August 2023 Books

Books Reread

Once again, I won’t be reviewing these David Mitchell books in this post. I’m going to do a different post specifically for my Big David Mitchell Summer Reread.

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell
**Book Hangover Alert
CW: terrorism, racism, rape
4/5 moon-gray cats

Number9Dream by David Mitchell
**Book Hangover Alert
CW: body horror, gore, murder, racism
4/5 moon-gray cats

Slade House by David Mitchell
**Book Hangover Alert
CW: serial murder
4/5 moon-gray cats

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
**Book Hangover Alert
CW: misogyny, abusive relationships
5/5 moon-gray cats

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
**Book Hangover Alert
5/5 moon-gray cats

New Books Read

Tor Books

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
CW: serial murder
This was delightful. I enjoyed Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie La-Rue, but I think I enjoyed this one even more. Eli and Victor are obsessed with the idea of EOs–Extraordinaries, or people with extraordinary abilities. They figure out that to become an EO, one must have a near death experience, so naturally, they decide to try it themselves. What could go wrong? I thought this book was wonderful. I loved all the characters and I really loved how Schwab constructed the narrative and the way information was revealed to the reader.
4/5 EOs

Tor Publishing Group

Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire
Wayward Children book 8 of 10
CW: grooming, child abuse
I want to note that McGuire does include an author content warning at the beginning of the book that you can consult for more information. Antsy runs away from her unsafe home and enters a door into a shop where lost things go. She works in the shop and visits a multitude of worlds to find things for the shop. I love these books. I love the concept of the doors. I only hope I’m not too old to find one.
3.5/5 lost things

Flatiron Books

Pageboy by Elliot Page***
CW: body dysmorphia, child abuse, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, rape
This one was not easy to read. Of course, I knew a little of Page’s story and I know no one who is trans has really has it easy, but there was a lot I didn’t know. Page skillfully weaves a memoir from his young childhood navigating the challenges of discovering his sexuality, knowing, though not always accepting, that he wasn’t a girl, and having to hide his queerness as he grew to fame as an actor. All that would be hard enough for someone with a strong support network, but Page did not have that. His life was filled with adults who did not have his best interests at heart, ranging from his abusive step-mom, his parents who failed to advocate for him, and producers, directors, and others who exploited him. At its heart, Pageboy is about Page’s journey to self-advocacy and self-acceptance. Though hard to read, the memoir ends with hope and the freeing lightness that the future will be better than the past.
4/5 movie shoots

Scholastic Inc.

Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman***
Heartstopper Universe
A delightful little palate cleanser after reading Pageboy. Low stress, nice to visit some of my favorite characters. This little novella takes place right before Nick goes off to university and Charlie feels a little left behind and unsure what his and Nick’s future will hold. Very sweet and lovely.
3/5 Nellies

HarperCollins Publishers

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman***
Heartstopper Universe
CW: mental illness, child abuse
This is Oseman’s second novel and it also takes place in the Heartstopper Universe chronologically after Solitaire, though you don’t have to have read any of the other Heartstopper books. Radio Silence follows Frances Janvier and Aled Last (whom you might recognize as one of Charlie Spring’s friends). Frances and Aled become friends when Frances finds out Aled is the Creator behind her favorite internet podcast. Both of them discover how to be themselves as they learn how to be friends. I liked getting to see more of Aled, who didn’t make it into the Heartstopper TV series, but maybe he’ll make it into future seasons?? I liked Frances’s voice and I really appreciated this meditation on friendship. So many YA books are so focused on romance, it’s nice to see one focused on friendship, which I would argue is more important in one’s teenage years.
3.5/5 crazy-patterned leggings


The Prince of Secrets by A. J. Lancaster
Stariel book 2 of 5
This is the sequel to The Lord of Stariel, and this one is just as enjoyable as the first. I think I read the first one because it was free on Audible, but I do think I’ll probably read the rest. I won’t say too much about the plot of this one in case you haven’t read the first one. They’re cozy fantasies and I really enjoy all the characters and the world of Stariel.
3.5/5 blue-feathered wings


Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
We went on a road trip this month so this book is an attempt to find something my dad and I both want to listen to. He’s a big Bill Bryson fan; I’m interested in the topic of Shakespeare. I enjoyed this book. It’s a slim biography of Shakespeare and touches on many aspects of Elizabethan history, while also noting how little we actually know for sure about Shakespeare as a person. A lot of scholars and lay people have many theories about Shakespeare–that he was someone else, that he was several people, etc.–but Bryson does a great job of examining and picking apart each theory, none of which really has any evidence that could prove Shakespeare wasn’t who we think, except that there is not much evidence that he was who we think either. Overall a fascinating read.
3.5/5 fires in London

**Book Hangover Alert indicates the kind of book that will leave you full up on love. Satisfied, but wishing the book never had to end. You’ll be laying on the floor with no idea what to do with yourself (other friends have called this feeling Good Book Depression or say that certain books necessitate Floor Time). This is the kind of book that gets its teeth in you and won’t let go easily. After the last page you’ll be thinking about this book for a long time. You’ll bother all your friends trying to get them to read it so that you won’t be alone in your Hangover.

***This book is part of my Books for a Social Conscience series! Read Pageboy for a trans memoir that grapples with the difficulties of growing up trans and queer, especially in the public eye, but also offers hope for the future. Read any of the Heartstopper books for happy LGBTQIA+ representation.

Reads marked as part of the Books for a Social Conscience series will regularly address topics like race and racism, colonialism and post-colonialism, LGBTQIA+ experience, feminism, BIPOC experience, social and political issues, history, identity, class, disability experience, immigration, gun violence, poverty, colorism, environmentalism, and more! The goal of these books is to diversify the stories we’re reading, grow our empathy for those who are different from us, and amplify voices who are often silenced.

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