Marilou Is Everywhere
Sarah Elaine Smith
A moving, unique, and difficult-to-encapsulate story about a teenager who slides into the life of another girl who goes missing from her hometown. The protagonist is a character who makes a ton of choices I don’t understand at all, but she is written with such specificity and tenderness that those choices feel almost inevitable. This novel is saved from being too heavy by slivers of unexpected laugh-out-loud humor.
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Charming NPR podcast host Linda Holmes has written an equally charming debut novel, set in coastal Maine, about a woman working through some very complicated emotions after the death of her husband, and a charming former baseball player with the ‘yips’ who’s lost his game. Will they fall in love? Maybe! Possibly! Who knows? (I do!)
Family of Origin
A thoughtful and introspective blend of family drama and climate change, that still manages to be both propulsive and hilarious. CJ Hauser, author of the viral essay “The Crane Wife,” strikes a perfect balance between grounded emotions and out-there characters.
Speaking of out-there characters, I finally caught up with the rest of the world and got absolutely hooked on John Carreyrou’s riveting and deeply researched exposé about the rise—and collapse—of Theranos, the biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes. Now I can’t wait to watch the documentary!
The Body in Question
A quiet and intimate book about two jurors in a grisly murder trial who embark on an affair while sequestered. This book examines desire, grief, guilt, certainty, and fidelity while being short enough to read in a single afternoon. Although very different, it reminded me favorably of Kent Haruf’s Our Souls at Night.
The Babysitters Coven
Kate M. Williams
Last but not least, I’m always on board for fun, pop culture-laden YA. This debut novel is a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Undead Girl Gang. The action takes a little while to get going but following accident-prone babysitter Esme Pearl and her best friend’s teenage shenanigans was entertaining enough to keep me engaged until the supernatural adventure really kicked into high gear.
It seems like summer just started, but just like every year, all of a sudden, it’s over! In August, I took my annual sojourn to visit my grandparents on a tiny island off the coast of Maine, where there are no cars, no stores, no electricity, and no internet. It’s the perfect environment for reading and I always bring a book for every day I’m on the island.
Now that I’m back in New York City, the humidity is close to 90%, so there’s not exactly a hint of autumn in the air, yet, but it’s hard not to catch that age-old back-to-school feeling. And with that in mind, here’s what I read on my summer vacation.
Featured image: maginnis/Twenty20