Usually, when I find out a book is a novel in verse, I will skip it. The Poet X, however, sounded so relatable, that I stepped out of my reading comfort zone. Let me tell you, it was absolutely worth it!
I should be upfront that I have a soft spot for YA contemporary books involving drama and theatre. These books invoke such nostalgia because I spent two years acting and studying theatre for A Levels. That’s precisely why I was drawn to This Tiny Perfect World. A summer theatre camp sounded like a full immersion that I was bound to enjoy. In that regard, I was pretty pleased. A good chunk of This Tiny Perfect World is indeed dedicated to Penny’s curriculum time and rehearsals.
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.
As a standalone sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit did well to outline the setting. I think new readers would be able to understand things just fine. At the same time, it further expanded the world building for those who’ve read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The characters remained central to the plot of A Closed and Common Orbit as well, thereby justifying the slow pacing.