Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ ThoughtsOnTomes, formerly by Lainey @ GingerReadsLainey, on a Goodreads group here.
The theme for June 6th is Summer Reads:
With summer finally kicking off, now is the time to recommend your favorite summer reads, whatever that means to you!
(This is a day late according to my time zone but oh well.)
I’m Australian. It’s winter. It’s cold and sad and raining all the time. Because I’m out of sync with the Northern Hemisphere’s book community, I don’t read seasonally.
However, I tend to have a lot of free time at the end of the year when it is Summer, so I’m going to list my favourite reads from Decembers gone by. They’re not specifically summery, but they feel summery to me because they’re associated with my best reading time of the year.
#1: Ash by Malinda Lo
I read this two summers ago for a diverse retelling challenge, and it was my introduction to Malinda Lo’s writing. Despite being a few years old, it does hold up pretty well, but you can definitely see how Malinda has developed as a writer since its publication.
This is a F/F Cinderella retelling with a (presumably) bisexual MC. And fairies. TW: child abuse.
Here’s my review. It’s a bit different from the reviews I write these days because I didn’t have my special format back then.
This is the sequel to The Melody of You and Me, which is an F/F novel featuring a pansexual MC. This one follows one of the supporting characters, Lily, through her own story and is also F/F. Lily is white Brazilian and queer (she canonically doesn’t choose an identity label). Lots of sex, but it’s not cringey. TW: anti-queer parents, discussion of racism and anti-queerness.
Here’s my review.
At this point in time, neither this book nor the first book in the series seem to be available for purchase, unfortunately. The author has on occasion updated her books, so maybe that’s what is happening at the moment. I can’t find any information about what’s going on. But if you already have a copy of either of these books, I recommended giving them a read.
If you don’t have these, A Night at the Mall is a short, fluffy F/F story by the same author and she also has plenty others.
The two protagonists in this book have incredible voices. Daniel is a Korean-American boy suddenly thrust into the position of being the pride of his family when his older brother disappoints their parents. Natasha is a Jamaican girl on the cusp of deportation due to a mistake her father made.
They meet by chance, a mere twelve hours before Natasha is slated for deportation, and they fall hard for each other in different ways. The also book weaves threads of mini-stories throughout the narrative of people whose lives are impacted by these two young people just through minor interactions as they go about their day.
The writing style is so moreish and easy to read, and this probably would’ve been a five-star read if not for a few annoying issues. TW: amatonormativity (A LOT), allonormativity (A LOT), ableist language, stalkerish behaviour, suicide, racism (not condoned), discussions of historical slavery.
The writing was damn good so I ended up being really forgiving of the flaws. And THAT ENDING OMG.
Here’s my review.
This is a primarily queer disabled cast with a number of characters of colour. Regan, an asexual lizard man with camouflaging abilities and anxiety, has lost his memory on a mission and is being haunted by the projection of the person who took his memories. Evelyn, a trans polyamorous sapphic woman with a superpowered voice, takes him under her wing. Other characters include: amputee polyamorous queer Woman of Colour, nonbinary characters, a character with depression. Most characters have signs of PTSD and possibly other mental illnesses.
They live in Parole, a city enclosed within a bubble to separate them and their mutations from the outside world, watched over by a militarised police force. Parole is constantly on fire, and it’s only getting worse. This is often described as a hopeful dystopia, because even though the characters are tripped in a burning prison of a city and spend much of the time on the run, they care for and comfort each other and refuse to stay knocked down for long. Characters like Evelyn and the mysterious Radio Angel use their drug-mutated powers to inspire, comfort and protect.
This book is also the best example of third person omniscient narration I have ever seen.
TW: Suicide, medical procedures, loss of limb, panic attacks
Here’s my review.
#5: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
This is a story about three Australian friends who travel to America for their first comic book convention. It’s told in alternating narration between the two girls: Charlie, a pink-haired bisexual Chinese-Australian vlogger starring in her first movie, and Taylor, a plus-sized autistic girl with anxiety who’s come along to support her friend and hopefully meet her fandom idol.
It’s an extremely cute story with incredible characters. It’s commonly described as a love letter to geek culture, which is absolutely true. Charlie has just come out of an identity-consuming relationship with a jerk of a guy who happens to be her costar in the movie, and Taylor has had a huge crush on her other best friend, Jamie, for years. Charlie is trying to forge her own identity away from this guy, and has a distant-admirer-to-lovers relationship with a black (presumably lesbian) vlogger. Taylor is trying to become more assertive and reach for what she wants, even when it terrifies her.
I love them. And this story.
TW: unchallenged ableist language, anxiety attacks, slut-shaming (addressed), bimisia (addressed), unchallenged amatonormativity/aromisia.
Here’s my review.