Okay, to be fair, I think those two are the only books I’ve read so far in February. Anyway. I loved both a lot even though they are very different from each other and I would like to recomment them to you.
Book One is about Norse Mythology (which I ADORE) and strong female characters and the apocalypse and the best puns ever.
Book Two is about mental illness, feminism, a ton of pop culture references and how stupid teenagers can be.
Yeah, really different. But you should check both out anyway.
I loved Joanne Harris‘ Runemarks very very much. For such a long time I had no idea a second book existed or would be happening and I slightly freaked out when I saw it on a bookshelf. Because of Runemarks I got so obsessed with Norse Mythology and while reading Runelight I noticed that nothing has changed since then.
I love the stories of the gods, their problems, their bickering, their fights. In this book we get to see them a lot and we get to experience them in both their weakest moments and their strongest (well, kind of). Loki has always been one of my favourites and I hate to see him suffer but… he is ALWAYS suffering. Poor boy.
Still, his humor is great and his “passive-aggressiveness”, as Sigyn calls it. I did not expect Sigyn to show up and she’s a lot different from what I expected her to be but that’s okay.
I’m a huge fan of Maddy. She’s such a strong character and she has definitely grown up since Runemarks. She has a strong will and even though Thor doesn’t like having a daughter for a son (which is something I will never forgive him) she’s so worthy of being one of the Firefolk.
Maggie is not one of my favourite characters. I think I find her a tiny bit annoying. And of course that Adam-storyline had to happen… I predicted it from the first moment they met but that doesn’t mean I’m overly fond of it (or Adam). This is the reason I can’t give this book five stars. I just didn’t like that plotline (but it’s a great plot device and opens the possibility of a third book).
I think the thing I love most about Joanne’s Mythology books are the prophecies and oracles and plays on words. Seriously, there are the most amazing puns hidden in prophecies and rhymes if you just read properly. A-pucker-lips… I never could have guessed that.
I love to be challenged by prophecies and to think about what is going on and what could happen. And I love it when in the end everything is totally different and there are like ten really good plot twists.
That’s what I read good books for.
And this one is a very good one. Apart from this one in my opinion really overused plot device.
I read most of this book in the last 24 hours and I really really like it. It’s another one about mental health, but not only. Am I Normal Yet? is about teenagers, falling in love, feminism (more about it than I thought), stupid people, friendships and yes, a lot of mental illness.
Evelyn – who is called Evie by everyone – wants nothing more than to be normal. She doesn’t want to be “the mad girl” and wants to have friends and go to college and she really really wants a boyfriend. She is suffering from OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and for a long time she has been in a very bad place. She is getting better now, but obviously it’s taking its time.
Evie is going to a new school and she is making new friends, but a lot of things aren’t working out the ways she wants them too.
She has problems with the boys she’s meeting (most of them are incredible assholes), with her mental health, with being “normal” and “like everyone else”.
Being like everyone else is a huge topic in this book. Evie is totally convinced she is not normal and a freak because of her OCD and anxiety and if she beats it or seems to have beaten it and gets a boyfriend, then she’s normal and like everyone else. Obviously things are not that easy, but Evie doesn’t really get that. She gets quite annoying at some points with the whole relationship-thing, like it’s the most important thing for a sixteen-year-old to be in a relationship. And it isn’t. Sadly that isn’t really pointed out more in this book.
What Holly Bourne points out a lot though is how sexist society is and how sexist teenagers especially are. Evie and her friends Amber and Lottie are forming a Spinster Club and they talk a lot about very interesting feminist topics. I really like those conversations, it’s very interesting to see how much they learn about it. I wish more people our age would be like that.
I don’t know a LOT about OCD and I definitely can’t relate to it but I found it very well described in this book. Evie goes through a lot and she has huge problems but you don’t only learn about the bad things. You learn about her therapy and her coping strategies and how her family can help or tries to.
I think one of the big messages in Am I Normal Yet? is: You are not alone, you can talk to your friends, and they will understand. Maybe not all of them, but some. Don’t eat yourself up on your thoughts, get them out there. Hiding won’t help. (This goes for every mental health problem, I can confirm.)
And thankfully Evie realises she doesn’t have to be “like everyone else” because that doesn’t really exist. Everyone is different and everyone is going through bad stuff. No one is perfect, however it may seem.
The plot is sometimes rather predictable and a few things I find quite annoying, especially how focused everything is on the “I need a boyfriend” part. But apart from that there are many really interesting and important passages in this book, so you should read it.
I found some chapters a bit upsetting because of how well and detailed Evie’s OCD and anxiety is described, so if you’re triggered very easily by stuff like this please be careful.
Have you already read some really great books this year? Tell me about them!
See you soon ❤