Books I Read in January 2017: January Wrap Up

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After Christmas, there’s a period of a month or so when I become obsessed with reading. There’s no better feeling than looking towards my bookshelf and seeing all the books I got for Christmas, knowing I have a stash of new books to get through.

This year, I received nine books for Christmas, which is more than I usually receive. I think this spurred me on to read as much as I did, although I still have books that I didn’t get round to, that I look forward to reading this month, in February.

Without further ado…

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

“Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn’t left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom–even if his kingdom doesn’t extend outside of the house.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She’ll do anything to get in.”

I actually started reading this book on the 29th December, but I finished it in January, so I’m going to count it here.

This book ended up being one of my lowest ratings of the month at just three stars. I enjoyed this book, and the writing style flowed in a way which made it an easy read, but the connotations towards mental illness could easily be taken the wrong way, and the main character’s intentions often fell flatter than I would’ve hoped.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.”

I gave this book five stars, and boy, did it deserve it. I loved this book so much that I read it through to the end in one sitting. With the twists and turns which keep you guessing throughout, it promises to be a read which keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. I became attached to these characters, even when I knew they were not all as I thought they were.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

“The Sun Is Also A Star focuses on main characters Natasha and Daniel, whose beliefs couldn’t be more different. While Natasha relies on logic and facts, Daniel likes to try his luck with instant attractions and fate. It’s this that leads Daniel to chasing Natasha throughout New York City, twenty four hours before she’s due to be deported back to her home country of Jamaica, trying to convince her that first-sight attraction is a thing.”

This book received another five star rating from me. I’m not usually one for romance novels, but this one was so effortless that it drew me in from the beginning. With Nicola Yoon’s writing style and her ease at including such complex characters—even secondary ones—this book made me feel all sorts of emotions, from the height of happiness to bawling out in tears, all within one book.

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

“When he’s sent to Latham House, a boarding school for sick teens, Lane thinks his life may as well be over. But when he meets Sadie and her friends – a group of eccentric troublemakers – he realises that maybe getting sick is just the beginning. That illness doesn’t have to define you, and that falling in love is its own cure.”

I gave this book five stars. Again, like a lot of other books I read this month, it focused on two teenagers falling in love, but not under normal circumstances. With an incurable illness to contend with, their love isn’t easy, and there are barriers trying to stop the two of them from falling in love along the way. The ending was truly heart breaking, and had me in tears, which is something that very rarely happens when I’m reading a book.

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

“Love blooms between two teens—a white girl who refuses to be judged and a biracial boy who hides himself from judgment.”

I gave this book four stars. I really enjoyed this book because the characters seemed relatable and their friendship blossomed in a way that felt natural. However, it just missed out on top marks because it didn’t seem very original. The story of the fat girl (“America’s Fattest Teen”, in this case) falling in love with the skinny, popular boy is so overdone that I felt like I’d read part of this story before. However, it portrays good awareness of Prosopagnosia, a condition where someone is unable to recognize faces, which is something not many people know about.

The Fallen Vampire by Beeta Blitz

“A freak accident at Chloe’s seventeenth birthday party reveals her psychic abilities, and the community responds by condemning her as a witch who must be burned alive. As she attempts to escape across the dystopian, war-ravaged territory of her homeland, she yearns for a chance to find refuge and acceptance.”

I received a free version of this story in exchange for an honest review from the author. With that said, this book was given four stars. For the beginning of a series, I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author was able to set up the world, in a way which made understanding the world the characters lived in easy. The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars was due to a few grammar and spelling mistakes, although that doesn’t matter too much when you really get into the nitty gritty of the story.

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

“In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make.”

I only gave this book three stars, which might surprise some people, as I know a lot of people love this. I thought I would, too, but I just couldn’t get on with the writing style. Although the story should’ve taken the reader on a journey and been an emotional rollercoaster throughout, I feel like the way the author changed from reality to flashbacks made the story sound choppy in places, and stopped me from getting as emotional as I should’ve about it.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

“Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.”

