May Book of the Month

May is the time of reflection and it is time to look over the year and reflect over our favorite books.
(Made in Canva)
May is the time of reflection and it is time to look over the year and reflect over our favorite books. (Made in Canva)
Madison Aboud

After an incredibly long and rewarding year, we have made it to the final Book of the Month for the 2023 – 24 school year. For our final Book of the Month, we have decided to join together and share our top book of our school year and our most anticipated read of the summer. Let’s get into it!

Best books of the year: 

“The Deep Sky” by Yume Kitasei: 

Asuka is part of an 80-member crew aboard The Phoenix, humanity’s last hope for survival. Humans have taken their toll on the Earth, and in a desperate attempt to preserve their kind, the major nations of the world send two of their own into deep space. With the help of advanced technology, the crew just might be able to make it to another sustainable planet… if everything goes as planned. 

But, while having a diverse crew is paramount to the success of the mission, the members might just be too different to work together. Shortly after the team’s mission begins, a member dies. And upon further investigation, the crew discovers her death was not an accident, but rather a bomb placed on the side of the ship. Tensions rise as old rivalries between countries and the people representing them resurface and suspicion of their companions grows. 

Asuka finds herself burdened with the weight of detecting the guilty party, and agrees in order to clear her name. But the deeper she goes into her search, the more she questions if the truth might lead to complete mission failure, and the death of everyone involved. 

Yume Kitasei artfully crafts a thoughtful, exciting and introspective novel with the grace of a veteran author. Although the book’s genre is sci-fi and mystery, Kitasei explores more than just the thrills of a deep-space adventure. 

Throughout the novel, Asuka struggles with being content in her reality, and the decisions that have brought her there. Like all of the crew, she left her entire life behind on Earth. For Asuka, that includes what’s left of her family: her radical, eccentric mother, turned paranoid by the death of her son-and Asuka’s brother. 

Asuka’s conflicts are laced with themes of belonging, cultural/societal pressures, closure and grief. There is also an emphasis placed on mother-daughter dynamics and how loss can destroy relationships. 

Despite being a sci-fi novel, “The Deep Sky” puts perspective on serious and real topics. This is probably why I liked it so much, considering I don’t usually read sci-fi. Kitasei did not shy away from portraying the politics brought by the differing countries, nor the cruelty and mistrust that was inevitably attached. 

The characters were memorable and emotionally diverse; so well written that there wasn’t a single one I didn’t like. Honestly, if I could change something about this book, I’d ask Kitasei to delve deeper into some of the relationships between more minor characters. 

Overall, “The Deep Sky” is a thrilling, escapist novel, perfect for an imaginary get away. It is perfectly balanced between real mystery and the mystery of the human experience. And, it has a pretty cover, what more could you want?

“A Thousand Boy Kisses” by Tillie Cole: 

Choosing just one book to have as my favorite of the year was an incredibly difficult feat. However, I decided that I would choose the novel that made me feel every emotion. Anger, happiness, love, sadness and most importantly, hope. 

“A Thousand Boy Kisses” by Tillie Cole is the story of Poppy and Rune. From the day they met, they have been inseparable. Friends to lovers. However, when Rune’s family moves away, Poppy cuts off all contact with him for no apparent reason. It is only when he returns two years later that he discovers the reason behind Poppy’s choice. 

Rune comes back a different person than he was before. But with Poppy by his side, he finds  pieces of his old self again. And Poppy? She has plans of living life to the fullest. 

Without giving away any spoilers, I was completely destroyed by this novel. Sitting at just over 300 pages, I devoured this novel leading up to Christmas break. I have incredibly vivid memories of laying in bed and reading “A Thousand Boy Kisses” well into the early hours of the morning. I finished the novel and sat with it clutched to my chest for a while before I let it go and fell asleep. Needless to say, that was when I knew I had found a new favorite novel. It made me stay up all night reading, I didn’t want to let it go and it made me cry like a newborn baby. 

In the months since finishing “A Thousand Boy Kisses,” I have spent a lot of time thinking about the topics discussed throughout this novel, particularly the idea of life being infinite even after the soul has left this world. Poppy describes this perfectly by saying, “Live hard, love harder. Chase dreams, seek adventures…capture moments. Live beautifully.” 

Overall, this story of Poppy and Rune is one that I will hold close for a long time to come. However, I highly doubt I will be able to reread it any time in the near future. 

“Why does it take a life ending to learn how to cherish each day? Why must we wait until we run out of time to start to accomplish all that we dreamed, when once we had all the time in the world? Why don’t we look at the person we love the most like it’s the last time we will ever see them? Because if we did, life would be so vibrant. Life would be so truly and completely lived.” – “A Thousand Boy Kisses” by Tillie Cole 

Most anticipated reads 

“Middle of the Night” by Riley Sager:

Set to release on June 18, 2024, Sager’s newest thriller has already gotten positive reviews from those lucky enough to get a sneak peek. The novel follows a man as he must relive the past disappearance of his childhood best friend. It’s been unsolved since it happened, and he might not be ready to find that the answers may lie within their own quiet, picturesque neighborhood. 

I’m drawn to this book, not just because it’s Sager’s latest, but also because of when it is set to come out. Last summer, he also released a book in June: “The Only One Left.” It turned out to be my favorite of his books, so by the similarities in time, I have high expectations for “Middle of the Night.” If I’m really lucky, it just might replace “The Only One Left” as my favorite Sager novel. 

“Daydream” by Hannah Grace: 

To say I am excited for Hannah Grace to release “Daydream” is the understatement of the century. 

“Daydream” is the third book in the Maple Hills series and follows the new hockey team captain Henry Turner. Along the way he meets his love interest, a Taylor Swift loving bookworm, which is the way straight to my heart. I can’t wait to see what will occur over the course of his story. 

“Icebreaker” and “Wildfire” are the first two novels in the series, following fellow hockey players Nathan Hawkins and Russ Callaghan, respectively. I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading both of these novels, particularly “Wildfire,” which I read with my older sister and we had the time of our lives reading it together. I’m ecstatic to see what “Daydream” has in store for readers. 


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