Sixteen Mini Book Reviews

So, every now and then I write a post filled with mini reviews, as a means of catching up on all the books I’ve read. Here’s the latest batch of reviews! They’re listed in the order in which I read them, but there are plenty that aren’t mentioned here, too – either because I plan to review them individually at a later date or because I just don’t feel like reviewing them at all.


ALL of these reviews are spoiler-free!


Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

This short book tells the story of a girl who tries to kill herself. No, it’s not a happy read, but I’m glad I read it anyway, because it made me think. And it has beautiful writing! I look forward to reading Zhang’s next books.

Rating: 3.5/5


Pretty Little LiarsFlawless, and Perfect by Sara Shepard

These are the first three books of the Pretty Little Liars series, so I think that means I have… thirteen left to read? Anyway, the story is about four girls and their mysterious stalker/possible frenemy who has begun to reveal all their deepest darkest secrets. These books definitely aren’t highbrow literature, but they’re quick, fun reads and have canon LGBTQ+ representation and both of those things are fine by me.

Rating for Pretty Little Liars: 3/5

Rating for Flawless: 3/5

Rating for Perfect: 3/5


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I am SO glad that I read this classic! It’s a really interesting story about a young man whose life is slowly falling apart. I would’ve totally rated it at least half a star (if not a full star) higher were it not for the style of narration, which was repetitive and a little bit annoying.

(I guess people’s opinions of this book are sharply divided, because I received a lot of nasty comments when I talked about The Catcher in the Rye on Facebook. And I don’t want to hear any more of that, so please DO NOT leave negative remarks in the comments because I’m just tired of it. Thanks.)

Rating: 3.5/5


Going Solo by Roald Dahl

Oh my gosh, I wish I’d read this earlier! This is the sequel to Boy, Dahl’s autobiography of his childhood. It was really fun to read because it was just so different from his earlier books about/for children. It was also interesting because he wrote about all the times during World War II when he almost died during a battle or a plane crash, and it really makes you think – it’s amazing that he didn’t die, that he returned and wrote books when so many of his colleagues didn’t make it through.

Rating: 3.5/5


Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This was cute, and I liked the story’s premise, and I liked its frequent references to popular culture. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, though – I’d been told that it was AMAZING, and instead I found it just… good.

Rating: 3/5


What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

I rarely read nonfiction, so I’m really glad that I picked up this book. It’s hilarious, and illustrated with stick figure cartoons, and I learned a lot about weird science! It’s a fun book whether you read it from cover to cover or just browse through it.

Rating: 4/5


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

My brother and I read this for school. The writing style was all right, and the ending was tragic, but… I don’t know. It’s certainly not a badly written book, but I just didn’t connect with it that much.

Rating: 3/5


Paper Towns by John Green

Gah. I did not like this book. It was about a pretentious little boy who whined about things and thought he was soooo much better than everyone else because he didn’t like popular things. Also, his main love interest was completely boring. (Why did he even think he was in love with her? How can you be in love with someone you’ve barely ever talked to? That’s just infatuation.)

(Note: I recently read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and finished Looking for Alaska just two days, so… I’ve read all of Green’s books now. I’m not sure yet whether I want to review the latter book, but you can definitely expect a post about Will Grayson, Will Grayson for Reading The Rainbow.)

Rating: 2/5


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 

I’m really, really tired of dull YA boy/girl romances… especially when the couple in question doesn’t actually have much chemistry together! Gah!

However, I did like the setting (Paris) and Anna’s epic romance with food was AMAZING. I understand your love of cheese and sandwiches and cake so well, Anna.

Rating: 3/5


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

These short, autobiographical graphic novels tell the story of the author’s childhood in Tehran during the Iranian revolution and her subsequent adolescence in Vienna, Austria. Highly recommended if you like unusual books and quick reads that make you think.

Rating for Persepolis: 3/5

Rating for Persepolis 2: 3/5


Tomboy by Liz Prince

This! Book! Was! Great! It’s a memoir about the author’s life as a tomboy, and it really challenges the reader to think about our notions of gender and sexual orientation. It was interesting to read because I was a tomboy as a little girl, but I’m not anymore – and when Prince was little she thought growing out of that was weird, but eventually realized that everyone should do what made them feel comfortable.

