All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
This was an incredible reading experience! I loved the writing, I was fully invested in the characters, and I felt like I was part of its world. The blend of the scientific and the magical, sci-fi and fantasy, was super cool. The plot was exciting, but Anders also took the time to flesh out deeper themes such as loneliness. I know others have complained about the ending, but I felt like everything came full circle in a lovely, very satisfying way.
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
I read this in one day, pretty much straight through! I couldn’t get enough and wish the collection were longer. Daniel Mallory Ortberg took the darkest little threads found within fairy tales, sacred writings, and children’s classics and let those themes bloom in all their horrific glory, packaged in stunningly beautiful writing. The Velveteen Rabbit retelling was my favorite, but every one of these stories was a winner. A twisted and imaginative collection.
Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell
I love Fox Benwell’s lush, passionate writing. It was almost overdone here, but it actually matched the main character perfectly. Neo is young and spirited. Her innocence creates an ever-present overlay of discomfort and tension throughout the novel. And holy hell, that harrowing ending was so very difficult to read. I feel gutted. This book confronts fears, dangers, hope, bravery, trauma, grief – the complexities of being closeted, coming out, and being out, especially in a hostile area.
Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns by Andrea Gibson
This collection of poetry was published in 2008, it’s only recent to me. These gut-wrenching poems are so freaking beautiful. I had to remind myself to breathe while holding back tears in awe of what I was reading. I love the descriptiveness, the rhythms and cadences… the statements! It felt empowering and cathartic, even in the toughest moments, because they get it. I’ll be reading more (as in, everything) by Gibson now.