Category Archives: 5 stars

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

In her bold autobiography An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison details her struggle with bipolar disorder in the midst of her career as a clinical psychologist. First published in 1994, this book highlights Jamison’s bravery: with such a prestigious academic position and a CV full of work related to manic-depressive disorder, she risked her reputation and her ethos by writing this wonderful, heart-wrenching volume. Continue reading

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Gives Light by Rose Christo

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I have so many feelings about this book.

To summarize my emotional experience with Gives Light, I want to post a picture of me clutching my chest while lying on the bathroom floor in fetal position. Instead, I will try to dissect why I love this fabulous novel by Rose Christo. Continue reading

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Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

5/5 stars.

I first fanboy squealed on page 11, when Judith Lewis Herman created a connection between mental illness and feminism, two of my favorite topics. Continue reading

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Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Bird by Bird is my new bible. Not just for writing, but for life – it is my favorite work of nonfiction so far. Continue reading

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

As someone who wrote an entire research paper on the importance of YA fiction and the genius of Laurie Halse Anderson, I own up to my bias. The Impossible Knife of Memory captures so much of what I love about young-adult contemporary and realistic fiction. It possesses a witty and cynical narrator, it delves into a real and painful issue, and it offers a nuanced yet meaningful message of hope.

Hayley Kincaid divides the human race into two types of people: the freaks and the zombies. Continue reading

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Cover via goodreads.com.

Cover via goodreads.com.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I literally gave myself a pep talk to prepare for this book. I looked at myself in the mirror and and whispered “Okay, Thomas. As someone who gets extremely and unnecessarily attached to fictional characters, all you have to do is turn off your empathy. Everyone knows that everyone dies in this series. Just force yourself not to care.” This dialogue took place after a shower, so I even wrote “no more caring” on the fogged-up glass.

And, yes, I still shed a tear at the end. Continue reading

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

We despise spoilers. We avoid them at all costs, cover them with spoiler tags, and castigate those who share them. But a great book is one that we can appreciate even when we already know the ending. That’s how it was with The Song of Achilles: I knew the fates of the characters beforehand, but no matter how much I tried to brace myself, the last few chapters still broke my heart in the best possible way. Continue reading

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Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Voice. That makes this book about the 2002 Beltway Sniper Attacks come alive. Told through the alternating perspectives of Cody and Lio, two boys trying to find their place in this world, Gone, Gone, Gone will cause you to squeal in delight even as it sucker punches you in the stomach. Continue reading

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The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

The name Matthew Shepard brings to mind gay rights, hate crimes, and a brutal death brought upon by ignorance. But in The Meaning of Matthew, Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, points out an important fact: Matthew wasn’t perfect, an angel, or a saint. He was human. Continue reading

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Light by Michael Grant

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

If there’s one series that captures my teenage years, it’s this one. I picked up Gone five years ago at the age of 13 maybe because Sam was cute, not like I knew I was into guys at the time and five books later I’ve finished the series, now as an adult. I have so much history with this series, and I doubt any sleeping aid would give me back the hours I’ve spent reading it late into the night.

If you haven’t read Light yet or the books preceding it, I’d recommend skipping this paragraph and catching up right now. Otherwise, the central story line of the last installment in Michael Grant’s epic series revolves around Gaia and her (its?) plan to destroy all who inhabit the FAYZ… and eventually, all outside of it, too. Every character joins in for the fight no matter his or her previous wounds or scars. The question remains: will it be enough to defeat the darkness once and for all?

As always, Grant’s plot grabbed me from the get go. Continue reading

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