Kat’s Weekly TV & Movie Recap #68

Where I ramble about all the TV shows and movies I’ve watched in the past week ….

I know we’re due a monthly wrap-up, but it will have to wait until Monday as I’ve been super busy and started working out more seriously again and my whole body hurts and I’m tired. Naturally, I resorted to TV and movies, so let’s talk about those …  

FINISHED TV SHOWS/SEASONS

In Limbo (Season 1)

If you would like to cry, binge this show! I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon In Limbo, but I’m making my way through some original Australian shows and enjoying it very much. 

In Limbo is a ghost story and a story about grief.  It’s about how you never fully know the people in your life and important it is to show up when it matters. It’s way funnier than it should be considering the topic and has so many valid and authentic moments of people grieving in different ways. I was especially in awe of Ryan Corr’s performance and would have loved nothing more than to give him a good hug.

If you don’t mind sad content, this is a HUGE RECOMMENDATION!

Trigger warnings: depression and suicide!

Muted (Season 1)

I don’t know who greenlit this rubbish thing called a show, but they should be fired. I’m usually not a person, who wishes bad stuff on anyone or anything, but dang, I hope it won’t get renewed and I say that fully knowing the cliffhanger.

I started Muted because there were some cast members from Elite, but soon regretted it. In all of the six episodes, I just kept thinking “how is any of this legal” on top of “why can’t anyone act???”. The latter complaint mostly stems from people delivering dialogue in really monotonous ways and having few to no believable facial expressions. I’m so sorry to everyone involved, I’m sure they’re usually great, but this show was a mess. It made me really uncomfortable. I couldn’t even enjoy the freaking twists …

Ted Lasso (Series Finale?)

There’s been a lot of talk about Ted Lasso and whether there will be a season 4, a spin-off and/or a movie. General consensus seems to be that people aren’t really happy (especially the shippers, but not only those), most haven’t been happy for a large part of Season 3, but I’m just going to uselessly add my voice to all the chatter. Over all, I enjoyed the finale, but I’m going to try and sort my thoughts into categories (some for the entire shows.

What I Liked

  • I’m happy that Ted and Rebecca stayed friends. I was never really sold on the TedBecca ship, even though I adore their connection. I just couldn’t really picture it, so this feels more authentic in my head.
  • The whole freaking evolution of Jamie Tartt! Back in season 1, I couldn’t stand the man for a while, but now he has become my favorite character. That’s how you show growth.
  • Roy finally becoming one of the Diamond Dogs and being more open to talking about his feelings was a blessing.
  • I cannot thank the show enough for showing Colin’s journey and letting him kiss is guy on the field in the finale. Truly the best moment of the whole episode.
  • Very much aware that it irked many people, but I liked that the team came in second. It was never about winning and they didn’t even expect to get that far with the team anyway, so this just proved the point of Ted’s coaching. 
  • I like that happy endings can be unexpected and don’t necessarily need to be romantic. Ted’s happy ending is being there for his son, getting to witness the small moments and not being miles away. 

What I Didn’t Like

  • I really thought we were past the whole love triangle thing at the end of the penultimate episode, so Roy and Jamie fighting over Keeley felt like a massive step back in everyone’s character development. For me, that wasn’t necessary at all. If you really want to subvert the love triangle trope, make them a throuple or let the guys date and let Keeley be an independent woman, but this didn’t feel like an earned ending for the characters. 
  • Rebecca ending up with the flying Dutchman, who has a daughter, was cute and all, but I just wish it had been developed a little more on screen.
  • I didn’t feel Keeley and Barbara’s connection strong enough for her to change the name of her business to include Barbara’s name. It’s a small thing, but yeah …
  • As much as I don’t think everyone needs to end up a couple – which I’ve said so many times – it doesn’t feel right that Beard and Jane are the only ones (we’ve witnessed for more than an episode) still together (if you continue on, I have something to say about that supposed “wedding”). It’s not a healthy relationship, even if they are happy in it. So, for a show that preaches rom-communism, this was meager … 

Things I Noticed/Theorize About

  • I think everything that happened after Ted got on the plane and Beard got off is not necessarily canon. To me, those were things Ted imagined happening now that he’s gone, but how WEIRD would it be for him not to attend Beard’s wedding? Unacceptable really, so it’s more like a “dream” or “premonition” than reality in my mind. Also, why would we go through those flash forwards just to show Ted’s plane departing again? We could have went straight to him coaching Henry.
  • Like many others, I think there’s lots of material here for spin-offs or one-offs or whatever you want to call it. Be it the Richmond women’s team or just following certain characters, I could see them continuing that way and just allowing the show to grow beyond Ted. In the end, it was never about him!

