1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
HOW had I not read this before? Actually, how had I not read any Margaret Atwood before? Reading The Handmaid’s Tale was a weird experience, because I’ve read so many books that in retrospect where clearly influenced by The Handmaid’s Tale, so some of the ideas I would have an inkling in the back of my head how I’d read a similar book before. . . but of course, The Handmaid’s Tale came before those. This was frightening and so very not “enjoyable”, but yet I couldn’t put it down even as I was horrified.
I think what made this book work so well for me is the main character, Offred, is someone who goes through the first generation of the new world order. So often dytopias are about generations that came after the world has gone topsy-turvy, but the MC in this book can still remember a time “before”, where she was allowed a job, had a husband, and a child. . . it’s the loss of those to make her a “walking womb” that really impacted me the most. 5/5 stars.
2. The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
3. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.
4. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
Contains all five novellas.
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.
Oh, my heart. There was a REASON I had put off reading The Assassin’s Blade, because I knew what was coming. It’s a book that’s kinda hard to talk about because it takes place *before* the events of Throne of Glass, but was published afterwards, and I know some people read in chronological order so I don’t want to spoil anything. That being said, if you’ve read Throne of Glass you know at least a little bit about what Celaena went through before being sent to Endovier, but reading it in the DETAILS hurts. Despite that, I totally breezed through these novellas and I do feel like they add so much to the series. I almost kind of hate that these were originally published as novellas, so it gives the impression that they’re just extras when they’re really informative of the characters and the world(which is great, because the world-building in Throne of Glass is something I’ve always had trouble keeping straight). 4/5 stars.