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The Introverts Bookcase

A continuous and ever changing book collection full of my favorite and recently read Young Adult fiction, Self-love, poetry, and all the books that I have comprised over the years! Disclaimer, my bookcase consists of both new and old works that have fallen into my grasp over the years. These reviews are entirely my own opinion as to what I thought about the novels, and shouldn’t by any means be a hindering in your curiosity should you choose to embark in reading any of these works. Thank you so much for checking out my collection! Happy reading and enjoy!

thumbnail photo credit: Image by Carina Hagen via https://www.instagram.com/thefictionfaery/

1. The Story of My Life: If a Story is in You by Piccadilly

Piccadilly The Story of My Life Activity Journal

This journal is a continuous free write and chronicles the story of your life. You are allowed to be as honest as you want in this private way of expressing yourself! I bought this book for myself and later for a friend of mine in late 2018, and I too this day continue to use it.

Like I said, I have been slowly working on this journal as it is split into three main sections: Past, Present, & Future. I wanted to be sure to be as accurate as possible when completing it and look forward to looking back at all the amazing stories when I am finished.

2. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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This is a coming of age novel that recounts the lives of Jude and Noah, two inseparable twins. When a heart-wrenching loss strikes the family, Jude and Noah’s relationship and close-bound begins to die until neither of them is speaking to one another. But when a new piece of the tragic puzzle is uncovered they will have to come together again to find the answers they’ve both been missing.

I adore this novel! There are several twists and turns I never saw coming! Including, but not limited too, the massive reveal at the end of the book that changed the story completely!

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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We are introduced to Starr Carter, a young black teen who struggles to balance life living in the impecunious black neighborhood of Garden Heights, and William Prep where she attends school with the majority of attendees being privileged white students. She is led to activism after witnessing the murder of her childhood best friend by the hands of the police.

I read the book before watching the movie, since it’s my one rule when a book has been adapted into a film. Although, both were amazing in it’s own way, personally, I enjoyed the book much more than the movie. While the movie captured the essence of the book and the emotion piled into it. The novel roped me in with the beautiful character development of each character. Regardless, if they were the main character or the people in the neighborhood living their everyday lives. Please be sure to check out both giving that this is only my opinion and isn’t meant to influence yours.

4. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

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In this novel we follow Mateo and Rufus during their last 24-hours on this Earth. The two boys start off viewing their last day entirely different. While one is dreading and spiraling in an anxious panic, and is completely heartbroken as he regrets all the chances he never took. Rufus, is more concerned about how those around him feel and all the pent up anger he has in regards to his past.

This novel broke my whole heart! This book was a lovely quick read and one that I most recently finished. I cried at the end, even though, the title already gives you a warning as to the ending it still hits you hard! I found myself entirely cheated and angry because of how beautifully the writer captured the relationship between both boys and their new perspectives as the book comes to an end. I’ve been lucky to read Adam Silvera’s work in the past and he does a wonderful job at giving the reader just enough hope and then ripping it all away. Personally, I LOVE THAT! I look forward to reading his upcoming work ‘Infinity Son’ coming to bookshelves January 14, 2020!

5. What If It’s Us by Becky Alertalli & Adam Silvera

Image result for what if it's us book cover

This novel follows Arthur and Ben as they challenges the idea of fate and love at first sight. You’re taken along on their wild race to make every moment count before summer ends.

I loved this novel! Arthur, is a quirky, hot-dog tie loving, adorable teenage boy with such a loving narrative. I’m a huge fan of Becky Albertalli, and enjoyed her most recent works ‘The Upside of Unrequited and Leah on the OffBeat’! So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out that she’d be collaborating with Adam Silvera on this novel! Recent news shows that this novel is in the works to be adapted into a film! I can’t wait to see these two boys in theaters!

6. For Everyone by Jason Reynolds

Image result for for everyone jason reynolds book cover

This poetry book is a love letter for the dreamers of the world! It is a beautiful poem about Jason Reynolds life as a creature and the personal struggles that come along with it. I simply adore the honestly of the whole poem created by a young, black bestseller who understands being black in America, but not allowing that kill your dreams!

