THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST | Emily M. Danforth
A bit bulky to get through, and a little squicky at parts (that's probably due to age) but overall I enjoyed this one, and really enjoyed Cameron as a character.
A lot of her early years were very relatable, figuring her attractions out, her run in with religion/religious people, her relationships etc.
A pretty good read in the end, I do wish there was a bit more comeuppance for some characters in the story but it feels more realistic this way. Sometimes shitty people do and believe in shitty things and don't get comeuppance for it, life happens.
CIRCE | Madeline Miller
I was given an ARC copy for a read not by a publisher but a mate who loves Miller and mythology as much as I do <3 (Thank you!!)
Miller has one of the better grips of Greek mythology going around. Not only academically, but emotively, this felt like a classic tale, a true and refreshing retelling of some, already pretty familiar, tales. She knocked it out of the park for me with TSoA, Galatea was a glimpse of the powerhouse Miller could prove to be and CIRCE only builds upon this, stepping up the game in terms of character voice (Circe a much more compelling voice than Patroclus, though I love him dearly), cohesion and prose.
The prose particularly, shows a new maturity and control. A little less flowery than our battle worn Patroclus, a little more gritty (despite there being no 10 years war), but it still has that expressive and poetic feel. This still evokes the feel of TSoA but in a new and frankly more grounded way. Despite being a nymph/Goddess, Circe feels more grounded and relatable than Achilles or the love struck Patroclus.
CIRCE was a fantastic blending of the ancient and the modern that brought new life to a character often overshadowed. This seems to be Miller's sthick in general and I can't say I'm complaining.
I finished CIRCE in one night and couldn't bring myself to regret the early next morning. This is definitely enhanced if you're already familiar with the Greek mythos and characters, but it's not necessary as the story itself and characters will draw you in.
CIRCE is something I'm definitely buying when it comes out.
AMELIA WESTLAKE | Erin Gough
Hmm, okay so, up front I heard about this book at a YA showcase last year, was intrigued by the premise and then was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy from the publisher.
So, you're probably looking at my two star rating of AMELIA WESTLAKE (on goodreads) and thinking, wtf? This book sounds awesome, it's queer, #LoveOzYA, a contemporary feminist heist and yeah, it sounds perfect.
It's a fab concept that I just felt fell flat with execution. Why? Warning for slight spoilers below, I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to really spoil all that much for people, but here are my Top Five Reasons I found AMELIA WESTLAKE.... meh *shrugs*
#1 Will and Harriet didn't feel or read like teenagers, they were like annoying caricatures, like what an adult thinks all the stereotypes of teens are all blended together, they both just felt off. Is this harsh? Yes, but it was the one deeply persisting factor that really, really made it hard for me to enjoy this book. Towards the end Will does improve a little but for the most part I just felt entirely meh about her. Harriet throughout was almost insufferable.
#2 Though this is set in Australia, aside from the mentions of Perth I swear this was some sort of British/English prep school. I'm probably not the best to judge this as I went to a country town public school with no real uniform and cows on campus, but again, this felt inauthentic to me of an Aussie experience. Maybe there really are schools like this out there, with kids this generic and watered down, but everything felt distractingly TV-esque. Nothing else either, really gave me that Aussie feel, especially how the kids talked.
#3 Every character felt like a primly crafted cardboard cut out, a cliche or a cartoonish villain. The only exception to this was towards the last third of the book with Will's best friend Nat, who actually developed a little character and managed to show some personality. (Also she started to act like a genuine person and not just doing and saying things as the plot demanded, like everyone else).
#4 Speaking of this; the plot overall was deeply underwhelming and predictable. There's a connotation that comes with the word "heist", it sets up something grand, something with a tinge of illegality, of danger, of something distinctly being taken from someone. Yeah, not so much here. The 'heist' of this felt more like a more timid Jake Paul level of trolling.
It did have to stick with some believability I know (there's only so much heisting two girls can get done in a preppy school) but this is fiction, and the blurb built this up so much, it's the main thread of action throughout the book, yet most of it is offhandedly (and off screen-ly) cast aside in favour of a trope-athetic love story that was just about the most predictable (and unfortunately cringe-worthy) part.
I'm all for tropes especially hate-to-love, but when you have such unlikable characters with next to no real voice or viewpoint to show that relationship through everything becomes monotone grey and falls flat. Add in an even flatter plot surrounding that? (Basically, from the first fifty pages everything you think that will happen in this book, is going to happen). Including the unimaginative "I'm Spartacus"moment.
#5 The feminism was an introductory, very basic, very exclusive brand of feminism. There were times where it tried to be more inclusive i.e. less white, (there was a particular part towards the end I did enjoy in regards to the feminism displayed throughout the book and it was done by my girl Nat so, again I maintain-Nat, my bisexual chestnut, you done good girl *highfives*) but for the most part it read as improperly crafted and considered. At times inconsiderate.
Overall, (though it may surprise you after that riff above) I didn't hate this book, it was just hard to get through and not the book for me. I did have my concerns going in as I didn't much like THE FLYWHEEL either, but the premise sounded too good to not check out.
So I did, and I'm still glad for it! It solidified for me something I've been thinking for a while (maybe Erin Gough's just not for me, a lot of the problems I had with this, more than those listed above, I also felt with THE FLYWHEEL).
Honestly, I think that if you liked or enjoyed THE FLYWHEEL, you'll probably like this book.