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Features | October Reads (+ recommendations from August & September)


Today I’m finally getting my reading roundups back on track for the end of the year with a quick look at a few titles I read in October. Due to a very busy time at work I didn’t manage to put together a monthly roundup for August or September, but I read some great books during this time too so at the end of this post you’ll also find a list of recent reads that I would recommend. But for now, back to October…

I started the month by finally finishing my September book club selection The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson; the third and final title in Team BB favourite the Truly Devious series. Overall I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the previous two books, but I loved revisiting Ellingham Academy one last time and it was really interesting to see how the mystery wrapped up. Whilst this particular story may have concluded, I hope to read more Stevie Bell crime-solving books in future.

One of my favourite reads from the past month was recent release Punching The Air (Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam) a YA title which explores the criminal justice system in America. Co-written by Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five, the heartbreaking story of Amal’s conviction for a crime he didn’t commit felt very realistic and was no doubt influenced by Salaam’s own experience. The verse format of this book was the perfect choice, it was written beautifully and was such an insightful and captivating novel. I highly recommend picking up a copy and it's definitely one I’ll be adding to my to re-read list. 

Exploring some similar themes, another favourite from the past month was Nic Stone's Dear Martin which I picked up having read so many amazing reviews. I adored the format of this book and how the letters were woven into the story. I also have the recently released sequel Dear Justyce on my November TBR (c/o Netgalley) and I'm sure it's going to be another great read.

YA short story collection Black Enough (edited by Ibi Zoboi) had been on my TBR list for a little while so when I noticed it was available on my library app shortly after reading Punching The Air I decided to reserve it. This brilliant selection of stories written by black authors explores what it is like to be young and black in America, and covers a whole range of different settings and topics. I really enjoy that these types of collections can introduce readers to authors they haven’t read before and I found myself noting down a few names to look up for my 2021 TBR.

An interesting read from this month was Little Eyes (Samantha Schweblin) which was on the International Booker Prize long list this year. The book has an intriguing premise centering around our relationship with technology and it definitely takes some unsettling turns. As the book jumps back and forth between different characters based in various parts of the world, there were definitely some storylines that I found more interesting than others, but overall I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped to. 

Our book club theme for October was to re-read a book that you had previously rated 5 stars, so I decided to take this opportunity to pick up Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. This book, which I reviewed here back in 2015, remains one of my absolute favourites. I’m not sure what it is about this novel but even though I know exactly what’s going to happen it’s still such a page-turner. I’m sure I will read Dangerous Girls again in future, although maybe I don’t need to keep re-reading it every year… 


Other recent reads I would recommend:

- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Gender Explorers by Juno Roche
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
- The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
- The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shula (audiobook format highly recommended!)
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
- Who Am I, Again? by Lenny Henry
- Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (review)
- 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon (review)

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