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It’s the end of week two of the YA Buccaneers’ Summer Reading Challenge, which means it’s time to check in! This week, I crossed two more books off my list: Vicious by V.E. Schwab and Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler.

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HERE, you’ll find what you need to know about the Summer Reading Challenge. Last week, I wrote about a book that had been on my TBR list for far too long. This week, I’ve got my debut taken care of, in Behind the Scenes, and I have…a bit of a wild card. Vicious could count as a non-YA book. It’s also got a male protagonist. (Actually, two.) So I might cheat a little and see where it needs to fit in as I move forward with the challenge!

UnknownV.E. Schwab’s Vicious was a really interesting read. It’s the story of two men, Victor and Eli, who start researching EOs—or ExtraOrdinary people, those with unique abilities—in college, only to become EOs themselves. They also become mortal enemies. The book opens with Victor having just escaped from prison, after a decade behind bars. His mission: find his former friend…and kill him. But the cool thing about Vicious is that even though this is a story about people with the kinds of abilities you see all the time in comic books, the lines between hero and villain are truly blurred. Victor is ostensibly the villain of the piece, but he’s more sympathetic—and maybe the evil things he’s done are justified. Eli is ostensibly the hero—but he’s killed more people than Victor, many of them innocents. Does it matter if he believes he’s on a righteous mission? I don’t want to spoil anything else, so I’ll finish by saying: if you enjoy seeing superhero tropes subverted and reaffirmed and subverted again, don’t miss this book.

behind-the-scenes-adler-coverAfter Tuesday’s post, I hope you aren’t tired of hearing me talk about Dahlia Adler and her debut Behind the Scenes, because I’m going to gush about her book now! I started reading it on the ride home from Dahlia’s launch party on Monday night, and was finished by Tuesday evening. I won’t recap the plot—you can learn more about that on Goodreads. What I will say is, how delicious is this book? I laughed, I swooned, I felt all the feels. Ally is a fun, snarky, maddening, and moving character, and Liam is…well, pretty much perfect. (Seriously, does that boy have a flaw?!) I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into the life of someone on the Hollywood fringes—BFFs with a rising star, and yet treated like a complete nobody in Hollywood circles. Ally’s insecurity about her place in that world—in Liam’s world—was as believable as it was heartbreaking. This is a fast, fun, sweet, and sexy read.

More books next Friday! As for what I’m reading now, I’ll give you a teaser: It’s in the “Re-read an old favorite” category, it’s adult literary fiction, and it’s one of my absolute favorite books. I’m loving it just as much this time, and I can’t wait to share it here.

~Kathryn

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