Hey, guys! I am super excited to talk about all the books I ended up reading this Fall season, all of which I read for my British Women Writers and Young Adult Literature courses. I just don’t have time to read books for pleasure during the semester because of the sheer amount I have to read for my classes. But let’s go ahead and get into it!
The first book I read in September was The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.
This was only the second time I’ve ever read this book, but I still absolutely loved it. This is just a book that is timeless and is just that good, regardless if you read it in class or out of class. It is so wonderfully written, and I just love the characters and the story, and it is just so good. I also think it has a great representation of good masculinity because there is no emotional stoicism in Ponyboy. He cries and isn’t ashamed or embarrassed about it, which I think is such an important message to be sending to young boys. It is okay to be emotional and to cry. It is what makes you human, and that is an aspect I didn’t pick up on the first time that I read it. Overall, it is just a fantastic novel, and I gave it 5/5 stars.
The next book I read was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
This is a book I actually was surprised by how much I loved it. I know everyone thinks its just a romance novel, but its a feminist novel that happens to include a little bit of romance, but it is not the only thing in this book. I love Elizabeth Bennett so much, and I love how she isn’t necessarily conforming to the Victorian society. She is not afraid to turn down proposals for her own happiness and her the happiness and wellbeing of her sisters. I loved the sisterly love we see in this novel and the involvement of the family. We don’t see this in a lot of novels nowadays, especially YA novels, so it was just refreshing to see. I just really loved this book, and I gave it 4.5/5 stars.
The next book I read was Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
I had a lot of issues with this book. It just really made me uncomfortable reading it. The excessive language, which usually doesn’t bother me, was just too much in this book. This fourteen to fifteen-year-old kid was sexualizing these thirty-year-old women in the book, I could not stand Holden Caulfield because I thought he was a whiny little bitch, and I could not stand the writing style. However, with that being said, I can appreciate why this novel is so important, especially for young boys. This book is a pretty fantastic psychological study inside the mind of Holden Caulfield, and it does deal with heavy topics like trauma and abuse, though you really have to study this novel to understand that. There is homophobia in this novel, so also keep that in mind if you decide to read it. Overall, I personally did not like this novel, but I can appreciate the importance of it, so I inevitably gave it 3/5 stars.
The last book I read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It is literally the inspiration for my blog, and I think it is such an important book for everyone to read, regardless of age. It is a coming-of-age story following Charlie, a freshman who is trying to figure out who he is as he navigates high school. This story really deals with so much more than that, however. There is a trigger warning for sexual abuse, so please keep that in mind. But it is such a powerful novel about growing up and dealing with all of the trials and tribulations of high school along with some heavier topics, and I just love this book so much. I definitely gave it 5/5 stars because of course. It is just so freaking good.
The first book I read in October was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
This is a book that I really enjoyed, and I think it is still super important to discuss, even though Sherman Alexie has been accused of sexual harassment and assault. I am not condoning his actions or excusing them, but this book is important even with that. It is a book about the Native American community and the struggles that they have as an independent community as well as the identity struggle many have when they choose to leave the reservation in search of higher education. This book highlights the alcoholism prevalent in the community and deals with a lot of death and grief. It is such a powerful novel, one I think needs to be discussed and read in conjunction with what it might mean with the allegations against Sherman Alexie. I think it offers a different perspective on the marginalization of the Native American community, and I think it is still important to teach in the classroom and read on your own. However, one aspect of this novel that upset me personally was the casual use of homophobic slurs; it seemed unnecessary to me. Overall, I gave this 4/5 stars.
The next book I read was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
This is a book that didn’t wow me, but it wasn’t bad either; it was pretty okay. I’m glad I finally read it, but it was kind of disappointing because I didn’t love it like everyone else did. I definitely loved the beginning, but at some point I just got bored. I definitely think it’s way too long. I wasn’t invested in the love story and I didn’t love her love interest. The novel ended up being kind of crazy, like batshit crazy, in some places, and I just kept asking myself, “Why, though?” It definitely isn’t my favorite of the semester, unfortunately. I will say there is a trigger warning for abuse and neglect in this novel. Overall, I ended up giving this 3/5 stars.
The next book I read was Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This was a reread for me, and I loved it just as much this time around. It’s a book about misfits being in love, and it honestly just gives me so much joy. Rainbow Rowell’s writing just has this warm, comforting feeling, like a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate on a rainy day while you’re snuggled underneath a blanket with a good book on your lap. All of her books are fantastic, you should read them, and this one is so good! I obviously gave this 5/5 stars because it is just so good.
The next book I read was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
This book was a wild ride. I can’t tell you if I love it or hate it. It just is a complete mind-fuck from start to finish. It gave me that feeling I got every time I read one of the Mara Dyer books; like you just can’t trust this person. All I can tell you about it is it involves mystery, memory loss, trauma, and a bunch of rich cousins on their own island. It honestly is just a trip, and I recommend it because it’s just that kind of book that sits with you. I gave it 3.5/5 stars because I didn’t know what else to give it, honestly.
The last book I read in October was Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
This was just a really wholesome book that follows a boy named Auggie who has facial deformities and is going to be going to his first school ever because he’s always been homeschooled. It’s a story about being bullied and accepting and embracing how unique you are. If you want to feel happy after a sad book, this is the book for you. It just puts a smile on your face, and I really like it. I ended up giving it 4/5 stars.
The first book I read in November was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
This book is a fucking masterpiece. It is one of my favorite books of the year. It deserves all the awards because it is just so good and so important. This book takes two incredibly controversial, but relevant to today, topics and applies them to a fantasy setting to critique them and show why this needs to change. Those issues are racism and police brutality. It is just ingenious in the way it is crafted, its suspenseful, well-written, and I just really loved it, and if you haven’t picked it up yet, you really need to. I gave this 5/5 stars because of course. It’s amazing. Read it!
The last book I read in November was The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.
This is the most radical feminist novel of the nineteenth century. I would know. I had to read it for my final paper, so I know it inside and out. It’s about marriage and motherhood and independence, and it honestly is super relevant to today and the struggle that women have with their identity as a woman and as a mother. I will say there is a trigger warning for domestic abuse in this novel. This book was revolutionary considering the time it was written, and I think this should be a book everyone reads at least once in their life. I gave it 4/5 stars.
And there you have it! Those were all the books I read in the Fall season. What’s your favorite book you’ve read over the past few months? Comment down below! I would love to know, and that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!