In August, I participated in the Orilium Magical Readathon, which is always a lot of fun. It often leads me to pick up books I might not have read otherwise in that month – for example, I read a childhood favourite of mine called The Seven Wise Princesses in August, which was so much fun, but which definitely wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been a prompt for that.
Unrelated to the Magical Readathon I also read quite a few library books in August, which I honestly haven’t done since I was a teenager, so that was fun! A big part of the reason why I stopped going to the library was that they didn’t have the English books I wanted to read, but the English department is getting increasingly better as more and more people in the Netherlands start reading in English – which I think is a great improvement!
Anyway, enough babbling. Onto the books! I read eight of them in August, and I enjoyed pretty much all of them!
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson ★★★★☆ (4)
I read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder earlier this year and although I enjoyed it, I wasn’t blown away by it, so I decided to borrow the sequel from the library instead of buying it myself. And I actually ended up preferring this one over the first book! There’s something about Holly Jackson’s writing style that I don’t fully gel with, but I rushed through this nonetheless because (just like AGGGTM) it’s such a pageturner! With the first book, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was just a little too weird for a teenage girl to go around and solve this cold case for a high school project, but in Good Girl, Bad Blood her involvement felt much more justified. I liked how she got sucked into it without really wanting to at first, and how she’s still just very good at what she does. I’m looking forward to reading the last book!
Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo ★★★★⭑ (4.5)
This is such a wonderful modern retelling of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott in graphic novel form! I loved it so much and it even made me tear up on the last page because I realised how far we’ve come in terms of women’s rights and freedom since Alcott’s time. We’re still not fully where we need to be, but we’ve come a long way. I really enjoyed the modernisation of the story: two single parents coming together to form a new, wonderful family, as well as them living in a New York apartment. The characters are still completely recognisable as their classic counterparts, but they fully fitted into this modern version of the story as well. I borrowed this one from the library too, but I think I want my own copy of it!
You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry ★★★★★ (5)
I love Emily Henry and everything that she writes, it seems. In August, my boyfriend and I went on holiday, and I’d saved this book to be one of my holiday reads, which made it even more fun to read. The story centers around best friends Poppy and Alex, who used to go on a summer holiday together every year. We find out early on that something happened between the two of them that made them fall out and lose touch, and at the start of the book, Poppy decides she wants to patch things up and go on another trip with Alex. We hop back and forth between the current day and the previous holidays, which is something I love in a novel, and it worked very well in this one, too. I adored the main characters and the back-and-forth between them – there’s just something about the way Emily Henry writes her characters that makes me so happy. I can’t wait for her new book to come out!
The Seven Wise Princesses by Wafa’ Tarnowska ★★★★☆ (4)
I used to love this book when I was a kid and I would pore over the illustrations endlessly, but I hadn’t looked at it in years until I came across it at my parents’ house again. One of the prompts for the magical readathon was to read a childhood favourite, and that seemed like the perfect excuse to reread this one! I had forgotten most of the story, but the pictures were still very familiar, and I had such a good time immersing myself in this Medieval Persian epic again. It was also a lot of fun to look at it through the eyes of an adult this time and notice certain themes and outdated gender norms, especially after having written my MA thesis about feminism and patriarchal structures in fairy tales. It provided a whole new perspective on this book!
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson ★★⭑☆☆ (2.75)
This was the only book I didn’t really enjoy this month, which is a pity since I had high expectations after loving Leah Johnson’s debut novel You Should See Me in a Crown. Rise to the Sun is a YA novel set at a music festival and it follows two girls, Olivia and Toni, who meet and fall for each other at said festival. We get both of their perspectives, but unfortunately, I really didn’t like Olivia, who kept making dumb, selfish decisions, which made rooting for the romance rather difficult. I did enjoy the festival setting and I liked Toni’s storyline, for the most part, but it was not enough to curb my annoyance at Olivia’s character and some of the directions the story went in.
Toffee by Sarah Crossan ★★★★☆ (4)
Toffee had been on my radar for a few years before I finally picked up a copy at my local bookstore last year. I’m glad I’ve now finally read it, because this was a beautiful book. It’s a novel in verse about Allison, who runs away from home to escape her abusive father, and ends up moving into the home of an elderly woman named Marla, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and thinks Allison is her old friend Toffee. I was very impressed with the way Crossan manages to evoke so many emotions and write such well-defined characters in so few words. She simply knows how to pick the perfect ones to tell her story. This was heartwrenching and sad, but also quite hopeful, in some ways. I’d highly recommend it!
The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann ★★★★☆ (4)
This was one of my highly anticipated released of 2022, and I loved it! The Romantic Agenda is a romance novel with an asexual main character, which means I’m immediately invested. Joy is in love with her best friend Malcolm, but Malcolm only has eyes for Summer. This makes for a rather awkward weekend getaway, but things start to look up when Summer brings her best friend Fox. It took me some time to get into the story, mostly because I hated Malcolm, but I absolutely loved Joy and I got very invested in what happened to her. The way she approaches life and her sexuality were really wonderful and refreshing and I had a blast reading this.
Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman #1) by Neil Gaiman ★★★☆☆ (3)
I’d already read this graphic novel once before, a couple of years ago, and I gave it three stars back then as well. However, I decided to give it another go after watching Netflix’s The Sandman, which is a great adaptation, and, in my opinion, a lot better than the source material. I really like the concepts of The Sandman – the focus on dreaming and reality – but the graphic novel feels rather outdated in terms of diversity (lots of white men running the show), which made me less invested. I’m also not a huge fan of the art style. Nevertheless, I do think I’m going to read on, as it was a lot of fun to compare the graphic novel with the show.
And that’s it! Those are all of the books I read in August. Have you read any of these? What was your favourite read in August? Let’s chat in the comments!