WEEKLY TV SHOWS

Class of ’09 (Season 1)

I thought I would vibe with this more to be honest, but I’m sticking with it. 

Platonic (Season 1)

There’s about 4 or 5 episodes of this out by now and I’m enjoying it a lot. Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen are a hilarious duo and I adore that it focuses on an age group that isn’t full of teens. Also, heck yeah to all the messy women-men-friendships out there. Love to see it!

How I Met Your Father (Season 2)

The show is back from its mid-season break and is giving us some SidSophie crumbs. I think the majority of the fandom hopes that Sid is the dad, and honestly, I’m fully in support of this as well.

Nancy Drew (Season 4)

Nancy Drew is back for its final season and I will be so sad to see the characters go, but I’m here for all the delicious Nace angst. They basically confirmed them as soulmates and we’re gonna break that curse, I just know it. Because if we don’t, we will riot!

MOVIES

As always, don’t forget to add me on Letterboxd if you want to be up to date on all my movie experiences! 

Love Again

Love Again is the US remake of the German movie “SMS für Dich”, which is in turn based on a book. It’s my all time favorite German romcom (despite some obvious flaws that I will continue to ignore until the end of days), so the US version always had a lot to live up to. And wow, it did not do well in comparison.

I thought it was fun to get the famous singer persona in the story to be played by Celine Dion. She is an icon and her personal history brought some additional weight to her character, but other than that? A fairly lackluster experience. The chemistry between the leads wasn’t overwhelming and I would have actually liked to see the actor who played John (the deceased fiancé) in the role of Sam’s character? Like, that’s not a great testimony …

It felt polished and bland, with none of the quirky charisma translating to this version at all. All in all, it was just an okay movie. 

Did you watch anything I’ve watched? Are there some more movies/shows I should take a look at? I’m currently miffed that no one told me that they made a TV show out of Markus Zusak’s The Messenger, which I’ve started watching. Let’s talk about that!

Witch King by Martha Wells (Book/ARC Review)

Witch King by Martha Wells

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Tor Publishing
Page Count
: 432
Release Date: May 30, 2023

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: war, violence, death, slight body horror, torture, confinement

I, like many others, am a fan of Martha Wells because of her wildly popular novella-series the Murderbot Diaries. She always manages to create multi-faceted characters within a rich world-setting that you just want to know more about, so I was really excited to check out her latest Fantasy release – Witch King.

The book started out with such a BANG! There was action, the promise of intricate relationships and a hint at betrayal in the past. I was ready to jump in, but the longer the story went on, the less I found myself invested in the plot. To me, it felt like we were introduced to Game of Thrones-level political scheming, but without the necessary time to really get acquainted to the world and understand the mechanics and connections. Granted, there is a list of notable characters provided at the very beginning of the book, but I still struggled a bit with distinguishing the territories and abilities/power people held.

Told in the Past and the Present, I appreciated the many parallels that could be drawn between current events and what had already transpired. Sometimes certain chapter endings were meant to lead you astray and make you doubt characters, which I thought was a fun element of the dual timeline, but it didn’t always work out perfectly. Certain reveals just didn’t hit right, because we e.g. already knew what someone was capable of in the present.
Also, the final reveal was just not shocking or as satisfying as I would have hoped with the build up. The “betrayal” had been built up the entire time, just to not feel as weighty and personal as I had expected.

What I will absolutely give credit to is the found family aspect of the story and the lovable characters. I almost wished we just got more scenes of them hanging out and interacting rather than chases around the world in search of items and people alike. They had such fun dynamics and I would have loved to see even more of the initial “getting to know”-stages of their relationships.
The way the characters were portrayed also really normalized different gender and queer identities and I enjoyed that aspect quite a bit.

Fazit: 3.25/5 stars! An interesting world that unfortunately didn’t quite light the spark in me.


Are you going to read or have you read Witch King? Did you read other books by Martha Wells? Let’s chat!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (May 15-21/2023)

Trailers You Might Have Missed This Week

I’m still in shock after yesterday’s wrap-up of what I’ve been watching (you can find it here), because almost all my shows have ended or are ending. Let’s hope there’s some good stuff coming this summer and beyond. But I’d also like to use this opportunity to say that I’m fully on board with the writer’s strike, because they deserve so much more. I remember the last strike and how so many shows/stories turned to sh*t. The stories we love cannot be told without them, so they better be compensated accordingly!

