Apartment Book Club Round 1

About a year ago my roommates and I decided to start a book club together. I don’t remember who or what prompted it, but the rules were simple: each person picks a book, we draw the titles out of a jar, and then after about a month or so we’ll go out to dinner and discuss it. 

The four of us have somewhat similar tastes in what we like to read: fiction, YA, fantasy, fun tropes, magic. But we chose books new to all of us and each pick could vary wildly in how much others like it. Sometimes we’ll choose books from our TBR lists, other’s recommendations, or if we heard enough good things about it. It’s an interesting mix, and the books from Round 1 definitely felt like a grab-bag of miscellany, but that’s what makes our book club fun.

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman

Frances Janvier is the typical nerdy star high school student who’s entire personality hinges on being a fan of an obscure podcast. Aled Last is her friend across the street, a painfully shy boy. Quirkiness, fun, and soul searching unfold throughout their friendship when Frances finds out Aled is the voice behind the microphone.

To be brutally honest, I hated this book. I felt like it was the author’s final undergrad semester thesis project, and I’ve read better final undergrad semester thesis projects. The premise was interesting, but the writing and the characters were insufferably Cool while at the same time the epitome of high school Outcasts. The diversity of the characters felt flat and obligatory, and the whole plot seemed desperate to come off as relatable.

Would I have finished this book outside Apartment Book Club? God no.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman is available now: Indiebound.org and Bookshop.org.


The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Aiden Bishop wakes up in the woods of a Victorian manor house with no idea of who he is. As the day unfolds, he finds out the the young lady of the house, Evelyn Hardcastle, will die and it’s his job to save her. Until he falls asleep and wakes up in a different body. Bishop has one week to solve the murder, in a classic case of whodunit. 

Full disclosure, this one was my pick and I chose it purely for its cover design. A good Gothic murder mystery always sounds like a good time, and I’m probably biased here, but I enjoyed this one a lot. It was a good old-fashioned parlor mystery just bordering on the edge of camp, with ridiculous English last name, gloomy mansions, and murder for everyone. The plot of the mystery truly kept me in the dark, I didn’t figure it out until it was spelled out in the final pages, and then it was a moment of, “Oh, I see everything now.” The end of the book, however, did feel a bit like the author finished the mystery parts, and then wrapped up the rest of the story with duct tape and string.

Would I have finished this book outside Apartment Book Club? Yes, and I recommend it all the time to others.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is available now: Indiebound.org and Bookshop.org.


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Elsa is a very curious seven year old girl, and her best friend is her equally eccentric grandmother. The two share stories of the far-off land of Almost Awake and its magical kingdom Kingdom of Miamas, full of knights and beasts, and angels, and whatever else makes a magical kingdom complete. When Elsa’s grandmother passes away and leaves behind letters for Elsa to deliver to her neighbors, it’s up to this small child to bring a community together and learn one last story from her grandmother.

This was another “quirky” novel, but more bearable and less desperate feeling. There were still some moments of cringey references to real-world pop culture and at some points the magical realism went a little over my head. But it grew on me, and once I got used to the point of view of a young girl, I could feel the genuine magic of a grandmother’s love in the story. 

Would I have finished this book outside Apartment Book Club? Yes, and I would call it a good Mom Book.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman is available now: Indiebound.org and Bookshop.org.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and her older half sister Vivienne don’t remember much of their lives before living in the High Court of Faerie. She was only seven when Madoc, a fierce Faerie knight, came to their home and killed her (mortal) parents. Ever since then she’s grown up and grown accustomed to the strange land, even if all of its inhabitants despise her. Desperate to prove herself and earn her spot amongst them, Jude becomes entangled within Court politics, violence, and wicked games. There’s also a very volatile, mean, and pale prince.

I love a good trope-filled YA paranormal romance, it was all I read during my middle and high school years––and I knew Holly Black was one of the best writers in the genre. But I was always on the vampire side of things and only heard about the faerie side of things. So I had a lot of fun reading The Cruel Prince in that nostalgic, cringey way. But ultimately, I couldn’t take it seriously enough to finish the rest of the series. 

Would I have finished this book outside Apartment Book Club? Yes, but not now; I would have eaten this entire trilogy up years ago, though. It’s perfect for any reader, any age, looking for that YA-fantasy romp through faerie.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is available now: Indiebound.org and Bookshop.org.


That’s round one of our apartment book club. We’re in the middle of round two, I’ll post about that when we finish them. 

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