New Year, New Books
by Hollie Juniper, January 2024
As a bookseller, I oftentimes manage to get my hands on a book months ahead of its release, with what's called an advanced reader copy (ARC). Today, I wanted to share a few I've read recently that I'm particularly excited about: a book for each of the next three months to look forward to. Read on to hear all about them, why I loved them, and how you can order them today!
by Krystal Sutherland - 30th January 2024
If you’ve been obsessing over Juno Dawson’s Her Majesty’s Royal Coven series and are now on the hunt for something to fill the urban-witchy-fantasy shaped hole in anticipation for the next instalment: look no further.
This standalone young adult witch tale is gripping from the very beginning; it’s opening line “A woman walks home alone at night. But she is not alone.” tells us exactly what to expect. This is a frank and furious story about violence against women and misogyny in a man’s world. The Invocations is fast-paced and full of twists and turns that keep you guessing throughout, with the grittiness and gore that remind readers of the horror Krystal Sutherland writes so well- this was genuinely a disturbing read at points. But this story also has so much heart; it explores class, broken families, recovering from trauma, loneliness and friendship, altogether with the sweetest, kicking-your-feet sapphic romance that you can’t help but root for.
If you want a well-written witchy, feminist horror-thriller that feels like you're watching a movie, I can tell you this was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had in a while!
interesting facts about space
by Emily Austin - 1st February 2024
I absolutely adored Emily Austin’s debut, 2022’s Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead. To me, it felt absolutely singular in its hilariously anxious voice, striking the perfect balance between funny and moving. The bar was therefore quite high going into this one, but she’s done it again.
With Interesting Facts About Space, Emily Austin manages to maintain the writing style readers have come to love her for, whilst also creating an utterly unique and fresh central character in Enid. With the most hilarious everyday encounters, we essentially follow Enid’s journey as she grapples with building a relationship with her half-sisters, goes on endless dates with absolutely unsuitable women, deals with a seemingly random fear of bald men, which her addiction to true crime podcasts only exaggerates, and cares for her mother by telling her lots of interesting facts about space. On the surface, yes, it seems like a classic awkward-messy-girl-figuring-life-out literary novel we’ve become so accustomed to over the last few years, but let me tell you this is so much more. I CRIED AT THIS BOOK (after lots of laughing throughout!)
Without wanting to give too much away, this absolutely gem of a book will leave you with tears in your eyes the next time someone tells you an interesting fact about space.
by Lisa Ko - 21st March 2024
Memory Piece was such an unexpected read for me. I was initially drawn to it because quite simply I love any story following a group of women finding their footing in the world, alongside stories that span decades of its characters' lives and really getting into the nitty gritty of who they are and how they evolve over the years. Memory Piece gave me exactly that.
Told in three parts, each from the perspective of a different woman- who become friends as kids, bonded by each attending the same Asian-American weekend school) and wind up endlessly entangled in each other’s lives- during a different time. We follow Giselle, a budding performance artist throughout her childhood and early adulthood as she questions the inherent relationships between performance and living and works to push the boundaries of what art can look like, whilst also navigating the elitist art world of 1980s New York. We then follow on with Jackie throughout the 90s and 2000s as she goes from being a coder in the early internet boom, with an unwavering faith in the potentials a free internet can truly make the world a better place, to navigating the ethical minefield of the corporate tech world in the decade after. Finally, we follow Ellen in an almost apocalyptic portrayal of the 2040s (yep- that’s right), in a New York City divided by the extremities of wealth inequality, as she grapples with the perception of herself as an aging woman, the failure of her life’s work in combating the gentrification of New York City and ultimately questioning what it means to live whilst maintaining your morality in an ever-changing world.
Whilst Memory Piece initially took me a little while to get into, it was so worth it. It’s been about 3 months since I put this book down and I am still constantly thinking about the ideas and questions it put forward. In no uncertain terms, this is an epic of what it means to live in today’s world, and what our future holds if we continue down our current path. READ THIS!