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The Death of Vivek Oji
The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel | Akwaeke Emezi
120 posts | 95 read | 97 to read
A dramatic and deeply moving novel of three generations coping with secrets, violence, and grief, against a backdrop of political and social unrest. They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died. One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover the lifeless body of her son wrapped in fabric on the welcome mat. The story of that child, Vivek Oji, is the story of two families from disparate cultures who came together in a time of upheaval, and of Viveks struggle to be true to a self whose spirit and longings defy conventional expectations. Raised by a privileged, distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, fugue states that disrupt all connection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women resettled in the area. But Viveks closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepensand Osita struggles to understand his friend's escalating crisisthe mystery of Viveks behavior gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of transcendent freedom. Propulsively readable, teeming with vivid and unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a story of family and friendship that challenges expectations at every turn. It is a major step forward from a writer of rare insight into the porous barriers between body and identity, spirit, and self.
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paisleyjess
Pickpick

Absolutely devastating story that will give you lots to think about and discuss.

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AnneCecilie
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Pickpick

I liked this one, but didn‘t love it as a lot of other seems to do.

Vivek Oji died the day the market burned down (not a spoiler, this is the first sentence). Then we get is life up to his death. We also follow his mum, cousin and friends after his death, in their grief and his mum‘s quest for answers.

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AnneCecilie
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#FirstLineFridays

This is quite a first sentence

AllDebooks It really is! 2mo
Cinfhen It‘s a great book!! Hope you enjoy 😀 2mo
ShyBookOwl Yes, it is! 2mo
AnneCecilie @Cinfhen Full disclosure, I was already finished reading when I posted. The first sentence was too good not to use for this. I liked the book, but didn‘t love it. There‘s also others of hers I‘ve enjoyed more than this. 2mo
Cinfhen I didn‘t really love the other two I read from this author 🤷🏼‍♀️ 2mo
55 likes5 comments
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AbstractMonica
Pickpick

I was blown away by this book. I don‘t wanna give too much away, but this novel was not at all what I was expecting. The writing was beautiful & the story powerful.

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AbstractMonica
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Next 😊

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JacintaMCarter
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Pickpick

#2022Book79
Akwaeke Emezi is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. If I thought I could teach this book without getting fired, I would do so immediately. The themes of grief, love, acceptance, and guilt are so masterfully woven throughout this story and I will definitely be rereading it several times.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
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#pridebookrec
Q is for Queer
Queer author Akwaeke Emezi is a powerhouse of a writer. The books they published are all incredibly different, and always impeccably written.
Vivek Oji is my favorite of their novels so far.

sarahbarnes I have this one on my shelf - hope to get to it soon! 6mo
ChaoticMissAdventures @sarahbarnes I hope you like it! This month I am trying to get to their 6mo
25 likes1 stack add2 comments
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mackelie
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Pickpick

We know that Vivek will die but not when or how until the very end. The story is weaved beautifully between present and past slowly discovering the true Vivek and his identity.

Really loved this story and felt like I was there with Vivek and his friends. Felt the sorrow of his family and friends. Felt the love he had. Felt a part of the Nigerwives community and glimpses of Igbo culture.

32 likes2 stack adds
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Kimbono
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Another day, another book. The writing is really warm and beautiful but I‘m bracing myself for a full on crying session before the end.

23 likes1 stack add
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NovelNancyM
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Pickpick

A story where love transcends all and family isn't always the one we're born into.

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Evita
Pickpick

5 out of 5!

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Bakingbookworm
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Mehso-so

3 STARS - I tried the print copy and then moved to the audiobook. I'm still not sure if I enjoyed this book. It has great elements but its Literary Fiction feel and how things came together didn't wow me. Good but not great.

Review: https://bit.ly/TheDeathOfVivekOjiReview

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Messiejessie
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Pickpick

Compelling but so sad. My favourite thing about this book was the descriptions of the love and friendship the characters feel for each other.

