So this isn’t something I’ve done before but when I sat down to review Loveboat, Taipei, I realised that the next 4 books I was reading were all 2020 Simon and Schuster UK releases so I thought why not combine all 4 and do mini reviews of each of their upcoming novels for next year. This contains a wide range of books, including 2 highly anticipated novels by beloved American authors, an American debut and a UKYA debut so there’s something here for everyone.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
It’s been a while since I’ve been this addicted to a book. As I have mentioned numerous times, I am a sucker for YA romance so as soon as we heard about this book at the book blogger brunch, I knew that it was exactly the book I needed to get me through end of semester assignment hell and it was perfect. For the first time in months, I stayed up until 1am reading this book and I had to force myself to go back to sleep after that. I loved reading about Ever’s life because I found that the narrative was incredibly unique. Whilst the blurb and the beginning of the novel suggests otherwise, she isn’t your typical rebellious teenager. The inner conflict she fought against with respecting her parents and wanting to rebel made for an interesting narrative. She understood why her parents were the way she was but still felt compelled to break free. The romance was incrdibly addictive and there was a part in the middle where I didn’t know which way the love triangle would go. I hoped it would go the other way than it did but that’s not because I didn’t like them both. I thought both love interests were very well developed and complex. I really wish this book was the first in a series because I want more of the characters. I highly recommend picking this book up.
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
I tried to read this book as part of this, especially since I’ve owned the ARC since YALC in July. However, I got 50 pages in and was confused and lost. After reading other reviews of it, I knew that I wasn’t going to enjoy the book as whole so I decided to DNF it. This makes me sad because it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 but I just wasn’t enjoying it at all.
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
I was sceptical going into this novel. I love Becky Albertalli’s previous work and I’ve never read anything before by Aisha Saeed. However, I have not had good luck with Muslim YA novels because they usually have bad stereotypes, even if they are written by Muslims. However, I enjoyed this book. It definitely isn’t one of my favourites but it was a gripping read. I read this on the UK election day so it felt like the perfect time to read it. I enjoyed the conversations about politics and racism. However, I do think this book had much more of a focus on anti-semitism than on Islamophobia which isn’t how the book seems to be being pitched online. It was fascinating but I was hoping for in depth discussions about Islamophobia too. The reason I probably enjoyed this Muslim YA novel is because it didn’t feel like it was about a Muslim. I liked the parts about Ramadan but I just wanted more. However, I did love the talks about the separation of parents and I thought this book had a lot of potential. I just wished it went deeper into conversations that it lightly touched on.
And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando
This is the only UKYA book on this list and it’s also one of the few UKYA books I’ve read recently. Therefore, it felt really refreshing to read something set in the UK that felt very realistic. I loved how this book portrayed UK teenagers because it just felt so perfect. Overall, this book was absolutely amazing. It was equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. It’s been a while since I read a book focused on suicide but this is already one of my favourites on the topic. Most books that deal with this subject matter are based on placing the blame on certain people but this book dealt with how there are so many things that can add up and lead to someone ending their life. The bullying in this book made me so mad and angry but it actually happens to people. Reading the author’s note and knowing that she faced similar issues as a teen, makes the book even more heartbreaking. I can’t wait for this book to come out because I think it has the potential to change someone’s life.
So those are some of the Simon and Schuster early 2020 releases that I’ve recently read. Are you excited for any of these? Let me know your thoughts when you read them.