After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson is a young adult novel that released in July this year. Sixteen-year-old Erica Walker is a webcomic artist who wants to fit in at her affluent new high school. After a party, Erica wakes up half-clothed, and discovers words and names drawn in Sharpie in intimate places on her body—names belonging to Thomas’s lacrosse friends and his own. Told in alternating viewpoints, Erica seeks to uncover what happened while battling to keep evidence of her humiliation from leaking out, as Thomas grapples with his actions and who he thought he was. Woven throughout, illustrated graphic novel interstitials depict Erica’s alter ego superhero, Erica Strange, whose courage just might help Erica come through to the other side.
First of all, I’ve never read anything like this. The story alternates between the survivor’s pov and one of the perpetrator’s perspective – something I’ve never read before. This was a really unique idea that was executed really well.
This is not an easy read, but it’s one I encourage people to pick up (do check trigger warnings). This tackles assault in every aspect – the trauma, the guilt, the frustration. Reading about Erica was heartbreaking and angering. There were several points where I cried. Even a time, where I was so frustrated, I thought I was going to chuck my phone across my room.
Watching this unfold from Thomas’ perspective and seeing how the families of the perpetrators reacted, was interesting to the say the least. By no means was Thomas a character I liked or had sympathy for. But it was a really important perspective.
It reminded me how horrible high school could be for some and just how cruel teenagers could be.
The illustrations woven in through the story added another unique touch. They were so beautifully done by Emma Vieceli. They added another dimension to the book and were just as relevant as the writing.
I was really happy with the direction this book went in. The only thing that would’ve made it more satisfying would be a bit more closure – but I suspect that may have been the intention.
This is one that I highly recommend and will not stop talking about for a long time.
Everyone always asks me why I buy so many books. Short answer: so I can re-read them. There are some authors and stories that I find myself reaching for more than others. These are my comfort stories.
Disclaimer: there’s going to be A LOT of Jennifer L. Armentrout
The first set of books in my list, is the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I know what you’re thinking, but Hasnita, these covers are atrocious and you only judge a book by it’s cover.
That’s how much I love this series.
In Obsidian, we meet Katy who’s just moved to Virginia with her mum and is stuck with a hot, brooding neighbour. Who happens to be an alien. Daemon infuriates Katy and drives her up a wall. Until they’re attacked and Daemon ends up freezing time to save them, marking Katy as a beacon for other aliens.
This series is amazing, the first book isn’t the best, but I love the rest. This is my ideal series: so much humour that your stomach hurts, endless amounts of sexual tension and pent up angst, and supporting characters that are just as exciting.
I have gone back to re-read this series whenever I need something funny and exciting and this always satisfies. Just typing this makes me want to pick it up and read it. If something is holding you back from picking this up, just do it. TRUST THE PROCESS. Daemon is still one of my top book boyfriends. Daemon in Origin makes me faint.
Two Jennifer L. Armentrout series back to back, what’s wrong with me? Candidly, a lot. This is an oldie that’s a goldie.
A Greek Mythology fantasy where the descendants of Hematoi (children of Gods and Mortals) are divided into Pure-Bloods (who have godlike powers) and Half-Bloods (who either protect Pure-Bloods or live as their slaves).
Alex, a half-blood, is training to be a guard for the Pure-Bloods but her chances of slumming start to look higher when she falls for Aiden (a pureblood). Fun fact: relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.
This book has always been compared to Vampire Academy, and I do agree. If you enjoy one of these series, you’ll probably enjoy the other.
I love this series so much. I love how badass Alex is, and I just love everything about Aiden. Another one of my top book boyfriends who has survived the strife of time. This series has forbidden romance, kickass action and incredible world building. It is also so funny like anything Jennifer L. Armentrout writes. What more could you ask for?
If you’re a YA reader, you’ve heard of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. This book starts with Celaena Sardothien, a notorious assassin currently chained and slumming it in a salt mine prison. When the Prince turns up and offers her freedom in exchange for participating in a competition, it’s a no brainer. She agrees. But as the participants start dropping dead and weird (understatement) things start occurring, Celaena has to figure it out before she’s next.
This is my all time favourite fantasy series. I would die for these characters. I just want to say, this story goes places. It’s so funny, witty and the romance arcs are swoon-worthy. It’s such a fun series that I always go back to. It always delivers. Despite the parts that make me sob.
While we’re on the topic of Sarah J. Maas, I’ll mention A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book in a new adult/adult fantasy series. This book specifically is one I find myself reaching for frequently. This is a nicely wrapped bundle of enemies to lovers and found family – two of my favourite tropes. If I had to choose one book to read for the rest of my life, this would be it.
Wait For You by J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout is a new adult, contemporary series that follows different characters in each book. This is full of characters I will never stop gushing over, adorable romance and witty scenes. This is done while dealing with intense backstories and hard topics. Even when I’m not reading, I’m reading this.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead was one of the first series I fell in love with. I read this in early high school and couldn’t get enough of these characters. A well-developed world of vampires, forbidden romance, amazing friendships and so much great banter. It’s action packed and full of badass characters.
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is an oldie that I’ll never stop picking up. Alex Fuentes is a masterpiece and one of my first fictional crushes. This is high school rivalry tied up with enemies to lovers and a sprinkle of ‘forbidden’ romance.
I love all of these stories so much. What’s a comfort series/books that you find yourself reaching for? Have you read any of these? Let me know so we can scream together.