I enjoyed Field Notes on Love by Jennifer Smith, but I didn’t love it as much as some reviews would have led me to believe I would. It’s a love story, obviously, about a boy (part of a sextuplet), who has always done everything with his brothers and sisters. This summer he is planning a trip with his girlfriend across the US by train until the girlfriend breaks up with him. She kindly gifts him the tickets, but, since they are in her name, he posts a listing to find another woman with the girlfriend’s name to travel with him. I won’t say anything else. It’s a sweet story, but a little too predictable. Perfect for the beach, but a bit fluffier than I might usually choose.
the family next door by Sally Hepworth got better as you went. It’s the story of families in an Australian neighborhood and their fascination with their new neighbor. I almost abandoned it mid-way through, as it felt like a not-as-good version of Big Little Lies, but I am glad I stuck with it, because the last third and the ending surprised me and made it a worthwhile pick. I’m excited to grab her new one The Mother-in-Law this summer.
Queenie by Candice Cardy-Williams was OK but not fantastic. It’s been likened to a mix of Bridget Jones and Americanah. I’d say that’s about accurate. Queenie and her boyfriend are “on a break” and she is sowing her oats and figuring out life. There’s a little too much graphic sowing of oats in this one for me. I’m not adding it to my summer favorites.
I read about the other americans by Laila Lalami and it sounded interesting. It’s the story of a family whose patriarch is killed in a hit-and-run accident and how they both cope with this loss and solve the murder mystery. I liked most of this book. The characters were interesting and the story was engaging. However, ultimately, I was disappointed. I thought the ending lacked ooompf and overall, it was unsatisfying. If I were you, I would give this one a pass.
The Secret of Clouds was a wonderful story. It’s partly about Katya and Sasha, Ukrainians who emigrate to America and have a son, Yuri, who has a heart defect. It’s also the tale of Maggie, a teacher who tutors Yuri at his home, since his illness prevents him from attending school. Maggie and Yuri’s relationship is the crux of the book, but the periphery stories about their relationships are interesting as well. If you are or have been a teacher, you’ll love this one.
Looking for a fantastic read? Grab Normal People by Sally Rooney. I have read many recent pieces about this wonderful book and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a love story full of regret and missed opportunities. Amazon says: “At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.” I couldn’t put it down. It’s a must-add to your beach bag!
So, I have posted my choices for good summer reads that I have already vetted. This post covers those I am looking forward to biting off myself (*I tried to limit the list to ten, but I couldn’t do it). Let me know if you have read and enjoyed or hated any of them. They will be packed in my beach bag…
Memorial Day weekend around here was filled with chores, downtime, time with friends, and summer reading. A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas came off a summer reading list I saw a few weeks ago. I always enjoy a psychological thriller and this one was no exception. The narrator, a psychologist, has lost her twin son and ends up with a patient who looks just like him. Of course, this presents problems. This was a good, quick read, but nothing really edge-of-your-seat and nothing I would go out of my way for. OK, but not great.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (a local author) was an engaging read. I had never heard of the controversial and experimental medical treatment of therapeutic “dives,” a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter with the hope of curing things like autism or infertility. In this novel, the chamber explodes and one of the patient’s parents (not the device owner) is accused of murder. It’s a courtroom drama, and a very interesting one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I might have enjoyed getting to know the characters more deeply, but that would have made the book too long. It’s a good summer choice.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Since it feels like summer, I thought I would post my annual list of summer picks. I choose these from those I have read in the previous six months that have garnered 4.5 stars or more. Any of these would be a great pick for the beach. I will post another list of those I am reading this summer – who know if they are going to be good or not…happy summer, everyone!
Links to read my blog posts and/or buy each book are here:
Save Me The Plums
Beyond the Point
The Girl He Used to Know
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
The Last Romantics
The Possible World
Ready Player One
How to Walk Away