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KatieDid927
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@riversong153 thank you so so much for such a beautiful #BlitsySwap package! I‘ve wanted to read the tagged book so badly for awhile now. The necklace is beautiful and I love Maya Angelou! The pencils and stickers are so fun. Everything is lovely, thanks again! 🤗 And special thanks to @Chelleo for hosting one of my favorite swaps!

riversong153 I‘m so glad you like it! 9mo
Erinreadsthebooks One Armed Sister is SO good! 9mo
Chelleo Those stickers!! 🤩🤩🤩 9mo
54 likes3 comments
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Traci1
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January Stats

Books finished: 21
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐: Death of Vivek Oji and Firefly Carnival
⭐: Survive the Night

Owned books read: 14
New books brought into my house: 3
Books donated out: 22
Current physical tbr: 689 (slowly making a dent)

BookBelle84 I'm doing the same thing! Trying to get my owned tbr under control 10mo
DivineDiana Fantastic job! I am trying to do the same thing. Your stats are a great idea to see progress! I just wish that my Book Clubs chose books I owned! (edited) 10mo
rmaclean4 Agreed, your stats are a great way to keep yourself accountable. 10mo
See All 6 Comments
Traci1 @BookBelle84 good luck! It's not easy. 10mo
Traci1 @DivineDiana @rmaclean4 I figure I'm much more likely to stick with it if I can actually see numbers of how I'm doing. Just hoping I can keep up with it all year. 10mo
rmaclean4 @Traci1 i counted mine and will be tracking them this year also. Thanks for the good idea! 10mo
69 likes6 comments
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Jolynne
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Pickpick

A story about living the person you are and want to be regardless the consequences.

11 likes1 stack add
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MicheleinPhilly
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Pickpick

This was breathtakingly sad. Even knowing from the jump that the narrative surrounds a death does not prepare you for the heart-wrenching denouement. I would have loved to have spent more time in Vivek‘s head but he will most certainly stay in mine for a long time to come.

Cortg I went into this knowing nothing about it and it became one of my all time faves! Heart-wrenching, for sure! 10mo
Suet624 I have this on my shelf. Keep postponing reading it. This author blew me away with her first book. 10mo
Megabooks Yes. This exactly. 10mo
77 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Traci1
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Pickpick

Holy crow, I haven't cried so hard in a while. Nothing about this story surprised me - I had a feeling from the first page where it would go. And yet. I was gutted by the ending. The ending that again didn't surprise me except for the depth of feelings that I experienced from the last few pages. And now, my eyes are red, and my nose is sniffy, and Henry (6) is telling me that "you shouldn't read sad books, mommy."
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

charl08 Aw, what a cute comment. 😍 11mo
Megabooks 💯 agree 11mo
Cortg I loved this book! 11mo
Soubhiville I loved this one too! 11mo
readordierachel Awwww 11mo
78 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Afua
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Pickpick

I don‘t yet have the words to honour this book. I doubt I will for a long time.

All my words are caught in my chest and throat and only Akwaeke could write us into existence this way....

I am a crying open wound after this book. My God what beauty....what light...what gut wrenching truth my God....my God...

Suet624 This author…💕💕💕 12mo
Afua They are everything. Everything. @Suet624 12mo
Nute Your words are beautiful, Caren!💕 12mo
Afua Thank you! 🥺😭🧡 @Nute 12mo
7 likes4 comments
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GatheringBooks
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#Haunted Day 31: The haunting and mysterious vibe of this narrative is perfect for #Halloween. Paired with crispy calamari and eggplant casserole.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Looks delicious 😋 13mo
Eggs Great photo🤎💛🤎 13mo
48 likes2 comments
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GatheringBooks
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#Haunted Day 22: Perhaps there is #Undead here? Hehe. Paired with authentic Turkish delight and french press coffee - perfect for our long weekend.

Eggs 🙌🏻📚❤️ 13mo
49 likes1 comment
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Well-ReadNeck
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Sydneypaige
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Pickpick

I would read any book of Emezi‘s after the first book of theirs I read, Freshwater. Couldn‘t believe it took me almost a full year after release to read this one. They did it again, creating beautiful relationships and addicting lyrical prose.

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Traci1
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Both of my blue boxes arrived today. And I got my BFF tote. My husband gave our mailman a tip earlier this week because of "all the boxes of books you have to bring to my wife." ?

