Admittedly, I was pretty busy in June, but I did manage to read a lot of good fiction. I picked up a couple of popular titles that I’d seen advertised a lot on Instagram and various bookstores, and I wasn’t disappointed with any of them.
The Immortalists (5 Stars)
The Immortalists follows the lives of four siblings as they navigate growing to adulthood after they’re each told the day of their death in adolescence. Starting with the youngest, the book is broken into sections following each of the children, and becomes an intimate character portrait that attempts to answer to the question: does knowing about our fate change it?
I was really impressed by this novel. It’s got a beautiful cover and wonderful writing. There are lots of solid, quotable lines and descriptions. Each of the characters is very distinct and memorable, and the plot is interesting. Breaking it up into sections gives the reader the ability to really get to know each character on their own terms. The end of the novel feels conclusive and satisfying in an “everything continues/comes full circle” kind of way.
Little Fires Everywhere (4 Stars)
As someone from northeast Ohio, the setting of the novel is what originally drew me in. I’d been seeing Little Fires just about everywhere for months, and I decided that it was time to try it out. I definitely wasn’t disappointed, although it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Little Fires is a character portrait of two families and their interactions with each other and the community set in Shaker Heights (Cleveland), Ohio. Normally I don’t really like thrillers, not that this is really a thriller (it just kind of felt like one at times). It’s really just wonderful fiction writing with a little bit if suspense.
I wouldn’t go into this book expecting a lot of action. It’s not slow, but it’s more of a fun, casual read about the characters and their reactions to each other. Each of the characters is stereotypical, but also not at all. The traditional upper-middle-class white family in 1997 is broken down to reveal the real people and their motivations. The setting of this novel is super important to understanding the dynamics of the situation because the environment also frames the reactions. The only reason why this book is 4 stars instead of 5 is the ending, which was okay but not the best. There were also some smaller parts of the novel I would have cut out, and events that could have been pushed to different places in the novel
Circe (5 Stars)
I didn’t know much about Circe before picking up this novel. I knew that she way in the Odyssey, but that was about it, and I really couldn’t even pronounce her name. Now I know a lot, but I also feel like my knowledge of Greek myths as whole has grown too. Circe follows the life of the young goddess, whose father (Helios) and mother quickly reject her after her birth. Circe grows up as the odd child, even to her siblings, and eventually gets herself banished to an island. It’s here that the real adventures begin as she interacts with all parts of Greek folk lore.
This novel really filled in a lot of the Iliad and the Odyssey for me. As an English major, I’d been forced to read the Odyssey for literature classes already, but there were still parts of the story I had trouble understanding or remembering. Circe explains all of those stories in modern words and even adds to them at points. It brings a lot of Greek myths together and shows how they interact in a single world, which was super cool. The writing in the book is also beautiful, and Circe’s character development is excellent. The book is thick, but difficult to put down and enjoyable all the way through to the end. I never felt lagged or tired of her story. Something interesting was always happening to her.
What's up next in July?
July is Bone marrow transplant month for me! Which means that I'll have lots of time to read during my admission (if I'm feeling up to it).
- The Book of Essie
- Love Does
- The Hazelwood
- Everything Happens for a Reason