One of my favourite ways to talk about books is through tags.
Not only because I get to talk about books more (which is nice). Book tags with prompts force me to find a book fitting the prompts, which gets me to talk about books which I otherwise might not share.
Today’s tag is based entirely on that.
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The Bookish Rave & Rant Tag summary
Use this tag to dump your thoughts on books which you’d like to talk more about but usually don’t. Time to really rave about loved books, and rant about frustrating books.
RAVE: a book you loved but don’t talk enough about
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I read this book way back in high school when I didn’t know about things like trigger warnings or book hangovers. Speak was a book that I randomly picked up and it B R O K E my heart.
For a short book, it’s incredibly poignant and fast in terms of character growth. It also deals with very heavy topics so it is not to be read as a light-hearted book. Once you start it, it will drag you in and force you to see and experience the main character’s life with her. It takes us into Melinda’s mind and also explains her feelings and emotional/mental state.
I haven’t read the book in years but it still remains strong in my mind.
Trigger warning: rape.
RANT: a book you didn’t like and haven’t spoken about
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Fat representation is something that readers have started to talk about more and more.* While I agree that books should feature fat/oversized/plus-sized characters more, I also want it to be good representation.
Books like I’ll Be The One and One to Watch, which are very popular for having “good” fat representation, are ones that I really don’t enjoy. Because the representation in the books are simply the women receiving tons of negativity in terms of fatphobia and somehow get through it because they’re confident in their body.
If the book has a fat character only to show how they’re “above” and “through” fatphobia, I don’t want it.
I’ve been struggling to talk about One to Watch and eventually decided not to because I don’t know how to put forth my opinions on this book that many friends love and praise as a novel with great fat representation.
One to Watch simply shows how fatphobia is present in everyday life and shows the main character just taking it all. Other than one or two scenes, the main character is like a strong wall who is very confident in her body and hence is not affected by fatphobia.
The book doesn’t actually have ANY DEPTH either in exploration of fatphobia and its affects on mental health, into fatphobia’s existence itself, or even character growth.
I’m still very unsure of how to explain it further but Mel’s review is very coherent and they mention a ton of my points.
RAVE: an author who’s works you love
I generally don’t praise authors completely. I praise books. The few times I mentioned some authors as ones I would always love ended up badly because they became problematic or their further works weren’t to my liking (read: Cassandra Clare, Sarah J Maas, Colleen Hoover).
Today, I’m taking a jump to say that I love Elizabeth Acevedo’s works. And I have more faith in her than previous authors because her books already have so much depth and emotion. Acevedo’s books are not mainstream where it’s just fantasy or it’s just a contemporary romance. Her books deal with slightly abstract concepts in society which we all know exist but can’t explain. Through contemporary stories, she delves into these concepts and properly explores them. And that’s why I love her works.
Granted, I have not read all of her works. She has multiple books with poetry out but I’m not someone who generally likes poetry so I don’t think I’m going to try them. But her three contemporary books (with some verse) are spectacular.
RANT: an author who’s works you just cannot like
Now, before you come at me with exclamations like “Christie is for everyone! How do you not like her books?!”, let me explain.
I never picked up Agatha Christie’s books in the beginning out of an instinct that I wouldn’t like her books, even though I did read other crime and mystery books. One of my friends lent me And Then There Were None and that was the first time I read Christie’s works. And I loved it! That book was intriguing and thrilling. It gave me hope for Christie’s works.
Every single Christie book after that was bad for me. My last attempt was two months back. I am giving up now.
It also doesn’t help that everyone recommends And Then There Were None when I say I don’t like Christie. It’s as if only that book is good enough to like unless you’re a fan of Christie already.
RAVE: a book you recently loved that you want everyone to read
In Search of Heer by Manjul Bajaj
I have actually been talking about this quite a bit on social media but it’s lesser than the book deserves.
THIS BOOK IS TOO GOOD. In Search of Heer is a brilliant retelling of Heer-Ranjha that explores multiple concepts in traditional Indian society like marriage, inheritance, caste, governance, leadership, religion, devotion to God, and the rules on love. The writing is also very beautiful, to the point that I wanted to highlight entire pages at some points.