Which, for her, meant continuing to be a tomboy.

Rating: 3.5/5


Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 

I read this because my dad and I love the soundtrack (by Eddie Vedder) from Into the Wild‘s movie adaptation! It’s the true story of a young man who traveled into the Alaskan wilderness, vastly overestimated his survival skills, and eventually died from his mistakes. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I knew this book would be creepy, but I wasn’t expecting it to (partially) be historical fiction as well! So that was interesting. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I want to read the sequel.

Rating: 3/5

What books have you read lately?

P.S. I’ve read one hundred and forty-seven books thus far this year, way more than my original goal of one hundred. But now… I kind of want to see if I can read at least two hundred books before the year is out!

Currently, I’m reading V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. (And I LOVE it!) Before that, I finished Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. And as for what’s next? I’m planning to read Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan and John Rocco, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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24 Responses to Sixteen Mini Book Reviews

  1. Emily Colby says:

    I love the idea of doing mini book reviews! I checked out Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children from the library, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it. I love historical fiction, though so I guess I’ll give it a try.
    I’ve been following your blog for a month or so. 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m glad! I’ve really enjoyed writing these mini reviews – otherwise I probably wouldn’t have a chance to discuss these books at all, because I just don’t have enough thoughts about them to justify writing an entire review for each one!

      Thanks for following me! 🙂 Do you have a blog too?

  2. Mo says:

    Hmm, I haven’t read many of these books–in fact, the only one I’ve read is Wonder. I shall have to look up some of these, then. Was the Carmilla book good? I could get it, but I’d have to do it through the inter-library loan system and I’m curious if it’s worth it.

    I have just started Wild Rover No More, the twelfth and final Jacky Faber book. I started reading these books years ago and loved them. Though as I’ve begun it, I’m realizing that I have no recollection of most of these events and so I’ll probably reread the series. For school, I finally finished Moby-Dick after about a month of slogging through it, as well as The Red Badge of Courage.

    • nevillegirl says:

      (What did you think of Wonder?)

      Yeah, I couldn’t find a copy of Carmilla on its own – I ended up finding it in a huuuuge anthology about lady vampires. 😛
      Anyway, it was REALLY good! The story was on par with Dracula, and the writing style was lovely – definitely old-fashioned, but not so much so that it became extremely tricky to read. And it’s a quick read, too – in my copy, it was less than 100 pages?

      I’ve never heard of the Jacky Faber books! What are they about?

      Pffft, I’ve never read Moby-Dick, but my mom tried to make me read The Red Badge of Courage a few years ago. It was SO BORING.

      • Mo says:

        I’ll confess I don’t really remember my reaction to Wonder… 😛
        Then I shall go and request Carmilla! Thank you for screening lady vampire stories for me. (On a side note, I used to be really terrified of vampires. I am glad that I no longer am.)

        Oh friend I think you would like Jacky Faber… it’s kind of your usual “girl dress up as boy” story, but in this case she’s a pirate in the early 1800s and has lots of adventures, sailing seas and attending finishing school and being kidnapped and such–she’s not precisely a gay lady, though there are some instances of gayness and she’s fairly nonchalant with her romantic endeavors. They’re pretty long books, but the pace is good. (Though not nearly as long as ASoIaF…)

        Really? Because I found Moby-Dick boring and long because it spends SO MANY chapters about the contrasting inside views of whales’ heads, but I thought The Red Badge of Courage was good, mostly because it was so short compared to Moby Dick and I liked the prose.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m happy to help. 😛 (Also, I think you’ll enjoy Friday’s post. #SaveCarmilla and all that.)

      Ooh! I’ll have to see if I can find any of those books at the library! Thanks for the rec!

      …the contrasting views inside whales’ heads? Oh dear. That sounds pointless.

    • nevillegirl says:

      …I’m trying to write that post at the moment and it’s kind of difficult because I keep getting distracted by fandomy things and GIFs and whatnot. xD

      I’ll bet. *patpat*

  3. I’ve read 146 books so we’re really close! My original goal was 50 so I smashed it, lol. I quite liked Catcher in the Rye as well, actually…although a lot of people do hate it. Sad you didn’t like Paper Towns or Anna and the French Kiss, though 😦 but understandable!!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, we are really close!

