This was (again!) a lighter month of reading, but I really (really!) enjoyed everything I read. Just five books, but can say with full confidence: they are all absolute must-reads for different reasons. Especially The Rabbit Hutch. I finished that yesterday and wow – it’s a masterpiece – I can see why it won the National Book Award! (PS – Check out The Library for even more books — you can filter by grade and genre to find your next favorite book!)
Everything I Read in November 2022
All Her Little Secrets, by Wanda M. Morris
I really loved this book… utterly unputdownable! Ellice Littlejohn has pulled herself up from a rough childhood (she grew up poor, in a small Georgia town with an alcoholic mother and an abusive stepfather). Now, she seemingly has it all: a gorgeous condo and a well-paying job as a corporate attorney. A bit complicated as she’s sleeping with her (married) boss Michael, but doing well overall. When she finds Michael shot dead in his office (and walks away like nothing has happened), her life is upended.
First, she is promoted to his role. The dream… except it feels icky and too fast. Things continue to get weirder. The entire executive team misses Michael’s funeral for a party. The cops are investigating his death as a homicide. And Ellice’s secrets start to come out. (Like her brother Sam – who has done time in jail – what was he doing in Ellice’s office building the morning of Michael’s murder!?) This book is fast paced and twisty, but also an exploration of race + racist behavior in the workplace. I couldn’t put it down and would highly recommend it. I also can’t believe it is Wanda M. Morris’s debut novel – she just released her second book and I ordered it on the spot! Overall Score: A // Order on Amazon or Bookshop.org
Silver Girl, by Elin Hilderbrand
An older book (from 2011) but a good one. This had been sitting in my TBR pile for ages. I picked it up during the move because Elin Hilderbrand’s novels never disappoint, they are also always just so extremely satisfying! And heartwarming: I wanted heartwarming. This one surrounds a Ruth Madoff type of character. Meredith Delinn is the most hated woman in America. Her husband, Freddy, has been caught running a massive Ponzi scheme and thousands of people have lost everything because of him. Now, Meredith has absolutely nothing.. just one box of belongings. She heads to Nantucket to hide out at her childhood best friend Connie’s home in Nantucket.
This book has everything. There is a redemption angle for Meredith as she works to prove that she didn’t know about her husband’s antics, there’s Connie and Meredith’s friendship, there’s a mother daughter thing, there is two romances, and so much more. I really loved this book. The ending felt like a warm hug. It’s up there with The Blue Bistro in terms of favorite Elin Hilderbrand books. Overall Score: A // Order on Amazon or Bookshop.org
Anon, Pls. by DeuxMoi and Jessica Goodman
If you are a fan of the DeuxMoi account (who isn’t!) I think you will gobble this book right up! It’s such a fun read. It is a fictional telling of how the account may or may not have been founded, and I couldn’t put it down! Cricket Lopez is the assistant to one of the most notorious (mean, abusive) celebrity stylists. One night, she is a bit tipsy and decides to turn her old instagram account into a source for celebrity gossip. What happens next is amazing. The account takes off, nearly overnight. The account turns into a giant success and everyone is trying to figure out.. “Who exactly is DeuxMoi!?”
She’s approached by investors who want to buy the account, she is terrified of losing her anonymity (as are her friends: they’re all in the same industry and if she’s “outed,” their jobs are at stake too!). Meanwhile, she’s spreading herself thin, disappearing at work, etc. I really enjoyed the book. It made me nostalgic for being young in New York… it was fun and fast paced and reminded me a bit of a Devil Wears Prada for the digital age! Overall Score: A- // Order on Amazon or Bookshop.org
Book Lovers, by Emily Henry
Emily Henry is one of those authors who makes me think… “hmm, maybe I do like romance novels!?” And then I read something by someone am else and am back to murders the next day. Her books are just.. such treats. I loved this one because it poked fun of romance novels a bit, and also: the characters were so likable and relatable. You probably know this by now but one of the reasons I tend to stay away from reading romance is that the female characters are always a little bit pathetic/messy… and/or younger which is fine but I am 41 and just don’t want to read about a messy twenty-something who needs to be rescued.
Our leading lady, Nora, is a book agent and a bit of a workaholic in her thirties. In her words, “the one who gets dumped” by her boyfriends who leave her to marry an innkeeper’s daughter or trade city living for the country. She is, as she puts it, the Christmas movie villain on the Peloton bike. When her younger sister Libby (who Nora has always watched out for after their mother died when they were younger) suggests they take a break to spend a month in Sunshine Falls (just outside of Asheville), all bets are off. Especially when Nora runs into her nemesis Charlie Lastra (an equally workaholic book editor). Maybe he’s not as bad as he seems.
This book is the perfect romance. It was cheesy at times but in an enjoyable way. I got choked up at the end which is not something that usually happens. I couldn’t love it more! Overall Score: A // Order on Amazon or Bookshop.org
The Rabbit Hutch, by Tess Gunty
I ordered this immediately when I saw that it had won the National Book Award for Fiction but wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I ended up loving it – it’s creative, sad, and funny all at once. It’s set over the course of one hot summer week in the town of Vacca Vale, Indiana in a low income housing complex, known as The Rabbit Hutch. The town was once a bustling industrial center but now that’s dried up — though the factories may become the homes for new startups, giving Vacca Vale a second chance that not everyone wants. The book introduces us to its many residents. Three teenage boys who have gotten into animal sacrifice. A new mother who is afraid of her son’s eyes. An obituary writer. Plus, the son of a beloved actress (who maybe shouldn’t have been as beloved, after all).
The real star of the book is Blandine, a young woman (living with the three teenage boys who she can’t stand). The four of them met in a foster care rehab program (after aging out of the system) and decided to live together on a whim. Blandine has secrets. Why did she drop out of her prestigious high school? I will say no more than that but I couldn’t put this one down. The writing is intoxicating and the way that each character’s story weaves together is incredible. Overall Score: A+ // Order on Amazon or Bookshop.org