Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Song of Achilles is an interesting take on the legend of the Trojan War, specifically exploring the relationship between the hero Achilles and his comrade Patrocles. It was very beautifully written and the contrast between the original legend and the story worked really well. As someone who enjoyed the Iliad, it was awesome to read a take on the story that looks in between the lines of the original text.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places is a haunting and very real take on the classic ‘murder mystery.’ The novel itself lives up to its title: it is incredibly dark, but it is dark in a way that isn’t overwhelming. It’s dark in a way that is very, very real, which is what makes it disturbing. There are moments throughout the novel that aren’t however, and that’s what makes it so good. Books and movies that are disturbing and dark all the time get boring or overwhelming and the audience or reader gets desensitized to all the awful stuff happening.
Norse Gods by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and the way he rewrote the classic Norse myths did not disappoint. My favorite thing about it was the way he re crafted the stories so that they were even more mystical than the original tales.
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Saint Anything is a young adult novel about a girl whose brother is in jail, and the struggles that come along with that. There are funny, touching, and frustrating moments throughout the book, and what struck me most about the book was how real these moments felt. There are themes of loneliness, the parental frustration that comes along with being a teenager, topped with the main characters struggle with trying to get her parents to trust her and make friends as well.
The Haters by Jesse Andrews
The Haters is a funny and well written young adult novel about three musicians who sneak out of the summer jazz camp they are all attending and attempt to form a band and go on tour. Though the novel is lighthearted and humorous, I was surprised at the amount of themes it explored, and also how real it was. It did not end the way I expected it to, and I was shocked at how quickly it took a darker turn. It portrays a very realistic world view, which is unusual for a book in this genre.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
As someone with anxiety, I appreciated the accuracy of this book. This tale of a lost millionaire and the two best friends who go on a quest to find him is a fun story, but is undercut with the very real and difficult struggles of the main character, who lives with anxiety. At one point she has to go to the hospital because of her anxiety. I appreciated how it is portrayed as a serious health issue, rather than a quirk as it is in so many other books.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater
Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer