First third reviews: fiction

Hi friends, I hope all is well!

Today is the second half of my first third reviews! Last year, I forced myself to write mini reviews for all the books I read, and posted those reviews periodically. I really liked it and being able to talk about all the books, so I’m doing it again this year! Last week, I did nonfiction books, and this week is my fiction reviews.

So, here are some of the fiction books I’ve read this year!

Vi by Kim Thúy: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this short little book. It follows the main character, Vi, through her life as she grows up in Vietnam, moves to Canada, and finds her way back to Vietnam. It was super interesting, and I liked seeing her life at the different points in time. I liked Vi’s relationship with her family, and her eventual romantic relationships. I thought it was a really interesting look at the life of an immigrant. My one complaint is the chapter length: I typically love short chapters, and for this book I felt that, on the one hand, they really worked to move the story forward, but on the other hand, it made the story feel disjointed. It would have been less disjointed had certain chapters been a little longer. But, overall, I highly recommend this!

Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese: 4.5 stars

I really loved this book! It follows four homeless people who befriend a retired journalist, and then find a wing lottery ticket and need the journalist’s help cashing it. It’s 100% a character-based story, and the characters are fantastic. I really enjoyed reading about their lives and backstories, and learning about them. There was some great development in the characters as well. I also really enjoyed the setting, and thought it really helped set the tone and mood of the story. Overall, I cannot recommend this enough.

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo: 3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! I don’t tend to read romance, but this was a super fun read. I really enjoyed the two main characters and their dynamic. Their relationship was really sweet and cute. I liked how the book delved into some deeper topics, and I liked the focus on family and familial expectations. I also liked the look at being a Black woman in a professional environment. I thought some of the twists and reveals were predictable, but still enjoyable. My biggest complaint was that there were some chapters from the love interest’s perspective, but it wasn’t consistent. I tend to enjoy dual POV stories, but I want there to be some consistency. They were mainly used in this book whenever they were needed for the plot, rather than show that information in a different way. But overall, I’d definitely recommend this one.

The Divines by Ellie Eaton: 3.5 stars

I’m not sure what to think of this honestly. I have no strong feelings either way. It was fairly well-written, and I love boarding school settings. Josephine’s perspective was an interesting one to read from. But I always felt like I was waiting for something. Even at the end, when everything was coming to head, I was waiting for Something To Happen. So overall, I’d read it if you’re interested in the topic. But I don’t think I’ll be rereading it any time soon. 

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this weird, little book. It was really interesting. I loved how critical it was of sexism in general, and Korean sexism specifically. It highlighted a ton of issues without shoving a message down your throat. Jiyoung was an interesting main character and I loved reading about her life. The side characters are also great and emphasized the main message of this book. I think the most common complaint is that it’s written in a very clinical format, which is the point as it’s literally the doctor’s notes. That didn’t bother me, but I understand why some people would be bothered by it. Overall, I definitely recommend it.

Lobizona by Romina Garber: 4 stars

This book ended up being so fun. The plot and world-building were so interesting, well done, and unique. I really enjoyed the main character and her friends. I liked the discussion about immigration and ICE and community, and thought it was really well done without being too heavy-handed. I thought this started a little slow, but once it got going, it picked up really quickly. Would definitely recommend it.

Theory by Dionne Brand: 3 stars

I have such mixed feelings about this book. It was really well-written, and I really enjoyed Brand’s prose. I enjoyed our unnamed narrator, and thought she was a really interesting perspective. It was interesting to see how she reflected on her relationships, and how she perceived her flaws and how they contributed to the downfall of the relationships. I also liked reading about her partners and thought they were all interesting, distinct, realistic characters. However, I was also so bored. There is literally zero plot in this book, and it is entirely a musing on the relationships. There isn’t even a clear timeline to follow for most of the relationships, so it was hard to get invested for a long period of time. I really enjoy character studies, but I still need some semblance of plot to want to read the book and not be bored. So ultimately, I was bored for a lot of this book, unfortunately.

So there are the fiction books I’ve read recently! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? What’s been your favourite fiction read so far this year? Let me know!

Ally xx

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