#botm

ICantImReading Haha now that‘s a good husband!! 😁 1y
Jemgirl2014 Congrats on getting your BFF status! Enjoy your books! 1y
Traci1 @ICantImReading he is a great enabler of my obsession. 😊 1y
Traci1 @Jemgirl2014 thanks! 1y
81 likes4 comments
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cariashley
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Not a fan of this month‘s books, but it‘s my birthday month so had to pick something. Sort of interested in Vivek Oji and the Rooney is obvious; wish it had been a main pick. #BOTM has been very meh for months now.

Kimberlone I think this has been the general Litsy sentiment today. I skipped, but will definitely get the Sally Rooney in November when I have my birthday gift. 1y
mrsthilkey Agreed. I skipped but will definitely be adding the Rooney next time they have a pick that I want. 1y
jeannasser Wait are you Virgo as well ?? 👀👀 or Libra 😊😊 1y
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cariashley @Kimberlone @mrsthilkey at least the Rooney is an add on! Looking forward to that. 1y
cariashley @ReadingWithJean Virgo here too!! My birthday is tomorrow 😊 1y
ErikasMindfulShelf The Death of Vivek Oji was great. Can‘t wait to read Rooney‘s new book. 1y
cariashley @ErikasMindfulShelf good to hear, it had fallen off my radar for some reason but the reviews are all pretty positive! 1y
jeannasser @cariashley omg! Happy birthday!!! 🥰🥰 1y
cariashley @jeannasser thank you!!! ☺️ 1y
45 likes9 comments
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wideeyedreader
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None of this month‘s #botm picks spoke to me, so I went for one off the tbr and an add-on!

Soubhiville Vivek Oji ❤️💔 1y
Traci1 I picked Vivek Oji for my box too. 1y
32 likes2 comments
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

Emezi is one of my favorite authors! 💚 They write such incredibly poignant, beautiful, and breathtaking stories.

I felt so many things while reading this book. It's hard really to think of the words to give this book the proper praise it deserves. I highly recommend this one!

44 likes3 stack adds
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Petersona
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Chavelafab
Pickpick

This was a little gem of a book. Really well written, good plot, finely tuned characters, great observations of the impact of Vivek on family and friends. Very poignant.

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Cortg
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My June reads. I was a couple books under my monthly average, but it‘s all good!

38 likes1 stack add
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Cortg
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Pickpick

This is my pride read for June and, wow!
I love how Vivek‘s story is told. It‘s a beautiful story and so sad. The story takes place in Nigeria and begins with Vivek‘s mother finding his body on her front doorstep. As the story unfolds, you learn about Vivek and what he was like growing up until his early death. You hear from friends and family members and slowly, the events around his death unfold. I loved listening to this story. 💔

BookBelle84 I loved this book when I read it and still think about it regularly over a year later. 1y
33 likes1 comment
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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Pickpick

I am so glad I picked this up even after my struggle with Freshwater. This is completely different, much more readable.
I like how this was laid out we do not hear much from Vivek, which is an interesting choice Emezi makes, focusing on how others see, react, and interact with them. I do feel like the characters and story could have been a bit deeper but overall I very much enjoyed this. 💔

23 likes2 comments
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BeaG
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Pickpick

Captivating! I love how the story is told. Although sad, this is a great book.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
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#curiouscovers abstract art - sort of? Closest I have really, and this on one of the next books on my TBR I don't know anything about it, and their book Freshwater I have picked up multiple times and struggled with, so hoping this one is a better fit for me!

@Eggs @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Eggs Perfect! So pretty and colorful with the bouquet 💐📚👏🏻 1y
21 likes1 comment
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mollyrotondo
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So I didn‘t get to my April #bookspin No. 13 pick in April, but I have finally read this second adult book by Emezi. I really liked reading about Vivek‘s family‘s love, hurt, sadness, and confusion. It lost me when the story started to become a coming-of-age story and Vivek‘s friends became too much of a focal point (just not a fan of coming-of-age stories at my age), but I loved the ending when the friends came together with the family.

