April 29, 2021

Abbreviations #129: My Epic Spring Break(Up), Dustborn + In a Book Club Far Away

I’ll preface this review by stating, for the record, that my thoughts on this novel are likely influenced by the fact that I’m not the target audience for this story. While I’ve often found it easier to still love young adult in other genres, it’s been difficult for me to really fall in love with YA contemporary reads these days. My Epic Spring Break(Up) was, ultimately, just okay. The novel centers around Ashley, a planner who has taken all the steps she’s deemed necessary in order to achieve the future she wants. Her spring break plans change completely when everything she’s set up for herself falls apart and she decides that it might be time to embrace a bit of fun and follow her heart… including connecting with her crush Walker and reconnecting with her childhood friend Jason. But will everything really go according to her (non) plan? Now, the truth is, there’s nothing inherently bad about My Epic Spring Break(Up). It has a simple enough premise that plays out fairly well, and includes nods to NYC and Taylor Swift. In fact, I’m pretty confident in saying that teen Alexa would probably have loved this one a whole lot more than adult Alexa did. But adult Alexa can easily say that this fell short of being memorable in the sea of similar stories, and it’s ultimately going to get lost among the rest (at least for me). At the end of the day, if the premise of My Epic Spring Break(Up) sounds appealing, I’d still encourage you to try it (especially since it’s a very quick read).

Pub Info: April 6, 2021 by Underlined | Add it on Goodreads

Set in a wasteland plagued by plenty of dangerous environmental phenomena, Dustborn tells the story of Delta of Dead River, who has always been told that she must keep the map branded on her back - the one that leads to a supposed paradise known as the Verdant - a secret. When her family is taken by raiders on the order of the General, Delta must find a way to decode the map and the way to the Verdant in order to save her family. I’ve said it before, but I really think that Erin Bowman has some excellent, unique concepts for her novels; Dustborn is certainly no exception! While I generally don’t read a lot of sci-fi, I’m happy to make an exception for Erin’s stories. Her storytelling has always worked for me as a reader, as she really manages to coax immersive worlds and thrilling plots into existence with her words. In the case of Dustborn, because I haven’t read a lot of literature quite like it, everything felt really fresh. I was thrilled and excited and terrified at turns, and the uncertainty of how Delta’s story would end (or how she would get out of the predicaments she finds herself in quite often in such an unforgiving world) kept me turning the pages as quickly as I possibly could. It was truly an adventurous sort of read, and I genuinely would recommend checking it out!

Pub Info: April 20, 2021 by HMH Books for Young Readers | Add it on Goodreads

In a Book Club Far Away
follows the story of three Army wives - Regina, Adelaide and Sophie - who originally bonded through book club and became best friends. But a big betrayal leads to a friendship falling out between two of the trio, and their group falls apart. It’s eight years later when Adelaide calls on both Sophie and Regina for help in caring for herself and her daughter as she has to undergo emergency surgery with her husband stationed abroad and no other family or friends close by. For the sake of their friend, Sophie and Regina agree to put aside their differences for the time being. But the time they spend together might just let them open up about the past in order to figure out a way for their friendship to get a new beginning. This novel is the fifth work of Marcelo’s that I’ve read and I really liked it! Much like her other works, there’s a coziness to her storytelling style that invites readers to come and spend some time getting to know her characters. I got invested pretty quickly in all three storylines, both in where they connect (in their friendship) and where they diverge (to highlight their individual struggles). I also liked the way the narrative was constructed to include both the present and the past, as it definitely built up the tension regarding the ‘incident’ that causes their friendship to fall apart. In a Book Club Far Away was an easy read, despite the heartbreaking events that occur within the tale, and it’s certainly one that I can recommend for fellow fans of women’s fiction.

Pub Info: April 6, 2021 by Gallery Books | Add it on Goodreads


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