Can you believe that next weekend is Memorial Day weekend?! I know it falls early this year, but I can’t believe that it’s almost summer. Since I have been slacking on my book reviews this year, I thought this would be a good time to share my suggestions for five books to read this summer.
As with most of my book review posts, the images below are Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a small commission.
1. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller.
This is a coming of age story with lots of twists. While 8-year old Peggy’s mother is off on tour as a concert pianist, her survivalist father takes her into the wilderness and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Most of the book is told from Peggy’s perspective as her “adventure” unfolds, but it is interspersed with a few chapters from when she is older and readjusting to life back in civilization. Even though those chapters give you some idea of what happens, they don’t feel like spoilers. The story of how she and her father survived, how they grew closer together and further apart, and how Peggy passed her “endless numbered days” kept me turning the pages and wondering what would happen next.
2. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.
This is Kimberly McCreight’s first novel, and has made me a fan. It tells the story of every parent’s worst nightmare–single parent Kate receives an emergency call from Amelia’s exclusive high school, and arrives to find that her daughter has died. The school tells her that Amelia has been in a downward spiral that culminated in being caught cheating on her English paper, which led her to jump to her death from the school’s roof. While Kate doesn’t want to believe that story, her first reaction is to blame herself for being too involved with her work at a high-pressure law firm and not noticing Amelia’s struggles. But then she receives an anonymous text message saying, She didn’t jump.
The book alternates chapters from Amelia’s point of few in the months leading up to her death and Kate’s point of view trying to figure out what happened to her daughter. Reconstructing Amelia reminds us that nothing about high school is ever as straight-forward as it seems, and that teenagers can be brilliant, stupid, kind and mean all in the same day.
3. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight.
This is Kimberly McCreight’s second book, and I am still in the middle of it. While I usually wait before reading another book by the same author, I enjoyed Reconstructing Amelia so much I downloaded Where They Found Her right away and am enjoying it already.
Here’s an excerpt of the synopsis from Amazon:
At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town’s prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she came to be found among the fallen leaves. But for the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions. ….
Told from the perspectives of three Ridgedale women, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth behind the tragedy, revealing that these women have far more in common than they could ever have imagined: that the very worst crimes are committed against those we love. And that—sooner or later—the past catches up to all of us.
I’m a few hours into it and it’s really good!
4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova.
This is a book that I was afraid to read because it tackles one of my deepest fears–getting Alzheimer’s disease and losing my independence. I had it on my Kindle for a few weeks before I summoned up the courage to read it, but once I started I didn’t want to put it down.
It seems to tell a very realistic story of how Alice Howland, a distinguished psychology professor at Harvard, is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, how she and her family react to the diagnosis, and how they cope as the disease progresses. The reality of Alzheimer’s disease is scary, but I found it interesting that when Alice was forced to give up her career she turned her attention to her family, and did her best to make the most of the (cognizant) time they had left together. This might not qualify for beach reading, but it is a good book for curling up under a blanket on a stormy day.
5. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
The premise of this book is so intriguing–Alice falls off her spinning bike and wakes up in the hospital with amnesia. Not only does she not remember the past 10 years of her life–including the children she’s had–she doesn’t recognize the person others know her to be. Frankly, they know Alice as an uptight, type-A, not-so-nice person, while in her mind she is laid back and kind. Can Alice recover her lost memories without turning back into a person she doesn’t want to become?
If you haven’t read What You Can When You Can by Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone, you should do that before your summer vacation–not to learn how to get bikini ready in two weeks, but to understand that you already are.
Did you hear about my Stella + Dot trunk show to support the American Heart Association? You can shop online here or join the Facebook event here.
What’s on your summer reading list?