This month has been so busy, I almost forgot to post my April Book Stack! Launching the new website and writing the 7 Ways to Connect with Your Teen series, in addition to all the end of school events, has knocked me a little off schedule. It also hasn’t left me much time for reading, so my May stack might be a little lacking. Lol! But I read some great books in April that I’d love to share!
Here are the books in my April Book Stack:
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Remember last month when I went to the used bookstore? Yep, this is another book I grabbed that day. There were two things that caught my attention: first, the title. The dichotomy of the words “treachery” and “beautiful” completely fascinated me as soon as I read them. How could I possibly resist that kind of temptation? And then there was the cover. WOW! It’s gorgeous and mysterious and everything one looks for in a Young Adult Fantasy novel. Sold!
The Treachery of Beautiful Things starts off with ten-year-old Jenny and her 14-year-old brother, Tom, taking a shortcut on their way home. Jenny is nervous about passing the forest at dusk. There are rumors about the forest… and her worst fears come true— somehow Tom is taken by the trees, disappearing into the forest, nowhere to be found.
Fast forward seven years and Jenny is walking home from school, determined to finally face her fears—and the forest. Entering the forest, she encounters another world entirely and sets off on an adventure she never could have imagined. Various fairytale creatures greet her as she embarks on a journey to find and rescue her brother, and perhaps find love along the way.
A fun twist on a classic plotline, fans of traditional fairytales and mythology will be intrigued by this tale. It proves to be both beautiful and treacherous at times, fully living up to its name. I definitely enjoyed it!
Brave: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Beating Worry and Anxiety by Sissy Goff
Y’all, I really love this book! I want to buy it for every teen girl in my life. Anyone who works with teens knows these kids are struggling with anxiety and depression at alarming rates. And the ones who aren’t end up pretending like they are just to fit in, which eventually leads to their own issues! It’s a hot mess, and they need some hope.
That’s where Brave comes in. This book is a fantastic tool for teen girls to use as they process their feelings. Sissy Goff’s years of counseling teen girls make her the perfect guide to walk them through this journey.
I love how she peels the label off “anxiety” by equating it with the word “worry,” and how she helps girls realize that most of what they are feeling is perfectly normal. She does a great job of identifying the lies at the root of these struggles and helping the girls learn to recognize and confront them. Not only that, she gives a lot of practical tips for managing stress in the moment, in addition to how to prevent it and process it.
I found this book helpful to read as a parent and someone who mentors teen girls, but it is written specifically for teens. Goff has written a similar book for parents, Raising Worry-Free Girls, which is on my list— I’ll let you know what I think! For now, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you know a teen girl, chances are she struggles with worry and anxiety and would benefit from this book!
Tribes by Seth Godin
Not going to lie— this book was not my favorite. It is often recommended in my hope*writers group, so I was really looking forward to reading it! And in fairness, I bought it thinking it might be a comparable resource for the book I am writing, but quickly realized it wasn’t. So there’s that.
However, beyond that, the lack of structure and organization made it difficult for me to read. There are no chapters, just various subtitles scattered amongst ongoing content. It felt as though Godin took random tweets and IG posts and put them together without any cohesive order to make a book. Some of that content is good— I even underlined a few things and dog-eared a few pages! So I don’t want to insinuate that it has no value. Overall, though, it struck me as a bunch of rambling.
If you are a Seth Godin fan, you will probably love this book simply because you appreciate anything he has to share. Otherwise, you can probably skip it.
Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
Those of you who have followed my book stacks for awhile know that I really enjoy reading Kristen Hannah’s novels. I am still trying to process this one; it’s that good!
Firefly Lane is a coming of age story about two completely opposite adolescent girls who meet in the mid 70’s. After a bumpy beginning, they form a bond of friendship that changes both of them forever. The story follows their friendship through the 80’s and 90’s; through parents, boys, college, and career choices; and through the many trials a long-term friendship is bound to encounter. It is a beautiful story of unconditional love, diverging paths, and deep devotion.
As always, Hannah writes with such honesty. She is masterful in how she weaves together the beauty and tragedy of real life. I found myself retracing my own friendships as I turned the pages, wondering what life might look like if some of my friendships had not ended when they did. It made me sad, regretful, grateful, and a bit nostalgic.
I also greatly appreciate the way she writes Kate’s story. She reveals the tremendous importance (and challenge) of being “just a wife and mother” amidst a culture that seems to value everything else instead. Overall, this is a deep, thought-provoking story while still being really fun to read.
(*Just FYI, there is a rape scene early in the book and a pretty gut-honest description of growing up with a parent who is an addict. Also, being set in the 70’s, there are several encounters with sex, drugs, and alcohol throughout the story.)
And those are the books in my April book stack! I am looking for some fun summer reads, so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them… What’s on your nightstand?