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1y
45 likes1 comment
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pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

Vivek is dead, but this story isn't really about death and sorrow- it's a celebration of life and love in many forms. I didn't care for Freshwater by the same author but am glad I took another chance with them. The story is well-constructed and multilayered and kept me invested right up to the last page. It was an interesting contrast to and companion for Detransition, Baby, which also worked with themes of identity, love, and belonging. 4*

Suet624 This has been on my dining room table for months. I loved Freshwater and I am prolonging my sense of excitement about reading this one. 2y
pigeonsandcrows @Suet624 I struggled with Freshwater, although I admired it. I found this one to be a much more traditional "story", exploring similar themes to Freshwater, but maintaining a more hopeful tone throughout. 2y
Kenyazero I've been meaning to read this for a while, but haven't yet because I didn't love Freshwater (I didn't hate it, but it wasn't a hit with me). I'll keep your review in mind since you liked it better! 2y
pigeonsandcrows @Kenyazero I also didn't love Freshwater.... this one had some of the elements I liked from Freshwater, but was more of a traditional story with plot twists and structure. Also more uplifting and life-affirming. 2y
39 likes4 comments
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pigeonsandcrows
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"Life was like being dragged through concrete in circles, wet and setting concrete that dried with each rotation of my unwilling body. As a child, I was light. It didn't matter too much; I just slid through it, and maybe it even felt like a game, like I was just playing in mud, like nothing about that slipperiness would ever change, not really. But then I got bigger and it started drying on me and eventually I turned into an uneven block..."

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vlwelser
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Pickpick

This book is so freaking good. Vivek is dead (spoiler alert) but what happened to him and why? The #audiobook is quite well done.

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KatieB
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I‘m currently in the middle of so many books so obviously I‘m going to start another one! I‘ve heard great things about this one and it‘s due back to the library in 5 days. I‘m thankful it‘s short!

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BittersweetBooks
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You can chase the truth, but who could avoid the moment of hesitation when you wonder if you really want what you‘ve been asking for? 🦋💔

17 likes1 stack add
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Jnnlb
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Pickpick

A moving tale, sad and profound 4.5 ⭐️

54 likes1 stack add
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Karmapen
Pickpick

This reminded me so much of chronicle of a death foretold by García Márquez, except that all the characters were more likable and the crime more fresh.

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NeedsMoreBooks
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Pickpick

Set in Nigeria, it is the story of Vivek Oji, his life, death, and legacy. The main theme is his transformation and how his sexuality plays a major role in the story. He struggles with his identity reflected in his education, family, friendship, and his relationship with Osita, his paternal uncle‘s son. The novel probes the ideas of gender, sexuality, friendship, love, family, the larger social community, organized religion, through Vivek‘s life.

Come-read-with-me I loved this book! It‘s been one of my favourites so far this year! 2y
NeedsMoreBooks @Come-read-with-me yay, Paula! It was an unexpected favorite. 2y
Soubhiville I really loved this one as well. 2y
47 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Sweettartlaura
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Pickpick

Wowwwww 😮
This was my favorite read for #24in48 by far ♥️
It‘s difficult - not in style, but in what it asks of its readers.
But man, is it beautifully written.
There are a couple things to pick on. But really, find something by this author and read it - you‘ll be glad you did.

Sweettartlaura @Come-read-with-me 👍🏻 2y
VanderAnna This looks so good! 2y
Sweettartlaura @VanderAnna it is 🙂. I slept on it for a while - wish I had put it in my brain as soon as I could have 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
Soubhiville I loved this book so much! 2y
40 likes5 comments
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Come-read-with-me
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Pickpick

What a beautiful and sad read. Emezi creates characters that pull you through an emotional journey that tests the fragile bonds of family. It‘s a powerful look at family dynamics can be ripped asunder in the face of great challenge and grief. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Third read for Black History Month!

Megabooks Agree! Great book! 2y
Come-read-with-me @Megabooks There were times when it simply left me breathless. 💔 2y
78 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Not_That_Jem
Pickpick

It took me a long time to finish this book; I had to read a bit and then put it down for a while. That speaks to the power of the writing and the deft way the author steadily raises the tension, even though the outcome was declared on the first page. I kept picking it back up, though, compelled to keep dipping into these characters‘ vivid lives. I do recommend, but if you‘re a queer or trans person, give yourself space and kindness while reading.

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kalivha
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Oops, I bought more books! Do any of you have a recommendation as to whether I should bump these up on my to-read list or postpone them till later? Kinda tempted to read "Violence" next, but I could also read Mexican Gothic next... ?

Does anyone else have this problem where they buy more books even though they have many, many unread ones?