      Oh, I wouldn’t say that I disliked Anna and the French Kiss – mostly, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I did like some parts of it, but I guess I was expecting to rate it, like, 4 or 4.5 out of 5 stars…

  4. Cait says:

    What did you think of Isla?!! I’m really curious. I loved the first two, but I heard SO many people say Isla wasn’t any good. 😦 And my library doesn’t have it, sooo, I haven’t even attempted to find it yet. >_< STILL. I do love Stephanie Perkins.
    I'm sad you didn't like Paper Towns, but I do get it. I actually feel like John Green only has a certain amount of characters and he recycles. Did you think Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska were super similar?? Like Margo and Alaska were THE SAME. So I do like them, buuuut, yep. Will Grayson was amazing. xD
    I felt meh about Wonder too.
    OMG ROALD DAHL IS THE BEST. I love Going Solo and Boy. Although, omg, his childhood. 0.0 Abusive much?!
    Miss Peregrine’s…meh. I didn’t like Jacob. 😦 I AM SO CANTANKEROUS THESE DAYS, AREN’T I?

    Soooo. GOOD LUCK with your reading goal for December though. 😛 And I’m tooootally hoping you like City of Bones. But I promise I won’t cry if you don’t. 😉 Gone Girl…ergh. I watched the movie and am scarred for life. *runs back to the children’s books*

    • nevillegirl says:

      I rated Isla… 3/5 stars, I think? I gave Lola only 2 stars because I thought she was whiny and annoying. xD Isla isn’t as good as Anna, but it’s still an interesting story, I think.

      I TOTALLY think they were the same! It frustrates me when authors recycle characters/plots/etc. And you liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson?! Oh my gosh. xD I couldn’t stand it. I thought it was pretty offensive, tbh.

      Thanks! *scurries off to read as many books as she possibly can*

  5. Precious @ Clockwork Desires says:

    I had to read Persepolis for English last year, and it was actually pretty good. (I loved Marji.) I never read Graphic Novels, but it got me kinda interested in the genre.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, Persepolis is a great graphic novel! I read a lot of graphic novels… currently reading my forty-first from just this year! 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Sure! 🙂

      AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Luen Yang
      THE PLAIN JANES by Cecil Castelluci and Jim Rugg
      MALICE and HAVOC by Chris Wooding*
      THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick*
      V FOR VENDETTA by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
      MAUS I and MAUS II by Art Spiegelman

      (Asterisks indicate books with a combination of prose and graphics – very interesting stories!)

    • nevillegirl says:

      No problem! And if you want something a little more light-hearted, just let me know – I tend to like pretty serious, oftentimes dark graphic novels!

  6. orphu44 says:

    Heyy, I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve read this year and I’m at 145 (I think? now that I’ve typed it I’m starting to doubt myself, but I’m about 90% sure). I didn’t actually have a goal when I started keeping track of books, but I’d started wondering if with the holidays I might hit 200, too.
    Other than that I don’t have much to offer to this post, since I think the only book I’ve read here is Paper Towns.

  7. matttblack42 says:

    I’m rereading The Catcher in the Rye for school, and I like it a lot more now than I did the first time. (I really do.) The writing does get very repetitive, I admit.

    😦 I see where you’re coming from with Paper Towns, though in the book’s defense, I don’t think Q.’s obsession with Margo was presented as healthy.

    I also read Of Mice and Men for school, and I was seemingly one of the few people in my class to feel bad for Curley’s wife. Even after death, she got zero respect from anyone. I remember Candy yelling at her dead body, saying something like, “Oh, you just had to go and get yourself killed and ruin things for the rest of us, didn’t you,” as if she was supposed to somehow know Lennie would strangle her to death.

    • nevillegirl says:

      You really do? 😛

      I know, right? Maybe that attitude (among other things) is what I didn’t like about the book. I guess I felt kind of sorry for Lennie and George, but… it’s not like Curley’s wife said HEY WHY DON’T YOU STRANGLE ME LOL.

  8. Pingback: In Which Many Shocking Revelations are Made | The Little Engine that Couldn't

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