May: Books I’ve Read Recently

"Books I've Read Recently" is a series where I, Penelope Gomez, will do a monthly wrap up of the books I've read throughout the past month. In this series I will give a brief synopsis of the story and then give the book a rating out of 5 stars. 5 stars being the best and 1 star being the worst!

I will then give a brief description of why I chose to rate a book a certain way.

So without further delay lets get into the "Books I've Read Recently," and as always leave a comment down below and tell me which of these books you've also read, or plan on reading next.

Books I've Read Recently

Just A Boy and A Girl in A Little Canoe, book cover

Just A Boy and A Girl in A Little Canoe Sarah Mlynowski

Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster.

That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside down. Gavin may have gotten the job just for his abs. Or that smile. Or the way he fills Sam’s free time with thrilling encounters—swimming under a cascade of stars, whispering secrets over s’mores, embarking on one (very precarious) canoe ride after dark.

It’s absurd. After all, Sam loves Eli. But one totally absurd, completely off-the-wall summer may be just what Sam needs. And maybe, just maybe, it will teach her something about what she really wants.

My Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I really liked this book, but I will say I didn't think this book was really for TEENS! There was some mature content in this novel. The main characters, Sam and Gavin, are both older and in college, so I don't think this content would really be relatable for like a 13-year-old Teen Reader, just my opinion. Anyway I really loved this novel. This was the perfect summer romance read. It is set at a summer camp where an unexpected romance stirs up between two camp counselors. Only they both have significant others, so it gets really complicated really fast. This book had all the Hallmark romance feels. It's not the perfect love story, but it was such an aesthetic read. Sarah Mlynowski really transported me back to like 6th grade science camp. The kids swim, play sports, enjoy nature and have summer camp songs and chants, etc. Only this time it was from a councilor's perspective and not a camper, which was really fun. I didn't realize how much work and planning goes into every little event we so thoroughly enjoyed as children. This book honestly got me ready for summer! Every scene involved a fun summer activity, like swimming on the lake or applying sunscreen to play tennis. If you’re just looking for ideas to add to your summer bucket list, read this book, it comes with endless summer activities. I will say the only reason I am marking this book down to 4 stars is because I didn't like the ending... I don't want to give too much away but that was not the ending I expected AT ALL! It was so out of left field for me... but I can see other people really liking the outcome and STANNING that particular couple. I personally didn't think they were a good match, otherwise it would have been a 5 Star read for me.

We Contain Multitudes, book cover

We Contain Multitudes Sarah Henstra

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship...and each other.

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I really found this book astonishing for a young adult novel. This book does deal with a lot of heavier themes throughout the novel for example, bullying, homophobia, abuse and toxic relationships. This book was really enthralling from start to finish, but I will say again this book is probably not for a younger teen reader. This was probably like a 16+ type of read because there was a lot of mature content. In this book we follow "Jo", a junior boy who is openly gay, and "Kurl", a high school senior and football player, who hasn't really come to terms with his sexuality. Kurl has a lot going on in life. He is dealing with his abusive uncle at home. His uncle is an alcoholic and he is constantly beating him. Kurl also has a lot of internalized homophobia that he is dealing with on top of the abuse. Kurl hates the fact that he's gay. He doesn't want anyone to know he's gay, he doesn't want to "look gay." Kurl's character is just seething in self-hatred and so when he unexpectedly strikes up a relationship with Jo who is so openly gay, their relationship quickly turns toxic and in a way very abusive. I've often heard the phrase, "If you don't love yourself, you can't love others," and this book was basically the epitome of that quote. This book was heartbreaking in many ways, but such a good and heartfelt read. I also loved the fact that this book is written in a series of letters between Jo and Kurl. When Jo and Kurl first start falling in love those letters are everything! I would love to get letters like that. There is just something so romantic about hand written letters. I loved this book for that alone. This book really romanticized the written word for me, they even write each other poetry, I don't think you can get any more romantic then that. Definitely a 5 star read!

Perfect on Paper, book cover

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:

• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she's not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this romantic comedy. Was it very predictable, YES, but it was so well done. This love story is set in Los Angeles so if you've been missing Disneyland road trips to Anaheim, they are frequently on the agenda of this book. In this novel, Darcy is the secret relationship guru behind "locker 89." Everyone in school knows that if they leave a letter along with $10 all their relationship drama can be solved and Brougham (popular teen heartthrob) is in desperate need of advice! He figures out it's Darcy behind locker 89 and blackmails her into giving him one on one coaching advice. He wants to win back his ex, but surprise surprise after a little bit of coaching from Darcy, maybe it’s her he's more interested in? Like I said, the plot line was very obvious, so that's not giving anything away! If you are looking for a feel good romantic comedy, then this is the one for you. There was a lot of twists and turns and complications etc., but of course the relationship guru gets a happy fairytale ending. Did we ever doubt her genius? Also all the relationship advice that Darcy gives participants through locker 89 was spot on! I honestly learned so much!

Daytime Shooting Star by Mika Yamamori

Daytime Shooting Star 1, book cover
Daytime Shooting Star 2, book cover
Daytime Shooting Star 3, book cover
Daytime Shooting Star 4, book cover
Daytime Shooting Star 5, book cover
Daytime Shooting Star 6, book cover
Daytime Shooting Star 7, book cover

Optimistic high schooler Suzume moves to Tokyo and finds her heart caught between two men!

After arriving in Tokyo to live with her uncle, Suzume collapses in a nearby park where she had once seen a shooting star during the day. A handsome stranger brings her to her new home and tells her they’ll meet again. Suzume starts her first day at her new high school sitting next to a boy who blushes furiously at her touch. And her homeroom teacher is none other than the handsome stranger!

My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I low-key got addicted to this Manga series... It wasn't the fastest paced manga series, but I thoroughly enjoyed this band of characters. It was also a very slow-burn romance filled with a lot of obstacles! In this manga series, Suzume is considered a "country bumpkin"; she is unrefined compared to the other girls living in Tokyo. She doesn't know how to do her hair or makeup and she's pretty much a tomboy. Suzume is forced to leave her childhood home in the country side along with all of her childhood friends. She has to move clear across the country to Tokyo. Suzume, not knowing a single person in Tokyo, is forced to go out of her comfort zone and start making new friends in this bustling chaotic city. Her first day in Tokyo she makes her first friend, and ultimately her first crush, not knowing too much about him. Surprisingly on her first day of school she is shocked to find her first crush is actually her HOMEROOM HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER! Suzume is then forced to decide if she wants to pursue this COMPLICATED love interest or settle for someone her OWN AGE! I mean talk about DRAMA, of course I got suckered into this plot line. SJPL does not currently own this title but I was able to order this series all through LINK+. In case you don't know what that is - Link+ is this awesome resource where you can borrow books from other library systems all throughout California with your SJPL library card. It's free and easy to use. Be sure to ask your local librarian if you have any questions about it.