Becoming Book Smart

Updated: Sep 3

A review of some books that fulfilled my summer


Natalie Kishko

Staff Writer, PR Team

September 1, 2021


As this summer commenced, I took the executive decision to read more, in hopes of it making me “smarter.” All I achieved from my decision is realizing that I shouldn’t always take book advice from the employee at Barnes & Noble. Because we all know how important my opinion is, these are some of the books I read and my recommendations.


At the beginning of June, I began to read “The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Turton Stuart. In this book, a man visits this forest where the Hardcastle family and their servants reside. Aidan Bishop, a stranger visiting the castle, encounters a man dressed in a Plague costume. The man tells Bishop that he has to figure out the mystery of Evelyn’s death or he will be stuck in the time loophole forever. Reading this book felt like I was solving a puzzle but in a good way. I felt this urgency while reading it that I couldn’t stop, and that led me to spend 3 days reading non-stop. This book reinforced my desire to read more books; therefore, I would give it an 8/10.


The next book I read was “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart. This book was recommended to me by several friends. “We Were Liars” is about a damaged girl and her friends that were all involved in an accident. This girl is trying to uncover secrets of the past and what happened before her big accident. I have had mixed feelings about this book. There were times I was fully immersed, but other times the story ran short. The writing style of this book was much different from others. It felt as if this book was written like a poem but often the sentences were unfinished which made me very irritated. The plot of the book could have been better, but the execution was just not to my standards. I am not sure if I would recommend this book to a friend; therefore, I give it a 3/10.


Another book I read was “Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston. I took this book to read at my grandparents' farm in Ukraine because I knew it wouldn’t fail me and wouldn’t leave me bored. It consisted of a love story between the First Son and a Prince from Europe. Usually, I think that books about love are a little tacky, but this book did make me shed a tear more than once. I can assure you that this is one of the best books about love I have read, and this would definitely be a good read for anyone else. I let one of my friends borrow it, and she proved my point as she was fully invested in the story. This book deserves a 9.5/10, and I stand by that.


The last book I want to discuss is “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. This book is rated with 4.46/5 stars on Goodreads, which made me question it at first. One of my friends recommended this book, and while I bought it after spring break, I was only able to fully start it during summer. When I first bought this book, I simply could not get past the first 30 pages. I convinced myself that the plot was not good, and I didn’t understand how over a million people loved it. This is another book I took with me to my grandparents' farm, knowing that I would be in the middle of nowhere so there would be nothing I could do besides read this book. For me, this book was the epitome of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This book was about a little girl that was isolated in the marsh and was considered unfit for the nice society she lived in. She was the main suspect for murder and throughout the book, she learned how to appreciate the beauty of life and how to survive in a hard world where everyone seems to be plotting against her. Although I wish I had begun this book sooner, I’m thankful for forcing myself to read it. This book helped me appreciate nature’s beauty while rooting for the underdog that deserves to be known. I know that when I first tried to read it, I would’ve thought this book deserves a 2/10, but now I assuringly give it a 9/10.


I enjoyed the different perspectives on the different topics that these books consisted of. Even though I rated some of them poorly, I don’t regret reading them. To me, the books I didn’t enjoy drive me to read more, and that is something I am appreciative of through every book I have read and continue to read.

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