Midterms are approaching faster than you can say “The Great Midwest Trivia Contest,” leaving students spending days on extensive projects and working in the library until the doors close with the hope of calling on some academic spirit to help them pass. But, along with the stress of exams comes the joy of reading period, a time where students can relax and study, take trips and, as the name suggests, read! This week I plan on sharing some of my current favorite reads, in the hopes that you’ll be able to maybe snag a copy to enjoy during reading period.
The first title I want to mention is The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, a fantasy “BookTok” favorite. The story follows Linus, a caseworker, who makes sure that the orphanages housing the country’s magical youth are up to par. Suddenly he is summoned to a new orphanage on a secluded island for a month, which is home to six dangerous kids, including the Antichrist and a were-Pomeranian, just to name a few. As the days trickle by, more and more secrets of the island and its inhabitants are revealed, leaving Linus unsure of what choice he should make – destroy this hodgepodge of a family, or watch the world fall apart at their hands? This is a beautiful story, filled with LGBTQ+ romance and found-family dynamics, and is guaranteed to make you tear up at the very least. I have been in a reading slump for months, which is not quite what you want to hear from the author of a column about books, but this book helped to reignite my passion for reading. I haven’t stayed up to finish a book in ages, yet I found myself up till one in the morning one night finishing it, and even went back to re-read some of my favorite parts. I was overjoyed and absolutely crushed when I finished it, and I cannot fully express the euphoria you feel when you read a book that moving, though I hope you all can find a book that makes you feel the same way. This book is perfect if you want a lighthearted read reminiscent of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and want a book that feels like a hug. Believe me when I say this is one of the few “BookTok” titles that are worth the hype.
The other title I want to mention this week is Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. It’s a Greek mythological retelling, so of course I was obligated to pick it up. This retelling focuses on the myth of Ariadne, the Princess of Crete who helped the famous hero, Theseus, defeat her monstrous brother – the Minotaur. We watch her grow up and fall for the hero who promises to rescue her from her cursed family and give her the happy ending every girl dreams of, only to be abandoned on an island with a powerful god. Readers witness Ariadne blossom from her grief and become a powerful figure on the island, creating her own paradise. A common theme in today’s Greek retellings is to give a voice and dimension to characters who seem rather minor in the original myths at first glance, and that is exactly what Saint manages to pull off with this book. To be honest, it’s not my favorite Greek mythological retelling, though it’s still a good one. If you love Greek mythology and are interested in seeing the classic myths from new perspectives, you genuinely cannot go wrong with Ariadne.
That is all for this week’s recommendations! If you have midterms approaching, I wish you the best of luck, as well as some relaxing reading time.