This was the final book I read in January. I gave it four stars because, whilst I enjoyed it greatly, there was nothing that really made it stand out for me. I wasn’t as excited to read this book as I was for others I read this month, but it was a good read in the end. Reading about teenagers and friendships in an authentic way threw me back to a few years ago, where my own experiences were similar to what these characters had experienced themselves. I feel like I might’ve enjoyed this slightly more if I had read this when I was slightly younger, so I’d definitely recommend this to an audience of 12-16 year old’s.


On that note, what have you guys been reading this month? Do you have any recommendations based on the books I’ve read that I might enjoy in the months to come? Leave all your suggestions or comments down below; I’d love to hear from you!

If you want to check out other books I read in 2017, you can check out my “Read in 2017” bookshelf here, or you can add me as a friend on Goodreads here.

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

Goodbye

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9 Comments

  1. GirlMasked

    04/02/2017 at 6:06 PM

    Great post! The only book i’ve read that you reviewed is If I stay. I liked it and I think I might have preferred it to the movie. Have you seen it? But yes I do have to agree with you about the flashbacks being choppy!
    I’ve been planning to read Holding up the Universe and looking forward to reading it soon. I read All The Bright Places which is by the same author. Have you?
    I love catching up on reading at Christmas time too!! ?

    1. rebekahgillian

      04/02/2017 at 6:31 PM

      I saw half the movie, but I was watching it and it cut out on me, and I couldn’t be bothered trying to find out where I was to watch it again. I think, from what I watched, it was better than the book, though. I was so confused when they started–one moment it was in the present, and it was like, what? What’s going on now?
      Yeah! I read All The Bright Places last year. I really enjoyed it, but have since found out it’s quite problematic in the way it portrays mental illness, so that’s not good.
      It’s great, isn’t it?! 🙂

  2. Andrea

    04/02/2017 at 6:29 PM

    Hi Rebekah – Great reviews! I’m more of a historical fiction reader – but will keep your reviews in mind. My daughter is a young adult with autism and loves to read as well. I will pass along your blog info to her!

    1. rebekahgillian

      04/02/2017 at 6:32 PM

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked them. I used to read historical fiction as well (history used to be a special interest of mine), but I read a contemporary historical fiction where they had mobile phones in WW2 and it put me off reading anymore.
      Thank you! I hope she’s able to find something she enjoys from my list. I have more books over on my Goodreads account, which I listed at the bottom of this post, if she wants a wider range of suggestions! 🙂

  3. Daisha Renee

    04/02/2017 at 9:13 PM

    Thanks for the book review. I’ve been itching to get to a book store (not an ebook fan) and get a mini book haul. I’ve also been meaning to read “If I Stay”. Since I’ve already seen the movie I think I can deal with the choppiness but we will see!

    1. rebekahgillian

      04/02/2017 at 11:51 PM

      I’m not an ebook fan, either! In my blog about reading preferences I said I liked reading paperbacks mostly, and a lot of people agreed with me, which was surprising! Amazon is great if you can’t get to a bookstore. 🙂
      I saw half the movie, and I don’t say this often, but I honestly preferred it to the book. Good luck if/when you get around to reading it though!

  4. Planet Jodie

    04/02/2017 at 11:04 PM

    I’ve just finished a very similar post over on blogger! I have done it as a challenge for popsugar. I will have to see if any of these fit into the other categories x

    1. rebekahgillian

      04/02/2017 at 11:52 PM

      Is this the Popsugar 2017 reading challenge, or something under a similar name? I saw that, and thought it looked super interesting! I’m off to check out your post now! 🙂

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    25/03/2017 at 6:00 PM

    […] begun talking about the books I’ve been reading lately as part of monthly wrap–ups. On both blog posts, I’ve received several comments from others who wish that they […]

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