When you're 12 years old and the person you love the most confesses to serial murders, who will you ever trust again? Twenty years later, Chloe has become a psychologist to help other damaged girls, but also - mainly- to help herself heal. Damaged Chloe is the narrator, and the reader spends the whole novel in her head - and what a dark and frightened place that is! Especially when the murders start again, eerily similar to those 20 years ago, eerily close to Chloe.This is a stunning debut, taught and literary, brilliantly constructed until the surprise ending.
CARRY THE DOG is a pitch-perfect portrayal of a woman about to turn 60, who still grapples with the trauma of an abusive childhood. There is rock-and-roll and photography, Woodstock and the kind of dog only New Yorkers can have. It is funny and bittersweet despite its dark topic, which slowly reveals itself as the narrator opens the tightly taped box that contains the key to her memories.
Shy, misanthropic Sven takes refuge in a desolate Arctic fjord after a mining accident that leaves him disfigured. And yet, Nathaniel Ian Miller has woven a luminous tale of enduring friendships and companionship, familial love and the incredible beauty of a harsh natural world. This is one of those rare reads where you keep caring about the characters once you've closed the book. Deeply satisfying!
Do you know Cahokia? I didn't, I had to look it up. Because I was intrigued, and because it's essential to the story. DARE TO KNOW is a philosophical enquiry cloaked in a sci-fi mix of quantum physics, "subjective math", and real and invented tales. In an angry, propulsive, self-destructive interior monologue, the narrator - a once promising scientist turned failed businessman, failed husband and failed father- crosses the country in pursuit of a long-lost love. Except that he is dead. And alive. And the ending!!! Wow! Dare to read it!
Orphaned Willodeen knows more about nature than social mores, she is more at ease roaming the woods than walking the streets of her pre-industrial village of Perchance, nestled along a river with blue willows, tiny bubble-blowing winged bears and gentle foul-smelling creatures/screechers. With a touch of mid-summer night's magic, Katherine Applegate has woven a lovely ecofable about how everything is interconnected, through friendship, love and the interactions of the natural world.
A group of Smith graduates goes to war. They all have their own personalities and quirks. They are volunteering to bring help to villages devastated by war. The novel deftly uses its historical background (a Smith Unit did go to France towards the end of WW1) to talk about a key moment when women started to take ownership of their own lives, they went to medical school, they drove trucks, they organized rescue operations and still found time to sort out complicated matters of friendship, love and self-respect. A perfect novel for Women History Month.
Will the Smash-Up be read very soon as historical fiction? The novel takes place during the Kavanaugh confirmation, which serves as backdrop for the unraveling of a marriage laminated by the culture wars of those years and the financial collapse of the middle class. Zo and Ethan are the couple unraveling, Maddy is the twenty-something jaded, no-future babysitter and Alex is the funny, smart daughter who cannot fit in her progressive private school because of her ADHD. The characters are somewhat two-dimensional… until they are not, and the novel is so brilliantly constructed that when you get to the surprising end, you’re bound to think you need to read it again, more slowly this time.
A feminist fable in a world where the future is literally inscribed on young girls and women's bodies. But far from making them powerful, it makes them vulnerable to the lust and greed of men. A wonderful description of the pain and wonders of puberty, a powerful indictment of rape culture, and a poignant demonstration of the complexity of siblings’ relationships, this book is all that and more. Laura Maylene Walter has a magical imagination, and her novel will enthrall young adults and older generations alike.