Read More »

Kat’s Weekly TV & Movie Recap #67

Where I ramble about all the TV shows and movies I’ve watched in the past week ….

I watched so much stuff and I’m incredibly sad that almost all my weekly shows are done now. What on earth am I going to watch!? Either way, I have a lot to talk about this week … 

FINISHED TV SHOWS/SEASONS

XO, Kitty (Series 1)

Okay, HOW MUCH FUN WAS THIS SHOW!? I liked the “To all the boys …”-movies and I’ve read the books and Kitty was always a character with such a presence. When I heard that we would get a show about her adventures, I was so in. Didn’t even have to ask me twice.

The whole thing is based around the guy that Kitty met in the third movie, but you don’t necessarily need to have watched the movies, if you just want to give this a go. None of the characters, except her dad and his girlfriend, make an appearance, they only get mentioned in passing. Kitty is now 17 years old and basically living through her own K-drama.

She has multiple love interests, is questioning her sexuality, is learning about love and her late mother, gets mixed up in a ton of drama and doing all of that while being abroad on her own. Honestly, that’s how I thought my semester abroad would go, but I can just live through her. 

Netflix is notoriously unreliable, especially with sapphic content, but I hope this gets picked up. I have a preferred ship that I would love to see sail.

Queen Charlotte (Limited Series/Bridgerton Spin-off)

Alright, I’ve watched it and I get the hype now. The casting is once more impeccable and I’m glad that the Queen’s story got such a spotlight. I know that a lot of people just wanted the next regular season of Bridgerton, but I was way more excited about Queen Charlotte. The chemistry between the leads was sizzling in every scene.

These characters are based on real people, who didn’t look anything like their TV counterparts, but also had similar struggles. I get that this wasn’t what actually happened, but it told the story in such a beautifully humanizing way. You couldn’t help but root for the couples, while your heart simultaneously broke a bit more each episode. So well done with one exception, because we did not need to see a certain character get raped by her husband almost every episode. Like … we get it, this was not a love match. Stop showing it all the time!

Fire Country (Series 1)

The show lost me a bit in the second half and I say that as someone who watches almost all the firehouse shows. I liked the premise, as it wasn’t something we see every day. A fire camp for inmates is something I heard about a lot in the news with the increased wildfires in the past years, but making a show around that was smart. You saw the struggles of the inmates, the added drama by setting it in the lead’s hometown and how everyone has moved on or in some cases hasn’t moved on.

The thing that got somewhat annoying to me is that Bode proved his integrity and loyalty time and time again and yet, in the end, it still wasn’t good enough. He even snitched on another inmate, which is pretty much high treason in the community and puts his life in danger and he still got screwed over. The fact that no one (except for Gabriella) believed him was so weird to me. 

9-1-1: Lone Star (Season 4)

(Spoilers ahead)

I’m going to keep this short, because I’ve talked about it weekly anyway. The entire season was SO focused on Owen and TK, I felt like almost none of the other characters got their moment to shine. While they had almost every other episode revolve just around them, the other characters got maybe one episode to really focus on them. I have to say, those were my favorite episodes. Like Marjan hallucinating her younger self – peak TV! Grace being a badass and helping take down an organ donor ring – only she could do that! I will always appreciate Judd trying to be a better dad and I’m glad we also got to see Paul handle his new relationship. Those were really the standout moments for me.

Selling Sunset (Season 6)

I can’t tell you why, but I’m here for the drama each and every time. 

Netflix listened to viewers and they tried to show a few more houses again this season, but not nearly enough. I guess we just have to accept that this is a reality show about a group of people who work together, but we don’t actually get to see their work? Cause the houses were some of the most fun bits in the first season and then they showed it less and less. We DID get to see Harry Styles’ former house though!

Some were nervous with the departure of Christine, but I think Nicole filled that role swiftly. Ridiculous drama ensued and everyone crossed the lines at some point, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of her – at least not the way she was portrayed this season. I like Bre as an addition to the cast though. She seems far more chill. As for Chrishell? I feel like she’s in her love bubble and doesn’t care about the work anymore, while Jason wishes he was in the same love bubble, but he can’t just leave work the way she does. 

9-1-1 (Season 6)

I’m so sorry for my bias, but I mostly care about Eddie and Buck and the season had its moments, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. Is the sperm donor storyline done now? It felt awkward all throughout and it still feels out of character to me that he could just go about his life, knowing he has a biological child out there. I’m not saying that people in general can’t do that, I just think Buck, as an individual … not seeing it.

