What I read in May
The underground railroad by Colson Whitehead – 5 stars
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this and am so glad I was able to read it.
It is the story of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. She has no family, her mother managed to escape when Cora was just a girl and the escape haunts her. How did she manage to evade capture? Why didn´t she take Cora with her? When Caesar, a new arrival to the plantation tells her of an underground railroad they decide to escape. But even when they´ve managed to leave the state it is very clear that freedom is much more difficult than they imagined.
This was a harrowing, at times extremely difficult book. But a story about slavery and its victims, the abuse and violence they suffered on and off the plantations, can be nothing but difficult. But stories like this are essential and in the hands of such a talented writer the pain of the past becomes even more visceral.
The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan – 3 stars
After the heaviness of The Underground Railroad I needed something a little lighter so I went to Courtney Milan. Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, has a secret that must never be revealed. She is engaged in a most scandalous enterprise – she is a scientist! Wanting to make her findings known to the public despite her sex she has employed the help of her friend Sebastian who has published the work as his own. But now he is done with it. Also he is in love with her!
This book had Violet go through some difficult emotional and psychological issues due to her asshole of a dead husband. The two characters are really lovely together and this is a romance with more focus on the romance and less on the erotica.
Tell me again how a crush should feel by Sara Farizan – 3 stars
I was given an arc of this book at BEA back in 2014 and it´s been sitting in my pile of unread books until now. I don´t know why I waited to so long! Leilas Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.
Du, bara by Anna Ahlund – 4 stars
This months only Swedish book was a debut by Anna Ahlund. And it was fantastic! 16-year old John is spending the summer in the city was his sister, their parents are away traveling. His sister has taken a fancy to Frank, an 18-year old who works in a paperstore and once had dreams of becoming a dancer. John and Frank connect immediately but things are never as simple as “I like you, you like me”.
All the birds in the sky by Charlie Jane Anders – 3 stars
Patricia is a witch. Laurence is an engineering genius. They were childhood friends who after years apart have now drifted back into each others lives. The planet is breaking down around them, Laurence is working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Can the witch and the engineer save the world?
The rogue not taken by Sarah Maclean – 3 stars
Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.
The square root of summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood – 3 stars
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory. Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide