Happy Pride! | My Recs + TBR + Wishlist

Hello Blogosphere! Christine here, bringing you the obligatory Pride Month post…with a bit of a twist.

Here’s the thing: I don’t talk about this stuff offline.

Although a few close people know about my invisible sexuality, I’d still consider myself pretty closeted. As a cis woman married to a man, my identity as (some sort of) bi just doesn’t seem to matter most of the time. I have never felt fully part of the queer community, yet I’m drawn to it at the same time because I don’t really belong anywhere else. And yet, Pride Month is the time of year when I’m reminded to be proud of all the things that make me an outcast everywhere else.

So today, I’m talking about queer books that mean something to me, as well as sharing what’s on my reading list for this month.

My Queer Recommendations: Books I’ve Read & Loved

Note: to see more queer books, check out my shelf on Goodreads!
💫= intersectional 🗣= queer author (that I’m aware of)

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual/Pansexual

Transgender/Non-Binary + Intersex

Ace Spectrum

My (Overly Ambitious) Pride Month TBR

This month, I’ve decided to attempt to read one book from every letter of the queer alphabet. I don’t know that I’ll be able to actually do it, but here are the books on my list for this month:

L – People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman🗣
G – You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
B – Small Town Hearts by Lilli Vale
T – I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver🗣
Q – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
I – Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman
A – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
P – Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss🗣

My Queer Wishlist

What’s on your TBR this June? Do you have a favorite queer book I haven’t mentioned here? Let’s chat in the comments! Until next time,

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Published in the Last 10 Years

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

Today’s prompt is a look back at the books published in the last decade. Join me on this journey back through time!

2018 – Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of this last fall—don’t ask how I was on someone’s list—and I absolutely loved this debut YA contemporary. The story follows Tasia, an 18-year-old who discovers that her family isn’t everything she thought it was, that her identity isn’t necessarily as cut-and-dried as she thought. Despite the heavy amount of teen angst, I really appreciated Tasia’s journey and I think this book deserves a lot more hype.

2017 – Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

This book absolutely blew me away. On the surface, it’s a story about a Muslim teen just trying to find her place in her American world. Underneath that, though, there are themes of what it means to be openly yourself, and what it means to put on a front. This book deals with attempted rape in such a poignant and understated way that really packs a punch. I’m also dying to read Ali’s new book, Love from A to Z!

2016 – Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnson

This is a beautiful, quiet YA that focuses on the aftermath of sexual assault. I’m a sucker for books about cheerleaders (don’t ask me why, that’s another story), especially where the cheerleaders are given respect for the athletes they are. I really loved the way Johnson shows the importance of female friendship in the healing process after sexual assault.

2015 – A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

I really want more people to read this book. It’s another quiet YA (I’m sensing a theme here) where it’s not so much about what happens as it is about the character’s emotional journey. I really loved this story about a girl who lives in the shadow of her best friend, and how she eventually learns to embrace who she is. TW: abortion.

2014 – Far From You by Tess Sharpe

This book holds a very special place in my heart for one main reason in particular: at the age of 24, roughly three years after figuring out that I am not necessarily completely straight, this was the first book I read with a character who uses the word “bisexual” as an identifier. There are too many instances of characters referring to “bicurious” folks in a negative, mocking way, so this book was really special to me. It’s also a brilliant mystery story that’s told in present and past tense chapters that alternate through time. It also is the only book I’ve read with a character who lives with chronic pain, although it does also contain elements of drug abuse. It’s not an easy book to read, but well worth it.

2013 – Want Not by Jonathan Miles

I honestly can’t remember who recommended this book to me, but I picked it up back in 2014 when I was living in New York City. The book follows three sets of characters: a middle-aged professor who’s wife has just left him, a sketchy and uber-rich businessman, and a couple who squat in abandoned apartments in Manhattan. This is another book that’s not about the plot, but about the characters and their reactions to their circumstances. Ultimately, it’s a story about what desire does to humanity.

2012 – The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

This was one of the first queer YA books I ever encountered, but it was also one of the first YA books I read that made me realize just how literary and beautiful YA can be. The story of a teen lesbian who gets sent to a gay conversion camp, this is a heart-breaking story woven with intricate descriptions of 90s Montana that blew me away.

2011 – A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I actually read this one pretty recently, despite the fact that it’s been out for a while. Although I’d like to think I’m not a sucker for vampire fiction, this book proves me wrong. I love the way Harkness explores prejudice through the use of vampires, witches, and daemons. Another thing I loved about this was the slow-burn romance that includes a discussion of sex that doesn’t revolve around penetration! Yay!

2010 – Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

I bought this book for the title, and it sat on my self for six years, following me from Oklahoma, to Philly, to New York, and then back to Pennsylvania. When I finally read it, I couldn’t figure out why I’d put it off so long. This darkly comedic tale about a pretty pathetic guy who just wants to find love is really about so much more than that. Shteyngart constructs a future world where China owns everything and an individual’s worth is defined by their social media presence. It was horrifyingly funny to read, and definitely still relevant after all these years.

2009 – Holding Still for As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall

Set in Toronto, this book follows a chaotic group of queer twenty-somethings as they struggle to figure out what the hell they’re doing in life. I read this one when I was living in NYC as well, and the portrayal of city life in your twenties is so spot on. I loved the explorations of queerness, the confusing love triangle/square, and the forays into life as a paramedic. Although this book is obviously limited, it still strikes me as being incredibly ground-breaking for the times.

Do you have a favorite book released in the last 10 years that I missed? Did you post a Top Ten Tuesday this week? Let me know in the comments! Until next time,

Top Ten Tuesday: Birthday Edition 🎉

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

Today’s prompt lines up so perfectly with the fact that today is my birthday! What better day to share this post?

Top 10 Characters Who Remind Me of Myself

Matlida Wormwood – Matilda by Roald Dahl

I vividly remember the first time I read Matilda. I was about eight or nine and 10000% obsessed with books. I rarely wanted to do anything else besides read at that point, and I was slowly working my way through all the young readers books in the library. Reading Matilda was the first time I felt truly seen by a fictional character.

Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anyone who knows me (and strangers at work who’ve ever asked) will recognize that Anne is my all-time favorite book. I discovered it two decades ago, and Anne’s been a constant source of inspiration through my life. Her sunny disposition in spite of everything she’s been through and her dangerous imagination remind me of my childhood self.

Tibby Rollins – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

This series was my introduction to YA at the ripe old age of 12 (when I’d literally read everything that even remotely interested me out of the young reader’s section and wandered into what was then just called “teen”). I’ll admit, some of the content of this series shocked me at that age (although it appears pretty tame by today’s standards). I related to Tibby in particular, because she’s rather spoiled and completely bitter about it, which was pretty much me as a teenager.

Molly Peskin-Suso – The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Although I’ve never really struggled with weight issues, I related to Molly on a deep level because of her anxiety, particularly as it relates to interacting with her peers. It honestly took me until age 24 or so to be really comfortable talking to my peers, much less flirting with them on purpose. I also had a long list of unrequited crushes that’s three times the length of people I’ve actually dated. Molly was the first character where I really saw that side of myself.

Lara Jean Song – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean was the second fictional character I encountered who took her crushes so damn seriously. I think as a teenager I was always pretty much told that I didn’t know anything about being in love, that I was just being dramatic when I actually mourned for my lost crushes. I wrote dozens of love letters I never sent, so I could relate to Lara Jean on that level. Reading this book last fall was so sweet because it reminded me of myself.

Annabeth – A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

When I read A Sense of the Infinite, I was struck by the quiet nature of the story that, ultimately is about what happens when two best friends start to grow apart. Annabeth has this best friend, Noe, who wants to go off and do her own thing, leaving Annabeth relatively alone and confused about what to do. I went through something similar in my last year of high school, but I’d never seen that represented fictionally until I read this book.

Eliza Mirk – Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

I read this recently (ICYMI: my review), and I loved the anxiety rep in this book. It’s subtle, and very much tied up in Eliza’s creative life, which is how I feel about my own anxiety. There’s so much pressure as an artist of any sort, which is exacerbated the more people you allow to see your work. While I’ve never been exactly in Eliza’s shoes, I related to her experience of balancing sanity and creativity.

Grace – Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

I wish I had read this book ten years ago. The book follows Grace, a teen who’s in an emotionally abusive relationship. It’s dark reading, but I wish I’d read it so I could’ve avoided my own bad romance(s) in my late teens and early twenties. I think this kind of representation is so important, and it’s honestly really hard to write, but I think Demetrios nailed it.

Ava – I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, in part because I wasn’t all that fond of Gen as a character, whom I feel played into a lot of stereotypes of non-monosexual people. However, I did really relate to Ava, Gen’s best friend, who struggles to deal with the transition of college life. When I was in college, I felt like everyone else was having this amazing social life, but I was too afraid to leave my homework in my dorm room and actually have some fun. It didn’t help that I was (a) extremely depressed (b) working part-time and (c) ended up moving back home and commuting for most of college.

T.S. Garp – The World According to Garp by John Irving

I haven’t read this book in a long time, and I’m honestly a bit afraid to, since I’d probably judge it more harshly at the distance of almost ten years. When I read this book, I was blown away by the characterization of Garp, a half-struggling writer, and how he grows into his full artistic self. It’s really hard to write or read about writers, mostly because so often it comes across as cheesy, thinly-disguised autobiography, but John Irving really did this character justice.

Can you think of a fictional character that reminds you of yourself? Have you read any of the books I mentioned, and did they resonate with you the way they did with me? Let me know in the comments. Until next time,

Review || Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Genre: YA Contemporary | Diversity: Anxiety rep
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.🌙

Eliza and Her Monsters is not just another contemporary.

At the age of 18, Eliza is the anonymous creator of a web comic and online phenomenon, Monstrous Sea—but she doesn’t talk to anyone offline. When she meets Wallace, a Monstrous Sea superfan and brilliant fan fiction writer, her way of life completely changes. No longer completely tied to an online world, Eliza struggles to maintain her anonymity, even from Wallace. Meanwhile, she has to figure out how to write an ending to the series she’s worked so hard to create. I read this book on the brilliant recommendation of the lovely Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books, and I’m so glad I picked this up.

Francesca Zappia is clearly a talented artist, and her inclusion of Eliza’s artwork in the story took this one step further than the average contemporary novel.

As I read, I discovered more about Monstrous Sea, which is its own world with its own lore and magic. I found myself desperately wishing there was a whole book of Monstrous Sea, because it’s definitely something I would devour. Zappia does an amazing job of combining elements of online conversations and posts, so that I got a really good feel for Eliza’s online world as well. Eliza’s two best friends are people she’s never met IRL, but they each have a distinctive voice that comes through in their message threads; as a writer, I was blown away.

Eliza Mirk is the kind of character that either makes or breaks a story. In my opinion, she makes this one.

I really related to Eliza as an artist, strangely. Although none of my work has ever come close to being as famous as Monstrous Sea, Eliza’s desire to maintain her artistic integrity while being literally invisible IRL really resonated with me. As a writer, few people I encounter in my daily life have so much as read my blog, much less any of my fiction. Eliza’s emotions at 18 reminded me of my young self and almost made me weirdly nostalgic for that time of my life, in all its grittiness.

That being said, it should be acknowledged that Eliza is an unlikable character.

She’s angsty to the extreme. Despite having parents who love her and give her everything she could ever need, she resents them for not understanding what her art really means. Plenty of people deal with family situations that are much worse than what Eliza does… yet I related to this too.

When I was in high school, I hated my parents. They didn’t understand why I chose to spend all my spare time writing bits and pieces of a novel on scraps of notebook paper. They didn’t take me seriously as an artist (although pretty much no one did). They wanted me to go to a good college and get a real career, and I resented them for how much they wanted me to be a successful adult. While I can see why some people would find Eliza’s treatment of her parents problematic, I related to it so much, and I think this is the first time I encountered this representation of what my life was like as a teen. I do think Eliza grows over the course of the novel, that she learns to communicate better with her parents.

Ultimately, this is a story about what it means to be a teen artist in an online world.

