An Anonymous Girl

Finished An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.”

I read their first novel, The Wife Between Us, last year and absolutely loved it. This one is even better.

I think most people would be seduced with the promise of easy money, but this is only easy at first. (And honestly, not even that easy at first. I can’t imagine having to answer some of these questions 100% honestly, and I don’t have anywhere near the baggage that Jess comes with.)

And yet…hundreds of dollars and the promise of anonymity. I understand the appeal.

At the same time (as pointed out by one of the world’s creepiest secondary characters), “nothing’s really free.” And Jess learns that quickly and permanently.

This book is an essay in paranoia. Like Rosemary’s Baby, everyone could potentially be involved. The only person Jess can definitely trust is herself…and it seems like everyone else is smarter and faster.

This is an incredibly fun and fast read. But be prepared—you won’t want to stop until you’re done.

Advertisements

In Paris With You

Finished In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Eugene and Tatiana had fallen in love that summer ten years ago. But certain events stopped them from getting to truly know each other and they separated never knowing what could have been.

But one busy morning on the Paris metro, Eugene and Tatiana meet again, no longer the same teenagers they once were.

What happened during that summer? Does meeting again now change everything? With their lives ahead of them, can Eugene and Tatiana find a way to be together after everything?

Written in gorgeous verse, In Paris With You celebrates the importance of first love. Funny and sometimes bittersweet this book has universal appeal for anyone who has been in love.”

I don’t entirely know how I feel about this book. It’s definitely entertaining, but I also actively disliked Eugene. (Picture the world’s most annoying guy, and that’s Eugene. It’s definitely Eugene as a teenager, hurting people because he can. He seems better as an adult but he’s still pretty awful. I don’t understand why Tatiana would ever spend time with him.)

This is a quick read and I enjoyed the writing and meeting Tatiana. But…this is not a great love story. It’s a woman potentially settling for a jerk.

The Martin Chronicles

Finished The Martin Chronicles by John Fried. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“John Fried’s THE MARTIN CHRONICLES, pitched as in the vein of Tom Perrotta’s BAD HAIRCUT and the movie BOYHOOD, set in 1980s Manhattan, about a boy from age eleven to seventeen as he runs into a series of life-changing firsts: first kiss, first enemies, first love, first death, and ultimately, his first awareness that the world is not as simple or as safe a place as he once imagined.”

As you’d imagine from the synopsis, this is more like a series of vignettes than a novel. It’s an interesting approach, and it works as well here as it did in Boyhood. (I loved that movie; if you found it boring, maybe avoid this.)

This is an incredibly clever book and I hope you put it on your radar. (NOTE: just because Martin goes from 11 to 17 doesn’t make this YA. So if you’re not a fan of that, consider this anyway. It’s a lot of fun.)

Recommended.

The Unteachables

Finished The Unteachables by Gordon Korman. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.

Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.

The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.”

I loved this book. It’s sweet but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny. And while you will almost certainly guess the ending, you won’t guess the way the book gets there.

It would be easy to write a book with this general outline. What would be hard is to make this story feel new and with a cast of characters that everyone will be able to relate to and will immediately like. Everything about this story feels completely fresh.

This is a delightful story that will win over even the most reluctant reader. Recommended.

The Haunting of Hill House

I’m stunned that the AFI didn’t make this one of its 10 best shows of the year. (I have it here under 2019 Movies because it definitely feels like a really long movie.)

I was so excited to see this and I wasn’t disappointed.

One thing I wish I had known going in is the fact that, while this is definitely a horror film, it’s also a dark family drama. It deals with addiction, grief and mental illness, and it was very hard for me to watch.

At the same time, though, it made me love the characters more and it made the horror much more unbearable than it would otherwise be. The best horror movies make you care about the characters before they’re put through hell, and this excels at that.

Mike Flanagan is probably also my favorite horror director at this point. Everything he’s done has been amazing and he keeps getting better.

She Lies in Wait

Finished She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.

Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever.

