Staff Reads: February 22

Staff Reads: February 22

Staff Reads

Do you wonder what the Bookish team is reading? Do you want to take a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations. Tell us what you think in the comments!

If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Winter Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

I’m filing Sadie under “books that live up to the hype.” I heard fantastic things about this novel, and when my coworker Dana recommended the audiobook, I figured it was the perfect time to check it out. The first chapter intrigued me—it introduced Wes, a podcast host reluctantly pulled into the search for a missing girl—but the second chapter hooked me completely. The moment Sadie’s voice came through my headphones I knew this book was something special. Sadie is a captivating narrator. She’s hunting for the man who she believes murdered her sister, and slowly revealing to the reader the ways he hurt her as well. Her rage is palpable and so is her grief. In a way, she’s out to punish herself for what she sees as her own failure to protect her sister. The final chapter, ending with a passionate monologue from Sadie’s mother about girls who go missing, resonated with me for days (and brought me to tears on the subway). I recommend reading this book in any format, though will say the audiobook comes with a full cast and is fantastic. —Kelly

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

After speaking with Berkley about their marketing strategy behind The Kiss Quotient, I finally decided to join the rest of the Internet and read it! So many other people have talked about how important this book is to them because of its representation of non-neurotypical characters, so I won’t take up space doing so here. Something that I especially like about The Kiss Quotient is that it does not judge Stella for hiring a sex worker to help her through some of her insecurities around sex. And, while it’s clear that sex work isn’t Michael’s first career choice, it doesn’t make him an immoral or tragic person for choosing the sex industry. I think this book is a nice reminder that it’s a good thing to be really knowledgeable about sex, and to share that information in either a professional or personal capacity. Being skilled because of experience is a good thing! —Nina

There There by Tommy Orange

I’m reading There There by Tommy Orange, a novel about “Urban Indians” living their lives in the context of modern America. Orange’s forward brilliantly ties stereotypical Native American imagery to the current-day characters in his book, leading us to understand that these characters are the result of generations worth of history and abuse. The book follows a number of different characters as they deal with alcoholism, depression, birth, and death, all leading up to the Big Oakland Powwow, where their stories will converge. The blurbs you’ve seen about this book hold up: “groundbreaking, extraordinary” (The New York Times) and “brilliant, propulsive” (People Magazine). —Kristina

Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples

It always amazes me how Brian K. Vaughan is able to completely surprise me with where he takes this series. Volume nine had so many jaw-dropping moments that upped the stakes going forward and pushed the story in a brand new direction. This volume was interesting in that it was very compact in its setting compared to previous volumes, and most of the main characters ended up in the same place. This made reading it very exciting because the story was more character-driven. Fiona Staples’ art is always phenomenal and adds to the emotional connection I have with this story. I can’t believe how many characters got killed off in this volume. Honestly, this felt like a season of Game of Thrones with the number of crazy deaths, but I can’t wait to see where this story goes next. —Dana

How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

I’m a big fan of Michael Pollan’s work, and will read pretty much anything he writes. I was surprised when I saw his latest book was about LSD (although I had read and enjoyed his piece in The New Yorker on the same subject) rather than food, but I was intrigued. Pollan writes about psychedelics’ apparent promise in treating a variety of mental illnesses, and follows the scientists working to develop those treatments. Along the way, Pollan documents his own experiences with LSD. Multiple people have mentioned this book to me recently, and I’m excited to read more of it this weekend. —Elizabeth

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

We are often bound to repeat our parents’ mistakes… as brilliantly portrayed in DJ Palmer’s Saving Meghan. Becky grew up as a pawn, used by her mother to help deceive officials and doctors so she could continue to claim her disability checks. A grown woman now, mother to her own sick teenage daughter, Becky is constantly searching out answers to solve her daughter Meghan’s mysterious and unnamed disease. But to what lengths would a mother go to save her child? How far would she go to protect her? And at what point does it come into question? This book kept me teetering from one side to the other… protect Meghan or believe Becky. I was clueless from page one, never wanting to believe a mother could hurt her child, yet the unanswered questions and odd timing kept me guessing until the final pages. —Alicia

Taproot by Keezy Young

If you’re looking for a sweet and supernatural love story, I recommend diving into this gem. Taproot follows Hamal, a gardener who can see ghosts. His gift is rare, and as a result the ghosts in town flock to him. Hamal’s even become friends with a few of the spirits, including Blue, who secretly wishes that he and Hamal could be together. But when a Reaper appears and accuses Hamal of unlicensed necromancy, everything changes. I particularly loved the artist’s use of a muted color palette, making it the perfect read to relax with. —Kelly

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

This week I’m reading Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster. I find myself drawn to nonfiction about nuclear disasters out of curiosity and horror. I enjoy reading about the possibilities of what might happen in the future and the reality of what has happened in the past. The author recounts the stories of some of the workers at Chernobyl, while also giving an account of the various causes, defects, and missteps that led up to the disaster and the aftermath. In an effort to put an end to the meltdown, many people exposed themselves to areas with extremely high radiation—some knowing how deadly it was, and others completely ignorant of the danger. —Alyce

Wildcard by Marie Lu

I really enjoyed Warcross, the first book in this duology. It’s set in a world where everyone is obsessed with a game that takes place via virtual reality. Emika Chen is the main character and a hacker who found a loophole in the game, landing her in the spotlight and drawing the attention of the game’s developer. Warcross was so much fun and an exciting departure for YA SFF, but the one disappointment was how predictable the plot seemed. In Wildcard all of the plot points that I found predictable were all fleshed out and turned on their heads. I loved how Marie Lu ended this series and I adored how she handled the romance plot in the series. I definitely plan to pick up one of her other series after reading Wildcard. —Dana

Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

I am reading and loving Benjamin Dreyer’s style guide, Dreyer’s English. @BCDreyer is one of the stand-out jewels of literary Twitter whom I have followed and adored for years now. I was thrilled when I learned that he had a book coming out and am even more delighted at how well the book is doing. In a time when so much of our society and language are degraded, it’s wonderful to read the words of someone carrying the torch for clarity and precision. This book now has a place on the shelf closest to my writing desk. —Myf


  1. I always like these list a because there is such variety of reader subject and personal preferences. I get a good idea about the story, the setting and other details. That is very beneficial to me since I do several reading challenges and it helps to know about a. lot of different books that might work in those tasks. and saves me time searching for a book that fits a particular task.

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