how I’m celebrating mabon

So, before we begin, let us discuss–what is Mabon? Mabon is one of the Fall time pagan events on the Wheel of the Year, this year falling from September 21-29, celebrating balance in the world. Mabon is the autumnal equinox, celebrated at the beginning of fall, a time when the days and nights start to be equal length and balance in nature is restored.

Mabon is one of my favorite witchy holidays because it is one of the first ones I ever celebrated after becoming a witch. I also in general just love the autumn holidays because I feel very connected to them spiritually and personally and love the colder seasons.

This year, I’m planning to do some witchy activities to celebrate Mabon as part of my goal this month of reconnecting with witchcraft. Here are some of the things I plan to do to celebrate:

  • Cleanse my tarot decks. I do this for every witchy holiday I manage to remember. My favorite and in my opinion most effective way to cleanse a deck is to separate the deck and spread it out by suit. This helps solve a lot of deck problems, especially when it starts to give me a lot of reversed cards.
  • House cleaning. I plan to do a major house cleaning throughout the week and really work on spots that have been bothering me. I also want to look through my old fall clothes and decide what I can still wear so I know how much I need to replace.
  • Watch spooky/witchy movies. I am really in the mood for Coraline, so that’s definitely going on the list. I’m also kind of in the mood for some early episodes of Charmed, so that might happen as well. There are also a couple horror movies on my Hulu list that I want to watch to get in the mood for the season.
  • Actually work on my grimoire, maybe? Creating the perfect grimoire has been an ongoing project for me since becoming a witch. I just can’t seem to create one that works. My cat actually destroyed my last one, so obviously that one wasn’t working either. I’m hoping the care and planning I plan to put into my new one will work out and I’ll finally end up with something I’m happy with.
  • Go for a walk. I have been loving the crisp, cool autumn air in the mornings and have been really wanting to spend some time in the fall weather, and Mabon is definitely an excellent time to do that.

weekly rewind // 9-18-20

weekly happenings

This week was honestly an emotional rollercoaster. I had something SUPER GOOD happen that I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about, but it is publishing career related and I have never felt more validated in my pursuit of a career in that industry.

However, I was also really stressed for most of the week and have been feeling that way since the library where I work announced we’re considering reopening again. I did manage to get more information about what our procedures will be, which made me feel somewhat better.

on the blog

what i’ve read & currently reading

This week I mostly read picture books. I’m also still in the middle of ONE TO WATCH, but I’m not going to share thoughts just yet because I’m a little over halfway through and EVERY TIME I say I’m enjoying a book in a post I then immediately stop liking it so we are beating that trend.

i don’t feel represented: fat representation in books

TW: discussion of weight loss, body image issues, mention of eating disorder

Today I’m going to talk about an issue I don’t discuss on this blog a lot because it’s very difficult for me in my daily life, and that’s fat representation in books.

Something you may not know about me because I don’t post full body selfies is that I am overweight. I have struggled with my weight since my sophomore year of college, but have been having an extra hard time with it the past few years. I have cycled through many diets, seen a nutritionist, and tried to change my habits time and time again. I have dealt with body shaming from people around me as well as eating disorders, and have an extremely fraught relationship with my body when it comes to weight.

This is why fat representation of books is important to me. Every time I see a book come out, especially YA, with a fat protagonist, it immediately goes on my TBR. I am eager to see nuanced stories of weight issues and representation of a variety of body types.

I’m going to begin by saying that I can count the number of books I’ve read with actual fat rep where the fat person isn’t vilified or negatively stereotyped on less than two hands. In probably a third of those, the fat character still tries to lose weight and it’s framed as healthy weight loss and as a positive thing for the character. I have read very few books where weight loss is still not the end goal for a fat character and they still have a genuinely happy life while being fat.

Fat representation in books is not very nuanced. I’ve noticed that fat characters tend to be either a) vilified and shamed and used as a cautionary tale or b) body positive with no doubts about themselves. When fat characters are portrayed positively, it’s usually after they’ve gone through a self-transformation and chosen to focus on “self love and self acceptance” and “embrace their body and themselves.” Sure, they often get hate either from online anyonymous haters or in person from family, but they are usually portrayed as so confident in themselves that it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to and doesn’t make them doubt themselves or completely fall off the acceptance wagon.

