To Be Honest (Maggie Ann Martin) | Goodreads | 3.5 stars
I think I rated this second book from Maggie Ann Martin the same as her debut, The Big F, but I think this one is my favorite from her so far. A combination of characters I liked better and storylines that interested me more all made that possible.
It’d be nice to read more books that have full-sized protagonists that aren’t just about their weight. There are definitely elements of this story that involved Savannah’s fatness and other people’s reactions to her body, but there was a lot more to it than that, which I appreciated. I think the main reason I didn’t give this book a slightly higher rating is because I kept expecting the book to focus way more angst on weight-related elements, and even though the book avoided that, the fact that I kept expecting it lowered my enjoyment a bit.
I was a little unsure about checking out future books from Martin after reading her first book, but this second outing has me a lot more interested in seeing what she writes next.
The Vanishing Stair (Maureen Johnson) | Goodreads | 4 stars
This series continues to have some really strong elements with some not-so-strong ones mixed in. The story pulls me in with its mystery, but the characters haven’t done the same.
It’s not that I dislike the characters, I just don’t love them. They’re there – I like the anxiety rep, some queer rep via protagonist Stevie’s friends, and a friend who’s a writer who can’t make himself write – but I don’t always care about them. I really don’t care about the romance and the romantic interest who just seems to be there to throw Stevie off her game.
I’m reading this series for the atmosphere and the mysteries, both in the modern timeline and the past. Some elements of it work better than others – the past mystery is definitely the most interesting, which is unusual for me, since I don’t like historical fiction for the most part – but overall the mysteries are my favorite part of this series.
As for that cliffhanger – all I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t read this one as soon as it came out, because 2020 is a long, long way away.