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BookTok worth it or not: the nots

For our final edition, I’m back and ready to go. Let’s get into it: I read books I find on BookTok, I review them, I tell you whether to read them or not. Except I realized in my last review that I have never written a review for my not list, and I deduced it was because I simply do not have the energy to review a book I already disliked. But on top of that, I feel bad saying I didn’t like a book because someone else may very well enjoy it— though I understand the inverse will also be true and books that I enjoyed people may not like. 

Anyway, neither here nor there, it is our last edition and there are many books I have yet to review so here is my list of not books. 

“The Firekeepers Daughter” by Angeline Boulley

I read this book in quarantine and it definitely did its job of keeping me entertained. That being said, I don’t know whether I would recommend this book if you aren’t stuck in your room for five days. 

It’s an interesting plot that weaves genres and brings up important issues regarding othering and racial identities. The book centers around a young girl—Daunis Fontaine—who is a biracial tribal member trying to unearth the corruption in her Ojibwe community. Daunis is conflicted by family obligation and going for her dreams and it shows the clash between wanting to be there for your family and wanting to go off into the world. There is also the scandal that follows Daunis from first being the child of a scandal since her parents were not married, and then the recent death of her uncle who is believed to have overdosed. 

It is an interesting plot but also there were a lot of points where I had to put down the book to be like “wtf just happened.” It’s got a mystery aspect to it so at every turn you never know who is lying and who is telling the truth. And then just when you finally start to trust that someone is good, BAM, narrative flips. 

Overall like a five out of 10, I guess. I liked the book, I just can’t rave about it. This could also be because it’s not necessarily the genre I would choose for myself. My friend lent me the book so I didn’t pay for it, but it is definitely not a book I would go out to get to add to my collection. 

“The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton 

Before I begin, no this is not the book “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid—aka the book with the lady in the green dress on the front cover. Yes, I agree it is trippy that both have the number seven and the name Evelyn with the last name starting with ‘H’ in the title but what can you do? 

This was the trippiest book I have ever read. I mean seriously. Time isn’t real, characters are impermanent. You can trust nothing the author tells you. 

Turton does a great job of making the reader feel exactly like the main character, who is confused about what is going on for 90 percent of the book. This is a cool literary effect because you know just as much as the main character but its difficult to then understand what is happening. 

Though the ending is really interesting and poses a very large moral question for the reader to sit with. The plot twists give off “Black Mirror” and “Twilight Zone” vibes, which is fun, but it’s a very long road to get to the final twist. This book requires a lot of focus and attention because you are piecing together a murder going off of literally knowing nothing. The book takes place over the course of like seven days but you’re constantly hopping back and forth between different days which presents in a non-linear fashion but it actually is linear for the main character. That doesn’t make sense but I swear that’s how it’s written. It takes a while to pick up on the fact that while we are jumping through time the main character is also jumping through time and this isn’t the author just omitting information.

I don’t think I could describe this book other than a complete mind-fuck and you have to read it to understand that. You need to be fully invested in putting your brain towards this and it’s certainly not a light and easy read. 

Overall like a six out of 10 because the ending is redeeming, I’m just not sure if the ending is worth all the effort it takes to get there. (That’s what she said.)

Other books for honorable mention: “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. Good book, but depressing. Didn’t love his writing style and ends on a very sad note. “A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem” by Manda Collins: cutesy book, good escapism not my favorite book though. “The Last Letter from Your Lover” by Jojo Moyes: nothing like the movie, I think I liked the book better but also kinda crushes your soul and the freaking miscommunication troupe kills me.

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