This searing, psychologically captivating novel marks the arrival of a dazzling new talent, and the start of a new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens.”

This book is an actual roller coaster ride. There is a lot going on and everyone is keeping secrets for reasons of their own. Yes, that’s exactly what you’d expect from a suspense novel, but this also felt really unique.

None of the characters are particularly likable, which makes sense. Aurora was a random addition to their camping trip. They weren’t her friends and she and her sister didn’t get along particularly well. And then when she went missing (and her body wasn’t found for 30 years, although everyone did believe she was dead because otherwise, where has she been and why?), it became this complete guilty thing. And obviously secrets were kept because what do you think teenagers were doing in the woods without supervision?

This book is a complete delight and just as tense as you’d want it to be.

Recommended.

2018: The Movies

January:

1) Jumanji* (remake) (1)

2) Insidious: The Last Key* (2)

3) The Post* (3)

4) I, Tonya* (4)

5) The Commuter* (5)

6) Bridget Jones’s Diary (6)

7) The Breakfast Club* (7)

8) Last Shift (8)

9) Paddington 2* (9)

February:

1) Winchester* (10)

2) Paddington (11)

3) Demonic (12)

4) You’ve Got Mail** (13)

5) Happy Death Day (14)

6) The Princess Bride (15)

7) Victor Crowley (16)

8) I, Tonya* (17)

9) Every Day* (18)

10) Game Night* (19)

March:

1) Black Panther* (20)

2) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri* (21)

3) The Phantom Thread* (22)

4) Dunkirk* (23)

5) Lady Bird* (24)

6) Get Out* (25)

7) Call Me By Your Name* (26)

8) Shape of Water* (27)

9) Oscar Shorts* (28)

10) The Darkest Hour* (29)

11) The Post* (30)

12) Hurricane Heist* (31)

13) Strangers 2: Prey at Night* (32)

14) A Wrinkle in Time* (33)

15) Love, Simon* (34)

16) Ready Player One* (35)

April:

1) Game Night* (36)

2) A Quiet Place* (37)

3) Blockers* (38)

4) Truth or Dare* (39)

5) The Commuter (40)

6) Traffik* (41)

7) Rampage* (42)

May:

1) A Good Marriage (43)

2) The Blackcoat’s Daughter (44)

3) Bad Samaritan* (45)

4) She’s All That** (46)

5) Life of the Party* (47)

6) Breaking In* (48)

7) Book Club* (49)

8) Avengers: Infinity War* (50)

9) Still/Born (51)

June:

1) 78/52 (52)

2) Ocean’s 8* (53)

3) Hereditary* (54)

4) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom* (55)

July:

1) The Midnight Man (56)

2) The First Purge* (57)

3) Set it Up (58)

4) Blockers (59)

5) Alien* (60)

6) Skyscraper* (61)

7) Don’t Hang Up (62)

8) To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (63)

9) Unfriended: Dark Web* (64)

10) Ouija (65)

11) Poltergeist (66)

12) Mamma Mia 2* (67)

13) When a Stranger Calls Back (68)

14) Blindspotting* (69)

15) A Nightmare on Elm Street (70)

August:

1) Mission: Impossible 5 (71)

2) Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (72)

3) The Spy Who Dumped Me* (73)

4) Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (74)

5) Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (75)

6) Nightmare on Elm Street 5 (76)

7) Freddy’s Dead (77)

8) The Meg* (78)

9) Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (79)

10) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (80)

11) Freddy vs. Jason (81)

12) Crazy Rich Asians* (82)

13) Nightmare on Elm Street (83)

14) Slender Man* (84)

15) BlacKkKlansman* (85)

16) Friday the 13th (86)

17) Friday the 13th Part II (87)

September:

1) Friday the 13th Part III (88)

2) Friday the 13th Part IV (89)

3) Friday the 13th Part V (90)

4) Searching* (91)

5) Friday the 13th Part VI (92)

6) Friday the 13th Part VII (93)

7) Friday the 13th Part VIII (94)

