We’re reaching the part of the year when most of the books that Geekettes picked up at Book Expo America are actually being released–and that means I found myself with three books to review all being released on the same day. The books range from sci-fi/fantasy to YA romance, and I’ve written up my thoughts to share with all of you!
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
If ever a book should come with a soundtrack, Dumplin’ should. And most of that soundtrack would be Dolly Parton. Julie Murphy’s sophomore novel, Dumplin’ tells the story of Willowdean Dickson, Dolly Parton fan and self-proclaimed fat girl, as she deals with a crush and makes the unexpected decision to compete in Clover City’s Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. When I first picked up Dumplin’ at BEA, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t a novel of this depth and complexity. I was also very close to singing “Jolene” under my breath for most of an entire chapter.
Dumplin’ is not just another story about a fat girl finding confidence in herself. It’s about a teenager grieving for a beloved aunt and fighting with her oldest friend. It’s about a group of misfits who sign up for a beauty pageant with zero expectations of winning, because they want to prove that they, too, can be beautiful. And yes, there are drag queens in this book too, although I don’t want to give away too much about their role. This book made me feel a lot of things, and I am incredibly happy I made the decision to pick it up at BEA.
Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
The latest novel by the prolific fantasy author Mercedes Lackey is the first in a new series, set in a future where mythical creatures have broken through from the Otherworld, and the last of humanity is protected by a combination of technology and Hunters. Joyeaux Charmand is one of these Hunters, with the ability to call a team of Hounds through a portal and protect Cits from Othersiders. The only thing is that life in Apex City isn’t quite what Joy is used to, after growing up on the Mountain: in Apex City, the Hunters are followed by cameras and watched for entertainment, albeit with doctored footage.
Joy makes an entertaining heroine, but I had a couple moments where I found her almost too likeable, though not quite on the level of a Mary Sue. She is a skilled Hunter and skeptical of both the government and the military. Comparisons to Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games would not be amiss, but Joy, unlike Katniss, lives in a world where the danger doesn’t just come from power-hungry politicians, but also from very real supernatural monsters. Hunter is an interesting mix of sci-fi dystopia with fantastical creatures and magic that fans of both genres will probably either love or hate. Luckily, if you fall into the former category, Hunter is the first in a new series, and hopefully a second book will be coming soon.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith
The newest book by the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight takes a similarly short period of time, this one the final twelve hours before Clare and Aiden part ways to go to college on opposite sides of the country. And they still haven’t decided whether or not they should break up. It’s a story about high school love and growing up, and while I wouldn’t say it’s doing anything new, it is well-written and makes an enjoyable YA romance.
At the start of the night, Clare makes a list of important places for them to revisit, but with every intention of breaking up at the end of the night. To no one’s surprise, things don’t quite go according to plan, as a night full of goodbyes brings up lies and secrets, but also happy memories that make it hard to say goodbye at all. While it’s been a few years since I left for college, I still vividly remember some of the things that Clare, Aiden and their friends are struggling with, and those fears are justified. Smith does an excellent job of portraying this moment of transition, highlighted through Clare and Aiden’s relationship. If you’re looking for a relaxing read for the last days before your next year of classes start, Hello, Goodbye… would make a good choice.
Each of these books were very different, but I enjoyed reading all of them. Dumplin’ I enjoyed so much I raced through it in a day, because I was on vacation. Hello, Goodbye… could probably also be read in a day, although I wasn’t able to do so because of other commitments (life getting in the way of reading, as usual). Hunter is more likely to take longer, both because it is a little longer, and because it took a little bit longer to draw me in than the other two. Regardless of how fast you read them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Which of these books are you most likely to read? Is there one you are particularly excited to go find? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and share this post!