Book of the Month YA: August Selections

Note: I received this box for free as a BOTM YA affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you purchase using my link. This helps keep my blog running!

Perhaps you’re already heard of Book of the Month, a monthly subscription box (U.S. only) that offers five newly released hardcover books for you to choose from for $14.99/month (free shipping!). I had to cancel my subscription I have a huge number of unread books on my shelf, but I love seeing their selections every month, which range from non-fiction to thrillers to fantasy—there’s bound to be something that interests you! You can add additional books for $9.99, which is such a steal for a hardcover.

Recently, Book of the Month launched a Young Adult subscription box as well! Previously, there were a couple YA selections every once in a while, but if you love YA or are looking to read more YA, this box is perfect for you. Sign up today and get your first book for $9.99 with the code FLEX!

August Selections

For August, I picked the YA historical novel The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, and I absolutely loved it! Set in 1890 Atlanta, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a maid by day and writes an advice column under the pseudonym ‘Ms. Sweetie’ by night. I immediately loved Jo because she’s witty and self-aware, and she explores race and gender in her column. I loved seeing the perspective of a Chinese-American girl in this time period in the South.

The other August selections are:

  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (fantasy)
  • Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry (thriller)
  • Mind Games by Shana Silver (sci-fi/dystopian)
  • Color Me In by Natasha Diaz (contemporary)

Past Selections

You can also add additional books from the current month & past months for $9.99. My recommendations from past selections are:

  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho (fantasy) – see my review!
  • The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (contemporary)
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (contemporary)
  • Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (fantasy) – see my review!
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (contemporary)

If you’re a BOTM YA subscriber, let me know what you picked this month!

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Book Rec: Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong
If You Liked: All Is Well

Today’s book recommendation is not young adult! Last month it was announced that Constance Wu had signed on to play the lead role in the movie adaptation of Goodbye, Vitamin so of course I bumped this book up my to-read list. Constance Wu stars in ABC’s sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and of course, starred in last year’s rom-com Crazy Rich Asians. I’m really excited to see her in more lead roles on the big screen! But, back to the book!

Premise: Ruth Young quits her job and moves in with her parents for a year when her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
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My Spoiler-Free Review

Published back in 2017, Goodbye, Vitamin is written in the format of short diary entries spanning a year, and I found it to be a very relaxing rhythm. I liked Ruth’s direct tone and found her humor very charming. There are little offbeat details and the humor is slightly grim and ultimately, I thought she was both relatable and authentic.

I also felt the seriousness of Ruth’s father’s Alzheimer’s disease in her observations and reflections, the truth of the relationship between her parents, and the way her brother’s relationship with them differs from her own. Goodbye, Vitamin is so captivating and enjoyable without trying too hard. The premise isn’t dramatic but rather, devastating in its ordinariness. I was turning page after page and next thing I knew I was halfway through the book. I definitely recommend this book and I’m so excited for the movie!

I’ve compared this to the Chinese drama All Is Well because that happens to be the only drama that I’ve watched that’s about adulthood and family, and things are more complex than they may seem on the surface.

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Book Rec: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

If you liked... I Hear You; The Liar and His Lover; You're Beautiful

Premise: Roman Holiday meets K-pop set in Hong Kong. If you’ve seen Roman Holiday, that should say it all, but if you haven’t, the story is about a whirlwind day that Jack and K-pop star Lucky spend exploring Hong Kong, falling for each other along the way.
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I’ve suggested a comparison to the dramas listed above because they all have themes of hidden identity, take place in the music industry, and/or feature a main couple that finds themselves spending a lot of time with a stranger.

My Spoiler-Free Review

Somewhere Only We Know is a fun, contemporary YA novel about two teens finding their paths in life and trying not to lose themselves in the process. Lucky’s perspective showed the struggles of a pop star trying to stay true to her dreams. As a big K-pop fan, I love that it sheds some light specifically on what it’s like to be a K-pop star. On the other hand, Jack is a Korean American teenager figuring out what path he wants to take with his life and although his feelings are relatable, some of his actions are questionable. (But hey, teens aren’t perfect and need time to figure things out.)

I loved the Hong Kong setting—I’ve never been but I hope to make a trip in the near future! The food scenes made me so hungry and were one of my favorite parts. I only wish that perhaps the novel had ended differently. I liked the ending of Roman Holiday and thought it felt more realistic.
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Disclosure: As a affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Book Rec: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

If you liked... Nirvana in Fire

This Chinese-inspired young adult novel reminded me of Chinese historical dramas with a touch of magic.

Premise: When Princess Hesina of Yan’s father suddenly dies, she must take the throne and quell unrest in the kingdom. Hesina turns to illegal methods to find out the truth about how her father died, and initiates a trial that leads to devastating consequences.
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My Spoiler-Free Review

Descendant of the Crane is about a power struggle and a kingdom that has a complicated history with magic, but it’s also a coming-of-age story. Hesina is just a young woman trying to come to terms with her father’s death while finding herself entrusted with immense responsibility. She’s understandably overwhelmed. There are complicated family relationships, and I loved Hesina’s relationship with each character, her grouchy brother the general, her intimidating mother, and her adopted siblings who are her closest friends.

It does take Descendant of the Crane a while to find its rhythm, but I loved the Chinese-inspired setting. It truly reminded me of watching a Chinese historical drama. The thrilling courtroom scenes and secret plotting brought to mind my favorite Chinese drama, Nirvana in Fire, and its cunning strategist. If you’ve always wanted to read a book reminiscent of a Chinese historical drama, give Descendant of the Crane a try!

Disclosure: As a affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Book Rec: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

If you liked... Goblin, aka Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
I absolutely loved Kat Cho’s new young adult novel, Wicked Fox (titled Gumiho: Wicked Fox internationally) and especially recommend it for K-drama lovers.

Premise: Miyoung is an eighteen-year old gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who feeds off human energy. In the process of saving the life of a human boy, Jihoon, Miyoung loses her fox bead and must find a way to put it back before it’s too late.

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My (Spoiler-Free) Review

I loved the way Wicked Fox blends Korean folklore with a modern-day Seoul setting and coming-of-age experiences. There are shaman and goblins, as well as school bullies, difficult relationships with parents, and delicious descriptions of food. Miyoung struggles with the morality of her existence as a gumiho, but she’s also a relatable teenage girl who learns to open up to friendship for the first time. There are plenty of lovable supporting characters, and Junu is my favorite. If you loved the drama Goblin, aka Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, then you’ll probably love Junu, too!

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