I think portraying body positivity in books is great and important, but the journey towards body positivity is not a straight line or as simple as deciding to accept yourself. Body positivity isn’t something that happens all the time; it’s something that fat people strive for every day and sometimes we don’t get there. Even when you think you are body positive, you can still be tempted by diets and the promise of feeling “normal,” whatever that means, and negatively influenced by social and social media messaging about bodies. Body positive people aren’t immune to doubts about themselves and their bodies, and that’s why I don’t feel seen in a most body positive books because body positivity is a daily struggle.

Basically, I’d really like to see more books about the journey to become body positive. Though seeing body positive characters is great, personally I just wish that we could see how those body positive characters arrived at self acceptance and body positivity, as opposed to having it glossed over. Body positivity isn’t and doesn’t have to be all or nothing in order to be valid, and I want to see more books with fat characters that portray an array of our experiences.

There is no one fat experience, and fat experience is more than only being the villain or idiot or only being body positive. I just hope that soon, publishing and the world in general are ready for portrayals of fat people’s lives that are more nuanced and fully exploratory of our experiences.

www wednesday // 9-16-20

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

what are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading one of my BOTM add ons, ONE TO WATCH. This book is about Bea, a plus size fashion blogger, who goes viral in a vitriolic take down of beauty standards on a popular dating show, Main Squeeze. She is then invited to be the titular Main Squeeze of the latest season, after dealing with her own heartbreak.

what are you reading next?

BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was my Book of the Month pick for September since I opted to go with one of the selected member favorites. I’m really interested in reading this one because I’ve never given historical romance a try, and this one, which is about a woman in 1879 who is accepted to Oxford on the condition that she attract men to the suffragist cause. This is also a series, so I am happy to know if I like it there will be more books by this author.

what did you just finish reading?

I won’t lie: I pretty much ended up skimming this book. I liked it at first and was drawn in by Jamal’s friendship with Q and Autumn’s character, but I ended up not being hugely invested in it. I felt like the story read more like a movie, which for me meant that it felt a bit too overdramatic without a lot of development of each issue. I thought Jamal’s relationship with Autumn was tied up too easily, and didn’t believe that she’d stick around after some of the things he did and how much he lied to her. The friendship especially felt too easily resolved which was likely a result of the short timeline in which the story took place, but that aspect of the book had me feeling a bit let down by the execution of the concept.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?

quarantine book haul

I have been meaning to write this post since kind of mostly coming out of quarantine (even though I still only go into work every other week for social distancing purposes, so I’m still in half-quarantine) and TODAY IS THE DAY. I will be sharing my book haul from my quarantine months, which lasted for me from March-July, and tell you a bit about each book, what made me buy it, if I’ve actually read it, etc.

Willow was very interested in my quarantine books photo shoot and he was so cute I decided to include him in the book haul pics. Notice how he is VERY interested in THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES. It was probably because of the birds.

Willow is a curious boy.

BOOK OF THE MONTH PICKS:

I got 3 BOTM books over quarantine: Beach Read by Emily Henry, The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, and Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein. I was excited about all because I thought I was in the mood for romance.

BEACH READ is about two rival writers who switch genres due to writer’s block and a bet and go on various dates to help each other write their books. I tried this one, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the drama of it, and I hated January (the MC’s) best friend, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT is about a woman who goes viral after a public call out of a three-timing, scamming boyfriend and swears off men and decides to pursue her dream of creating an app instead. I did like this one initially, and probably would enjoy it, but the middle got really slow and the tension between them happened too early for the lack of action.

HEAD OVER HEELS is about a once Olympic-gymnast hopeful who returns to her hometown and accepts a job training another aspiring Olympian when a scandal breaks out. This book is based on the sexual assault scandal that broke out about the Olympic physician a while back, and I thought I could handle it, but honestly, I didn’t want to read about it. The MC is also super depressed for the majority of the book and that was challenging to read as well. I also thought the technical stuff about gymnastics was interesting at first, but eventually, I skimmed the paragraphs long descriptions of Hallie’s floor routine because I had no idea what the author was describing.

