Book Reviews

Hi Cougs! So I read three books this past month and below will be my thoughts on them and whether you should pick them up or not.

The first book was House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. This book was a retelling of the story, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” which if you don’t know, is about twelve dancing princesses (duh) and every morning, their dad finds their shoes all worn and ruined. He can’t figure out why and says anyone who can figure out this dilemma will marry one of his daughters. That’s the bare minimum. In this version, the daughters are dying and while they are being claimed as “accidents”, one of the daughters, Annaleigh, thinks not. She tries to discover why her sisters are dying.

When I began this book, it really pulled me in. The world building was very descriptive and the tone of voice that we read from has a very ocean-y eerie vibe to it. The first two-thirds basically pulled me in and kept me glued to the pages. Fun read. But then, nearing the end, it started becoming really strange. There were some parts that were very confusing, which I think has something to do with the fact that it was lightly touched on in the beginning and then sort of left alone throughout the middle and then dug back up. The ending also seemed a little insensible to what had been originally set up in the beginning and how everything got played out. It seemed rushed and a little ludicrous. It wasn’t enough to make me stop reading it, though. The beginning was very good, even if the end seemed a little off. I wanted to know the answer and that kept me reading the book. If you do enjoy crazy plot twists (as my friend who recommended this book to me said) then I believe that this is the book for you. 






3.75 out of 5 houses

The second book I read was Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton. This book is about a boy named Adam who has schizophrenia and he ends up going to a Catholic school. He then goes and meets a girl named Maya and he basically doesn’t want her to find out about his schizophrenia in the midst of his blooming affections. I had never read a book where the main character is schizophrenic and I have never met anyone with the condition. I don’t know if it was an accurate representation. There was an author’s note saying that it was loosely based on reports of schizophrenia but I myself cannot say whether it is or not, so I’m not going to talk much about that. There were plenty of other things, although, that I have to say.

First things first, the romance. The book isn’t that long so the whole romantic side of it seemed super rushed, even though the way that it’s shown it is over the span of about a year but still. The book is barely (I believe) 300 pages and in that span, Adam and Maya get very close.

Very close.

If you know what I mean.

And it didn’t seem very. . . realistic. It seemed like “oh they had suddenly gotten together. Huh.” It was interesting and the certain scenes in it seemed less right and more to show that “these characters are close! They trust each other!” which would’ve worked if maybe they had gotten together off-book. In the book and how short it was, it was very unsettling. Although, in general, scenes like that do make me uncomfy, but that’s just me. In this book, it felt more like a plot device.

There was also another event that happened, it was very drastic (but not like the one above. But I cannot say because of spoilers). I had hoped that maybe that would be the center of the story and that it would get more developed. It did not turn out like that. It seemed more like just for Adam to react and us to see how he does.

Overall, the book didn’t feel like it had a solid structure to it. It seemed more like a bunch of short stories were all strung together by the fact that Adam has schizophrenia and how that affects him. I was getting a little disinterested in the middle but it wasn’t as bad that I couldn’t finish it.

Also, just a side note. Not a big thing, but there was a line that was mentioned about three or four times. It was “Jesus loves you. Don’t be a homo.” I didn’t understand why this was in. I didn’t like it at all. I felt it was a bad representation toward Catholics/Christians and also the LGBTQ+ community. It wasn’t really necessary in my opinion at all but it wasn’t enough to get me to DNF it, it just bugged me whenever I saw it.

That was a lot of negativity toward the book, but overall it was enjoyable. I wouldn’t read it again, but I liked the characters and Adam’s thought process. The characters were very well-rounded and developed so that was nice.




3.6 out of 5 walls

The next book I read was The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Summary: it’s about this human girl who was taken to live in this Faerieland. That’s what it’s called and there’s a prince who is very mean to her, which is in the title. That’s all I can really say without spoilers.

This book was something else.

In the beginning, I was a little skeptical because it sounded like a lot of other fantasy books that I’ve read and the world was a little bit similar but only in the introduction. You have to read pretty carefully in the start because there are a lot of details that you need to know.

But boy, oh boy, this was a doozy. I read it basically all in one sitting, but not at the same time because there are some things that happen in the book where I just had to stop reading. It was insane.

It was twisty and altogether a nail-biting read. I definitely recommend it.





5 out of 5 princes.

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