harry Potter series for the first time at Christmas (2019), I have finally finished!
It was interesting how the Deathly Hallows wasn’t primarily set at Hogwarts, as the previous books had been. We got to discover more of the wizarding world and see Harry, Ron, and Hermione attempt to destroy Voldemort with only some outside help.
Some of this book confused me, not everything entirely made sense and some things were wrapped up a little too nicely. I wasn’t convinced by the Malfoys seemingly leaving Voldemort’s side at the end, and it seemed unlikely that Harry would name a child after Snape (even if he had been in love with his mother).
This wasn’t my favourite of the series, but I did enjoy it and am happy to have finally caught up on such a cult series that I should have read a very long time ago.
The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan – 4.5 stars
I read The Keeper of Lost Things as an audiobook. It portrayed a very charming story of a man who collected anything he found that was ‘lost’ and cataloged it in his house with the date he found it and where it was found. It then follows Laura, his assistant, as she tries to reunite these belongings with their owners.
The book flips between the present day and flashbacks to the lives of people whose lost things have found their way into the catalog.
This was a really sweet and uplifting read and I would recommend to anyone who wants a story that will warm their heart.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins – 5 stars
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the most hyped book of the year so far, let alone of May. As soon as I saw that Suzanne Collins was bringing out a new Hunger Games book I had to put it on pre-order. Despite having a little mishap with the book being sent to the wrong address I finally got it a couple of days after it was released and sat down to read it promptly.
I was a little worried about this book as I’d seen a few no-spoiler reviews before picking it up and everyone seemed to be disappointed with it. However, I loved this book and the insight it gave us into Snow and how he became the man we know from the previous trilogy. For the majority of the book I felt for young Snow, he’d had a difficult upbringing for numerous reasons and seemed to crave approval from those around him. However, the last chapter or so showed just who he wanted to approve of him, and exactly what he thought was worthwhile achieving.
If you’ve read the original Hunger Games trilogy, I would strongly suggest you go and read this prequel.
The Awakening – L.J. Smith – 2 stars
Similarly to the Gossip Girl book I spoke about earlier, The Vampire Diaries is one of my favourite TV shows so I thought I’d give reading the books a go – The Awakening is the first one in the series.
There are massive differences between the TV show and the book. The characters, in particular Stefan and Elena, seem drastically different in the book to what I’m used to in the TV show. The Awakening also comes across as extraordinarily cliched, with Elena declaring her love for Stefan without them exchanging more than (what seems like) two sentences.
I’m intrigued to see where the story leads in the book series, compared to the TV show, so shall continue to push on with the books despite only rating the first one 2 stars. I’m hoping they will improve as time goes on.
I really hope you enjoyed discovering what I read in the month of May! Let me know in the comments if you’re inspired to read any of the books I have mentioned as I would love to know.
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Thanks for reading!
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