Welcome to my N.E.W.T.’s Magical Readathon Wrap-Up! This Harry Potter themed readathon went for the entire month of August and it was challenging, but so much fun. You can learn more about it and my TBR here. In this post, I’m going to be sharing with you all the books I read, what exams I completed and what I thought of all of them. In order to pass, I had to ace seven exams. I’m super happy to announce that I’m a qualified Magizoologist! Okay, not really but let me live the fantasy please! I have a lot of reviews to get through so let’s not delay.
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES (A EXAM) – READ A BOOK WITH A TITLE THAT STARTS WITH THE LETTER ‘A.’
I have adored every single Morgan Matson book I’ve read so far and this one was no exception. It was a lot deeper and darker than I had imagined but that just gave it the depth it needed. I’m not going to lie…this book made me want to take an American road trip from the west to east coast so badly. The pacing was excellent and the character development from both Amy and Roger were profound. I especially enjoyed all of the mixed-media within the novel. There were photographs, playlists, postcards, receipts, lists, emails and drawings. These fun elements helped bring the story to life. The romance and build-up of the central tragedy were also drawn out in a satisfying way. I was captivated from start to finish. Really worth reading!
I gave Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour a 5/5 stars.
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES (E EXAM) – READ A BOOK UNDER 300 PAGES
This was such a sweet and heartwarming story. I felt it was written in a very informative and thought-provoking way for a middle-grade audience. George was a delight and Kelly was the most supportive best friend a girl could ask for. It tackled such an important issue – support and acceptance for transgenders. My only issue was that it was too short and wrapped up a little too quickly. I would’ve loved to have gone on more of a journey with George…I mean, Melissa!
I gave George a 4/5 stars.
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES (O EXAM) – READ A BOOK WITH A BIRD ON THE COVER
This Mulan inspired retelling was fast-paced, interesting, action-packed and full of twists. I enjoyed it for the most part but I did find it a bit confusing at times. I also didn’t really connect with the protagonist who felt a bit one-dimensional for me. Finally, the blurb mentions that Mariko is an expert alchemist but she literally only does a tiny bit of alchemy towards the end of the novel. It was deceiving. I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel, but I did like it a lot more than initially expected.
I gave Flame in the Mist a 3.5/5 stars
HERBOLOGY (A EXAM) – LISTEN TO AN AUDIO BOOK OR READ A BOOK WITH A GREEN COVER
This book definitely lived up to the hype for me. I LOVED the character of Monty and how flawed and real he was. It gave me everything I could’ve wanted in a story: action, adventure, romance, mystery and character development. It was a lot deeper and darker than I expected but that was a positive. It had a lot of depth. There are trigger warnings for parental abuse, homophobia and racism. My one negative (and the reason I couldn’t give it 5 stars) was that I felt the romance was a bit too rushed. I didn’t like that Percy and Monty kissed so quickly in the book. I wanted more of a build-up. Overall, it was super enjoyable and one I would recommend to others.
I gave The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue a 4.5/5 stars.
HERBOLOGY (E EXAM) – READ A BOOK BETWEEN 350-390 PAGES
Hmmm, this is one of those books I had extremely mixed feelings about. The best part of the story in my opinion, was learning about Jack’s unique condition called prosopagnosia (face-blindness). That aspect was extremely fascinating to me as I had never heard of it before. The rest of the story had very little plot or direction to it. Libby does exert body positivity, especially towards the end of the book, but she spends a lot of time acting like she needs a man to validate her. I did not like that. I also thought Jack was very arrogant and made a lot of stupid, unnecessary decisions which frustrated me. I kept going back and forth between liking and disliking the book, chapter by chapter. It’s one I would like to discuss with others and see what they thought.
I gave Holding Up the Universe a 3/5 stars.
CHARMS (A EXAM) – READ A BOOK THAT YOU THINK HAS A GORGEOUS COVER
O.M.G! I LOVED this book with every bit of my heart. It is definitely my favourite read of the readathon and one of my top books of 2019. I’m usually not a fan of magical realism, but this was so beautifully written that it changed my mind on the genre. I loved the whimsical, lyrical story and how everything came full circle at the end. The Roux family are fascinating and we got really good insight into each generation. I felt that I could relate to a lot of the female characters. They were sensitive and romanticised love in an innocent way, ultimately leading to their heartbreak. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Please read it if you get a chance to do so but be warned there are trigger warnings for rape, animal abuse and familial abuse.
I gave The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender a 5/5 stars.
CHARMS (E EXAM) – READ A COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL/MANGA (OR A BOOK UNDER 150 PAGES)
This graphic novel was so much fun! Nimona was a thoroughly entertaining (if not bratty) shape-shifting protagonist that had an incredibly interesting backstory. I really enjoyed the art-style and how easy it was to get through. I will say – and maybe this is just me – but I found it a bit confusing. Nimona’s origin story, plus her half and half identity was a little bit all over the place. I wish it had been a bit clearer. Other than that, I am really happy I read this and had a good laugh.
I gave Nimona a 4/5 stars.
EXTRA CREDIT WORK! CHARMS (O EXAM) – READ A PAPERBACK NOVEL
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents.
Similar to The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, this book was lyrical, whimsical and beautifully written. It had such a profound innocence and sensitivity to it. I felt the depression representation was excellent and I appreciated all of the mental health resources listed at the back of the book. It is definitely a novel I would like to re-read but I won’t say why as it will spoil things. I also loved that it was mainly set in Taiwan as I visited there in 2016 and still feel it is one of the best places I have ever travelled to. The pacing was well-done. I felt it didn’t reveal too much all at once but just enough to keep me interested. I highly recommend picking it up.
I gave The Astonishing Colour of After a 5/5 stars.
I hope you enjoyed my wrap-up! If you took part in this readathon, please let me know what you read and all of your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo