Fiction

The Illness Lesson: A Novel by Clare Beams - Book Review

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$16.00
ISBN: 9780525565475
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Published: Anchor - March 9th, 2021

Dark, slightly speculative historical fiction with a wicked feminist edge. When Caroline was a child, her father gave her a formal education, unconventional for a girl to recieve, which has left her unsuited for the few roles afforded to women in nineteenth-century America. Now an adult, she reluctantly agrees to help her father as he founds a school for girls, intending to give them the same education that was at once debilitating and electrifying for Caroline. As the students arrive, so does a flock of strange red birds, a species thought to be discovered by Caroline's mother and not seen since her death. Lessons commence; the students form within themselves a shifting hierarchy with one cruelly manipulative ruler firmly at its helm; the birds ominously increase in number. When the girls begin to fall sick, Caroline is trapped, more intolerably than ever, between her sharp intelligence and the way her utter lack of power as a woman prevents her from putting that intelligence to use. An incredibly powerful, gorgeously twisted book that stands in a category of its own. ~ Reviewed by Nadja Tiktinsky


Putney: A Novel by Sofka Zinovieff - Book Review

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$16.99
ISBN: 9780062847584
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Published: Harper Perennial - August 20th, 2019

This was an exceptionally difficult book to get through. The story follows from the perspectives of three individuals involved in a case of child abuse and neglect in the early 1970s, observing them through the next 40 or so years of their lives. Ralph Boyd was a 25 year old up-and-coming composer when he began working on a screenplay with novelist Edmund Greenslay. Ralph quickly forms a connection with Ralph's young daughter, Daphne, and from there begins the illicit "love affair" between the two spanning into Daphne's late teens. Zinovieff focuses heavily on the emerging bohemian ideas in the 1970s, and emphasizes how such radical ideals can be taken advantage of and manipulated to fit the narrative of an abuser. This is a story that will be either loved or hated, and was not easy to get through by any means, however it remains significant and effective in its pursuit to shine a light on the heinous crimes of childhood grooming and predatory behavior. "Putney" is an ugly, important, and painfully relevant read with characters you will come to both love and despise. ~ Reviewed by Madison Gallup


It Ends with Us: A Novel by Colleen Hoover - Book Review

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$16.99
ISBN: 9781501110368
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Published: Atria Books - August 2nd, 2016

This book is hyped for a reason! Colleen Hoover writes her characters with such brutal rawness that you can feel their pain, understand their reasoning, and fall in love with their sheer humanness. This story broke my heart, frustrated me, made me laugh, made me cry, filled me with hope and crushed my soul in 384 pages. Without saying too much, this is a stunningly important read about painful relationships of all kinds and the importance of knowing what is worth sacrificing and when to let go. Everyone should read this. ~ Reviewed by Madison Gallup


My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh - Book Review

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$16.00
ISBN: 9780525522133
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Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

This book is perhaps the most accurate portrayal of depression that I’ve ever read- "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" will not be for every reader, it is weird and dark and mundane and heartbreaking and even at times comical. It is a raw and unflinching character study of a privileged woman unsatisfied with her life and overcome with grief who decides to take a year off of life and sleep. On the surface this is a relatively absurd concept centered around an unlikable and unbothered protagonist, but underneath that is a story too many of us can relate to of a broken woman resorting to extreme measures to cope with the trivialness of day-to-day life which often feels impossible when battling mental illness. ~ Reviewed by Madison Gallup


The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780525536291
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Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

A sweeping intergenerational story that begins with two twin sisters from a southern black community whose lives converge and diverge in unpredictable and devastating ways. This book covered so many important and relevant topics in such a striking way, with intricate plot lines that weaved together effortlessly and phenomenal characterization. Bennett has a way of storytelling that is equally captivating and educational, beautiful yet deeply tragic. Covering themes of race, familyhood, identity, and class, this is a story that everyone should hear. ~ Reviewed by Madison Gallup


Ghosts: A novel by Dolly Alderton - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780593319857
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Published: Knopf - August 3rd, 2021

Whip smart, deep dive of a novel into modern day dating, and all the tricks and traps that that brings with it. Our protagonist is coming back into the dating world after a long term relationship ends, and her best single friend gets her to download a dating app. Thrown into this new experience, she finds that there are a lot of aspects to this kind of dating, that just were not around when she began dating her last boyfriend straight out of school, and ghosting being a top one. We follow her along on a roller coaster ride of emotions, as she navigates this new world, alongside her coming to terms with her father’s dementia, and her mother’s midlife crisis. Highly entertaining and thoughtful, I definitely recommend it. ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty


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