I did end up highlighting a lot. In the end, when I exported highlights as a PDF, it came to 16 pages with 123 highlights. That’s more than any other annotated book so far. And that’s only half of all what I wanted to highlight.
I will probably write an entire review on it, if I can muster up enough coherent sentences which are not variations of “this is brilliant! read it!” but until then… THIS IS BRILLIANT. READ IT.
If you trust my reviews and recommendations at all, read it.
RANT: a book you did not finish recently and haven’t spoken about
When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes by Rayna York.
I actually requested an ARC of this on Netgalley because it sounds like a fun contemporary. When I finally read the book… I hated it within 5 pages. But I also have a history of badly judging books with characters who have a lot of growth later, so I continued.
But I could only manage two chapters of a whiny, self-entitled, arrogant, and spoilt main character. After that I went to Goodreads to check out some reviews and found that many felt the same as me.
While I understand the appeal in rich characters who suddenly become poor and have character growth, I simply do not enjoy their attitude in the beginning. I can compare this book to Schitt’s Creek from what I’ve heard of the show but I also didn’t watch the show past episode 1 because of the same reason.
The nail in the coffin was one spoiler that I saw in a Goodreads review. Spoiler alert: the main character in the book apparently chases after a boy aggressively and only backs down when it is revealed that he is gay. That character was gay just to discourage the main character from him so that she will end up with her true love or whatever. Among the queer tropes that I hate, this is among the top. A character being queer only as a plot point.
Just.. no. I don’t want. I closed the book and said that I won’t be reviewing it on Netgalley. It was a service to myself.
RAVE: a book you would recommend to everyone
The Giver by Lois Lowry
I generally recommend Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon to everyone but since this tag is to talk about books we generally don’t bring up, I picked The Giver.
This book is actually quite popular. Not in terms of many people recommending it but because it has a movie and is known by most people in the book community whether they’ve read it or not.
The Giver is a short book which depicts an “ideal” society where there is no crime, no violence, and no disagreements. The people work like a well-oiled machine and live peacefully. But is this peace true?
Through the main character, we see the price of maintaining this ideal society and question if it’s really ideal along with many other ethical topics.
I really liked it because of it’s depth. The author has used this book to truly question things both directly by words and indirectly by situations. Most of all, the author poses ethical questions and not just societal rules that already exist.
RANT: a book which others like and you don’t understand why
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
I have some on-hand answers so whenever people ask for “unpopular opinions”, I say Children of Blood and Bone or Empire of Storms. But again, this tag is to bring up books I don’t speak about.
I bought Truthwitch and Windwitch after seeing a bookstagrammer raving about them and they were my first purchases influenced by bookstagram. They were also my last purchases that were solely because of bookstagram. Now I always think on the books, find more reviews, wait for more opinions and then I may buy.
Truthwitch is a fantasy book which is quite loved and I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY.
- the world-building was sloppy. Unlike the Daevabad trilogy which had extensive world-building and the characters not knowing all about their world felt realistic because of eons of history and diversity, Truthwitch was SIMPLY SLOPPY. The author doesn’t explain anything and the characters not knowing much about their magic system felt unrealistic. It didn’t even feel like the magic system was a mystery. It felt like the author just didn’t want to build more and hence made it mystery.
- the main character was very annoying. MY. GOODNESS. Safi was a whining brat who made rash decisions and never thought of the consequences. Her best friend had to save them from trouble every time. And now that I think back on it, it’s as if Safi’s rashness was a way to further the plot. The author tried making the book character-driven but it felt like Safi was a puppet acting in ways so that the plot will go in some direction.
- sudden (and minimal) character growth which doesn’t make sense. First of all, only Safi had character growth and it was only because of a eureka moment at the end. The rest of the cast had ZERO growth.
I posted a full ranty review if you want to know more. I was so frustrated that I made multiple typos in the review lol.
A lot of people told that Windwitch is better so I immediately read book 2 with some hopes. I’ll admit, Windwitch better but only because Truthwitch was SO BAD. Anything would be an improvement.
I did plan on reading book 3 but since then I’ve read much better books and hence will not be going back to the series.
Do remember to pingback to this post or let me know if you do the tag so I can check out your answers 💜
More details and the full list of prompts can be found on this post!