Hello readers! In today’s post, I am going over my entire updated physical TBR. I last made this post in October 2020, before the Clear Your Shit readathon. The readathon was planned to help finish books you actually owned. I didn’t really succeed at this. At the time, I had 54 books on my TBR. I removed 8 of those books since them. I hoped to do much better for that readathon.
I am not a person who dislikes adding to my TBR, but I don’t like seeing books sit on it for a long time. This post will include all the books from that post that I still haven’t read, plus a few more that I have acquired since then, which totals 59 books. In 2021, I am going to try to only buy books if I have a plan to read it within the next 3 months, for a readathon, readalong, book club, or any other reason. I might add some notes about a few of the books, but the synopsis and trigger warnings will be available, if you are interested, unless I can’t find any.
There is an affiliate link at the bottom of this post for Better World Books. Better World Books has used books at an affordable price. I buy most of my books from them, as I prefer to buy my books used.
The Haters by Jesse Andrews
Synopsis: From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them. Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band. For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.
Out of the Furnace by Thomas Bell
Synopsis: The novel begins in the mid-1880s with the naive blundering career of Djuro Kracha. It tracks his arrival from the old country as he walked from New York to White Haven, his later migration to the steel mills of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and his eventual downfall through foolish financial speculations and an extramarital affair. The second generation is represented by Kracha’s daughter, Mary, who married Mike Dobrejcak, a steel worker. Their decent lives, made desperate by the inhuman working conditions of the mills, were held together by the warm bonds of their family life, and Mike’s political idealism set an example for the children. Dobie Dobrejcak, the third generation, came of age in the 1920s determined not to be sacrificed to the mills. His involvement in the successful unionization of the steel industry climaxed a half-century struggle to establish economic justice for the workers. Out of This Furnace is a document of ethnic heritage and of a violent and cruel period in our history, but it is also a superb story. The writing is strong and forthright, and the novel builds constantly to its triumphantly human conclusion.
Torn Away by Jennifer Brown
Brown writes YA hard-hitting contemporary novels. I just need to be in the mood to read books like this, as all of them are quite sad.
Synopsis: Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this. When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?
Trigger Warnings: tornado, parental death, sibling death
The Lost Symbol, Inferno, and Origin by Dan Brown
Well, I have started The Lost Symbol so many times, and I don’t know why it can’t keep my attention. When I get around to it in 2021, I would like to get an audiobook and get through the first couple of chapters that way.
Synopsis (of book 1: Angels and Demons): World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization — the Illuminati. In a desperate race to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and deserted cathedrals, and into the depths of the most secretive vault on earth…the long-forgotten Illuminati lair.
Trigger Warnings (book 1): rape, violent murder (in detail), kidnapping, violence, bombs, misogyny, torture
Washington: A life by Ron Chernow
I am currently in the middle of this book. I have been reading one to three chapters each night as it is almost 1000 pages. I am doing a readalong of this book and few others for the foreseeable future for an American Presidential readalong. I am American, if you didn’t know. You will see a few more in this TBR later on. I made it a goal in 2020 to start reading books about American Presidents from the first one on and I never started it. However, I found this readalong and now I am finally achieving this goal.
This book isn’t the most exciting and, in my opinion, overly informative. For instance, there is a whole page dedicated to whether Washington was actually 6 foot 3 inches, or if he was actually shorter than that. I will be sticking to it until the end either way. I’m just hoping it picks up as it goes along.
Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I don’t think I will ever actually read this, but I still might get the urge one day. My husband read it, so I will keep it, but know it might be on this list for the foreseeable future.
