I have read quite a few hyped books so far in 2018 and, to my surprise, all of them have lived up to it. I don’t know if that is a good thing or I am one that is easily influenced by hype. Either way, I enjoyed these books very much.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
With the case of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I had previously read another book by Becky Albertalli, which was her second book The Upside of Unrequited. While I enjoyed that one, it was just cute and fluffy. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is cute and fluffy, too, but it has a little more depth to it. Plus, the romance was too adorable for words.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Eliza and Her Monsters is a hyped book I went into knowing I would like. It’s a love letter to fandom featuring a girl who is living a double-life as a lonely high school student and the mastermind behind a wildly successful web comic. That was all I needed to know going into this book.
The story spoke to me on a deep level, like it did many other people. As a teenager, I was a lot like Eliza; I did not have close friends and I turned to fiction to deal with it. Also, I had read Francesca Zappia’s debut novel, Made You Up, and I enjoyed it, though I acknowledge now there were some issues regarding handling mental illness. It was brought to my attention after reading Eliza and Her Monters that similar problems were present in that story, too. But I was able to overlook it because the positives outweighed the negatives in my mind.
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
History is All You Left Me is the first book I have ever read by Adam Silvera and it did not disappoint. From YouTube, I already took a liking to Adam as a person, so I’m glad he lives up to his status as an author, too. I liked his writing style as well as his way of creating characters and their relationships. I also think I read History is All You Left Me at the right time, given its discussion around grief. So, I’m glad I own his other books, They Both Die at the End and More Happy Than Not. Expect to see those in future TBRs and wrap-ups.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
I picked up The Princess Saves Herself in This One from the local library during a time I was craving poetry. This is another one I suspected I would like; only I never thought I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it. This is another book I think came into my life at the right time. I needed something to remind me I should put myself first once in a while and to love myself.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Likely the most polarizing book on this list, I went into The Hazel Wood with low expectations. Except the plot was right up my alley: Alice and her mother live for years on the run from bad luck. Ella, Alice’s mother, thinks the days of running are over when Alice’s grandmother, Althea, the author of a wildly successful but extremely rare book called Tales from the Hinterland, dies in her estate the Hazel Wood. When the two finally settle, Ella is abducted by someone claiming to be from the Hinterland and leaves behind a message for Alice to stay away from the Hazel Wood. But Alice is determined to get to the bottom of the secrets that have been kept from her for years.
The reason I went into The Hazel Wood with low expectations is because the reviews around it on BookTube were not that great. Most said their reason behind it was Alice, that she was an unlikable main character even to those that tended to enjoy unlikable main characters. That’s why I got it out of the library, rather than break my book-buying ban for it. Ironically, the reason that made others not enjoy this book is the same reason I did enjoy it.
While Alice is rough around the edges and says and does things that are insensitive, selfish, reckless, etc., she’s not a bad person at her core. She stands up for herself and trusts her instincts. As for everything else about The Hazel Wood, I liked the dark fairy tale aspect and the writing and storytelling were good, though not perfect. Given this is a debut novel, Melissa Albert has the chance to get better with each book she writes. I’m especially looking forward to her publishing a real-life Tales from the Hinterland.