Book Review: Such a Fun Age

This is the second time I’ve read Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and it certainly won’t be the last. This is a coming of age story with race at the centre, with a cast of very realistic characters with plenty of depth. Even though the book is character driven, I was gripped from start to finish – there is so much to analyse and think about.

This review will have some spoilers.

Star rating: 5 stars

The book centres on two main characters – Emira, a Black woman of 25 (we’re the same age, and I felt that), and Alix, a woman of 32. Emira’s the sitter of Alix’s children Briar and Catherine, but spends most of her time looking after Briar. I felt a little bit like Briar might be autistic, but it isn’t mentioned in the book specifically.

Emira is so lost – she has no idea what she wants to do with her life (hey me too), but she enjoys looking after Briar and also does a few days at a transcription job. One day, Alix asks her to come and take Briar out late at night (aside, Alix’s husband said something racist and sexist on TV so people are throwing rocks through their window). Emira, needing the cash, leaves a friend’s birthday party and takes Briar to the grocery store and the girl likes smelling tea and looking at nuts. Whilst there, people question why the child is with Emira and a man captures the situation on video.

Alix is a 32 (ish?) year old who is basically an influencer in New York, but when she gets pregnant with her second child she has no choice but to move out of the city. And so Catherine is born, and Alix works from home on her new book, hiring Emira to look after her kids. After the situation at the grocery store, Alix feels really guilty and tries to make amends, amends that Emira doesn’t really want.

Emira dates the person who took the video of the grocery store, Kelley. Turns out, Kelley dated Alix in high school, and the two have a complicated past. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Kelley and Alix when the two meet for the first time in 15 years. Both are convinced the other is bad for Emira, and that the other is being a bad white person. Turns out, they both have their own racial biases and micro-aggressions. Who’d have thought?

Emira’s realisations about the people around her are some of the most powerful in the book – I really loved the way she fights back. I also enjoyed her relationship with the child, Briar. Emira’s the only person in her life who seems to give her the attention and love she deserves.

I was particularly happy to see what the end gave us flashes into the future for each of our central characters which was a really complete way to end the book. Overall this is a fantastic debut and I will definitely be picking up Kiley Reid’s future novels.

Favourite 2020 Releases

Hey all! It’s time for my first end of year post – favourite 2020 book releases. For this post I’ll be sharing my favourite books that came out in 2020 – I’ll probably forget loads because I always do.

1) I can’t start with anything else than The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. This one broke my heart through Henry Strauss. Captured that complete confusion about deciding what you want to do with your life in your twenties perfectly and it hit very, very close to home. You can read my review here.

2) My favourite YA release this year has to be Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. This is a cool book following a teen with a passion for football (soccer) in Argentina. My favourite part of this book was how mature the protagonist Camila is. She is such a good role model. One of my friends got me a hardback for Christmas and I’m so happy because I can read it in physical copy now. You can check out my review of the eARC here.

3) Let’s talk about a final book in a series! The Burning God by R.F. Kuang, the end of The Poppy War trilogy. Again, I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book so I got to read it right after I finished The Dragon Republic. This is the series for you if you want a series that’s loosely historical, has really vivid depictions of war without sacrificing the character development and will break your heart many, many times. You can read my review here.

4) One of my favourite romances this year was Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner. This book had a lot of my favourite tropes (ice queen that’s really a softie, slow burn, office romance), and I love that it has women that support each other. Emma and Jo are so cute, I can’t wait to read this one again now I have a physical copy (thanks friend!!!) You can read my review here.

5) A contemporary fiction that I loved this year is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Read (it came out in early January in the UK). This one definitely gave me Little Fires Everywhere vibes – the writing is so good and the characters are the opposite of one dimensional as it delves into white saviours. I can’t wait to read this again and write a review for my blog.

6) OK, I can’t help it, I’ve got to put in another romance. I absolutely loved The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, it was everything. Samiah is one of my favourite characters – she’s a Black woman in STEM and I loved how this book highlighted her challenges at work. It also has a really awesome female friendship which is super cute. Really loved the romance between Samiah and Daniel too.

7) My favourite sci-fi release of 2020 is Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre. This is the final book in the Honor Among Thieves trilogy which my friends finally convinced me to read this year. This book honestly sounds completely wild but it’s amazing and cute and I want to re-read just thinking of it. Cute space whale spaceships, what a concept, and the finale definitely doesn’t disappoint.

8) Another trilogy conclusion you say? There were a lot of good finales this year, that’s for sure. This time it’s The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The Daevabad trilogy is fantastic and I’m so glad I read all of the books this year. The Empire of Gold is a thrilling final book from start to finish and is a fast read despite it being many, many pages long. It has characters I grew so attached to and really rich world-building, you have to pick up this series.

OK, that’s my top 8 book releases of 2020! There’s still some that I want to finish before the end of the year, like The Ever-Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco. Like I said, I probably forgot some, but that’s fine.

Hope you’re all doing well, I am on holiday from work now until 4th January so hopefully I can write some more blog posts. Also I didn’t get that job I applied for, it’s been a bit of a mess to be honest so I’m looking forward to moving past it all and throwing my frustration into 2021.