Recommended books are italicized!
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
What a cute book! I want to give this to all little kids to read as an antidote to classic fairy tales. That is, after all, it’s entire point. What if a princess wasn’t perfect? Could she find love, acceptance, and joy anyway? Of course! This is a charming and funny book that teaches us to love ourselves as we are and wait for someone who loves all our imperfections and ordinariness.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
I’m a big fan of the YA trend of delving deep into minority issues, and in this book, Niven deals with two. In alternating chapters, we get to live in the shoes of the former fattest teenager in America as well as a young man with undiagnosed prosopagnosia. Don’t know what that is? I didn’t either, but reading about how he coped with the inability to recognize faces was both heartbreaking and fascinating. I also really liked how the story juxtaposed external vs. internal “problems” and how that affects the way people react to them.
Buffering by Hannah Hart
I expected this YouTuber memoir to be fairly lighthearted. Instead, Hart actually gives her fans a glimpse into her life, even though that means covering topics like schizophrenia, foster homes, and trauma flashbacks. That is exactly its strength, because it is uplifting and powerful to know her story: where she comes from and what she struggles with despite the outward trappings of fame and success.
Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
This final book in the Assassin’s trilogy was so hard to get into, but when it all clicked…I couldn’t put it down! Fitz’s world expands as he travels inland and into the mountains, and we get to meet more Witted folk (more of this, please!), minstrels, and DRAGONS. The story really soared when Fitz stopped traveling solo and reunited with his friends and/or monarchs. I need to take a tiny break from this world (they take a lot of time to read!), but I’m definitely going to return to it in Hobb’s other trilogies.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
I listened to the audiobook, which is quite good, but I would NEVER recommend doing so unless you have already read Stevenson’s graphic novel. It is, after all, a story designed to be express through pictures, and a lot is lost when it’s only audible. Through any format, it is a beautiful story of a monstrous girl who remains a monster…but finds love and community anyway.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Anyone who is a workaholic, or who simply puts a lot of their self-worth in performance, will benefit greatly from Niequist’s vulnerability. Through a series of lovely vignettes and essays, she constantly reminds her readers (and herself): “Your worth doesn’t come from activity. Slow down. Focus on relationships. Ground yourself.” Exactly what I needed to hear during this phase of my life.