Through Eliza’s eyes, the reader can see just how valuable online relationships can be to a young person. We live in a world that’s full of scare articles about how dangerous the Internet is for kids, but very few people openly talk about how helpful it can be to someone like Wallace, who’s dealing with trauma and doesn’t feel comfortable talking and interacting in person. Sure, one can lose themselves on the internet; but if you’re reading this lengthy review, I’m pretty sure you agree that the internet can also be a place of belonging for so many of us.

Eliza and Her Monsters also has one of the most beautiful, slow-moving romances I’ve read in a long time.

Wallace is such a sweet character. It’s rare to find a male character who’s both tough and soft, and I loved his story so much. He recently lost his father and lived in a blended family, which is another thing that I want to see more of in YA. Beyond that, the relationship between Eliza and Wallace is sweet and flawed and real. Their slow-motion romance completely fits the two characters: Eliza never interacts and makes friends IRL, but learns to do so through Wallace; Wallace learns to use his voice slowly but surely. Both of them still have a ways to go as characters, which is part of what makes it real.

The main thing I felt was missing was a bigger discussion of mental health.

[Note: mild to moderate spoilers ahead.]

Eliza’s anxiety feels very realistic: she puts an incredible amount of pressure on her art, and added to that is the fact that she begins to feel responsible for Wallace’s future as well. It’s a lot for anyone to deal with, and when her anonymity as an artist is shattered, Eliza finally cracks. Again, this felt incredibly real to me. Sometimes, with a mental illness, you can be going along just fine until something whacks you over the head and makes you feel completely broken.

Yet I wanted to see more in terms of Eliza’s recovery from anxiety. There’s exactly one scene of her in therapy, and while it’s a beautiful scene, I wanted more. Additionally, there’s a scene where Eliza contemplates suicide (in the exact same way as Wallace’s father) and is really only deterred when Wallace himself actually shows up. Setting aside the fact that there’s no way Wallace could’ve known where Eliza was, this terrifying scene is set aside in the narrative and not really addressed as being a truly serious moment. Whether or not Eliza really would’ve committed suicide, the moment feels over-dramatic in part because of how it’s shoved aside; it can be read as teen angst, rather than a serious cry for help.

Overall, though, this is a book I highly recommend.

Once I started reading Eliza and Her Monsters, I could hardly put it down. I was easily sucked into Eliza’s world and that of her web comic. I rooted for her relationship with Wallace and cheered on both of them in their mental health recovery. If you’re looking for realistic anxiety rep, or just something that explores internet relationships, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

Find This Book:
Goodreads | AbeBooks | Book Depository


Have you read this book? Do you have a favorite backlist read that you feel deserves more hype? Let me know in the comments. Until next time,

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

The theme for this week’s post is Rainy Day Reads…which I’m interpreting to mean books to read when it’s physically or emotionally rainy and you want to feel sunshine-y on the inside.☔️

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Photo by zenad nabil on Unsplash

Top 10 Books for Rainy Days

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

This book is always at the top of my list of books to make me feel better. It’s been my all-time favorite book for two decades now, and I honestly don’t see that changing anytime soon. Spunky orphan Anne always inspires me to look on the bright side of life and keep dreaming.

2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Although I still haven’t finished this series, I fell in love with Lara Jean from the first couple pages of this book. Not only is this a sweet, if trope-y, romance, Lara Jean’s personality is just so upbeat. I wish I’d had a friend like her in my life as a teenager.

3. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

This book was recommended far and wide around its release in 2017, and for absolutely good reason. The story takes place at a con, so there’s lots of fan vibes, but it also involves two really sweet romances. This book reminded me of the importance of finding a group of people who accept you exactly as you are.

4. The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis

This novella is the kind of book you can totally binge read in a day, no sweat. It’s an f/f romance with the very first pansexual character I ever read. On top of that, it’s set partially in a bookstore and involves beautiful sex positivity and I just… I wish M. Hollis had more books in this series out because I love them so much!

5. Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

If you’re looking for something more action oriented, look no further! This story follows our main character, Jess, a teen in a world of superheroes who doesn’t have any noticeable powers. There’s an unexpected love story and lots of intrigue as Jess sorts out the truth behind her new after school job.

6. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

If you’re longing for summer already, this is one of my favorite summer reads. The story of a surfer who’s stranded in Nebraska for a summer, I loved the romance and the skateboarding in this one. There’s also strong father-daughter vibes, an element that’s often severely lacking in YA.

7. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

I recently read this YA graphic novel over a few breaks at work, and I’m so glad I scooped it off the shelf! This is a sweet story about a prince who likes to wear dresses and the dressmaker with dreams of fame.

8. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Since we’re talking about rainy day reads, I had to put one sad book on the list. I shared my thoughts on this recently, but suffice to say: if you need to indulge in some sad feelings, this book nails it on the head.

9. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

This is an oldie but goodie, in my opinion. I re-read the entire series last fall out of pure nostalgia and they’re still just as good. This book originated squad goals for me (sadly, goals I’ve never really achieved).

10. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I pick up this book any time I’m feeling down about my writing, but I think it can be applied to anyone, regardless of their craft in life. This book really revolutionized the way I look at writing and taught me the importance of sitting down, getting quiet, and letting the words out, even if they’re not perfect.

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What type of book do you reach for on a rainy day? What’s your favorite romantic book that puts a smile on your face? Let me know in the comments!

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Why I’m Embracing My Love of Self-Help Books + My Recommendations

Hello bookish friends! Welcome back to Lady Gets Lit!

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Today I’m bringing you another bookish discussion! One of my goals this year is to write more discussion posts, whether it’s about books, writing, or mental health.

I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to Self-Help books.

When I was about ten years old, I went through this phase where I was obsessed with Chicken Soup for the Soul. I read the one for kids, then I read the one for pet owners, then I read the one for pre-teens, then I read the one for teens (which definitely scarred me a little bit). Why did I love these books so much? Because as cliched as the feelings were, they rang true to some extent. Reading them was cathartic in a way I didn’t know how to articulate.

I’ve been in the closet about my love of Self-Help (or, as we call it at work now, Personal Growth) books for a long time.

As I got older, I started to realize how these types of books essentially say the same thing in a variety of ways. In some ways, Self-Help capitalizes on human emotions and struggles. These authors claim to have all the answers to the problems of being human, yet most of their advice boils down to things we could figure out on our own.

More than that, Self-Help gets a bad rap as being pretty hokey, encouraging you to live like you’re already rich, manifest your own destiny, and other (potentially harmful) ideas. As someone who grew up Christian, these ideas sound a lot like the oft-touted “pray about it!” that appears in religious circles. Some of these solutions aren’t necessarily practical for most people.

For a long time, I resisted the pull of Self-Help. Instead, I went to therapy, I made compulsive to-do lists, and I asked a lot from myself. And then, on a whim—and because I could read it for free—I picked up You Are A Badass.

Jen Sincero’s book didn’t change my life. I read through it pretty quickly, and while I found myself nodding along at certain points, I didn’t necessarily buy into all of what she says. Most of the advice is recycled and reformatted from what other writers have said time and time again. Additionally, much of her advice erases the experiences of people dealing with mental health issues; for instance, she insists on having a positive attitude, which is nearly impossible for me when I’m in the midst of a depressive episode.

I didn’t love You Are A Badass, but it did spur me on to read more.

Here’s the thing: there’s a reason Personal Growth books are so popular—because many people are always looking for ways to become better than they are currently.

There’s a lot of unhelpful, cheap trash in the Self-Help genre. It’s not always possible to quit that job you hate, to treat yourself like you’re already as wealthy as you hope to be. Not everyone can (or should) manifest their own destiny.

And yet, there’s a lot of hope in these books. There’s a lot of wise advice that is only repetitive because, for many of us, it takes repeating for it to really sink in.

So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned along the way—even if it’s cheesy and repetitive. Because I’m done living in the closet with my love of Self-Help / Personal Growth.

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things I’ve learned from self-help books

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled – Life sucks, but once we accept that life is hard, it ceases to be hard.

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird – You will never achieve success or happiness as a writer if you only write out of the hope of becoming published. You have to love writing, otherwise it’s not worth it.