I won’t comment on Buck and Eddie’s dating life. I just won’t.

Happy about Hen and Karen, Athena and Bobby as well as Chim and Maddie doing well. Go them! AND I got Ravi back – FINALLY!

Next season will air on ABC, we shall see how that goes. I guess crossovers are less likely?

Station 19 (Season 6)

(Spoilers ahead)

I talked about a lot of the things from this season in the last post already, but I’m going to try and briefly summarize them here as well. Over all, it felt like the season of missed opportunities.

  • Jack better be okay, he is my favorite character and he was a mess almost all season long. I cannot handle losing him.
  • Ruiz is basically dead to me now. The ego of this man, how pathetic …
  • Hughes deserves the world!
  • There was one transition in the final episode from a baby to the bald head of Sully and that was the funniest thing in what was supposed to be a serious moment. They had such weird cuts sometimes.
  • Herrera is finally captain, we can all rest now. She even had a brief talk with Eli, even though I still think that was handled weirdly on the show.
  • Bishop and Carina are on good terms again as well. We love that!

To sum it up, I need Jack to be okay. That’s really all I need.

Grey’s Anatomy (Season 19)

(Spoilers ahead)

The finale of Grey’s Anatomy really took a page out of Station 19’s book and didn’t just have one character in peril, but several. I swear to all of you, I will lose my shit if Teddy dies and Owen stays. I also want Sam to be okay, because it would be so awkward if something happened to him just because Link and Jo were making out … 

Either way, the soft reboot was a full on success in my eyes. I adore the new interns with all my heart. We just need a bunch of new residents etc. now, because we’ve lost quite a couple doctors to different hospitals and research facilities at this point. 

I don’t personally care about Meredith going mad scientist, but maybe that will be part of the next season? I can never tell if she is out for good or just wanted to lessen her presence on the show. 

WEEKLY TV SHOWS

Class of ’09 (Season 1)

I keep enjoying this show, especially learning how everything went so awry. I sometimes wish that a few interpersonal relationships were highlighted more instead of all the secrecy and intrigue, but I’m into it as a whole.

Ted Lasso (Season 3)

I know that people are complaining about the runtime of the episodes this season, but I think that we have to cover so many characters all the time, we need those extra minutes. For me, the season has found its stride and I’m looking forward to see how it all ends. Although, to the dismay of many, I can’t say I’m a Tedbecca shipper. I just don’t see it as romantic.

Good Trouble (Season 5)

The show is now on summer break and I’m kind of glad? I’m not into the storylines this season and it’s a shame. I was so excited to see Davia and Dennis be a couple, but this isn’t really working for me.

MOVIES

As always, don’t forget to add me on Letterboxd if you want to be up to date on all my movie experiences! 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

After all the news about Jonathan Majors broke, I wasn’t too excited to watch this anymore. In general, I’m not sure I saw all the Ant-Man movies in theaters anyway, so it wasn’t that big a deal for me. I mostly just wanted to check out the Ryan Bergara cameo, because that was a fun and random thing to add to this movie.

As a whole, I don’t understand why we had to recast Cassie Lang. This has nothing to do with Kathryn Newton in particular, I’ve liked her a lot in previous projects such as the Pokémon movie, The Society or Map of Tiny Perfect Things. I just feel like the previous actress could have carried the role just as well. I guess I just don’t like recasts when the only reason is to get a better known person for the role.

You may already have guessed that I just wasn’t super enthusiastic about this movie. Considering how much of a Marvel girlie it was, it’s really a shame to see how little I care most of these days. I couldn’t even get excited about the Loki post-credit scene. I hate that you can’t watch a single thing anymore without watching a gajillion other projects first.

Did you watch anything I’ve watched? Are there some more movies/shows I should take a look at? Let’s talk about that!

Kat’s Weekly TV & Movie Recap #66

Where I ramble about all the TV shows and movies I’ve watched in the past week ….

I skipped this post last week, because I hadn’t watched a lot yet and I intended to check out Queen Charlotte. Unfortunately, I still haven’t had time to watch it, but I have other things to talk about. Like I really went on a ramble for some of these.

