Books

5 Star Predictions

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Sometimes I wonder what the point is of picking up books that you don’t think you will rate at least 4 stars. That’s why recently, I’ve been carefully picking out my next reads and researching them thoroughly beforehand. I know I can’t read every book in the world, and that’s why it’s all the more important to think a bit more deeply about your choices. So many books that I’ve picked up because they were cheap, not because I thought they’d be 5-star reads…

Inspired by BookTuber MercysBookishMusings YouTube video on 5-star predictions, here are some of my own. These predictions are based on Goodreads average ratings, blogger buzz, general popularity, and my personal excitement for the book’s topic.

Book cover of Girl Made of Stars, featuring an illustration of the back of a girl sitting cross-legged, above her rainbow-colored illustrations and the title of the book.Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

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As soon as I run out of YA contemporaries on my TBR pile, this will be my next read. I’ve only heard amazing things about this book, namely that it’s extremely powerful and heart-wrenching. I’ve also heard it can be very triggering (sexual assault, rape). If I wasn’t so intrigued by this book, I probably would’ve avoided it for the trigger warnings, but man, I just cannot resist the hype.

I’m interested how the book will tackle rape from the perspective of someone from the rapist’s ‘side’.

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

Book cover for Neurotribes, featuring a bunch of blue and black rectangles. Tagline: "The legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently."Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

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Autism is one of my special interests, and I’m constantly hungry for more information on it. Neurotribes is said to be the most complete book on history of autism. It’s difficult to navigate the world of autism books and find one that is not written by an ‘autism mom’, but by someone who actually supports neurodiversity and fights for our acceptance, as Steve Silberman does.
I can’t wait to devour this brick of a book (nearly 500 pages!) and learn more about my neurotype and its history.

What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.

Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of “neurodiversity” activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

Book cover for A Heart in a Body in the World. A white slanted silhouette of a face, on a purplish-blue background. On the silhouette is the back of a person running.A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

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Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, this book sounds right up my alley as a (casual) runner. I loved the running in Miranda Kenneally’s Breathe, Annie, Breatheand I’m interested in this book for the same reason. I find reading about running very motivating, and I need some motivation right now.

This book also tackles trauma, something that is always interesting to me as a blogger focusing mainly on YA with mental health representation.

The ARC reviews on Goodreads are very positive so far, so I’m sure I’ll love it as well. This is the only book on the list that isn’t out yet, but mark your calendars: it will be released on September 18th, 2018.

When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run?

So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her.

Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that.

Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Book cover for How to Stop Time. Medium blue background with an hourglass. The bottom of the hourglass is filled with sand, and on top of the sand is a man sitting, leaning against an unnaturally tall rose.

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I feel like I’m somewhat ‘outgrowing’ YA sometimes, so I’ve been taking the plunge into general fiction. How to Stop Time is a book that keeps coming up in these parts of the bookish internet.

I may not be a fan of historical fiction, or science fiction, or magical realism, but I cannot help but be intrigued by this book. It sounds like it will be one of those really profound, heartwarming books.
So far, I’ve only read two of Matt Haig’s books and those were both non-fiction about mental health. I’m interested to see what his fiction writing style is like.

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

Book cover for Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Adults. A minty blue background with a leafy tree that is losing its leaves in the wind.Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Adults by Luke Beardon

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I imagine it must be difficult to write a book about autism that is as widely loved as Luke Beardon’s books. There are so many different viewpoints in the world of autism, and from what I’ve heard about him, Luke Beardon gets it right.

It’s refreshing to see a book about autism in adults, since most media about autism is aimed at parents of autistic children.

I’ve just noticed it’s only 128 pages and I’m worried that it might not be a 5-star read since short books rarely get the point across, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

Autism is still persistently viewed as a disorder or impairment, but this concept needs to be challenged. Written by a university lecturer with several years’ experience in the field, this helpful book presents an up-to-date overview of autism and Asperger syndrome. Dr Luke Beardon comments on the realities of adult life, including further and higher education, employment, dating and parenthood. Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Adults is written for autistic people, their families and friends, and all professionals interested in autism. 

Topics include: terminology and what’s preferred, common myths and stereotypes, diagnosis and related issues, tips for undiagnosed adults, understanding the impact of autism on the individual, sensory issues, how an autistic person can manage the transition into adulthood, friendships and intimate relationships, and the criminal justice system – what happens when autistic people break the law.

In this sensitive and insightful book, Dr Luke Beardon asserts that there are many hugely intelligent, empathic, kind, caring, loyal and skilled autistic individuals – so it’s time to treat them as such.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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I have to admit that I was first only attracted to this because of the yellow in the cover, but after reading the synopsis and noticing the hype around this book (now quite a while ago), it has been on my mind a lot.

From what I know about it, it’s mostly focused on friendship and brotherhood rather than the usual romance we get in YA contemporary novels. How refreshing! The raving reviews on Goodreads say that it’s quite heartbreaking, so I’m getting my tissues ready.

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives… 

Have you read any of these books? Did you rate them 5 stars? Feel free to tell me (non-spoilery) awesome things you liked about these books!

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