This was a really, really good month for books. A novel from one of my all time favorite authors, a juicy Gossip-Girl-esque YA read, and a really important book that made me sob. Everything on this month’s list had me fully engrossed, for one reason or another. As always, for more recommendations you can check out my Book Club page, where you can sort and filter all of my favorite books by genre… and also take a peek at last month’s reading list!
AND… (if you have a moment!) Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are always my favorite… I literally shop the comments section of these posts (two of this month’s books were recommendations from you)… you always have such good recommendations!
* The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman. I was *so* excited when this arrived in the mail. (I was sent an advanced copy from Simon & Schuster*). Not only is Alice one of my absolute all-time favorite authors (my mom’s too!), this is the prequel to Practical Magic which I read years and years ago and absolutely loved. It’s the story of Jet and Franny (and their brother Vincent) who later on become the elderly aunts in Practical Magic. It’s a wonderful story (set in New York in the sixties) and I’ve always been fascinated by anything pertaining to witches and/or magic. If you feel similarly, you will LOVE this. It chronicles love and loss, and somehow manages to be both very sad at times (I cried once) but also up lifting. Alice Hoffman has such a magical way of writing… dreamy, thoughtful… she’s just a wonderful story teller!
* The Child, by Fiona Barton. I bought this from my Book of the Month subscription a while back. I love Fiona Barton – I devoured The Widow last summer (see my review here) but I liked this even better. An old home is demolished and a construction worker finds the skeleton of a tiny baby. A journalist is determined to get to the bottom of what happened, and in the process she uncovers some pretty major secrets of three women. It alternates back and forth between the different women and their stories (including a couple very unreliable characters). It’s a great thriller, with a major twist. I will say that I did guess the ending, but I have this problem reading thrillers lately where I become determined to figure out what happens. I really really enjoyed this though.
* Amanda Wakes Up, by Alisyn Camerota was a fun read about a less fun topic. Written by a CNN anchor, it’s the story of a morning news anchor who goes from the local news to a channel called “FAIR News,” dedicated to (supposedly, at least) providing news coverage from both sides. She’s covering an election in which the characters are a qualified senator – and a hollywood actor. Sound familiar? Yup. Throughout the book there are a lot of ups and downs, misunderstandings, and massive parallels to this past November’s election. What I think I loved so much about the book was that she managed to cover something really serious (that we are all frankly, pretty exhausted by) and make it light and enjoyable to read. It felt like a beach read, with serious undertones. It was a really interesting take on the media and their coverage of elections/politics… written in a light, page-turning way. I tore through it in just a few days.
* The Thousandth Floor, by Katharine McGee was recommended to me by so many of you in the comments of previous reading lists…. THANK YOU! It is a part of a trilogy, and many of you described it to me as a futuristic Gossip Girl. So obviously, I had to check it out! I TORE through it. It had been a while since I’d last read a YA novel that I couldn’t put down and this had me addicted. It’s the story of five teens in a futuristic world (Manhattan, 2118) where there is now a giant tower spanning nearly the entirety of the city (42nd street upward through Harlem). The thousand floor tower spans 2.5 miles, with the most expensive, exclusive apartments being on the higher floors. It was a really fun read and I can not wait for the second one!
* The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas is not going to make you feel comfortable or happy and it may make you ugly cry (it made me sob), but it is probably the most important book I’ve read all year. Starr Carter is a black teen straddling two worlds: the poor neighborhood she grew up in, and the fancy (mostly white) prep school she attends. When her best friend is shot by a police officer, her entire world explodes. The story chronicles the thirteen weeks that follow his death – from all sides… how her friends react, how she has to hide the fact that she was the witness, to the grand jury’s decision. It’s technically a YA novel, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a fresh, beautifully written, and a very real look at both racism and police violence. Thank you to all of you who suggested this one, it was an amazing read. If you have a book club, I would highly recommend this; the conversations you’ll have about it afterward will be amazing.
*Publishing houses frequently send over advanced copies of their new releases to me – I’m never obligated to read or write about them, but in the spirit of full disclosure: I received advanced copies of The Rules of Magic and Amanda Wakes Up.