T5W: 2019 ARCs I’ve Read So Far

Top 5 Wednesday is a goodreads group created by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and now hosted by Sam (thoughtsontomes). This week’s topic is a Freebie.

I decided to talk about something that will never be a T5W topic, because not everyone can or wants to get ARCs: 2019 books I already read that aren’t out yet/have been out for very little, and what I thought of them.

The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown


  • this is: an f/f contemporary book with a mystery aspect.
  • publication date: March 6th 2019.
  • I would recommend it to: fans of We Are Okay, or to those who like quiet atmospheric stories and want to read about teenage girls who actually feel like teenage girls.
  • I would not recommend it to: those who want a fast-paced thrilling story, those who don’t want to read about grieving, angry girls, those who prefer plot-driven books.
  • additional notes: this is one of the most honest and raw portrayals of grief and associated unhealthy coping mechanisms I’ve ever found in a YA book. Also: the main character of this book is a white lesbian, and the love interest is a biracial bisexual girl.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu


  • this is: an f/m YA fantasy book about a rebellious princess trying to take back the throne from her cousin, who inherited it just because he was a man.
  • publication date: January 8th 2019
  • I would recommend it to: those who are looking for an ownvoices Asian-inspired fantasy, and to those who like tropey princess stories, plot-driven fantasy, and want to read a royalty fantasy book that for once openly criticizes imperialism.
  • I would not recommend it to: those who are looking for an atmospheric story or detailed and vivid worldbuilding, those who dislike travel fantasy book, those who want their YA fantasy to be fast-paced or unpredictable.
  • additional notes: while this is being advertised as a book about rivalry between sisters, the two don’t interact that much for most of the book – just like with Three Dark Crowns, the actual rivalry will be in the sequel. There’s also a scene that really didn’t sit well with me – the only time something like same-sex attraction appears in this book it’s because a character is trying to rape the male protagonist. I think that books with an all-straight cast should stay away from that sort of scene.

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter


  • this is: a dark contemporary book with a paranormal/almost horror aspect following queer characters
  • publication date: March 19th 2019
  • I would recommend it to: those who are interested in messed up, ugly stories with a great message, those who like character-driven YA, those who want to read a story about a queer person getting out of an abusive and codependent relationship and into a healthier one, those who like to read stories with great character development.
  • I wouldn’t recommend it to: those who are looking for an urban fantasy in the vein of The Cruel Prince, those who are easily disturbed, those who do not want to read about messed up teenagers in messed up relationships.
  • Additional notes: It’s not really a faerie book, even if it’s being advertised as such. There are fairies, but they’re not the focus of the story and this book doesn’t really take place in a fairy court. But when there are fairies, they’re really creepy. Under the Pendulum Sun levels of creepy, if you know what I mean. The fae girl on the cover is named Unselle and she’s awful, I love her.

The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown


  • this is: a contemporary story about a girl who unexpectedly lost her girlfriend and is struggling with her grief and anger.
  • publication date: April 16th 2019
  • I would recommend it to: those who really like stories told through alternating timelines, those who like to read about grieving queer teenagers and are fine with reading a subplot in which a lesbian tries to turn herself straight
  • I do not recommend it to: those who don’t like stories in which the side characters aren’t really developed, those who don’t like slow-paced books
  • Additional notes: I thought this book’s portrayal of grief was well-written, but the book itself was too messy – and I’m someone who thinks books about grieving teenagers should be messy. I’m fine with teens doing and saying the wrong things, but I’m not fine with casual transphobia, fatshaming, and other casually uncomfortable stuff that was in this book either for no reason or for drama. Those kind of things need to either be challenged or to have a really good reason to be there in the first place.

The Bird King


  • this is: a slow-paced historical book following a Circassian concubine in the royal court of Granada.
  • publication date: March 12th 2019
  • I would recommend it to: those who really like well-written, well-researched and somewhat dense historical fiction with a hint of magic, those who are interested in Muslim and European history.
  • I do not recommend it to: those who don’t like slow-paced, detailed adult fiction, those easily bored.
  • Additional notes: I DNFed this book because I unfortunately fall into the “easily bored” category at the moment, university isn’t helping my attention span at all and I can’t read anything heavy, but I think that if its blurb appeals to you, you should try it – I really think it’s a good book, and maybe I will like it too if I try it in the future.

Which 2019 releases (ARCs and not) have been your favorites so far, if you’ve read any?

2 thoughts on “T5W: 2019 ARCs I’ve Read So Far

  1. There are some exciting new releases to look forward to! Never-Contented Things and The Bird King both sound right up my street. I mean I definitley fall in the easily bored category too, I just get more bored by mediocre writing or really plot driven stories than anything else. I don’t mind slow pacing, if the writing’s good!
    The Truth About Keeping Secrets sounds like an excellent read too, but also just emotionally draining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found Never-Contented Things a lot more emotionally draining than The Truth About Keeping Secrets – it gets really ugly at times – but yes, they’re everything but light reads. And I hope you like The Bird King if you try it! I can usually deal with slow pacing too, but the combination of adult historical fiction being completely out of my comfort zone and having no time to read made me struggle.


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