Cedar also joined.

BOOKSHOP BUYS

I discovered Bookshop over quarantine and bought a bunch of books from Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago because it is a Black-run business. I bought 6 books from them: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, and The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Abdurraqib.

CINDERELLA IS DEAD was one of my most anticipated 2020 books, a continuation/retelling of Cinderella 200 years after the original story, and it was AMAZING. I started YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN, another most-anticipated, but I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time so I’m going to come back to it.

Willow wants me to read BOSAS

Booktube videos also convinced me to try THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES even though I wasn’t initially interested in it. I almost reread the whole original HG trilogy, but I got about 1/3 through CATCHING FIRE when I realized it was a bit too similar to the real world for me to want to read. However, I still fully intend to read BOSAS.

I also bought a poetry collection, THE CROWN AIN’T WORTH MUCH, because my partner follows the author on Twitter and got me interested in reading his work. I haven’t read it yet.

Booktube (specifically Monica Kim) convinced me to branch out of my comfort zone to try IF I HAD YOUR FACE, which is set in Seoul and follows I believe 4 very different women and deconstructs Korean beauty standards. I have not read this yet.

Willow is still very determined to open BOSAS

Finally, I simply HAD to buy the THREE DARK CROWNS series after I at long last read my eARC from an embarrassing amount of years ago. I love this series so much and love all the characters except Mirabella, who is dry as unbuttered toast. I have managed to read the first three in the series, and am so scared for my faves in the finale, FIVE DARK FATES.

revisiting: things I want to do

A few weeks ago, I included a past post discussing things I want to do in the future in a list of posts to read to get to know me. I wrote this post when I was in a very dark emotional place, and since I’ve improved in my mental health so drastically over the past few months, I was really interested to read it and see which things I’ve done or have taken steps to do. So today, I am going to revisit that post and check on my progress and take stock of what I’m doing to reach those goals:

  • Get a job I’m passionate about.  I am definitely working toward this. Things at the library have been a lot better for me lately, and I think they will continue to improve with my confidence. I’m also taking steps to get more publishing experience so hopefully someday I can get a part time or remote job in the publishing industry.
  • Marry my bae. Not yet, but eventually.
  • Move to a bigger place. We are in the last year of living at our current place and have started looking at two bedroom places, which will be much easier to afford now that I’m making slightly more and my partner is going to have a full time job soon.
  • Work on my grimoire more. I have not done this and I don’t know why?
  • Get a new car. I did this! I got a new car in December and I love it!
  • Learn ukulele. I have not done this, despite my mother kindly gifting me a ukulele.
  • Write a book. Lol. I have definitely not done this nor taken any steps to do so.
  • Write poetry. Lol. See above.
  • Rescue all the cats. Can’t really do this until I have a big house to store all the kitties.
  • Reach 1,000 blog followers. I am definitely getting there! I’m now at over 650 followers, which is the most I’ve ever had on a book blog, and I’m really proud of myself and grateful for the friendships I’ve made!
  • Change my name and pronouns. I DID THIS. I am now out at work and am looking into changing my name legally.
  • Experiment with YouTube. I have done this a bit. It hasn’t gone anywhere so far, but who knows.
  • Feel more okay than not. VERY happy to report I have done this! I feel so much better than when I first drafted this post, and have made progress in leaps and bounds. I am really thankful that I have such good health insurance and work with professionals who were able to get me the help I needed. This was my ultimate goal, and I am so happy that I feel so much better.

weekly rewind // 9-11-12

Hello, and welcome to the first Friday edition of the Weekly Rewind! I talked about doing a rewind on a day other than Sunday in a recent post about upcoming content plans, so we are giving that a try this week. This week’s rewind is basically going to be a rewind for September so far since I didn’t do one last week on September 4th.