Synopsis: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Trigger Warnings: animal abuse and death, body horror, cannibalism, childbirth with complications, parental death, child death, eating disorder, drug abuse, experimentation on humans, guns, hanging, mentions of starvation, suicide ideation, torture, violence, murder and death
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Synopsis: ‘Are you happy in your life?’ Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before the man he’s never met smiles down at him and says, ‘Welcome back.’ In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined – one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Trigger Warnings: drug abuse, kidnapping, murder
The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
This will be around the 9th year that I owned this book. This book is the bane of my existence. I have tried so many times to read it. I think it is the oldest book on my TBR at this point. I just don’t like books that are made up of short stories. I love the TV show and I might just get rid of this book if I don’t read it in 2021.
I am going to add some general trigger warnings that I have found for different books in this series. I own books 3-7, but these are for different ones in the series.
Trigger Warnings: drug addiction, homophobia, kidnapping, murder, poisoning, racism, stalking, forced marriage, ableism
Mr. Lemoncello’s All-Star Break Out Game by Chris Grabenstein
Previously I had this one on here and the book before it, as it is in a series. This is one of my absolute favorite middle grade series. I just didn’t get to this one during Believathon back in November. I will be getting the 5th book this year and finish out this series, unless there are more books coming out.
Synopsis (of book 1): Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
I wanted to get to this in December, and I started the book, then realized it is a book of three short stories. I don’t know what it is about the words short stories that makes me not want to pick a book up, but it always does. Again, I might try to get an audiobook of it next December to help push through it. I know it is a me thing and nothing to do with this book.
Synopsis: A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.
Trigger Warnings: bullying, underage drinking
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
This one is my current read, but I decided to add it anyways. I wasn’t going to buy it this month, but I couldn’t wait to read it any longer! I really think I will love this one.
Synopsis: In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Trigger Warnings: animal death, attempted murder, blood, death, death during childbirth, domestic abuse, famine, homophobia, misogyny, occultism, pedophilia, plague, racism, sexual abuse and assault, slut shaming, starvation, torture, violence, vomit
Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry
This one is one of my husband’s books so, I don’t know that much about it. I do know it is a hard-hitting YA contemporary with LGBT and anxiety rep. I am not sure if I actually want to read this. However, if he ends up loving it, I might just have to give it a try.
Synopsis: There are so many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A super eruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen. Despite Ellis’s anxiety — about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of her loved ones — the two girls become fast friends. As Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, she learns there are secrets Hannah isn’t telling her. But with time ticking down, the search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?
Trigger Warnings: anxiety is a main focus, drugs, underage drinking, homelessness, abusive parents
The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester
Synopsis: In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet! We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil’s teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan’s a fail. Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas…
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
This one is a sci-fi book. I have only heard amazing things about it. I don’t generally like sci-fi, but I had to give it a try!
Synopsis: Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button. Only he isn’t sure he wants to. After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year. Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him. But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.
Trigger Warnings: suicide of a partner, depression as a main focus, suicidal ideation
The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Jefferson
When I made my own goal to read books about Presidents in early 2020, I decided to read a autobiography if there was one. Each time there is one, I will be skipping that month of the readalong. There are not many of the earlier Presidents that have them, so this won’t happen often.
I am just so excited to have a break from the first two President books, which are HUGE. The Washington one is almost 1000 pages and the Adams one is around 700. This book is just under 100 pages and it is going to be great.
The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
Synopsis: Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything’s all right at home – he missed a call from their mother in the middle of the night. Yu-jin soon discovers her murdered body, lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs of their stylish Seoul duplex. He can’t remember much about the night before; having suffered from seizures for most of his life, Yu-jin often has trouble with his memory. All he has is a faint impression of his mother calling his name. But was she calling for help? Or begging for her life? Thus begins Yu-jin’s frantic three-day search to uncover what happened that night, and to finally learn the truth about himself and his family. A shocking and addictive psychological thriller, The Good Son explores the mysteries of mind and memory, and the twisted relationship between a mother and son, with incredible urgency.
Trigger Warnings: Memory loss, blackouts, death of a parent, murder, violence, stalking, sexual assault, seizures
Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
I started this book in 2020, and I decided to put it down for now. I will be giving it one more try before I DNF it for good, but I am currently reading a lot of fantasy right now, so it is on the backburner.
