One of the prettiest covers I’ve ever seen.
But before we get into my bookmail, I want to talk about something I learned this weekend.
I’ve always been the type of girl to drive past the bars and see the fun being had. To bow out of drinking so my friends and I would be guaranteed a safe ride home. To wear high-necked shirts because I feel uncomfortable flaunting my features, and that’s not because I think it’s distasteful, it’s because I’m not that type of girl. I don’t feel good when I’m exposed. I feel strong and confident in black. I feel pulled together and sexy when I’m fully covered, with my hair most likely up. I don’t like being babied, or made to be small. And affections for me, while something I desire to have, need to be earned through months of getting to know somebody deeply. I need an emotional connection to open myself up to the normal everyday-ness of our society’s going out and partying and being scandalous attitude.
So, I spent all my high school years being rejected. I didn’t kiss anyone. Not a single person. I always figured that would come later in time. But it never did.
Flash forward three years, and I’m 21, and don’t have experience kissing beyond these three drunken makeouts I had on the same night two years ago on Halloween, which I have no memory beyond what my best friend recounted to me the very next day.
Now, bearing all that in mind, I went out this weekend. I’ve recently lost a bit of weight. I put on makeup and took advantage of the fact that I’ve become the type of person who is so self-aware, I don’t feel nervous talking to men or women in bars. I don’t feel like I have to just nod along, or laugh when I haven’t heard them. I feel like I’m worthy of good conversation, of expressing my opinion, of being heard and respected.
My friend and I met these guys, they were friendly and nice, and I thought, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do what people do. I’m gonna just have some random alcohol-induced makeout just because I should have the experience.
So I did. I kissed one of the guys a few times, and now, three days later, I don’t even recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I’m not that person. And it’s such a tragedy to waste a kiss on somebody you feel nothing for. I woke up the next day feeling like a visitor in my own skin, which is so different than how I had been feeling. I woke up feeling lost, I woke up remembering the way he tasted and how much I disliked it. I woke up feeling estranged from my own mother.
All from a kiss.
This could be because I feel things so intensely. Or it could be that I did something that made me uncomfortable because most of the time I follow my heart, but this was my head–my ego–telling me I needed to have this experience because I hadn’t been kissed in such a long time.
I deeply regret it and hope you all know that the way you feel is not defined by your experience. Don’t kiss people you don’t want to kiss.
So, there’s my story, now let’s get back to the books.
- The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
I have fallen so in love with this cover. I have no idea what this book is even about.
Cassie O’Malley has spent the past two and a half years in a mental institution–dumped there by her mother, against her will. Now, at 18, Cassie emancipates herself, determined to start over and reclaim her life. But when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is the truth, and whose life must she save?
- Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
This was a recommendation by one of my best friends in the bookstagram community, Sydney of Hundred Acre Books. I’m excited about it primarily because it deals with anxiety, something I’ve dealt with for quite some time.
Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
But Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos—the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape—where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
- Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Another recommendation. Sydney loves A.S. King.
Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions…like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.
As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people she imagines flying over her at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.