weekly happenings

  • We got a target reopen date at the library. Originally, the library where I work had a reopen date of August, but because Covid cases were still high, they postponed it. We just got an email last week about the new date being October 8th potentially, and honestly, I’m really hoping they rethink that. As much as I know our patrons need library services, especially computer use, I’m just not comfortable working with people in person and I don’t want to risk exposure to Covid to help someone get on a computer even if it’s for an important reason. We will have social distancing measures in place of course, but I just have a lot of concerns, mainly not dying of Covid, and I’m really anxious about reopening.
  • My new work schedule was announced. Previously, the library had only been open Monday-Friday, but now they’re adding bi-weekly Saturdays, which unfortunately falls on my week. My main concern about this is that when we are open to computer appointments that I am not going to be able to adequately help everyone if I am the only librarian scheduled to work.
  • Basically, I’m really stressed about work. I’m trying to repeat positive thoughts about it to myself, and honestly the new schedule will be fine if we don’t reopen, but I’m really stressed about reopening because I DON’T WANT TO DIE. Even if we screen every patron before entering, they could still be asymptomatic and I also don’t want to end up in a situation like I’ve heard lots of librarians have faced where a physical altercation happens because patrons don’t want to adhere to social distancing guidelines. I did not sign up for this job to be physically assaulted.

on the blog

Here’s what I’ve posted so far in September:

what i’ve read

I’ve actually been doing super well on my proposed TBR this month so far? My initial goal was to read 4-5 September releases and I’m already on my fourth one! So far I have read:

  1. Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall
  2. Charming as a Verb – Ben Philippe
  3. Horrid – Katrina Leno

My least favorite so far is WHO I WAS WITH HER, which wasn’t a bad book but hit me the wrong way, and my favorite is CHARMING AS A VERB, which I will definitely be recommending to everyone I know.

currently reading

I’m currently reading Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s book MISS METEOR. I’m a little nervous about it because honestly I haven’t liked any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books that I’ve tried even though they totally SOUND like Mel books. However, I am hopeful that this book may work for me with their styles combined.

good readance 2020 check in

Since I’m participating in Shealea’s Good Readance 2020 challenge this month, I wanted to include a brief update post on what I’ve done for that challenge. So far, I’ve accomplished 3 of my Good Readance goals, including wittling my tbr from 400 to 200, getting rid of unnecessary shelves on GR, making a professional GR for children’s books, and unhauling my physical book collection.

sapphic saturdays reading possibilities!

Today is a very exciting day because I am going to be telling you about a few of the books I want to dive into for a really cool event called Sapphic Saturdays, a 24-hour readathon on September 12-13 dedicated to consuming sapphic content! If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out Arin and Brittany’s new blog for the event, on which you will find a plethora of EXCELLENT book recommendations. They also have an Instagram.

Without further ado, let’s get on to my TBR!

Now, I am most certainly not going to get to 6 books, or probably even 1 whole one, if I’m honest, because I SUCK at 24-hour readathons. HOWEVER there are just so many amazing sapphic books on my TBR that I want to read so you are getting a long, overly ambitious and impossible TBR.

  • You Should See Me in a a Crown – I am so embarrassed I haven’t read this one yet because I bought it in June and accidentally got approved for the eARC after publication AND it is easily my most anticipated book of the whole year. Sapphics doing their best? Prom court rivals to lovers? Musician MC? WE STAN!!
  • The Midnight Lie – Honestly, it’s the Midnight Lie Bot on Twitter that’s convinced me to move this up on my TBR because every quote makes me go *le gasp*. So obviously I have to read it. I still don’t entirely understand what the actual plot is, but I know it’s sapphic and sapphic twitter is in love with it and that’s really all the recommendation I need.
  • Watch Over Me – I have a wee confession to make: I HATED Nina LaCour’s last sapphic book, WE ARE OKAY. I know, I need to have my bookish sapphic card revoked. So, I am a little apprehensive about this one but the cover is so pretty and the synopsis says flowersfogwaves and it’s ghostie and I’m just gonna try it okay?
  • The Scapegracers – I saw this one on NetGalley quite a few months ago and almost requested it but hadn’t heard of the publisher so was unsure. However, this is another one that sapphic book twitter has convinced me to try because it has lesbian social outcast witches and there is honestly nothing better than sapphic witches.
  • The Dark Tide – Really all I needed to know about this book was that it is sapphic and described as a “dark fairy-tale.” Also, I love an ocean-y island-setting book.
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn – For some reason, this has become one of those books where I keep waiting for perfect reading conditions to read it. I am really pumped about this book, which is inspired by Persian mythology, plus I really liked the author’s first book, a sapphic retelling of Snow White. I am really excited to read this one AND it has an extremely reasonable page count even though it’s fantasy which makes my short-book-loving heart very happy.

