November was a ridiculously good reading month for me! I finished 7 great books and loved most of them. Keep reading to hear about the books I read this month and be sure to leave a comment below and let me know your favorite book you read this month.
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Number of books read: 7 📘📘📘📘📘📘📘
Print books: 2 📚📚
Audiobooks: 3 🎧🎧🎧
Kindle books: 2 📱📱
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 star books: 2
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 star books: 3
⭐⭐⭐ 3 star books: 2
⭐⭐ 2 star books: 0
⭐ 1 star books: 0
😍 Favorite book: Disability Visibility
☹️ Least favorite book: Invisible Girl
▶️ YouTube wrap up:
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read November 2, 2020.
Wow. This book was powerful. I read the whole thing in one sitting and I literally could not put it down. Ghost Boys tells the story of a 12 year old Black boy named Jermone who is shot and killed by a white police officer. The story is largely told by Jerome in his own afterlife as he comes to terms with what happened to him, meets Emmett Till and other “ghost boys” like Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin, and helps to influence positive future change from the afterlife. This book made me cry and it made me want to throw up and wow do I recommend this to everyone who loves middle grade fiction. If I taught middle school I’d 100% want to read this with my students. (I think the shifting alive-dead perspectives from the same narrator are a little too high concept for my current group of fourth graders.) I think Jewel Parker Rhodes did an incredible job of telling a story of racism, violence, white supremacy, and injustice in a way that is age-appropriate for kids.
Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker
4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read from November 5, 2020 – November 16, 2020.
Molly Clarke is tired. She’s tired of feeling like her husband doesn’t love her anymore. She’s tired of feeling like her two oldest children are annoyed by and ashamed of her. And most of all she’s tired of the guilt she feels over her youngest child’s death. So one day when she runs out of gas and has to get out of the car and walk, she decides to just keep walking and that day was the last her family heard of her. But Molly’s daughter Nicole is not convinced that her mother would just leave their family. Sure, adults can leave and disappear whenever they want, but Nicole is sure there’s more to the story and she’s determined to find out what happened to her mother, no matter what she has to do.
I really enjoyed this book, especially on audio. You probably already know I’m obsessed with books told through multiple perspectives and hearing this story from the alternating points of view of Molly and Nicole really added to the suspense. The twists were twisty and even though I made some predictions, I was still surprised by a lot of the plot points. This was a book I kept wanting to listen to, even when I was planning to do other things. The only thing that kept this from being 5 stars for me was the ending. For me to give a book 5 stars, it has to absolutely nail the ending and this one just didn’t quite make it. It was definitely great, just not absolutely perfect for me.
**read as an audiobook**
Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah
4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read from November 12, 2020 – November 16, 2020.
Wow, I truly could not put this book down. Perfect Little Children starts with our protagonist Beth sneakily parking outside her ex-best friend’s house. They haven’t spoken in 12 years, but she’s curious about how Flora’s life is going and what she’s like after all this time. Beth expects to just get a glimpse of the house and then get on with her day, but she’s definitely not expecting to see Flora get out of a car with two little kids who look exactly like the two little kids she had 12 years ago and even call them by the same names. Is it possible that Thomas and Emily haven’t aged? Or is something even more sinister going on?
Like I said, I really couldn’t put this book down. Normally I listen to audiobooks in the shower, in the car, and while I’m getting ready or doing chores. I almost never just sit there and listen to the story without multitasking. But with Perfect Little Children, I just had to know what happened next, so that’s exactly what I did. The way the story unfolded was incredible. I was right along with Beth being thoroughly confused and worried. I loved Beth as a main character. She had the perfect balance of flaws and good qualities to make her a realistic protagonist I was actually rooting for (I feel like this is hard to find in thrillers.) When I got toward the end of the book, I got worried that I wouldn’t like the ending. I ended up not loving the climax of the book. The villain got a little cartoonishly evil and everything felt a bit overdramatized. But Sophie Hannah saved it for me with the wrapup at the very end. I really enjoyed the way the story tied up and once again, I thought the character of Beth was handled perfectly. I went into this book because the premise sounded interesting, but this is exactly the kind of book that makes me want to check out an author’s other works.