FINISHED TV SHOWS/SEASONS

Will Trent (Series 1)

Will Trent is based on a book series that people love very much. When the trailer came out, people said the vibe was very different and I’m sure quite a couple changes were made from page to screen. However, and this is very important, Will Trent is a fantastic show either way. It might not be an entirely faithful adaptation, but it has compelling characters that deal with various trauma from their past. It has great friendships and romantic relationships. While there is the occasional humerous break, it has some deeply emotional beats and is just wonderful to watch. The breakout star was Betty, the dog, for sure though.

I’m happy to announce that the show has been renewed for another season and we will be getting more!

The Company You Keep (Series 1)

Speaking of renewals, The Company You Keep was unfortunately not so lucky. While the chemistry between all players was off the charts and I had so much fun with the different cons each week, the network decided not to move forward with the show. While I’m definitely sad, I think it’s still fun to watch the first season regardless, if you haven’t yet. There’s a couple loose strings that would have been great to explore in future seasons, but it also has a formidable arc that you get to follow start to finish. They often surprised me with some bold storytelling choices!

WEEKLY TV SHOWS

Class of ’09 (Season 1)

Despite a very similar title, it has nothing to do with the show Class of ’07, which I’ve talked about before. Instead this is a show following FBI agents over several decades. It feels a bit choppy in terms of narrative at first, but it’s a very compelling show. I can’t wait to see where it goes. 2034 looks hella futuristic on the show already.

Ted Lasso (Season 3)

At this point, I cry almost every week watching the show. The way they handled the Colin storyline was so important to me and I just love how it was resolved with Isaac. There was so much good stuff in there and it gives me hope for humanity.

9-1-1: Lone Star (Season 4)

I’m deeply sad about what happened with Wyatt, but I also have to say that I was on Judd’s side on the call. If he hadn’t gotten there, Tommy would have blown up as well. I understand that she had a patient and leaving someone behind is never an easy choice, but she put more people at risk. I’m probably overthinking this.

Good Trouble (Season 5)

I hate everything that has to do with the restaurant and I do not like Davia’s co-stars. I’m not vibing with this season, especially not Evan’s memory loss. I get what they’re trying to do, but he was never like that, not even two years prior before he met Mariana. This is some bs.

9-1-1 (Season 6)

Are we vibing with Eddie and Buck’s respective love interests? I just KNEW when they introduced the baby-storyline that the mother was going to end up “with” Buck eventually. Ugh, I hate stuff like that.

Also, Chimney deserved that proposal and I was so happy!

Station 19 (Season 6)

So, first things first, the Beckett storyline was so well done and I’m very glad we had it this season. Also, I’m so happy Jack reunited with his foster sister. Both those things made me tear up, but not on to the things that I didn’t understand as much (maybe this season as a whole):

  • I don’t mind Eli and Montgomery at all, but it still feels like that came out of nowhere and what exactly happened to Eli relentlessly pursuing Herrera? We’re just dropping that entirely? They’re never having a conversation again?
  • They completely ruined Ruiz for me. He never – not once – expressed wanting to be captain again and yet that’s all this season was about. He is so unlikable in this role and I can’t see his relationship with Hughes lasting much longer.
  • I just do not care about Sully dating the fire chief. We’ve done the dating above one’s station thing like 5 times on the show already, it’s just not that interesting anymore.
  • Jack’s storyline with his bio family was set up so well and then just discarded for the season. That tiny bit with his bio sister was so unnecessary and not at all what I pictured when it came to confronting that part of his life. Feels like there was potential wasted.

Grey’s Anatomy (Season 19)

I know the whole theme of this season is that we’re repeating storylines from the early seasons to remind people why they loved the show, but … hell no, I don’t want to repeat the Denny storyline!! I wasn’t even in favor of Link and Jo necessarily becoming romantic, but just let them be a couple and leave this Sam guy out of it.

Also, I’m just as confused as Adams how his entire family of doctors didn’t see he had ADHD?

MOVIES

As always, don’t forget to add me on Letterboxd if you want to be up to date on all my movie experiences! 

Avatar 2: The Way of Water

I’m sorry, but there was no reason whatsoever for this movie to be more than three hours long. A lot of it was very similar in terms of what happened in the first movie and I just cannot believe we’re really doing an Avatar: the Last Airbender thing by making the different tribes related to various elements.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some interesting stories in there. I thought it was strange that everyone who watched the movie piled on Spider for his betrayal, but no one noted that Jake literally called him their family’s “pet” and no one even attempted to get him back when he was kidnapped. Like??? That is a whole child that no one felt responsible for.

I really enjoyed the whale-like creatures and the bonds they formed. That was beautiful and heart-breaking at the same time. I’m also interested to learn more about Kiri’s connection to Pandora and nature as a whole.