This is one of my first time’s reading any work from Jason Reynolds, and I fell head-over-heels for his words. Frankly, I stumbled across this poetry book while looking for a completely different book! Even during checkout I was unsure whether or not I should purchase it, due his rather unusual method of delivering a poem. But I tried something new and I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of his works in the future!

7. Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur

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This is one of my first excursion into poetry and one of my best adventures into it. Rupi tackles body image, a woman taking back her sexuality, sexual assault, parental issues, and self discovery. Her work is absolutely darling! Her work is empowering and a raw expression as to who she is as a writer and a woman. As the reader, you are transported into the world just at the cusp of her mind and feel as though you are being told these stories in person. I will say, please be aware of your mental health and personal limitations when embarking on this as it does cover graphic and triggering stories.

8. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Fahrenheit 451 follows a firefighter in the dystopian future named Guy Montag, and in this wild read we walk alongside him as he learns the power behind books and knowledge. This is one of my first times reading Ray Bradbury and I wish I’d read his work sooner. I was absolutely mesmerized and fully taken aback by the twisted, unpredictably unstable horror of a world without books and without freedom of speech. During a conversation with Montag and his fire chief you’re between a rock and a hard place when they both share a twisted moment of vulnerability considering their tense relationship established in the beginning. Your hanging under pins and needles waiting for the confessions of both and hoping that the outcome that ensues afterward doesn’t happen, but when it does you root for Montage even more than before.

As a bibliophile it was difficult to come to grasp with the strangeness of not being able to read openly, the idea that the chief’s hatred toward books may just be valid, and coming to terms with his idea that these very things that have the ability to set us free can also divide. Of course, I highly recommend reading this novel and while you’re at it check out 1984 by George Orwell! It’s a lovely novel further exposing the extreme behavior of a society living without the freedom to express themselves.

9. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

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Angie Thomas hits the mark and shows the importance of telling the story of living as a black youth in America with her newest novel, On the Come Up. It tells the story of Bri, a sixteen-year-old trying to shed from the spotlight of her late father and show the world what kind of rapper she sets out to be. We are introduced to her mother Jay, a recovering drug addict trying to make a better life for her children and her brother Trey, her older brother who is an aspiring psychologist whose goal is to take care of his family. I love how I was able to see Bri allowed to be a teenager amid all the adult situations surrounding her. From the issue at school, her home life, and the issues with her Aunt Pooh.

I saw myself in Bri, parts of my mother in Jay, and people in my life in each character. Angie has this wonderful way of not creating the universal black family. She propels the narrative that although her families aren’t portrayed in the best financial stats or living the “dream life” they still have layers. She not only captures being black, but the humbling experience of just being human.

10. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming by [Obama, Michelle]

How shall I begin to explain my love for this memoir? ‘Becoming’ is a captivating piece of work by our former First Lady Michelle Obama. It is a detailed account of her life before she became the powerhouse, inspiration we all know her as today. In this memoir she asks herself the complex question that we all wonder at times, “Am I good enough?” Her journey throughout life takes the reader through her highs and lows of finding the answer to that question. I am so fortunate to have been introduced to such a wonderful book, especially in my early 20’s and in the process discovering who I am as a young, black woman. I had no idea how much I’d relate to Michelle’s life story, the relationship with her family, and her love of education!

Of course, I’ve been an indescribable fan of Michelle Obama’s confidence, elegance, and how she pushed young, talented creators into the spotlight by including them in the narrative of The White House. After finishing this audiobook, the realization that we’d never witness another First Lady that would make it a point to remember her humanity all hit me at once! As I made it to the epilogue and the final words reached my ears I literally burst into tears! I was boo-hoo crying in my garage like a weirdo, but my heart was in the right place. I highly recommend giving this book a read or a listen! It was wonderful, heart-warming, informative, and will forever be one of the best memoirs I’ll ever read.

11. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

This novel tells the story of a young, black lawyer by the name of Bryan Stevenson who makes it his mission to speak for the voiceless people under the thumb of the United States unjust and inhuman prison system. Stevenson spends his career defending underage, disabled, black and brown men, women, and children sent to death row entirely innocent of the crimes that have been brought against their favor. ‘Just Mercy’ the inspirational film adaptation starring influential black actors like Michael B. Jorden, Jamie Foxx, and Rob Morgan captures one of Stevenson’s most well-known cases. The novel and movie both cover the case of Walter McMillian, an innocent man sentenced to death row in the 1980’s for the murder of a young woman from the same town in which he resides. Although, significant evidence contradicts the charges brought against him, law enforcement still found a way to twist the narrative and McMillian was charged with the death penalty.