8) Jason Goes to Hell (95)

9) The Nun* (96)

10) Jason X (97)

11) Friday the 13th (98)

12) Halloween (99)

13) Halloween II (100)

14) Halloween: Resurrection (101)

15) A Simple Favor* (102)

16) Halloween 6 (103)

17) Halloween 6 (producer’s cut) (104)

18) Halloween 4 (105)

19) Halloween 5 (106)

20) Predator* (107)

21) Halloween (108)

22) Halloween II (109)

23) Halloween: H20 (110)

24) Assassination Nation* (111)

25) Halloween III (112)

26) Hell Fest* (113)

October:

1) Trick R Treat (114)

2) The Hate U Give* (115)

3) Hereditary (116)

4) Halloween* (117)

5) Butterfly Kisses (118)

6) I Know What You Did Last Summer (119)

7) Halloween* (120)

November:

1) Terror in the Woods (121)

2) Terrified (122)

3) Damien: Omen II (123)

4) Creed II* (124)

5) Witness (125)

December:

1) Krampus (126)

2) Dumplin’ (127)

3) The Holiday** (128)

4) All the Creatures Were Stirring (129)

5) Eighth Grade (130)

6) Mary Poppins Returns* (131)

7) A Simple Favor (132)

8) Bird Box (133)

9) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (134)

* = seen in theater

** = Movie Club

2018: The Books

January:

1) The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser (1)

2) TBH, This is So Awkward by Lisa Greenwald (2)

3) The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn (3)

4) Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle (4)

5) Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard (5)

6) The Running Girl by Sara Blaedel (6)

7) You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (7)

8) Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp (8)

9) Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (9)

10) The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor (10)

11) Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (11)

12) The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (12)

13) Fade to Us by Julia Day (13)

14) Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (14)

15) Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin (15)

16) The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith (16)

17) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (17)

18) The Disturbed Girls Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos (18)

February:

1) The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel (19)

2) A Death in Live Oak by James Grippando (20)

3) You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston (21)

4) The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu (22)

5) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (23)

6) When My Heart Joins the Thousand by AJ Steiger (24)

7) Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (25)

8) American Panda by Gloria Chao (26)

9) Sister of Darkness by RH Stavis (27)

10) The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross (28)

11) Stanley is Probably Fine by Sally J. Pla (29)

12) Promise by Minrose Gwin (30)

13) Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella (31)

14) Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson (32)

15) Sunburn by Laura Lippman (33)

16) I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara (34)

17) This Heart of Mine by CC Hunter (35)

18) In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira (36)

March:

1) The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk (37)

2) Indecent by Corinne Sullivan (38)

3) If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (39)

4) The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis (40)

5) 806 by Cynthia Weil (41)

6) Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington (42)

7) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (43)

8) PS I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy (44)

9) The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (45)

10) The Hunger by Alma Katsu (46)

11) Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (47)

12) More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (48)

13) The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian (49)

14) Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (50)

15) Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (51)

16) Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (52)

17) Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen (53)

18) I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman (54)

19) Everything is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs (55)

20) The Baby Switch by Melissa Senate (56)

April:

1) All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson (57)

2) Can’t Help Myself by Meredith Goldstein (58)

3) Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (59)

4) Following Baxter by Barbara Kerley (60)

5) Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (61)

6) Little Deaths by Emma Flint (62)

7) After Anna by Lisa Scottoline (63)

8) Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi (64)

9) Fall of Grace by Amy Fellner Dominy (65)

10) The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker (66)

11) Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (67)

12) Merciless 3 by Danielle Vega (68)

13) Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (69)

14) A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin (70)

15) Matilda by Roald Dahl (71)

16) That Summer by Sarah Dessen (72)

17) Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (73)

18) Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (74)

19) This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (75)

20) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (76)

21) The Other Woman by Sandie Jones (77)

22) Educated by Tara Westover (78)

23) Leah on the Off Beat by Becky Albertalli (79)

24) Make Trouble by Cecile Richards (80)

25) Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington (81)

