Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll
Review: Ani FaNelli’s horrific past speaks to me, as I’m sure it does most women whose lives took a few left turns in trying to find their “right.” I tore through this novel at first feeling a reverent awe for Ani and the perfect life she has worked so hard to achieve. But what do we have to sacrifice in order to balance on that beam? Knoll’s sharp writing carries her readers’ eyes from word to word, page to page, chapter to chapter, until you don’t realize you’ve finished the entire novel in a day and a half.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Review: This book is hard to read because it’s true. I avoid the bad parts of Dallas and don’t make eye contact with the man on the corner asking for money to avoid a moment of heartache that looks like a fun Saturday at Six Flag compared to the existence of these men, women, and children in the slums of India. Despite Katherine Boo’s flawless, honest stories being tough to swallow, this novel was a fantastic read. Her research and dedication to telling the whole story is phenomenal. You need to read this; you need to know.
Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
Review: This book opened fantastically, but the middle and end are forgettable. The drama centers around an adulterous husband being discovered by his 11-year-old daughter through scandalous emails printed and delivered by a scorned mistress. There are no lessons learned and no one grows into a better person. The parents are bad parents, and the kids grow up scarred and jaded. For what her book lacks in enjoyable characters, Pierpont makes up for in painting an accurate pictures of the newly socially accepted family unit – unloving, absent parents as the weakened trunk for hurting, confused, rebellious branches whose lives could turn out differently if they were only showed the right way.
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
Review: I’m permanently charmed by Liane Moriarty so I biasedly declare this book as wonderful, knowing full and well that others disagree. Through enigmatic fate, single heroine Sophie Honeywell transplants her simple, boring life to the quirky Scribbly Gum Island, home of the famous Munro Baby mystery. Moriarty has an art with characters and storyline, and this novel is no exception. This book was a page-turner for me, although the ending was slightly “meh.” I still highly recommend it to all the Moriarty fans out there!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Review: This is, by far, one of my favorite novels. It took me exactly three tries to get into this book; I was afraid it was more of a WWII history lesson than a story. Once I got through the first five pages, I could hardly stop to do normal human activities. The novel is a puzzle in which every character is a complex piece, slowly coming together, getting you more and more hooked. This is not a war novel, it’s a tale of the heart-wrenching road of a blind French girl and her father, and a genius German orphan boy who is recruited by the soulless Hitler Youth program. Their unimaginable journeys told through Doerr’s indescribably beautiful writing makes a powerful page-turner, leaving you grieving when you have reached the end.