Young adult books set in college, or even about the summer before college, aren’t all too common. That’s why I was surprised when I first learnt that American Panda is set at MIT. Well, Mei is 17 years old as she enters a year early but it works out well for this book. Mei had a sheltered upbringing, which is very evident as she tries to find her place at university.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was beautiful! I’ve had the hardcover on my bookshelves for over two years. I also knew that Lin-Manuel Miranda was an excellent narrator. But the more people told me to read it, the more I put it off. Yes, I blame my irrational brain. I wanted to read it but then I refused because others encouraged me to. Thankfully, Hazel picked it for our June Epic Recs, so I couldn’t deny her pick. I went on to alternate between print and audio.
Clean is a book that thoroughly surprised me. Firstly, I thought this book would be about mental illness. Actually it’s about addiction. I should’ve realized that before I started reading but as usual, I hardly glanced at the synopsis. Secondly, I was impressed with how the characters were portrayed in terms of depth, development and voice. Best of all, I was amazed by the writing style. It was on the experimental side, which I hadn’t expected.
One of the books I most looked forward to in 2014 was Belzhar. When I first saw the US cover, I was taken in and when I read the short description, I was sold. I wanted to read the book. It didn’t matter to me that I had never read a word of Sylvia Plath because I had every intention to. (For the record, I read The Bell Jar before Belzhar to preempt spoilers. Hah.) The hook for me was the exploration of mental stability.