The People We Keep Is Allison Larkin’s Case for the Necessity of Happy Endings

Leave it to Allison Larkin to hand me this promise that no matter how hard I try to keep the good things from coming, they will always find me. And hold me. And never let me go.

I used to tell myself I hated happy endings. That I, like April, would be better off walking away before I knew the turnout of a would-have-been chapter of my own life.

Of course, my life isn’t a book and my story doesn’t have a conclusion the way April’s does. But I suppose books like The People We Keep are, among so many other wonders, a reminder that even though our lives take sharp turns and the world often crashes down around us and it seems nothing could ever turn out right, eventually at least one thing always does.

But Allison Larkin’s novel is more than a reminder: It’s a promise. Perhaps you haven’t been through everything April has. I haven’t. But we all have something. We all want better, even when we deprive ourselves of everything that could get us there.

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Courtney Gould’s THE DEAD AND THE DARK Explores the Haunting Heartbreak of Love and Loss

Desperate times can result in dangerous deals. THE DEAD AND THE DARK reminds us what some are willing to risk to keep our loved ones alive.

What would you do — how far would you go — to save the person you loved most in the world?

In The Dead and the Dark, Courtney Gould paints a chilling picture of an imperfect family who must depend on each other now more than ever.

Logan, the daughter of celebrity ghost-hunter dads, wants nothing to do with small towns, ghosts, or worst of all, her parents. Watching them detect paranormal activity in front of cameras was never the life she signed up for, and she wants out.

So why has she found herself in a town full of ghosts?

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Feel Empowered with GREAT CIRCLE, Maggie Shipstead’s Inspiring Story of Female Perseverance

Great Circle is a reminder that we can go where our hearts call us to go, whether that be somewhere on the ground or among the clouds.

How many times have you been told you couldn’t do something because of who you are?

Marian Graves is a woman with a dream. But it’s the early 20th century, a time in which women with ambitions had no choice but to fight to transform their hopes into realities.

When she first expresses interest in learning to fly planes, Marian meets a level of resistance that would convince even the strongest-willed to give up and settle for more “appropriate” work.

Marian Graves did not give up.

In fact, she persevered so intensely that decades later, the book’s second main character accepts the job of playing her in a biopic about her disappearance.

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In AETHERBOUND, E.K. Johnston Creates a Universe for the Unwanted to Thrive

Aetherbound is a story of survival and the refusal to accept an unfair destiny. Once again. E.K. Johnston creates a cast of characters we can all relate to.

When your own family doesn’t believe you’re worth the air you breathe, it’s easy to accept your desperate place in the universe.

But maybe you don’t have to. Maybe there’s something better out there for you.

Prendt didn’t choose the genes she was born with. Yet because of the way the universe made her, her family wishes she didn’t exist.

Which would be a tragedy all on its own, of course. Add to it the fact that the freighter they live and operate on barely has enough resources to keep every individual alive, and Prendt finds herself minimally surviving in a home where everything she consumes makes her loved ones hate her more.

In a daring attempt to free herself from her circumstances, Prendt escapes the only place she has ever called home in search of a better life. She has no idea that she’s capable of more than just barely surviving.

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Shelley Parker-Chan’s SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN Is a Tale of Desperate Persistence in a Dark, Unforgiving World

SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN will be someone’s top book of 2021 and caters to the adventurers, the dreamers, and the pursuers.

If you were told you were destined for nothing, what would you do to prove your prophecy false?

Shelley Parker-Chan’s new release She Who Became the Sun begins with destiny at its forefront. A fortune-teller stands over two siblings, a brother and his sister. The boy is promised greatness; the girl, nothing at all.

Then the boy dies. And instead of letting herself waste away into the nothingness the world set up for her, she takes on the identify of Zhu, joins a monastery, and vows to achieve the greatness her brother never would.

She has no idea what achieving greatness will truly ask of her until everything goes wrong.

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I Finally Figured Out Why John Green’s Writing Makes Me Feel Whole

Reading The Anthropocene Reviewed uncovered a decade-old mystery I’ve been trying to solve the wrong way.

Up until two days ago, I could not remember the last time I read a book that made me cry.

And I don’t just mean marking your place in a novel for a moment while you wipe a single tear away and soldier on. I mean the kind of crying where you put the book down or pause the audio, stare at what’s in front of you without really seeing it and just losing yourself in the sadness, or joy, or maybe a strange mix of both.

I should have known John Green would be the one to break me.

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Why YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN Was the Most Important Book I Read in 2020

The beautiful thing about stories is that they often mean different things to different people.

Today I learned there’s a Billie Eilish song that shares a name with Leah Johnson’s young adult novel. I have read the book, and I have not listened to the song. Should I?

Later. When I’m done writing this post. Maybe.

So. 2020 was awful. Eventually I’m going to stop talking about it altogether. But despite all the bad, good things DID happen. Not enough to make up for all the awful, but hey, we have to grasp onto any good we can find, right?

For me, books were a huge staple holding the year together. I read 156 of them. In 12 months. Read, listened, same thing, right? (2.5x audiobook speed, you’ll never go back.)

Without a doubt, You Should See Me In a Crown tops my list. And it’s taken me this long to get around to writing about it because … you know. 2020.

It should be stated for the record that I am not a queer Black teenage girl, I’m not here to speak for anyone out there who is, and yet somehow I related harder to this story than anything I’ve read in … years.

Why? Because I, too, was once a teen struggling to figure out who she was while being told who I could and could not be.

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