26) Royals by Rachel Hawkins (82)

May:

1) If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales (83)

2) The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (84)

3) Surface Tension by Mike Mullin (85)

4) Puddin’ by Julie Murphy (86)

5) The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (87)

6) How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (88)

7) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (89)

8) That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam (90)

9) We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss (91)

10) How it Happened by Michael Koryta (92)

11) How I Resist edited by Maureen Johnson (93)

12) The Outsider by Stephen King (94)

13) All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor (95)

14) You by Caroline Kepnes (96)

15) The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (97)

June:

1) Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (98)

2) When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger (99)

3) Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly DeVos (100)

4) The Art of French Kissing by Brianna R. Shrum (101)

5) Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (102)

6) Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner (103)

7) Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone (104)

8) Good Enough by Jen Petro-Roy (105)

9) Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (106)

10) Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton (107)

11) Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin (108)

12) The Assignment by Liza Wiemer (109)

13) Providence by Caroline Kepnes (110)

14) The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (111)

15) Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut (112)

16) All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin (113)

17) Any Man by Amber Tamblyn (114)

18) Save the Date by Morgan Matson (115)

19) For Everyone by Jason Reynolds (116)

20) Merciless IV by Danielle Vega (117)

21) See You on a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder (118)

22) Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel (119)

23) Screenshot by Donna Cooner (120)

24) Sunny by Jason Reynolds (121)

25) Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (122)

July:

1) Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (123)

2) Everybody Always by Bob Goff (124)

3) Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (125)

4) Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager (126)

5) What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson (127)

6) Blood Will Tell by April Henry (128)

7) The Unfortunates by Kim Liggett (129)

8) Marriage Vacation by Pauline Turner Brooks (130)

9) Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini (131)

10) Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin (132)

11) The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand (133)

12) She Loves You by Ann Hood (134)

13) The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams (135)

14) Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer (136)

15) Watch the Girls by Jennifer Wolfe (137)

16) The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager (138)

17) Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (139)

18) Liza Jane and the Dragon by Laura Lippman (140)

19) Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (141)

20) You May Now Kill the Bride by RL Stine (142)

21) Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza (143)

22) Sadie by Courtney Summers (144)

23) A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay (145)

24) The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (146)

25) Lovely, Dark and Deep by Justina Chen (147)

26) Bonnie and Clyde by Karen Blumenthal (148)

27) Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert (149)

August:

1) Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (150)

2) #murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil (151)

3) Texas Ranger by James Patterson & Andrew Bourelle (152)

4) Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood (153)

5) Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (154)

6) Smothered by Autumn Chiklis (155)

7) The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby (156)

8) The Kill Jar by J. Reuben Appelman (157)

9) See All the Stars by Kit Frick (158)

10) Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey (159)

11) I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (160)

12) I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel (161)

13) Listen To Your Heart by Kasie West (162)

14) Vox by Christina Dalcher (163)

15) Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter (164)

16) Paper Party by Cori George (165)

17) That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (166)

18) Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan (167)

19) Under Fire by April Ryan (168)

September:

1) You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks (169)

2) The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn (170)

3) The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles (171)

4) The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson (172)

5) People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins (173)

6) And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness (174)

7) All the Things That Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster (175)

8) Feminasty by Erin Gibson (176)

9) Foe by Iain Reid (177)

10) Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough (178)

11) When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica (179)

12) A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (180)

13) The Dinner Party by Rebecca Serle (181)

14) The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman (182)

15) The Collector by KR Alexander (183)

16) Impostors by Scott Westerfeld (184)

17) Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (185)

18) Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by TR Simon (186)

19) Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll (187)

20) Rx by Rachel Lindsay (188)

21) We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix (189)

22) Analee in Real Life by Janelle Milanes (190)

23) The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas (191)

24) You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino (192)

25) The War Outside by Monica Hesse (193)

26) A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (194)

October:

1) The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (195)

2) The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody (196)

3) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (197)

4) Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (198)

5) The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange (199)