Synopsis: The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.
Trigger Warnings: misogyny, torture, violence
Wrecking Ball and Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney
Previously, there were two Diary of a Wimpy Kid books here, being the 12th and 13th book, and I read them. Then, I bought the 14th one in the series and there is now even one more. Every time I think I am caught up, I’m not.
I did not get to the Rowley Jefferson one, which is part of it’s own spin-off series. I am just SOOO happy I made it to the two I did, as they were on my TBR for a long time.
Shopaholic series books 4-9 by Sophie Kinsella
Kinsella is one of my favorite authors. I acquired a lot of her books in the last bit of 2020, I just need to get through them in 2021, including her Shopaholic series.
Synopsis (of book 1): Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something. Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.
Trigger Warnings: So, this series is about shopping addiction, and that doesn’t seem serious, but it is an addiction still. The MC does have a lot of thoughts about falling back onto her addiction and she gives in over and over through the series. This may be triggering for anyone with ANY addiction.
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
I do love Kinsella’s books, but this is my least favorite of hers. I did start this book, twice, and I am determined to finish it one day. I know I made it past the half way point. It is very different from any of her other books, as it has a paranormal element to it. I like paranormal books, but not this one.
Synopsis: Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they? When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family.
Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella
Synopsis: When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed. Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all. Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?
Trigger Warnings: car accident, memory loss
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Synopsis: After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor reveals they could live another 68 years together… and panic sets in. They never expected ‘until death do us part’ to mean seven decades. In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakeable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that questions some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all…
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Synopsis: Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write. And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So, when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate break down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible. This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate feeling different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.
Trigger Warnings: homophobia
A Court of Wings and Ruin & A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
I was so-so about book 1 in this series. However, I LOVED book 2. If you are hesitant about reading book 2, don’t be! The MC is a bit of an airhead in the first one, but is not like that in this one. So much happens, and book 2 is worth it.
I’m going to drop a few different trigger warnings that are through different books in the series, but mostly the first book.
Synopsis: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
Trigger Warnings: drugging, kidnapping including incarceration, suicide ideation, sexual assault, murder, violence, torture
John Adams by David McCullough
This is the second book for the Presidential readalong. It is around 700 pages, so not as long as the Washington one. This may be a long process, but it might be worth it in the long run.
Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead
Synopsis: I wasn’t free of my past, not yet. Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one. The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.
Trigger Warnings: eating disorders, a relationship which was previously a student-teacher relationship(in Vampire Academy)
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Synopsis: Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle—yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.
Trigger Warnings: depictions of sexual assault
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Synopsis: At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
Trigger Warnings: alcoholism, bullying, death, car accident, drug addiction, homophobia, overdose, suicide ideation, sexual of a minor
More Than This by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness is an author I have wanted to try for a long time. I just randomly picked this one by him. I know this one is about a boy who dies and then wakes up. It is a sci-fi YA with some sort of LGBT rep.
Synopsis: A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place? As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?
Trigger Warnings: suicide, domestic abuse, kidnapping
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Wonder is a book I keep putting TBRs and not reading. I have started it before, and I don’t remember why I stopped. I have seen the movie before, so I just need to read it.
Synopsis: August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others.
Trigger Warnings: bullying, dog death, ableism
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Synopsis: Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.
Trigger Warnings: child abuse, death, emotional abuse, violence
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Synopsis: Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl. The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives. Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined. Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.
Trigger Warnings: depression, gore, suicidal ideation, violence, a lot of death and murder
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Synopsis: Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.
Trigger Warnings: suicide, depression
Ghosting: A Love Story by Tasha Skilton
I was planning on buddy reading this in November with my hubby, but we did not get to it. Neither of us have ever buddy read a book and would love to do it together!
