MK Pagano

What are you reading this summer?

My day job is directing content and social media at a startup, which means I’m aware of all those dumb holidays that trend on Twitter on any given day, which means I know that #NationalBookLoversDay is coming up!

Regardless of that, though, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a book post. And I’ve read some great ones recently. So in no particular order, my favorite books I’ve read this year are:

The Fantastical and Amazing

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab, the sequel to Vicious, continues the story of Victor and Eli, former friends turned enemies with superpowers, as they each strive to take down the other first. This book includes a new player in town, Marcella, a beautiful, lethal mob wife with an agenda of her own, as well as characters from the first book, each with their own unique powers to add to the mix. What makes these books so amazing is how every character can be both the hero and the villain; they all do terrible things, but you understand why they do them. I loved these books and I’m sad there are no more (but can’t wait to see what Schwab does next!)

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer, which I absolutely adored two years ago and which ended on a total game-changer, so of course this needed to be read right away. This continues the story of Lazlo Strange and the godspawn, but includes the tale of two sisters, tragically separated from one another. It’s hard to explain the plot without giving elements away from either book, but suffice to say these characters are heartbreaking, the world-building is mind-boggling, the writing is gorgeous, and Laini Taylor is a genius.

Circe by Madeline Miller is the story of Circe, lesser daughter of Zeus who gets banished to an island when she does some things the gods disapprove of. Miller takes this figure who we meet only in passing in the Odyssey (remember the witch who turns Odysseus’s men into pigs?) and fleshes her out fully. And OH MY GOD. What more can I say about this book that hasn’t been said already? It’s a beautiful story of mortality and sacrifice and love and motherhood and ambition and family and … just all the things. A beautiful, beautiful book.

The Real and Heartbreaking

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia is a book that was written specifically for me. It’s the story of Eliza, friendless teen in real life, author of the wildly popular web comic in her virtual life. No one knows her true identity except two of her online friends, but when a cute, reclusive boy shows up at school and they discover they share a love of her web comic, the lines between Eliza’s real life and online life get a lot messier. This book is a beautiful exploration of fandoms, identity, love, family, and all the things that go along with that. I loved it so, so much.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King is the story of a girl grieving the death of her best friend after they’d had a falling out–and also keeping the secret of how he died. It jumps back and forth between past and present, weaving the tale of their friendship and how it started and how it broke apart. I love friendship stories, I love sad stories, and I love a good VOICE, and this is all three. Vera is sad and lonely and confused and heartbreakingly real and I will be picking up this author’s other work for sure (after reading something a bit more cheerful to pick me up.)

The Just Delightful

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston has been super hyped up all over the internets. And it’s the most adorable, fun thing I’ve read in ages. Alex, son of the first female president of the US (sob) is an ambitious, hilarious, fun-loving 20-something who hates Prince Henry, the stuck-up, serious, handsome royal prince of Wales. Or does he?! This book is so much more than a rom-com as it delves into politics and responsibility and public perception and tradition and it’s funny and sweet and just LOVELY. You must read it, but I must warn you, it will make you so sad that this isn’t the world we live in.

Those are my favorites as of late! What are yours?

Photo by Dan Dumitriu on Unsplash

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