I can still think of two more books I could easily add to this potential TBR, but for now I think I am going to try to stick with these to choose from. I am very excited about this event and so happy I actually get a weekend so I can participate before I go back to working on Saturdays.

5 reasons to read Charming as a Verb

Title: Charming as a Verb
Author: Ben Philippe
Pages: 336
Date published: October 13, 2020

Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

I want to start out by saying that I absolutely and completely unexpectedly loved this book. It was not super high on my TBR list for most of the year, but something about it eventually really intrigued me and pushed me to read it and I’m so thrilled I did because it’s definitely one of my favorites for the year. Today, I want to gush about it and tell you 5 reasons you should pick it up:

  1. Henri’s voice. I love a good “voicey” novel and this for sure qualifies. Ben Philippe’s writing from Henri’s perspective is absolutely killer, full of wit, honesty, and of course, plenty of charm. Henri is such a unique character and I loved learning about him throughout the book, especially the discussion of what he calls the “Haltiwanger Hunger” that drives his every decision and where his need to be charming comes from. There are so many layers to this ultimately very soft boi and I loved reading from his perspective.
  2. The dogs. Okay, so maybe this shouldn’t be a full reason, but honestly, even the dogs in this book had so much personality. As far as mild scams go, walking dogs is a pretty cute one, and reading about how Henri interacts with and loves all his dog clients is adorable. Ben Philippe honestly could not have picked a cuter hustle for Henri.
  3. The family relationships. Family is a huge part of this book. Henri’s dad is the primary reason he has the goal of getting into Columbia in the first place. I also adored reading about his mom, who is super proud of herself because she recently quit her old job to be a firefighter. They are all so hardworking and reading about their relationships with Henri and with each other made his character so much bigger. I was also fascinated by the discussion of diaspora that came up in regards to Henri’s family, who are from Haiti, and how he related to that term and the way his family represented it. I also loved all of their relationships with Lionel, Henri’s uncle/cousin, who his father kicked out because he didn’t want him to negatively influence Henri, but who they all go to for advice anyway.
  4. CORINNE. I absolutely LOVED Corinne, the love interest. She reminded me so much of myself in high school because she is so blunt and outspoken and doesn’t know how to get along with her peers at the beginning. I loved watching her come out of her shell and to see how turned on Henri was by her strong personality. He’s often baffled by her, but in a really good way, and I loved seeing him start to notice her and wonder how he hadn’t before.
  5. The New York setting. There are plenty of books set in NYC, but this one made me realize that a lot of them show the more touristy version of NYC. This book read as such an authentic representation of NYC, and it was clear to me that the author had spent time there. This wasn’t a watered down or sensationalized version of NYC like it is often portrayed. It does show the high life of NYC because Henri goes to a fancy private school, but it doesn’t over glamorize or romanticize it. Everything about the setting was extremely detailed and made me see a different side of the city than I usually get in YA.

These reasons are only the tip of the iceberg in telling you why I adored this book so much. Again, I am really happy I gave this book a chance because it brought me so much joy while reading and was really unique. This is the first book I’ve read by Ben Philippe, but I’m definitely interested in going back and reading his first book now because I can’t wait to get more of his writing. Thanks for reading, and I truly hope I’ve convinced you to give this amazing, fun, unique book a try!

who i was with her review // sad sapphics

Title: Who I Was With Her
Author: Nita Tyndall
Pages: 352
Date published: September 15, 2020

There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn’t ready for anyone to know she’s bisexual.

But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa — Maggie’s ex and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling.

As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.

I ended up rating this book 3 stars on GR immediately after reading, but the more I think about this book, the more annoyed I get about it, so that rating may change. I didn’t know much about this book going into it so I didn’t really have any expectations about what story to expect, but it still felt like a huge letdown because the book introduced so many complex issues but never managed to flesh any of them out fully. This book deals with a lot, including a first time sapphic relationship, coming out, alcoholism, grief, college, strained family relationships, and more, but none of these reached their full potential for me.