However, in the end, this is still a story that strongly takes from indigenous culture and has very little to no involvement of actual indigenous creatives. 

Did you watch anything I’ve watched? Are there some more movies/shows I should take a look at? Let’s talk about that!

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre (ARC/Book Review)

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
Page Count
: 368
Release Date: July 11, 2023

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: family disputes, prejudice, hate groups, mention of dead parents and bullying

The Only Purple House in Town is the fourth book in the “Fix-It Witches”-series, although I didn’t know that diving in. So, let my review be a testimony to the fact that you can read this novel without having read the previous books. You might miss some cameos from former (lead) characters (which there are quite a few) or take some getting used to the world the characters inhabit. It didn’t take me too long to find my bearings, but without prior knowledge on the magic and in-world developments, I found the synopsis for the book to be a bit misleading.

In the realm of The Only Purple House in Town, we can exhibit a world quite similar to ours. This isn’t high fantasy after all. However, witches have decided to out themselves and they aren’t the only supernatural beings – shape shifters, vampires, fae and the like all exist as well. I wasn’t fully prepared for that kind of mayhem, if I’m being completely honest. I did love that it lead to a beautiful found family trope, which was my favorite part of the story.

Although the tale is mostly told from Iris and Eli’s perspectives, it was their housemates and the side characters that made the story come to life. I also enjoyed the wide variety of queer representation that just felt very naturally ingrained in it all. Seeing those people be in a bind and find a place they not only feel welcome and safe in, but actually at home at was great and heart-warming.

Speaking of matters of the heart, that’s what I had some quarrels with – the love story between Iris and Eli! I just can’t get over the fact that Eli had basically stalked Iris since he was 11 years old, because she did something nice for him once. I get that it was a big deal for him and most of his actions throughout the novel are well intentioned, but that doesn’t change the facts. And fact is, Eli dedicated a lot of his free time thinking about Iris, looking her up on social media, deceiving her and moving in with her, all the while she had no idea they had even met prior to their roommate interview. It’s not a good look and I don’t really get how fast Iris did a 180 and just brushed it off as “well, I’m not perfect either”. Let’s not make stalking okay, just because the guy is nice in the end, alright?

Over all, The Only Purple House in Town was an easy, fast and (for the most part) sweet read. A lot of the relationships are fairly cut and dry and there could have been a bit more nuance for the villains (they really were just mean/evil). Again, I much preferred the friendships to the romance, but that’s just because of Eli’s actions.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Found family will always hit the sweet spot for me.


Have you read any of the “Fix-it Witches”-books? Do you plan to? Let’s chat!

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson (ARC/Book Review)

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Penguin UK
Page Count
: 240
Release Date: May 11, 2023

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: depression, racial profiling, police brutality, grief, death of a loved one

Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut Open Water was one of my favorite bookish discoveries last year and my appreciation for his writing has only grown after reading his sophomore novel. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Small Worlds hit me even harder and has cemented him as an auto-buy author for me. 

Dealing with music and family, love and loss, Small Worlds follows Stephen through various life stages in three consecutive summers. While we still get the author’s signature second person POV in parts of the novel, most of it is written in first person and brings us all the closer to Stephen’s world of emotions. As always, the poetic prose is just so beautiful to read, but at the same time there was an added element of repetition that really served to highlight how cyclical life can be. It also makes you feel everything tenfold – Caleb Azumah Nelson never fails to make his characters’ experiences feel authentic and relatable, be it joy and laughter or pain and sorrow. It is the balance of all these elements – and the way they intertwine – that makes Small Worlds work so well.

I especially enjoyed the focus on family in this one. Family is a complicated beast and Small Worlds truly showed every facet of that. I liked the way sibling-, parental- and mother/son or father/son relationships were depicted. It felt so nuanced, layered and steeped in generational history.

I gaze at my parents, and see that a world can be two people, occupying a space where they don’t have to explain. Where they can feel beautiful. Where they might feel free.

Tender, vulnerable and refreshingly open, I always enjoy Caleb Azumah Nelson’s portrayal of Black culture (in the UK). This one felt special in particular to the many music references, which gave it an extra spark of life. Truly, everything this man writes is just a big recommendation from me!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! No notes – this was a stunning book!

Rating: 5 stars


Previous reviews of Caleb Azumah Nelson’s work:


Do you plan on reading Small Worlds? Have you read the author’s debut? Let’s chat!