Ages ago, nine months to be exact, I made a post of five star book predictions. And the problem with those types of things are that you not only want to read them all, but have time to write reviews, because most of them actually were great.
The Hidden Girl & Other Stories by Ken Liu (my review)
In short I really appreciated and liked this collection of short stories. I had my expectation set high as I like the short story collection The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by the same author. I don’t think I realized the sci-fi thread through this one, but it was a pleasant surprise. Still, it’s harder to make multiple sci-fi stories I find equally fascinating as shorts, so it became a four out of five star read. Absolutely worth it.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
I really would have loved this book as a middle school (or even younger actually) kid. It’s a queer romance between a Latino trans boy and a gay boy, featuring murder mystery and ghosts. And while I loved all those aspects, the plot was predictable for being young adult. I would say it was the age categorization that made my expectations higher and unfair for me to judge, so no star rating here.
Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel
You ever start reading books during off-time and then realize it’s hard to continue once the semester starts, especially if it is too close to whatever you study? I’m still not done with this book, even though I love it. I will say that halfway through, it’s a five star read. I especially loved the discussion on how math education should be changed, and how Frenkel himself got into mathematics.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong:
This is an emotionally heavy and brilliant book. The writing alone is breath-taking, and made everything come to life in such a way that I needed several breaks while reading it. The book is written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read, with a raw honesty. It is centered around his Vietnamese family, living through the war and its consequences, about family, violence and trauma, but also healing, identity and sexuality. The book tries to do much by interweaving storylines through time, and as a consequence it has some slowness and confusion, making it a four out of five star read for me.
I also loved the poetry collection «Night Sky with Exit Wounds» by Vuong. Would absolutely recommend them both.
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (web comic link): this is a on-going web comic, but I’ve binged all the episodes released so far. I really adored the art style, I was unsure of the Hades-Persephone romance because it’s done so much, but it’s very self-aware and certainly cute. I truly liked how much focus it is on Persephone being a young godess trying to be independent, but learning that it’s okay to take support from others, while everyone shitting on her special treatments. Definitely so much personality to these characters, big and small, which is why it’s getting five stars even though I was bored at certain points.