Hello, and happy Monday, friends!
What a weekend that was. I have the residents of Texas on my mind today, and I’m hoping those I know from the blogging community have found shelter and remain safe. I applaud the efforts of first responders and reporters covering the storm and found this list helpful for anyone, like me, who wants to send support from other parts of the country. A few other links of note, if you’re in the browsing mode (that’s what Mondays are for, surely :)): if you missed the bestsellers scam that dominated YA Twitter last week, here’s a recap; a guide to why pardoning Joe Arpaio is a horrifying move; and a newsletter addressed to the white population that I have found informative and to-the-point.
When I haven’t been catching up on the news and social media, I’ve been taking day trips across New England with my family; wishing teary good-byes to my friends (almost all of whom have already moved in); and reading the last of my library books – the plentiful reading time that summer provides will be sorely missed, that’s for sure! I have a number of reads I hope to discuss and review in some manner throughout the fall, but today, I thought I’d take a cue from Rachel, blogger at Elephantine (her site is an absolute gem if you want to take a peek), and share a small sample of the books I enjoyed this summer. Any good recommendations on your end?
 First on the list is Anthony Marra’s collection of short stories, The Tsar of Love and Techno. Set in Russia and spanning from 1930s to the modern day, the book is a lyrical masterpiece, asking questions of humanity, hope, and art among backdrops of war and failing industry. Alone, the stories are haunting and well-written, but when paired together, readers will see what threads Marra draws to connect the characters and their narratives. This was the freshman reading selection at Brown, and since I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to hearing the reactions of others too!
 Morgan Matson is without a doubt my favorite YA author (I’ve recommended Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour more times than I can count), but even so, her latest release had been sitting in my bookshelf for over a year before I sat down to read it. Why? Blame the always-growing TBR pile. Nevertheless, The Unexpected Everything was, quite literally, everything I’ve come to expect from Matson: a pitch-perfect story of friendships and romance and teenage summer fun. It’s a large book, particularly for the contemporary genre, but I, admittedly, didn’t want my time with Andie and company to end. Sneak it in before the summertime comes to a close.
 While I have far grown out of the middle grade audience, I still keep tabs on new releases in the genre, which led me to Ellie Terry’s debut – and novel-in-verse! – Forget Me Not back in July. The cover is charming, and the story even more so: Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, a fact she feels the need to hide until she befriends her neighbor. It’s a quiet read, but what it lacks in action is easily made up for in superb character development and strong writing. I read it in an afternoon, and were I not devouring a copy from the library, I would have a pencil in hand for underlining any and all passages that stuck with me.
 Finally, one of my goals this year is to take a more active interest in the authors I’m reading from; in other words, I’ve tried to diversify my choices, an effort made all the easier thanks to the slew of new releases from #ownvoices authors. Among them is sophomore novel from writer Maurene Goo: I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a sweet, hilarious romance that had me smiling from beginning to end. Taking inspiration from the rich world of K-Pop dramas, the story follows high school senior Desi in her attempt to find love and redeem her numerous flirting failures. If you need a little silly joy this week, this will certainly fit the bill.
Wishing you all a lovely week,