• Shea Simmons

November Young Adult Book Reading Wrap-Up

November has been a great month when it comes to my reading progress. In fact, my November reading wrap-up features some extremely different reads that are all, actually, kind of great. From one of my all-time favorite authors to a seasoned vet launching a new series, the month had some serious reading gems that I'm excited to share.

Before The Devil Break You by Libba Bray

In October, I made it a goal to finish the second Diviners book, Lair of Dreams, for November, I wanted to finish the third novel Before the Devil Breaks You. Guess what? Goal met!

Since this is the third book in a four book series (a fact I didn't realize until half way through book three), I don't want to give away anything about the first two novels. However, there are some basics that I can share. The novels are set in New York during the 1920s. Think flappers, jazz, and booze meets unions, suffrage, and eugenics. The books seamlessly blend the idealized Great Gatsby-esque parties with the truly evil practice of things like eugenics. It's the melding of the seemingly glamorous with the unseemly that lends Before the Devil Breaks You its atmosphere.

The book centers on a cast of characters known as Diviners, individuals with supernatural powers, who must team up to battle a ghostly invasion that's the result of America's burial of its often unseemly history.

The book may be set in the 1920s, but it's incredibly relevant to today in a way that's going to make you re-examine how you see this country and your place inside of it. One piece of advice, though, don't read this series in the dark. There be Creep Crawlies in these pages.

Rating? 5/5 stars!

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

I had been waiting on The Boneless Mercies for months. The idea of a fierce girl gang killing a beast and have deep personal connects sounded like a total slam dunk for me. Unfortunately, the book fell a bit short for me, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.

I won't give book spoilers here, so I'll just go over the basics. My favorite thing about the book was the world building, but it comes with a bit of a caveat. There are witch wars, fierce female warriors, and magic, and it's all very vibrant on the page. My complaint about that? There's not enough of it. I'd love to see the world built out more, and honestly, the book is relatively short at just over 300 pages. There was totally room for it.

The other drawback here? The lead. Frey seeks glory above all else, but that doesn't make her cold. In fact, she shows quite a bit of vulnerability when it comes to her love for her friends. However, we don't get much development from Frey, and I don't think she's got much of a voice in the novel at all. Other characters such as Runa and even one named the Cut-Queen are more fleshed out for me.

Over all, the novel wasn't my favorite, but it was a solid read for me. My final thoughts? 3.5/5 stars.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades took me by major surprise. Since it initially came out, I had been interested in reading it. I mean, look at that cover! Yes, covers matter. As a fan of superhero movies and tv shows, a young adult book about superheroes sounded perfect, but it's so much more than that.

Meyer's book is compulsively readable. Its pacing is perfect, the imagery plays out like a film, and the characters are well-developed and diverse. I can't say a single bad thing about this novel. It's also my first ever book by Meyer which I'm sure is shocking. Meyer is probably most well known for her Lunar Chronicles series, and I haven't read a single one of them. Now, though, they're all officially on my to be read list, and I can't wait to discover more from Meyer.

Final rating? 5/5 stars!

Want to know more about what I read? Check out my Good Reads account here.

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