This novel brings you through the heartbreaking stories of people’s lives that have been wasted behind bars, because of racial prejudice and the lack of proper legal representation for people who are unable to afford the cost of it. Surprisingly, this hard read brought small sparks of humanity that made me chuckle. But my general feelings toward it were unhinged rage for the prison institution, the fact that such an organization that lacks humanity is so widely supported by the same country that preaches “freedom for all”, and the lack of rehabilitation for the trauma that is afflicted on these lives. I truly enjoyed this novel, even though, it dragged me through the mud I came out on the other side with more knowledge about the prison system and the thousands upon thousands of lives it continues to ruin as I’m writing this. Please check out this book!  I’m looking forward to watching the movie, and I hope that it spreads awareness of the atrocities of the prison system!

12. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me by [Silvera, Adam]

This YA (young adult) novel follows Griffin, a seventeen-year-old in the process of grieving the loss of his ex-boyfriend, Theo. Soon after the funeral Griffin meets Theo’s current boyfriend before his passing, Jackson. The two begin a weird relationship as each bond over their love of the late Theo. From the first page your thrown into the throbbing grief that engulfs Griffin and your held captive until the last page. To be honest, at the end of this book I couldn’t figure out whether I was supposed to sympathize with any of the blossoming characters or not. Without giving up too much of the plot away there are secrets kept by each of the characters that is revealed slowly to the reader as you get closer to the ending. It leaves you questioning which of them was truly in the wrong, and if all can really be forgiven in the end.

The one positive thing I can say about this novel is that I really enjoyed the revelation near the end of it. However, I wasn’t totally head-over-heels for the novel, mostly due to the slight annoyance I had for Griffin. He is the type of main character you’ve got to take in small doses, because he’s never really grounded during the whole book even when we are given glimpses of his past. Not to say that a main character is supposed to have it all figured out at any point, but I do believe there is an importance in giving the reader something to latch on to while getting to know your character. Contrary to Silvera’s other works, there is no true introduction to any of the characters that you care to know.

With that said, I still highly recommend Adam Silvera’s work to anyone looking to read a cute love story that is not only inclusive but packs a punch at the end!

13. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel by [Jones, Tayari]

I’m not going to lie; from the first page I just know this novel was going to bring me through the ringer! Good grief, just thinking about it gives me chills and questions I desperately need answered! This novel takes you through a whirl wind love story between a young, bright couple who are raided by the cops one evening and takes you through the struggles they face when Roy, the confident, young, black Southern charmer is falsely accused of raping a woman he doesn’t even know. With Roy and Celestial already dealing with issues in their marriage, family life, and the hopes of capitalizing her artful doll-making into a worldwide business; Roy’s recent incarceration only tightens the reigns on their relationship. While in prison, Roy goes through wonderful character development as he learns a massive, life altering discovery behind bars! Celestial, an eccentric, artsy old soul tackles life in a world without her husband by her side and facing the aftermath of the events leading up to his conviction. She must make decisions for her life that no one should have to go through alone, but at the same time she discovers how to run a successful business by herself.

I’ve only got a few critiques about the novel, but none of which have anything to do with the overall structure of the novel but the story in general. First, in the beginning I despised Roy’s character! Although, he comes off charming and carefree in the beginning, mid-way through the novel his toxic misogynistic behavior started to sour him a bit. I felt as if he was immensely controlling and that his demeanor of confidence came across on the more arrogant side at times. But I folded near the ending, mostly because I felt sorry for him due to a HUGE twist! Now, if you end up giving this novel a read, I’m sure you’ll see this twist coming. If you did, let me know so we can chat about how insane it is!

Now, I really enjoyed the character of Celestial in the beginning. Surprisingly, because some of her traits reminded me of myself and I liked the fact that despite her motives she always stuck true to herself throughout the novel. Although, she plays a massive part in the end, her character isn’t the worst one in this novel. Trust me, you’ll understand entirely once you’ve read it! Anyway, check it out if unexpected, mysterious, hanging off the edge of your seat kind of love stories are up your alley.

