After a couple of months, I am finally writing a new recommendations post! Yay! I am excited because a lot of these books have been recent reads that I hadn’t had the chance to talk about yet and they’re all so good!
THE GREAT UNKNOWABLE END BY KATHRYN ORMSBEE
This one is set in the 1970s and we follow Stella and Galliard. Galliard has Tourettes and has lived his whole life in this hippie commune in Kansas. Stella’s brother moved to the commune and her family hasn’t been the same since. The story also has some magical realism elements, such as this countdown that shows up in the town hall and no one knows what is it counting down to, or red rain that no one can explain.
This was one of those books that stayed with me for weeks after I’d finished it. It has one of the most intense character developments I’ve ever read about, and if anything, the magical realism elements are mostly tied to the protagonist’s journey than a mystery to be resolved.
I loved the 70s setting so much. It’s pretty palpable and the author was able to intertwine a lot of different historical events within the actual plot. While I can’t say whether or not the disability representation was well done or not, I did appreciate the author for not sugarcoating the awkwardness/uncomfortableness between the protagonists because of Galliard’s Tourettes.
This one doesn’t have the happy ending you might expect, but I think I liked it even more because of that.
HANI AND ISHU’S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING BY ADIBA JARIGDAR
Like the name suggests, we follow Hani and Ishu in this one, both Bangladeshi girls who go to the same school in Ireland. I think the author did an amazing job at developing both characters with an unique voice and it was important to show that, despite sharing a similar background, Hani and Ishu couldn’t be more different.
Ishu is “intense”, she’s competitive and strongminded and doesn’t have many friends at all. I loved the development in the relationship she has with her older sister – it’s a very different dynamic from the one we see Jarigdar’s debut, The Henna Wars, but it was done well nonetheless.
As for Hani, she has a very supportive family, which was lovely to read about, especially when we consider her very toxic and awful group of friends. Hani is kind, sweet and struggles with standing up to herself. I really liked watching her growth, and especially how her warmth would rub off in Ishu as well.
By far, the most interesting layer for me in this book, was how much it challenged me. I felt like with this one and The Henna Wars, the ending wasn’t satisfying because the white characters didn’t seem to fully learn and understand why the things they did were hurtful. However, what I noticed, was that I should not be expecting a white-person’s redemption in order to have a happy ending.
WILD AND CROOKED BY LEAH THOMAS
I think Leah Thomas really is amazing at writing double perspectives, because her character’s voices are always so different in the most effortless way.
In this one, we follow Kalyn and Gus: Gus’ dad was murdered before he was even born, but he feels the ghost of him everywhere he goes. Kalyn’s dad is in prison – for the murder of Gus’ dad. However, none of the two know about that when they strike a friendship. (Also: Gus has cerebral palsy so another one with disability rep!)
I absolutely love non-romantic love stories and this one is definitely that. Kalyn and Gus have so much love for one another, and it’s platonic, beautiful and absolutely life-altering. It’s that love that is able to repair the years of bad blood between their families.
I also have to shoutout Phil, as the added perspective by the half-way point that was just as lovely to read about. This story challenges our perception of loyalty so well and I really like how alive the characters felt, like they could jump off the page at any time.
ACE OF SPADES BY FARIDAH ABÍKÉ-ÍYÍMÍDÉ
Like with Hani and Ishu, I think it’s so remarkable what the author of Ace of Spades was able to do here. Following the two black students in this private school, Devon and Chiamaka couldn’t be more different from one another. Despite that, both perspectives are incredibly well written and easy to connect with.
Chiamaka is your Blair Waldorf – queen bee, popular and cunning. It was easy for me to fall in love with her, but Devon was not left behind. I also appreciated a lot how hesitant their friendship was at the beginning and the development of their support to each other.
This book also offers one of the best twists to the dark academia trope, talking about how, for people of color, academia has been historically an eerie, uncomfortable setting, that is not made to accommodate them at all. The atmosphere in this book matches that feeling so well and it’s definitely a creepy, slow buildup that ends up in the most epic conclusion.
VERONA COMICS BY JENNIFER DUGAN
This hybrid re-telling of You’ve Got Mail and Romeo and Juliet was honestly a lot more intense than I imagined. Jubilee and Ridley meet at a convention and hit it off right away. However, Ridley soon finds out Jubilee is the heir to the small comic store that his dad’s chain plans to buy.
I really liked how the author developed Ridley’s anxiety and depression. His mental health issues are very much tied to his parents’ – his abusive dad and neglectful mom – and I appreciated how that was balanced with Jubilee’s supportive family/friend group. It not only made more palpable how undeserving Ridley was of that, but gave him a second support system that made his dad’s decision even more complex to him.
It was also pretty important how this book discussed the idea of codependent relationships. Despite the amount of love these characters had for one another, they had to be okay by themselves first. I really wish this was a message that more YA books would prioritize!Have you read any of these books? What’s your favorite book that has double perspectives? What do you think makes a book with two perspectives stand out? Let’s discuss in the comments!