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Book Reviews with Elizabeth

ELIZABETH LÉKA 

Opinion Editor

If you like books, you are in the right place!! If you do not like romance, maybe not. In this edition, I have diverted from my usual fare of mystery books and have read/written about some love stories. It is Valentine’s Day season after all, so romance is in the air. Keep reading to hear about some fun books, and maybe you will fall in love with one of them. 

A Romance Book (ooh!!!):

“Spoiler Alert” by Olivia Dade

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Marcus, the star of the hottest show on television, lives a double life as a fanfiction writer criticizing his own show. April, a geologist, keeps quiet about her interests, most of which include her obsession with fanfic and cosplaying as Lavinia, one half of the internet’s hottest couple (the other, Aeneas, being the character that Marcus plays). When a picture of April in her plus size cosplay of Lavinia blows up online, Marcus asks her on a date to spite all the angry commenters. He soon realizes that April is his internet best friend (Unapologetic Lavinia Stan), and now he has another secret to keep. Can their relationship withstand the heat of the spotlight, and the weight of all their secrets?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I had to yet again dive into the world of romance novels. This book was better than most as the female lead could hold her own, but unfortunately it followed the same basic plot. She meets the guy, they fall in love, he has a secret (quelle surprise), and they break up, followed by a reconvening again. If you think this is a spoiler, I want you to recall all the romance books you have ever read, and how many of them followed this exact storyline. Seriously, think. In my experience, with the exception of one book, THEY ARE ALL LIKE THIS! If you actually think that was a “spoiler,” at least I didn’t tell you what his secret is. I will tell you though that Marcus (that’s his name) is keeping a big one. One thing that makes this book stand out from the masses is the female main character, April. Not only is she plus sized (we stan an inclusive book), but she is a geologist! Those factors automatically make her different from the vapid, blonde, models that grace the covers of so many other romances. I honestly have no clue how I found this book because it is about adults, and I usually read more YA books. Oh that reminds me, the main characters were like 40 years old. That factor made things less relatable, because they are at a totally different part of their lives than I am. Something I haven’t touched on as much, but is a huge part of the book is the fanfiction aspect. They both write fanfiction about the characters from the show that Marcus is in, which leads the majority of the story. Since I feel this is such a big part of the plot, I will now move along (leaving you to dwell on that interesting tidbit…). Another special feature in this book is that in between chapters there are either excerpts from the fanfiction they wrote, or parts of the horrible movies that Marcus was in. Some of the lines his characters had to say were hilarious, and I hope you all get as much of a kick out of them as I did.

Rating: 10/10 (for a romance novel, this one is worth the read, and I might even re-read it!)

Illustration courtesy of Elizabeth Leka

Another Book Review:

“The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James

Genre: Mystery, Ghost Story

Back in 1950, unwanted girls were sent to Idlewild Hall. They were too troublesome, or of illegitimate parentage, or had other attributes unbecoming for young ladies of the time. The fact is that they were not welcome at home, and while Idlewild was unwelcoming as well, the girls there became a home for each other, that is until one of them disappeared. In 2014, a mysterious wealthy benefactor buys the abandoned school with the hopes of fixing it up again. The surprising news stirs up old memories of her elder-sister’s murder that Fiona Sheridan hoped would stay buried forever. As much as you may wish it did not, the past repeats itself, and the site of her sister’s death has many more secrets to share. 

The book jacket description of the story immediately drew me in. A creepy boarding school, murders, a girl who disappeared; I could already tell this was going to be a good one. The author expertly interweaved two tales, one from back in 1950 and the other from 2014. I love books that are told in multiple perspectives, and having the perspectives split by time was a really interesting aspect that added to the ambiance of the book. An unexpected part was the paranormal aspect. Ghosts weren’t mentioned in the cover summary, nor did I include them in my summary, but I would definitely classify this book as a good old ghost story. As I was reading this book, I was called to dinner just as I turned the page and saw something very juicy. That meal was torturous! But, the wait was well worth it, and wow the ending is exciting. The story is really rich with details, and the plot development is really nice. I was very satisfied by the ending, and I have no big complaints other than some slight confusion about Fiona’s sister. I couldn’t tell if her sister went to Idlewild, or just died there. I think she just died there, but if so the connection between Fiona and the school is really overemphasized. That was just something funky that I noticed, but if anything it has a positive impact on the storyline. Ghost stories are wildly underrated, so this book is a very good find for the genre. And, it was written fairly recently as well!

Rating: 8/10 (fairly good and spooky, but could have been spookier)

Illustration courtesy of Elizabeth Leka

A Book I Fell in Love With:

“Daisy Jones and The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Six was on the way to being the greatest rock band of all time. When Daisy Jones joined, they put out their best-selling album Aurora, but shortly after the band broke up. Was the star power combination of Billy Jones (lead singer of The Six) and Daisy too much for the world to handle? What really happened during that last tour? Nobody knew until now. The oral history of one of the biggest bands of all time is documented in this book, as well as the magic of the 70’s.   

It sounds odd to refer to this book as historical fiction, but since the 70’s are in the past, that is how it gets categorized I guess. Personally, I would call it an emotional ballad. This book was the first one I had read in a while that made me feel something. Daisy’s story is so emotional; full of love, longing, and loss. Reading this was heartbreaking in the best way possible. I was not alive in the 70’s so I do not know much about the time period, but this book is completely filled with 70’s ambiance, and the rock n’ roll vibe. Historical books are usually periodically accurate, but I have never been able to imagine myself in a time period as much as I did while reading this book. Instead of being written from someone’s perspective, the book is written so each character is being interviewed about the specific event/moment. This unique writing style added to the unfamiliarity of the time period makes the story even more captivating. So much of the book is about song writing, specifically writing the album Aurora. I enjoyed the inclusion of lyrics to all the songs in Aurora because they were so meaningful to the story, and it is nice to imagine what they might have sounded like. If I had not been recommended this book by a friend, I do not think I would have ever picked it up. The cover image is not very appealing, and I think it is an unrealistic representation of Daisy in the iconic band picture. Daisy is a coke addict for goodness sake, her teeth definitely aren’t that nice, and she doesn’t take enough care of herself to be in that kind of shape. I found the cover’s depiction of her problematic, but the author probably imagined her that way, so to each his own. Overall, I think the cover could be better (a lot better) but it does not detract from the overall appeal of the book once you start reading. The story speaks for itself. 

Rating: 10/10 (I love this book. So much. You will love it too!!!)

Illustration courtesy of Elizabeth Leka

Lastly, this is incredibly unrelated, but…

If you like mysteries, specifically if you enjoyed “And Then There Were None”, you just might like:

“You’re So Dead” by Ash Parsons

A bunch of influencers are trapped on an island in a Fyre Festival-like situation. Then, they start getting picked off. I found this book at the library this week, and was very intrigued. The concept and execution are pretty unique, the cast of characters are very interesting yet odd, and it is really good so far! (In all technicality, I have not finished reading it yet, but it’s pretty darn good so far!!)

Thank you so much for reading my triumphant return to writing for the King’s Page. It has only been a couple of weeks, but I missed this so much. As always, happy reading, and go talk to our librarians about books!! (they are really friendly, and would love to help you find your perfect next read)

Elizabeth Leka

Opinion Editor

Categories: archive, archived content