Synopsis: Dumped by his fiancée, not only is Miles couch-surfing across New York City, but downsizing has forced him to set up shop at a local café. Also, he no longer believes in love. Not a good look in his line of work…helping people find love as a ghostwriter for a failing dating site. Zoey’s eccentric L.A. boss sent her packing to New York to “grow.” But beneath her chill Cali demeanor, Zoey’s anxiety makes her terrified to venture beyond the café across the street into the big city…Finding themselves competing for space at Café Crudite, the only thing Miles and Zoey think they share is their daily battle for last day-old biscotti and a mutual dislike of each other. They don’t know they’re both writers, creating “authentic” profiles for rival online dating services. They think they have absolutely nothing in common…. until they meet anonymously online while pretending to be their clients and sparks fly. As they become more deeply connected online, their mistaken identities get more complicated when their clients experience a dating disaster IRL. Once they find out their lives have crossed in more ways than one, will their online connection be the real thing—or vanish into the ether?
MAUS: Vol 1 by Art Speigelman
I have wanted to read this graphic novel series for a very, very long time. I finally bought the first book. All I know is it a true story and is about Nazis. The Nazis are depicted as cats and the Jews are depicted as mice.
Synopsis: A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.
Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.
Trigger Warnings: abuse, antisemitism, death, murder, memory loss, racism, starvation
A Torch Against the Night & A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
I recently read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and decided to buy some of the books in the series. I will most likely get to this series in 2021 when I have all the books. I have managed to lose my copies of both of these books, but they have to be in my house somewhere.
Synopsis (of book 1): Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
Trigger Warnings: attempted rape, rape and threatened rape, slavery, child abuse and death, slavery, torture, violence
GUTS by Raina Telgemeier
This is the last book in a non-ficiton graphic novel series. I thought the book before this was the last one, but it was not. This one is the last, unless the author adds more. I will be reading this one this month and I will finish the series.
Synopsis: Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?
Cemetary Boys by Aiden Thomas
Synopsis: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Trigger Warnings: references to abuse, deadnaming a trans character, homophobia, transphobia, misgendering
The Hobbit & Return of the King by J RR Tolkein
Synopsis (of book 1): One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them. In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
I’m trying to read Ruth Ware’s books in order and this one is my next read of hers. I really enjoyed In a Dark, Dark Wood, but Woman in Cabin 10 wasn’t as good and was a bit weird.
Synopsis: On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Trigger Warnings: underage drinking and smoking, animal violence, overdose, drawing of nude underage girls, murder
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Synopsis: On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.
Trigger Warnings: anxiety, death of a loved one, physical abuse, parental abuse, kidnapping, abandonment, murder, harrassment
Filth by Irvine Welsh
I have started this book, but I haven’t made it too far in. It is hard to read because of the transliteration. I feel like I have to pause reading so many times to look up words. I will add quite a few trigger warnings for what I know is in the book based on the movie, which I have seen. The MC in this book is VERY unlikeable and offensive, just as a warning.
Synopsis: With the Christmas season upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson of Edinburgh’s finest is gearing up socially—kicking things off with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam. There are some sizable flies in the ointment, though: a missing wife and child, a nagging cocaine habit, some painful below-the-belt eczema, and a string of demanding extramarital affairs. The last thing Robertson needs is a messy, racially fraught murder, even if it means overtime—and the opportunity to clinch the promotion he craves. Then there’s that nutritionally demanding (and psychologically acute) intestinal parasite in his gut. Yes, things are going badly for this utterly corrupt tribune of the law, but in an Irvine Welsh novel nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get a whole lot worse. . .
Trigger Warnings: The main character is homophobic, racist and sexist. Use of racial slurs, alcoholism and drug abuse, mental illness (I believe bipolar disorder), suicide, violence, murder, infidelity, physical illness including a tapeworm and eczema, kidnapping, paranoia, manipulation
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Synopsis: High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.
Trigger Warnings: racism, ableism, infidelity, cancer, death of a loved one
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