General Thoughts: I loved getting to read about my people who share the same heritage as me and see how I compared to them—both in experiences and thoughts. It was interesting to learn other Filipinos’ thoughts on their Asian identities—or even the lack of their Asian identities. Ocampo’s book really opened my eyes to how different you can be and think even when you share important traits like heritage just based on your own personal experiences. The only thing that I would’ve liked was having read about Filipino Americans in other areas of the country and not California.
Book Title and Author: War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard
General Thoughts: The long-awaited final installment in the Red Queen series wasn’t as good as the rest of the books. I remember reading the first three last summer and not wanting to put them down, needing to know what happens next. It didn’t feel that way with this one. In fact, it took me all month to finish it. The story wasn’t compelling enough and even some of the big action wasn’t super exciting to me. I’m not sure how much of a factor the year in between reading all of these was in forming my opinion on this book, but I definitely felt like I would’ve enjoyed it more if I had read the previous book more recently. However, this is the first book in the series to include multiple POVs, and I thought that was done well. I really enjoyed reading the story as told by different characters and felt like I got to know them better because of it.
Book Title and Author: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
General Thoughts: I’ve read only two of Emery Lord’s books so far, but in each one she’s done a good job of including well drawn-out characters who happen to have some sort of mental illness or mental health issue. So while The Start of Me and You is about the beginning of quite a few new relationships and, of course, has a romantic and love story aspect like many young adult fiction books do, it’s not all about “boy meets girl, and they fall in love” or vice versa. I really enjoyed the protagonist, Paige, and how the story focuses on her growth and recovery from her boyfriend’s death (and other events that I won’t say much about because I don’t want to spoil too much). I really related to her in that she loves correcting people’s grammar, sometimes cares too much, and is an introvert who is no stranger to some social anxiety.
Book Title and Author: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
General Thoughts: I was inspired to read this book after seeing that Hulu picked it up for a TV series. I heard many references to the book while in college, and it has long been hailed as a hallmark piece of feminist literature, so I knew it was long overdue for a read. I have always been a fan of dystopian, and this did not disappoint. The story follows Offred, a scorned woman living in Gilead, a totalitarian-esque republic that forces fertile women into sexual slavery. It is deeply imaginative and beautifully written. It is a heavy read confronting patriarchy, religion, and and class, and it really makes you think about the world we live in. Despite being written more than 30 years ago, I found it very present and engaging.