I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!
If feral girls who just want to know where they came from are your jam, definitely check out Burn Our Bodies Down, the latest release from Rory Power. Read on to learn more behind the inspiration for this book about a ferocious queer heroine digging into her past to learn more about the deadly family secrets hiding in a farmhouse just one town over.
Haunted house stories are great because you’re lured in with the promise of a lavish home and maybe some romance with polite homeowners, and then things go down into a trash bin faster and more strangely than expected. When Noemí received a strange letter from her cousin Catalina, she goes to High Place in an old mining town Pachuca. Eerie visions and awkward encounters unfold, spiraling into eldritch horror.
The atmosphere in this book is simply perfect. The descriptions are lush, and the reader feels the same amount of dread as Noemí as she uncovers unexpected secrets and peels back the many layers wrapped around Catalina’s illness. There is a perfect sense of time too. The book takes place in 1950s in Mexico, and the little details about pop culture really help put together that sense of setting, even if the plot beats are familiar to those who enjoy gothic haunted house tales.
Noemí is also the perfect protagonist for this story. She is a socialite and never loses that lively air around her, even as things get progressively worse around her. She has a very strong sense of self-preservation and empathy for those she interacts with. When she fights, she fights and I loved that tenacity about her.
A perfect gothic haunted house story that doesn’t take place in Victorian England.
Mothers don’t always tell their daughters anything, but Margot Nielsen just really wants to connect with the family she had never known. Some secrets lead to a rabbit hole and the truth puts Margot and her new friends in danger.
Much like her debut, Wilder Girls, Power has such a knack for writing feral, unlikable main female characters. Margot is determined to survive and not afraid to put up a fight. The stream of conscious writing is excellent because it allows room for these asides that show just how pissed off Margot is at, well, everyone around her. In addition, even though it has no real bearing on the plot, Margot is a queer girl who loves girls and it’s on the page.
The book is steeped in this creeping dread as the reader explores the notes and diaries left behind by Margot’s mom. Gram is also sweetly unsettling, and to say anything more would absolutely be spoilers territory. There’s definitely a sense of history in the farmhouse and the ruined cornfields, and the layers keep going and going.
A delightful Midwest horror in which family secrets are kept tucked away for good reason.
I DID IT. I am on track for finishing my reading goal (100 books in 2019, displayed as 101 because of a DNF). I decided to break this month’s round-up into two entries because dear lord, I read so many things in July. Continue reading →