Recommended reading: Mary HK Choi, Jaime Questell, Catherynne M. Valente


Emergecy Contact by Mary H.K. Choi 

Emergecy Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is an absolute joy. Calling it a love story seems wrong, it’s more like a friendship story of two people who fall in love. And I enjoyed it so very much. Penny is an aspiring writer in her first year of college and Sam is a baker who wants to make documentary films. Through a series of complications and their lives going wrong in a variety of ways, both of them meet and become one another’s ‘Emergency Contacts’. So begins a relationship of texting, and phone calls, a relationship that is remarkably compelling and lovable. The pair have the emotional maturity of a set of mittens, but manage to be so wonderfully honest throughout the entirety of the book. It was the Rainbow Rowell recommendation on the front that drew us to it, but the minute we started reading we were drawn into the centre of their universe and delighted to be there. Penny and Sam are wonderfully sad, flawed, honest and joyful in eachother’s company. If you encounter them, you won’t want to walk away.

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell

By a Charm and a Curse is an undoubtedly charming, a piece of YA that will appeal to fans of The Night Circus. We all love a circus, and a carnival. Places that say they are magic, are so often ones that we want to really be magic. And that’s where the appeal of By a Charm and a Curse begins. It’s a love story that is filled with magic and beauty and madness. And it’s so much fun. Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy, whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for. The boy who seems to have a rather inconvenient kiss. You want to know more? Just follow us down the rabbit hole…

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Space Opera is weird. Delightfully, deliciously, weird. Catherynne M. Valente is the queen of strange stories and complicated narratives and she doesn’t disappoint with this one. When you have a tag line like ‘In space, no one can hear you sing’ you have to know more. Space Opera is absolutely brilliant. It’s a shiny disco ball of a story and has been favorably compared to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Earth was just plodding along, minding its own messed up business, when all of a sudden, first contact is established by a group of flamingo shaped aliens with anglerfish heads. They are then informed that intergalactic peace has been established through the creation of an intergalactic singing competition. And Earth has just been entered. There are few things I can say about Space Opera that make it more interesting than the premise. It’s Star Trek meets Eurovision, and it’s the kind of sparkly goodness that a premise like that makes you think of. It’s beauty and wonderment in a story.

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