**read as an audiobook**
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
3 stars ⭐⭐⭐
Read from November 23, 2020 – November 24, 2020.
Readers are introduced to the players in the game: Saffyre, a teenage girl struggling with her mental health and childhood trauma; Roan, her therapist who cuts her loose before she’s ready; Cate, Roan’s wife who is second guessing her marriage; and Owen, a man who’s sometimes portrayed as creepy and at other times simply misunderstood, who’s faced reprimands at work for inappropriate sexual behaviors toward his students and who is active in online incel communities. Then, we find out Saffyre is missing and it’s unclear who to blame.
Like The Family Upstairs, the only other Lisa Jewell novel I’ve read, I felt like Invisible Girl was maybe trying just a bit too hard. There were parts I really enjoyed, and overall I was invested in the story and wanted to finish the book. However, it felt like some pieces were included for shock value or for purposeful misdirection. When I read a thriller, I want to feel unsure of who to trust and trying to figure out the truth, but I don’t want to feel like the author is purposefully leading me astray. A well-placed red herring can be a valuable plot device, but too much misdirection just ends up obscuring the themes of the book, and I think that’s what happened here.
My main problem in this story was Owen. I did not like him and I know that obviously there can be complicated characters and you don’t have to like every character to enjoy a story. But I felt slimy reading from Owen’s perspective. He made me mad. And I didn’t feel like his narrated chapters added much to the plot at all aside from making it unclear who was to blame for Saffyre’s disappearance. It was also clear that the author was trying to redeem him in the arc of the story, but I didn’t find him redeemable so there was a large disconnect there.
Overall, I feel like I might just not vibe with Lisa Jewell as a writer. I feel like her stories are interesting and I can get invested in them, but I just don’t like some of the choices it seems like she tends to make as a writer. I really enjoyed discussing this book with my book club though!
Echoes of a Haunting: Revisited by Clara M. Miller
3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐💫
Read from November 2, 2020 – November 27, 2020.
This book was a really interesting read and definitely a different one for me! I picked it up after watching Stephanie Harlowe’s videos about the Hinsdale House. Stephanie did a great job retelling the story but it was interesting enough to me to want to read the source material. Clara M. Miller tells the story of her family’s time living in a haunted house as fact. Personally, I’m a skeptic and still am after reading this book, but I did find it really interesting! Miller herself seems skeptical of her experiences throughout the book, even as she recounts these strange happenings as fact. I think it serves to actually make the reader more likely to believe her story, because she acknowledges the weirdness and improbability of it all. I also found her formatting choices to be interesting. Miller tells her story in a diary format, but it is clearly written long after the dates ascribed to each event. In her introduction, she explains that the format was the way it made the most sense to her to tell her story, but it was a bit weird as a reader to have the blending of past and present tense, as well as the author’s knowledge of what was to come hinted at throughout dated diary entries. I think the format helped make it so Miller could just focus on recounting the strange events without focusing too much on storytelling, but I personally would have enjoyed the book a bit more if she had either committed more to the diary format or changed it altogether.
Lastly, if you’ve read Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, this book really reminded me of the book Maggie’s father wrote about their time living in that creepy house. I’m wondering if this story was an inspiration for Sager! Overall, I enjoyed the book, but if you just want to hear the story, I think you could stick to Stephanie’s videos!
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
Read from November 21, 2020 – November 29, 2020.
Wow wow wow this was a great month for thrillers on audio for me. This was an incredible story about powerful women, justice, and what happened to the main character when she was caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. I loved all the characters and the way the story unfolded really kept me in suspense. Shay was such a relatable main character for me and I loved the balance of obliviousness and resourcefulness she had. I’d love to see this as a mini series.
**read as an audiobook**
Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read from November 12, 2020 – November 30, 2020.
I don’t have a ton to say to review this book other than to say I think everyone should read it. It was incredibly powerful, deeply intersectional, and each and every essay made me think.
What did you enjoy reading this November? Leave me a comment below and tell me!