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness – The key to mindfulness is to try and be fully present with whatever it is that you’re doing—even if it’s washing the dishes.

Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass – Don’t let anyone else define your self-worth, and don’t waste your time chasing external validation.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way – I am allowed to nurture myself.

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – You can’t possible care about everything, so choose your values wisely and don’t waste your time on what’s not valuable to you.

Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, Make Time – There’s power in choosing one thing each day that you’re going to focus on and then setting aside time specifically to do that. Also, delete all the distracting crap off your phone.

Erin Falconer, How to Get Sh*t Done – Beyond just getting clear about what you want (not what other people want), narrow your goals to three big things. You can’t possibly do more than that, but if you’re specific about your Big Three, you can focus your energy on accomplishing them.

Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face – When you make promises to yourself that you can’t keep, you’re training yourself that your words don’t matter, and that you don’t matter. Stop lying to yourself.

bonus: self-help books on my TBR

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Do you read Self-Help books? Who are your go-to authors for inspiration? Are you a closet fan of a category of books? I’d love to hear from you!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

Back in February, I said I was going on a book buying ban. That definitely didn’t happen. A bunch of books that have been on my digital TBR for months (and years!) popped up on Book Outlet, plus there was Barnes & Noble Book Haul… I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

That being said, I’ve got a lot of physical books in my life right now and I feel so blessed to get to read them soon. Below are the top 10 books I’ve purchased in 2019 that I want to read this spring.

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The Book: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I purchased this back in December and I don’t know why I’ve been waiting so long. I’m a sucker for YA contemporary, and while I haven’t read any of Mafi’s work yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things, especially about this story that follows a Muslim teen directly post-9/11.

The Book: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Why I’m Excited to Read It:This book dropped onto my radar from our local interest table at work and I’ve been dying to read it ever since. It’s set in Tulsa, both in present day and during the race riots in the 1920s. This is such an important book, because no one in Oklahoma wants to talk about our racist past and we need to educate the younger generations so they don’t repeat our mistakes.

The Book: 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy & Ava Dash
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I was initially hesistant about this one—mostly because I avoid anything that has James Patterson’s name on it—but when I found out that it’s based on Indian myth and that pretty much every character is diverse, I had to have this one. It’s supposed to be a bit fluffy, and we know I’m always in the mood for that.

The Book: Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I got approved for the ARC on NetGalley! Which is the first time that’s happened with this reiteration of my book blog. I’m not really into Booktube, but I think it’s really cool that one of the original Booktubers wrote a story about a 20-something. I always have a hankering for books about this age group, especially set in college (because it gives me nostalgia). I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

The Book: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This ARC has been burning a metaphorical hole in my shelf all year. The story centers around a Jamaican British woman who feels caught between two cultures and just trying to get her emotional life in order.

The Book: You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I loved the first book by this author, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about her sophomore novel. The lovely Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books has raved about this story that’s a m/m romance with a heavy element of academic pressure—something we don’t see enough of in YA.

The Book: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This has been on my radar since its release in 2017 and I finally bought myself a copy as encouragement to prioritize it. It follows three generations of Indian immigrants in America as they struggle to hold onto their culture and deal with racism. Apparently it also has strong feminist vibes, so I’m definitely excited for that.

The Book: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Why I’m Excited to Read It: Speaking of feminist vibes…this book follows a teen whose mom came of age during the Riot Grrrl 90s, and I’m excited to see this take on new feminism vs. old. I think that’s always an interesting discussion: how can we get better, but also how can we learn from our mothers and grandmothers.

The Book: Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I loved American Street so much and I’m a huuuuge Austen lover, so this book is obviously on my radar. This book is an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that’s set in contemporary Brooklyn, featuring an Afro-Latina main character and discussions of gentrification.

The Book: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This is another one that sat on my digital TBR long before I finally got my hands on a copy this year. This won’t be an easy read—it’s about rape culture, and how society tends to blame the victims rather than the perpetrators—but it’s one that I think is important, regardless of your age, gender, etc.

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There are so many more books on my TBR for this spring, but these are a few of the books that have recently (or not so recently) come into my life. I’m excited to dive in! Did you participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? What are some books on your spring TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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