What’s Up Wednesday – Sept 18

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In order to get myself to post more in this thing and not slack off for several months *cough* – I decided to start something up for myself called “What’s Up Wednesday”. I introduced it well past midnight last night on my bookstagram post, and decided to bring it here. So basically, every week (or every other week if the answer hasn’t changed, I will discuss:

  • What am I reading?
  • What did I just finish?
  • What did I DNF?
  • What do I recommend?

I’m a few minutes past Wednesday into Thursday but since I am technically still awake and have not fallen asleep yet, I’m counting this as a Wednesday!

 

18813642What am I reading? Currently working through Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’m a few chapters in and I absolutely love it. I started off by listening to the audiobook and that’s what drew me in. Now I only have the physical book (which I had already owned), so it’s a little slow going for me because I can’t sneak the paperback into my pocket and pull it out while I’m waiting on line to get meds for my patients out of the Pyxis machine. >_> But I try to read a chapter before bedtime, and honestly, it’s just super refreshing to read.

For anyone a little curious on the title, I’ve already gotten to this part. Roxane Gay calls herself a “bad feminist” because a bad feminist makes mistakes, may like problematic things (music that sounds degrading to women), and just isn’t looking to be placed on a pedestal as the Epitome of Feminism for the general public. And honestly? Same. I’ll be sure to put out my thoughts once I’m done!

 

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What did I just finish? I just finished book two of the #murdertrending series, #murderfunding, by Gretchen McNeil. I wanted to like this. I really did. I read the first one and it was a mix of Survivor and Hunger Games, and I just thought it was written very well. I was invested in each character and at the end of the series, I was anxious to see what would happen to the ones left in the next book.

And then I got the next book and it’s… not about the previous MC at all. The protagonist in this one is Becca Martinello, daughter of one the Paniacs from Alcatraz 2.0, who had no idea her mother killed criminals for a living. She gets this shocking news and teaming up with the person, Stef, who gave her the news in the first place, she decides to sign up for a new reality show called “Who Wants To Be A Paniac?” in order to find out the truth about her mother.

Naturally, Becca denies a whole lot of what she’s told from the start and as expected, things happen later on that shakes up her worldview. While the story does flip back and forth between Becca and Dee from book 1, it largely focuses on Becca’s journey to find out about her mother. Along the way, you meet other contestants of the reality show, a slew of characters thrown in, that I honestly felt no connections to. Dee’s side of the story was miniscule as well that I didn’t feel the same grip to the storyline as I did in the first book. There’s a shocking twist at some point closer to the end, of course, but it seems to fall flat right afterwards, and the story gets wrapped up pretty quickly in a way that made me sit up and stare at the wall and think “what just happened”.

As for representation, the MC is queer, as are her moms and her love interest, Stef, (who also happens to be Latinx). But, the fact that her mother starts off dead in the very beginning of it, it left a very “Bury the gays” trope taste in the mouth, and so, there was already a pretty low impression of the series.

Content Warning: gratuitous violence, death, description of blood and gore

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

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What did I DNF? I really want to give We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal a shot, but… have you ever experienced fantasy burnout? That’s what I’m feeling. Between a multitude of books read prior to this that involves fictional characters/governments/class positions, etc, I think at this point, I wanted to stick to something that is more familiar: anything that’s fiction but still takes place in the “real world” so I don’t have to relearn a whole load of different things about this new world.

Will I pick it up again at a later time? Most likely, yes. I just only got one chapter in and thought “nah, maybe later”.

 

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What do I recommend? When I picked up Sadie by Courtney Summers, I did not expect it to be as heavy as I thought. Heavy in general? Yes. The story chapters fluctuate between the perspectives of Sadie, our book’s protagonist who leaves her home in order to find the person she suspects of murdering her younger sister, Maddie; and West McCray, a radio personality covering the story who starts his podcast while attempting to follow what happens to Sadie.

I both read the physical book and listened to the audiobook when I was driving, and both are written/told in a podcast format. The audiobook brings even more life to the words on the pages, as the story is told through multiple voices for West, Sadie’s point of view and various members of the community interviewed about Sadie’s whereabouts. Sadie is one of those books that takes a while to process and stays with you long after you’re done reading it. The story grips you in and makes you learn who Sadie and Mattie are or were as people, and get really invested in the well-being of the protagonist and the search for justice for young Mattie.

The diverse representation is great in this. Sadie’s hinted at being bisexual or pansexual, fleshing out her perception of her own sexuality in words that readers might fight so relatable. She also has a stutter and Summers writes about how Sadie often feels like a prisoner in her own body due to that barrier to communication. Her life experiences (a mother who has a drug addiction, finding herself having to grow up far sooner than a teenager should, living in poverty) also make her feel distant to others and has her adapting a cynical worldview. But all of this is written in a way that breaks your heart for her rather than writing her off as an angsty pessimist. And that ending, holy geez. I feel like the best and worst (yes, simultaneously) part of this book is the ending, and you’ll understand if you give this book a shot and get to the ending.

Content warning: Child abuse and sexual assault, drug addiction, child death

Rating:

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