Last weekend, I went on a trip with my family to San Clemente State Beach and camped at the state campground. Since I’m not really into the beach, I spent most of my time reading. Here’s a recap of the four books I read. I will write full reviews for these later, but here are my initial thoughts on each.
Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
I loved this story. I was surprised by the complexity of the plot and the different themes it touched on. I loved the romance, the discussion of gender stereotypes, Elyse’s healing process, and the role each of the parental figures had in the story. The main plot surrounding the boat race carried the rest of the plots effortlessly, making this a well-paced read. I found myself tearing up almost every other page, and I was amazed at the character Ockler created without the ability to speak. My only complaint is that some of the characters felt flat. Truly a unique and powerful contemporary read.
P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han
P.S. I Still Love You was a strong continuation of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before story. I came to appreciate Lara Jean’s character more, and I was glad that the family drama took a back seat to other (less aggravating) subplots. The romance clearly showcased a real relationship with imperfect characters making human mistakes. However, the plot had no clear rise and fall, and I felt that the story dragged a bit without a clear central plot line to carry it. I would be interested to read a third book, but I also feel like the series could be over after this book.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin
I haven’t read anything paranormal in a long time, but this book reminded me what I used to love about the genre: creepy plots, troubled protagonists, and hot as hell love interests. Mara’s voice came through clearly in the story and her PTSD issues were written well. The story grabbed me and I could not stop reading; as soon as I finished it, I used my phone to order the next book. However, I felt like the paranormal elements of the plot were revealed too late in the story, and the romance strayed into Instalove territory.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Wow. Just wow. This story was amazing. Shazi was a strong, stubborn, and loyal protagonist, and her conflicted emotions as she fell for the caliph were agonizing. I loved the romance between Shazi and Khalid, as well as the strain his “murderous habits” put on their relationship. Watching Shazi grow into her role in the palace put a smile on my face–it was hilarious, powerful, and cringe-worthy awkward at the same time, in exactly the right way. The other plot lines did not grab me as much, but I can tell that in the second book, they will feel more congruous with the main story. I cannot wait to read the next one!
What books did you read this weekend? Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me, or disagree? And what should I read next?