Let’s start with the coming out issue, because that’s the biggest problem I had with this story. Maggie is Corrine’s first girlfriend, and throughout the book she struggles to come to terms with her bisexuality first within herself and then continues to be terrified to come out because of what people will think of her. The book continually mentions Corrine’s terror at the thought of people finding out about her and Maggie, but never really delves into why she was so scared. Whenever pressed by other characters, she simply says “I don’t know” or trails off or changes the subject. We are told that the community she lives in is small and Southern, but personally I didn’t get a real sense of terror that wasn’t just manufactured for the sake of this plotline.

I was also really annoyed by the storyline that emerged about Maggie having pressured Corrine to come out. This made no sense to me because Maggie didn’t seem to be out to many people either, including her parents, so I was confused as to why she was pressuring Corrine to do something she knew she wasn’t ready for when she hadn’t even told everyone in her life. The timeline also made it feel off, because Corrine takes a while to realize she’s bisexual, and it felt weirdly paced to have Maggie start pressuring her to come out to everyone right after. I know the author is queer so I feel really bad saying this, but this felt unnatural to the story and I think it would’ve made more sense for Maggie to be supportive, especially because this part isn’t revealed until about 50% of the way through. That part of the plot felt like something a straight editor wanted put in to make it more understandable to straight people about why Corrine wasn’t out. Not every queer story needs to be about coming out, especially when it’s coming from pressure from other people.

I honestly did not really see the chemistry between Maggie and Corrine either. They’re both runners, but Corrine makes it clear all along that she’s not nearly as passionate about running as Maggie and is basically continuing to reassure her father and keep Maggie’s memory alive. The title of the book may be called WHO I WAS WITH HER, but I’m not really sure who Corrine was with Maggie that was so different from her before or after, because she continued pursuing something she had no passion for or interest in. She was still unsure of herself and very scared of other people’s opinions and unsure of what she wanted to do.

That uncertainty was also the only memorable or notable thing about Maggie’s personality or character, in my opinion. The whole book talks about how she doesn’t know if she wants to run in college, she doesn’t know what she wants to do other than possibly chemistry or science, which is not explored or show, she doesn’t know, doesn’t know, doesn’t know. I get that the message of the book is that it’s okay not to plan your whole life out and figure out what you want to do, but no other options other than going to college or staying are explored, and we don’t know Corrine outside of running, which she doesn’t even like. Corrine’s doubts and uncertainty might be realistic, but it was not interesting to read about and took away a lot of passion that the book had the potential for.

The family relationships were another thing I wanted more resolution and information on that were not truly resolved. Corrine’s mom is an alcoholic, which is delved into a little bit, but when the book ends, Corrine still feels that she needs to take care of her mother and be around for her and the conversation with her father about her mom’s alcoholism is very short and glossed over. Corrine’s relationship with both parents is strained throughout the whole story, and it ended up feeling like a loose end by the time the book ended. The whole ending felt very abrupt because there was not a lot of interaction shown with the characters to make it feel like each issue was resolved, and everything seemed to happen too quickly and neatly.

I do think this book was a very accurate, honest portrayal of grief. Corrine is complex in how she feels and deals with her grief, much more than other parts of her character. Having gone through grief over the death of a friend, I could really relate to some of the messier parts of Corrine’s grieving process, and liked how the author portrayed her struggle of centering her own grief over other people’s and how other people perceived her more selfish ways of dealing with her grief. The way the book was written also captured Corrine’s grief well, as it was perfectly melancholy with hints of lyricism and poeticness that worked well to express Corrine’s emotions.

All this said, I will admit I managed to read this book in a short night and morning. I did like that it had very short chapters, which made a story about such big issues and heavy emotions more manageable. I kept reading because there were a lot of aspects of Corrine’s experience with grief that I related to, and readers who have lost someone will likely feel similarly. It’s also good for anyone looking for affirming bi rep, despite the issues I had with the coming out storyline. This is one I would recommend to fans of Jandy Nelson and Nina LaCour for the writing style and subject matter.

Though I did not love this book, I do hope it finds its way into the hands of bi and sapphic readers who need it.