Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fantasy, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: September 2020 – Part 1


*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: Beach Read by Emily Henry, American Street by Ibi Zobi, Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman, & Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane


» Beach Read by Emily Henry



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» I’ve read 2 of Emily Henry’s YA fantasy books, so I was very interested in reading her adult romance debut.  While Beach Read differs from Henry’s previous works, one thing stays the same: Henry knows how to write a beautiful love story.

» Contrary to what the title & cover may lead you to believe, I wouldn’t consider Beach Read to be a light-hearted read.   Beach Read is a contemporary romance that includes serious topics like grief, betrayal, and family secrets.

» The slow burn romance between our two main characters, January and Gus, was executed beautifully.   While this has been tagged a “hate-to-love” story, it’s more of a rivalries-to-lovers story.  The chemistry between them was palpable, and I enjoyed watching their romance develop.WhatIDidntLike» The secondary characters felt surface level.  I would have really liked to see more of Gus’s aunt & her partner.  They felt like token characters to be honest.

» I would have liked to see some resolution between January and her mom, I felt like this was a loose end that I would have liked to see tied up.

› Recommended to ⇒ someone looking for a good romance with some depth

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ cancer; cheating; death of a parent

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren


» American Street by Ibi Zobi

American Street


5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» This was my first time reading an Ibi Zoboi book, but it definitely won’t be the last.  American Street is a YA contemporary story that dives into immigration, family, survival, first love, and being true to yourself.

» Fabiola was a very compelling main character.  She is strong, smart, dedicated, loyal, and rooted in her culture.  Despite all her wonderful qualities, she was also flawed.  Despite the fact that Fabiola made some bad decisions, she made them for the right reasons.

» All the secondary characters were well developed from Fabiola’s cousins – Donna, Pri, & Chantal – to Fabiola’s love interest, Kasim.  I really enjoyed this cast of characters and each of their relationships with Fabiola. 

» While there is a romance, American Street focuses much more on familial relationships.  I adored the bond that Fabiola develops with her cousins to form the “Four Bs.”  While the relationships between the cousins are far from perfect, they are family and are fiercely loyal to one another.

» American Street has a very strong sense of place in its setting, Detroit.  I could vividly imagine the harsh city streets and the brutal cold.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of immigration stories

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ toxic relationships; domestic violence; police brutality

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo



» Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman

*4.5 Stars*

» Anxious People is classic Backman, so if you’ve loved his other novels, there is a good chance you will enjoy this one too.  Backman has such a unconventional writing style that I just can’t help getting sucked into.   You won’t be getting an action-packed read in Anxious People, but you will get heartwarming & charming. 

» In Anxious People, we have a group of people who, after a series of events, end up in a accidental hostage situation.  No one writes endearing characters like Backman.  His characters are so quirky and eccentric, you can’t help but fall in love with and root for them.   In Anxious People, we get to know each of these characters slowly over the course of the book, and how they all came to be in their current situation.

» The way everything wrapped up at the end was perfection.  I closed this book with a big smile on my face.

» I felt like the “big reveal” was a bit underwhelming, however this didn’t really impact my overall enjoyment of the book.

› Recommended to ⇒ Backman fans; fans of quirky characters

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ Suicide; death of a parent (cancer); drug addiction (minimal); alcoholism (minimal)

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


*Big thanks to Atria Books for providing me a review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

» Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

*4.5 Stars*
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» Ask Again, Yes is a harrowing multi-generational story of mental illness, love, addiction, and forgiveness. The overall tone of this book is somber, however it is a very powerful read. If you are looking for a light read, this is NOT the book for you.

» Ask Again, Yes is a slower paced novel that is more of an in-depth character study. I adored these characters and rooted for them over the course of the book. I shared in both their joys and sorrows, making this book a roller coaster of emotions.

» The way Keane chose to end this story suited the overall narrative perfectly. I always appreciate when the author does not wrap everything up into a nice little bow, but rather leaves some things a little messy and up to reader interpretation. I felt very hopeful at the end of this story.

» Ask Again, Yes makes for an excellent book club selection. There is so much to unpack and explore.

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» This story does take a while to gain some momentum in the beginning. I encourage you to stick with it because I do think it pays off.

› Recommended to ⇒ multi-generational family sagas

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ mental illness; violence; alcoholism; child abuse/neglect/abandonment; cancer

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

3 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: September 2020 – Part 1”

  1. American Street was so good! It reminded me a bit of The Hate U Give, but the story is even grittier, with a huge moral dilemma and a touch of magical realism.


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