My first year at the university was very hard and tiring but it’s also enjoyable. I had new friends and went to have drinks here and there. Since it’s the season of holidays, I’ll be out of the university in a while. And that means, more time to read books (Yes. Let’s cross out some books in that long list of my TBR list). This is gonna be my breather from my university life.
Anyway, as I was travelling back home (it took me 6 hours just to go home – very tiring), I went to Goodreads and EpicReads to look for some books I want to read during the holidays.
This list will only contain stand-alone novels. Please do take note that not all of this are entirely newly-released books.
1. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.
I feel that I’m going to like this book so much because for one, Tahereh Mafi wrote this book. I’m a Shatter Me junkie way back then. And there’s romance and diverse characters. It also tackles discrimination and bullying which is an issue today. So yeah, more reason to read the book.
2. Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu
Some love stories aren’t meant to last.
Stella lives with depression, and her goals for junior year are pretty much limited to surviving her classes, staying out of her parents’ constant fights and staving off unwanted feelings enough to hang out with her friends Lin and Katie.
Until Kevin. A quiet, wry senior who understands Stella and the lows she’s going through like no one else. With him, she feels less lonely, listened to—and hopeful for the first time since ever…
But to keep that feeling, Stella lets her grades go and her friendships slide. And soon she sees just how deep Kevin’s own scars go. Now little arguments are shattering. Major fights are catastrophic. And trying to hold it all together is exhausting Stella past the breaking point. With her life spinning out of control, she’s got to figure out what she truly needs, what’s worth saving—and what to let go.
So far, the blurb of the book hits close to home. And with that, I think this book is going to be an interesting read. Aside from that, this book talks about mental health problems so that’s a plus. There’s also gonna be romance (I think!) so yeah. I feel like this book is going to make cry.
3. When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen
It’s 1871 and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth, and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson. Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed.
As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze. Sweeping, soapy, and romantic, this is a story about an epic love triangle—one that will literally set the city ablaze, and change the lives of three childhood friends forever.
I’m really not a fan of historical fictions. I like my history stay non-fiction. But, I guess I need to try out things away from my comfort zone. I also don’t like love triangles (ughhhh!). Anyway, the cover is really really good. This is mainly the reason why I included this on the list. I mean, I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But, damn! The cover looks so fine. There’s also “fire” involved which reminds me of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart which is one of my favorite books. I’m probably going to regret reading this. But I’m gonna try it out. Hopefully, not gonna regret.
4. This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow
It doesn’t matter what the prize for the Sun City Originals contest is this year.
Who cares that’s it’s fifteen grand? Who cares about a gig opening for one of the greatest bands to ever play this town?
Not Dia, that’s for sure. Because Dia knows that without a band, she hasn’t got a shot at winning Sun City. Because ever since Hanna’s drinking took over her life, Dia and Jules haven’t been in it. And ever since Hanna left — well, there hasn’t been a band.
It used to be the three of them, Dia, Jules, and Hanna, messing around and making music and planning for the future. But that was then, and this is now — and now means a baby, a failed relationship, a stint in rehab, all kinds of off beats that have interrupted the rhythm of their friendship. No contest can change that. Right?
But like the lyrics of a song you used to play on repeat, there’s no forgetting a best friend. And for Dia, Jules, and Hanna, this impossible challenge — to ignore the past, in order to jumpstart the future — will only become possible if they finally make peace with the girls they once were, and the girls they are finally letting themselves be.
Rebecca Barrow’s tender story of friendship, music, and ferocious love asks — what will you fight for, if not yourself?
First of all, let’s talk about the cover. The cover is one hella fine. And don’t get me started on the music part of the book. I love music (but I don’t know how to sing or play instrument. Sad, I know). I do listen mostly to indie folk music. But I also do listen to rock music, mostly punk rock and alternative rock. So I think this is going to be a good read.
5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
There are lots of good reviews I’ve been hearing about The Hate U Give for quite some time. It also garnered lots of awards. It wouldn’t get an award if it wasn’t good, right? Right. I’ve also heard that it’s a diverse read and that it’s going to hit the cinemas soon. So I guess, I need to read it before it hits the cinema. Also, it reminds me of Meteor Garden or Boys over Flowers.
6. Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider
Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.
Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother’s death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends–a group of magnificently silly theater nerds–while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.
Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life–and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn’t telling her the whole truth.
All Rose knows is that it’s becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn’t ready to lose.
I was hesitating if I should include a Robyn Schneider book in my Christmas TBR. It’s Robyn Schneider, for Chaol’s sake! She makes me cry and happy at the same time whenever I read books of her. And for some reason, this reminds me of Emmy & Oliver which is one of my favorite reads. The cover is also pretty good. So, I guess I’ll be crying at some point during my break.
7. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?
I haven’t read LGBTQ+ books in a while. The last one was More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera and I read that like 3 years ago? (I haven’t even read Simon Vs. The Homo-Sapien Agenda). So to change the pace, I wanted to read more LGBTQ+ this vacation and planning to add this on my resolutions this coming year 2019. I wanted to try that with this book because it looks promising. I mean, it’s written by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, so I do expect a lot from this, I guess?
8. Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.
Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.
I think this book is Japanese-inspired which is very plus for me considering that I am an Asian. It also reminds me of my childhood where I watch animes with yokais on it and the main character just fights those evil yokais. I’m getting nostalgic and excited at the same time by just knowing that I’m about to read this book in a while.
9. I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
A powerful display of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay. Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven’t been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they’re supposed to be. Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, Gayle Forman’s newest novel about the power of friendship and being true to who you are is filled with the elegant prose that her fans have come to know and love.
I really like how Gayle Forman writes her books. Despite her writing style (her sentence structures and everything) being simple, you can’t just deny the fact that her books have heart. For some reason, it touches you, despite the fact that the story is a little bit boring and whatnot. There’s something about her books that gives you an emotional high. This is probably the reason why I wanted to read this new book of hers this holiday.
10. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say by Leila Sales
Before we go any further, I want you to understand this: I am not a good person.
We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things? What then?
When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people knows what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.
With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Does she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?
First and foremost a novel about public shaming in the internet age, If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say is also an exploration of the power of words, the cumulative destructiveness of microaggressions, and the pressing need for empathy.
This one hits close to home. As part of the Gen Z generation, I feel like verbal bullying proliferated more, especially with the rise of social media. We don’t only talk about our fellow students in school but we also shame our teachers in social media. Little do we know that what we say or type in our computers or cellphones might have a very big impact on someone else. As a person, I know that I should be careful with my words and actions. I tell myself to be kind always. But sometimes, there are times I forget to be kind. I forget to be careful with my words. So I guess, this is going to be my reality check book for a while.
So that’s the list! I’m just gonna include ten books for now because reading 10 books this Christmas season is realistic, in a sense that it is achievable. But, if there is an extra time for me to read more books, then I might read other ones aside from these books. Also, I might read five series this season too. Stay updated for my TBR: Series Edition! And if you are going to read some of the books included in the list, let me know and maybe we could have a read together!