You don’t read this book for a happy ending or a hero’s mile, you read it to have a phantom slice your chest open, retrieve your still-thumping heart, and crush it before your watering eyes. You read it to see two perfectly fine people—and consequently yourself—fall apart. Then, you look at the blueprint, and try to fix yourself up and move on (to the next book).

In an accident, Beth Harmon loses her mother and is sent to an orphanage where she learns chess under the tutelage of Mr. Shaibel, the janitor. Upon ingesting sedatives before bed, hallucinations take shape of chess pieces on the ceiling of her dormitory, allowing her to mentally recreate games. Just like that, under the dusty ceiling of a dimly moonlit room, a chess prodigy was born—a riveting tale of a genius who uses chess to keep her sanity in check.

A drive that starts in the late evening as the sunset is accompanied by a light drizzle of rain, nevertheless, you’re still able to see the golden wisps of hope in the horizon – far, but not completely out of reach. It’s as if your car were on the highway tumbling into the page of a fairy-tale, as if it’s okay to leave behind everything and everyone you’ve ever come to know and simply run away with a box of love letters and an old cardigan that reminds you of your youth.

City of Girls isn’t a quick, easy read of a girl who trades her life for alcohol and sex, nor is it a satirical story about a girl who simply accepts life as it is handed to her, no. The account of Vivian Morris’s life is one witty commentary on someone who has once had everything, then nothing, and through it all, managed to build her definition of independence and love.

The album Lover reminds me of exactly why I fell in love with Swift’s music in the first place ten years back – it has lyrics that seem straight out of a diary and just the right melody that has got me dancing stupidly in my room and lip-syncing to the tracks as they shuffle on repeat, giving me hope that love is everywhere and it will one day find you. It seems like old Taylor wasn’t dead all along, rather, she was just lost for a moment in love.

When the trailer came out a few months back, my friend group – which consists of four, two who are complete Pokémon enthusiasts – decided to watch it when our local cinema would show it. I viewed the trailer and besides from being utterly freaked out by Lickitung, I concluded that the idea behind the live action film was worth the twenty-eight bucks, seeing as how I loved it so much, I watched it twice.

What I’ve taken away from this book is the simple moral of people change. People are going to change and there’s nothing we can do to control it, seeing as we are ought to change at some point in our lives. The best we can do is put in the effort to accommodate those changes and love people unconditionally regardless of the situation they are in. If you truly put your heart to completing a task or loving somebody (who may or may not love you back), you will accomplish it.