There's real magic in "When Light Left Us," and not just in the form of Luz, the otherworldly presence that inhabits (and just as suddenly abandons) the Vasquez family. Leah Thomas's storytelling is magic in itself, taking us through three days in the life of Hank, Ana, Milo, and Maggie Vasquez while slowly unfurling the mystery of Luz and his effect on their lives. It's impossible not to love the Vasquez family and the characters that surround them as you're immersed in their lives, their struggles, their encounters with pain and self-doubt, first loves, second loves, old friends and new, and their palpable affection for one another. "When Light Left Us" says so much about how to deal with loss, how to move forward and let go and embrace change. Set aside time for this one - once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy" is absolutely delightful. Funny, smart, and made my heart flutter like all the best YA does. But what really sets this novel apart is that its main character is such a warm, flawed, well-rounded, and REAL portrayal of an LGBTQ identity not frequently represented in fiction. Tash is asexual, but that's only part of who she is - she's a filmmaker, a sister, a friend, and a teenager just trying find her way through college applications, family drama, crushes, and sudden viral internet stardom. I <3 Tash <3's Tolstoy, and you will, too.
If you've ever been part of an online fandom, you will fall absolutely head-over-heels for this book. Like "Fangirl" before it, "Grace and the Fever" dives into the world of fandom with such clarity, honesty, earnestness and affection, I was ear-marking every other page, wanting to come back and read passages over and over again because they rang so true. But "Grace and the Fever' isn't just a book for the modern fangirl; it's for anyone who's ever felt like outsider, even with their own friends; anyone who's ever loved something so passionately, it became a permanent—at times all-consuming—part of their life; anyone who's struggled with growing-up and moving on; and anyone who's ever dared to care about something with their whole heart. This book is for you.
Winger" is one of those rare books that not only encourages a second reading, but almost REQUIRES it. The first 3/4 is a fresh coming-of-age tale about a teenage rugby player sanctioned to the troublemaker's dorm at an elite boarding school, with a pitch-perfect voice and stand-out characters. Then, something happens that will change the way you've read the entire book, immediately urging you to go back and read again from the beginning. "Winger" is entertaining and heartbreaking and powerful from beginning to end - but the last few pages will knock you out.
Fans of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl - I know I don't need to convince you to read Rainbow Rowell's newest, Carry On. But in case you're on the fence about her first dip into fantasy, my advice to you is this: don't be. The characters are enchanting, the prose sparkling, the plot full of wild twists and turns that'll keep you guessing until the very end. Fans of Harry Potter - if you find yourself missing the halls of Hogwarts, you MUST make this your next read. It has just as much magic and friendship and danger, but a brilliant new twist on the Chosen One trope. And for everyone else - you don't want to miss this brilliantly written, lovely love story. Rainbow Rowell can write a kissing scene like nobody in the business