14. Tinaca Jones by Matt Boren

Tinaca Jones

This read is one of my most recent, and I’ll give you guys a little bit of a disclaimer before recommending it! This short story does contain a lot of adult language and is not intended for kids! Okay, now that that’s out of the way. Let me tell you, I have never laughed out loud while listening to an audiobook more than I did with this one! Imagine a Lifetime movie plot, but the whole production is only borderlines decent because Tiffany Haddish is cracking jokes the whole time! Now, that you’ve got that image in your head, multiply it times ten and imagine it as a short story. In this short story, we follow the crazy tale of Tinaca Jones, a woman who has had her name stolen by a girl pretending to buy ramen noodles and gum. That’s all I’ll give you, and if your interested in piecing this outlandish story together then you’ll have to check out the audiobook! Frankly, I thought this audiobook was hilarious, it was an incredibly easy read, and did I mention it was hilarious? If you’re just looking for something that will give you a little bit of mystery, a little bit of comedy, then Mrs. Tinaca Jones is the one for you! Not to mention, it’s free on Audible so that’s a plus!

15. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The timeless sequel to her 1985 bestseller novel The Handmaid’s Tale, a story following the life of the women society saw as less than and unclean comes a new tale about the lives of the elite in Gilead. As we’re given a brand new perspective on life inside the constructs of this classist, hyper pious community 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, through the eyes of a young girl living under the thumb of Gilead, a Martha who we’ve already had the pleasure of getting to know, and a young girl under the safety blanket of Canada.

I won’t even try to hide how incredibly exhilarated I was to find out that Margaret Atwood would be publishing another book about the insanity of Gilead, and I was speechless when it was gifted to me on Christmas morning 2019! This novel right off the bat throws you into the plan that has been brewing for years under the noses of the highest Commander’s eyes and the leader of this plan I never could’ve expected! Years after the so-called kidnapping of the communities beloved Baby Nicole, the structures of the society haven’t yet crumpled but stand at the brink of collapse as the citizens still remain adamant about keeping their beliefs alive; despite the budding fever of revolution we are introduced to what life looks like through the eyes of a young girl in Gilead and the type of life she expected to live. From birth she and her counterparts are brainwashed into a mindset that their roles simple put are to serve those in higher command regardless the instant discomfort that many of them face in this pursuit. Lastly, we finally get a closer look into existence without the constraints of the controlling society through the eyes of a teenager living in Canada, as she deals with the sudden loss of her two guardians that will change her life forever.

Again, I gushed over this entire novel beginning to end and couldn’t believe that I finished it in two days! Sinus infection for the win! Honestly, although I’d barely been able to breath out of my nose let alone stand the taste of anymore ginger tea getting a chance to finally relax and read an exquisite novel was wonderful. If my infatuation with this book hasn’t already been made clear, I’d highly recommend giving this novel a chance because it truly takes you on a wild ride that will leave you hanging off your seat the entire time!

Hi there! This blog post will be updated as new books pass through my hands! So, keep checking into The Introverts Bookcase to find some intriguing, thought-provoking, and note-worthy works as time goes on! I wanted to quickly note that a large majority of these works are available on Amazon’s audiobook streaming service, Audible. I tend to use Audible the most nowadays whenever I find a new book to read. For all you old-fashioned folks, I still love the feel of a hardcover and can’t deny my immense joy in highlighting different passages of a lengthy novel! So, don’t judge me about my newly kindled love for audiobooks!

However, I wanted to pop in to say, I am currently not being sponsored by the app whatsoever, and if that changes in the future, I’ll be the first to tell you! But I felt as though it was important for me to mention that as in the future, I will be reviewing more books from Audible!

As always, Happy reading!

By Gabrielle Lewis

Hi there! Welcome to The Freed Sparrow! I am a lifestyle and travel blog determined to spread body advocacy, sustainability, and the power of a positive voice! I am an aspiring children's and YA novelist, an adventure seeker by nature, and the biggest bookworm you'll ever meet!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Happy writing!

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