Staff Reads: September 13

Staff Reads: September 13

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 Fall Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

When Karen M. McManus’ debut One of Us Is Lying came out, it seemed like every YA fan was reading it. That said, I don’t typically gravitate towards murder mysteries. Because of this, a friend recommended I check out the audiobook, and since I’m participating in Audiobook Bingo, I figured it was worth a shot. One of Us Is Lying is basically The Breakfast Club where one of the students doesn’t make it out of detention alive. The student that dies, Simon, was the Gossip Girl of the school and had dirt on all of the potential suspects. I was surprised by how invested I became in finding out who killed Simon. I did really like listening to this book because there was a full cast of narrators that helped differentiate all of the characters. I’m definitely interested in trying more of McManus’ books and dabbling in the mystery genre more. —Dana

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Dana and I swap romance recommendations constantly, and when she read and loved Well Met, I knew I had to dive in myself. Jen DeLuca’s debut takes place in a small town that hosts a Renaissance Faire every summer. During the week, Emily helps her sister and niece while contemplating what her own future holds. On the weekends, she dresses as a tavern wench, answers to the name Emma, and finds herself flirting with Captain Blackthorne. Out of costume, her dashing pirate is actually Simon, the faire organizer. While the two get off on the wrong foot in real life, it’s at the faire that they’re able to connect. Aside from the fact that Emily is basically living my dream (working at a bookstore and falling in love with a Killian Jones-esque pirate), I loved the way this novel explored the emotional journeys of two characters who like their lives but also feel as though they have little control over them. Both Emily and Simon are learning to let go of the things that hurt them in the past and starting to take charge of their futures. The book ends with a hint of a romance involving Emily’s sister and a hunky kilted warrior, so here’s hoping DeLuca decides to give readers more of this ren faire world! –Kelly

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Once I started reading Wild Game (which is Bookish’s fall Kelly’s Pick and one of our must-read books of the season), I had a lot of trouble putting it down. Brodeur does an incredible job introducing readers to her charismatic, beautiful, and toxic mother Malabar. I was endlessly fascinated by their dynamic, and found myself rooting for Adrienne to break free from her grip very early on. This is such an engrossing story about the power of familial bonds, the many ways in which we cope with loneliness, and the importance of boundaries. This is one of the best memoirs I’ve read in a while. (Be warned, though: The descriptions of food will make you very, very hungry.) —Elizabeth

The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo

If you’re looking for a sweet romance novel about sisters then you’re in luck! The Key to Happily Ever After follows Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl after they’ve taken over their mother’s full service wedding planning business. As you would expect, they don’t always see eye-to-eye about how the business should be run and their personalities clash. The story focuses mostly on Pearl, the youngest sister, and Marisol, the oldest, who are complete opposites. Both of them end up in really fun but also dramatic romantic entanglements that I thoroughly enjoyed. I wanted to know even more about Janelyn. She’s a typical middle child who pulls her sisters together. This was a heartwarming read that I really needed at the time! Here author Tif Marcelo put together a list of her favorite DC-set romances. —Dana

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

“Bonkers” is the word that comes to mind when I think of Gideon the Ninth, one of our fall must-reads. In many ways it reminds me of the movie Clue–untrustworthy characters with secrets trapped together and being picked off one by one, plus a hearty side of humor to go along with the murders–but more queer and far bloodier. The book follows Gideon, an orphan who reluctantly agrees to help her nemesis Harrowhark in exchange for her freedom. Harrowhark takes them to an abandoned planet where they must compete against duos from other houses, and that’s when the bloodbath begins. Gideon herself is excellent–a pop culture junkie living in a world without pop culture, she’s armed to the teeth with snark and references. But it’s the necromancer Harrow who snuck up and stole my heart. I was lucky enough to meet up with Tamsyn Muir while she was in NYC this summer and got to chat with her about Gideon, Harrow, and what readers can expect next in the series. –Kelly

Supernavigators by David Barrie

If you like learning about the natural world, or are a trivia junkie, add Supernavigators to your book pile, as it’s well-paced and jammed with facts about a diverse set of biota. Here’s but a tiny sample of the delicious info I’ve read so far: Dung beetles use the Milky Way to find their way around; box jellyfish lack a brain but have 24 eyes, including two which always point upwards; and the first GPS-tracked bird migration studies (in 1989) followed albatrosses as they covered thousands of miles in just a few weeks. Each chapter has a theme, which keeps the info onslaught from being overwhelming, and closes with a pithy anecdote. It’s also inspired me to pay more attention to my orientation and pretend it’s 1995 by ditching GPS on some trips. —Annie

Blackbird, Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries, illustrated by Jen Bartel

One of my favorite artists that I follow online is Jen Bartel. Her art style is very colorful, bright, and feminine. When I saw that she had a comic series, I was thrilled and immediately picked up the first volume. Blackbird follows Nina, whose life completely changed the night of an earthquake when she saw a magical beast. Though no one else ever believed her, Nina grew up imagining a secret world of magic. Now she’s a down-on-her-luck bartender living on her sister’s couch and dealing with her issues with prescription medication. Then, Nina finds out that this magical world exists alongside ours in an alternate plane. She gets pulled into a turf war and finds she’d been lied to since the day of the earthquake by both her sister and mother. The world Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel have created is so cool and the art brings it to life. I really enjoyed following the mystery of how Nina was involved in this world. The volume left off on a crazy cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see what happens next. —Dana

Stargazing by Jen Wang

Fair warning, you may need a tissue or two when reading this middle grade graphic novel. The book follows Christine, a young girl struggling to find balance between living up to her parents’ expectations and forging her own identity through experiences her family doesn’t approve of with the help of Moon, her new neighbor. Moon introduces Christine to nail polish, crazy dance moves, and Korean pop stars. But Moon is keeping a secret, and when the truth comes out, she needs Christine more than ever before. This is a funny, sweet, and moving story about friendship, Asian identity, and finding yourself. Stargazing is another winner from Jen Wang! –Kelly


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