6) In Pieces by Sally Field (200)

7) Under My Skin by Lisa Unger (201)

8) What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (202)

9) Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (203)

10) Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich (204)

11) Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand (205)

12) Shell Game by Sara Paretsky (206)

13) Almost Everything by Anne Lamott (207)

14) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Fred Fordham (208)

15) Lu by Jason Reynolds (209)

16) Slender Man (210)

17) The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (211)

18) I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson (212)

19) Elevation by Stephen King (213)

November:

1) Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu (214)

2) Pulp by Robin Talley (215)

3) Witness by Ariel Burger (216)

4) How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett (217)

5) From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon (218)

6) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (219)

7) When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri (220)

8) Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (221)

9) Quiver by Julia Watts (222)

10) Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu (223)

11) That Night by Amy Giles (224)

12) A Change of Worlds by Josh Aterovis (225)

13) The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (226)

14) The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (227)

15) Becoming by Michelle Obama (228)

16) The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (229)

17) Love a la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm (230)

December:

1) The Case of the Golden State Killer by Mike Ferguson (231)

2) The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson (232)

3) My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren (233)

4) What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards (234)

5) The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff (235)

6) Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (236)

7) In Her Bones by Kate Moretti (237)

8) Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin (238)

9) Wildcard by Marie Lu (239)

10) A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo (240)

11) On the Other Side of Freedom by DeRay Mckesson (241)

12) For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt (242)

13) Every Day by David Levithan (243)

14) Someday by David Levithan (244)

15) Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (245)

16) Unstacking My Library: Artists and Their Books (246)

17) The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin (247)

18) Why We Lie by Amy Impellizzeri (248)

19) The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg (249)

The Red Address Book

Finished The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“The global fiction sensation–publishing in 28 countries around the world–that follows 96-year-old Doris, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come…

Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny–her American grandniece, and her only relative–give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.

When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colorful past–working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War–can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?

A charming novel that prompts reflection on the stories we all should carry to the next generation, and the surprises in life that can await even the oldest among us, The Red Address Book introduces Sofia Lundberg as a wise–and irresistible–storyteller.”

Doris lived an extraordinary life, the kind that most of us couldn’t even imagine. Even so, there were a lot of sorrows (mostly centered around Allan, a star-crossed love). The book goes back and forth between her current life (96, nearing death) and her past, mostly related to people who were entries in the titular address book. It was such a fantastic concept and I loved every second.

I loved this book and it broke my heart multiple times. I grabbed it on a whim at ALA over the summer and expected to enjoy it. I didn’t expect to cry.

Recommended.

Why We Lie

Finished Why We Lie by Amy Impellizzeri. I received a copy for review. This will be released on March 5.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Rising star politician and lawyer, Jude Birch, is clearly keeping secrets about his past from his wife, Aby Boyle. And Aby worries that Jude’s relationship with his campaign manager, Laila Rogers, is more complicated that he has let on. Jude has been the bystander victim of a seemingly gang-related shooting, but as the secrets Jude and Laila have kept since law school begin to unravel – with the help of a zealous news reporter and the Capitol Police – Aby is forced to consider that Jude might not have been an unintended victim of the shooting after all.

Meanwhile, Aby’s own secrets are revealed, despite her best efforts to clamp a lid down on a past marked by abuse and lies, and even a false accusation that still haunts her.

Unpredictable and unexpected, WHY WE LIE is a contemporary political thriller that examines the real life consequences of those who tell the truth about abuse and those who don’t, and asks the question: is the truth always worth the cost?”

There is a lot packed into this slim novel (under 250 pages). It’s a political thriller mixed with a regular thriller and a thought-provoking concept. It’s perfect for book clubs, because there’s a lot to discuss.

Aby is a complicated and unreliable narrator. Even so, I liked her and rooted for her throughout the book. She’s done a lot of things and most of them were forgivable and understandable. One was understandable but not really forgivable. To say more is a spoiler.

You need to read this book. It’s timely but it’s also suited for every time. Highly recommended.