Maybe it’s cause the rest of me was so relaxed that my brain started working at top speed, but I managed to read an absurd amount of books during the second half of my holiday and I loved almost all of them. Rather than review each of them individually, I’ve done a mass round-up of what I thought… (and sorry, there’s no pictures! I just moved to London and everything is everywhere! Normal service will resume shortly!)
We Were Liars, Emily Lockhart
This is one that I’ve heard the name of a lot and not really read what it’s about. The Amazon description mentioned Massachusetts and private islands, which is what I’m all about, and even though this wasn’t quite what I was expecting I really loved it. It basically follows Cady as she returns to her family’s private island for the summer after a serious accident a couple of summers ago, of which she remembers nothing. The book basically follows her as she deals with the mental issues she has experienced since, and figures out exactly what happened two summers before. I found the style a bit grating at first: it’s simple to the point of sounding harsh, which was a huge contrast to the style of Stiltsville which I finished right before it. But as soon as I got used to it it was absolutely fine and suited the main character/narrator, Cady, down to the ground, and I particularly loved the character of Mirren, Cady’s cousin. I didn’t guess what was going to happen at all either and I’d definitely recommend this!
Stiltsville, Susanna Daniel
Stiltsville was an emergency buy in City airport when my Kindle died five minutes before I got on the plane, but it ended up being probably my favourite book from the whole week. It’s a slow mover, covering protagonist Frances’ life from about 20 (I think) to late middle age as she meets, marries and builds a life with her husband Dennis and their daughter, who was maybe my favourite character of all. It’s definitely more character driven than plot, which meant I fell in love with all the main characters. It was the kind of book I would happily have read forever and ever – and it made me want to go back to Miami!
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
I’ve had this one on my Kindle for ages and to be honest I kind of forced myself to start it because I’d just bought The Lemon Grove and was dying to read that – but I’m so glad I did! I have a habit of automatically dismissing books that get really super popular (it’s the snobby English student in me) but this really lived up to the hype and I ended up staying up till almost 1AM because I honestly could not go to bed before I finished it! It kept me guessing all the way through and I will definitely be catching the movie!
Buying In, Laura Hempthill
This is kind of chicklit with a twist – it’s about a 22 year old, Sophie, and her first job in an investment bank in NYC, 2007-ish. I really liked it, actually, and I definitely related a LOT to Sophie even though there is no way I will be following her career path (and would be even less inclined to do so after reading!). Turns out Laura Hempthill worked in investment banks for 7 years before writing the novel so I guess it’s all fairly authentic – definitely an interesting, light read!
The Lemon Grove, Helen Walsh
I’d heard such a lot about this, I was expecting great things but I have to say I was a bit disappointed. It’s basically about a middle-aged woman (whose name I can’t remember, which says a lot) who starts an illicit affair with her step-daughter’s boyfriend while on holiday. While I liked the stepdaughter Emma’s character, the whole thing all felt a bit melodramatic and I felt like there were a lot of gratuitous sex scenes. I did still enjoy it and it made me wanna swim in the sea so it was a good holiday read, but I feel like I would have enjoyed it way less if I’d read it at home.
The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
Technically I finished this while still in the UK, but it was on the way to the airport so it still counts in my book! I enjoyed this while reading it and I’d definitely recommend it, but it doesn’t really stand out to me as one of my favourites. That said, I liked the style and especially the character of Lux, and I’m going to try and watch the film at some point cause Kirsten Dunst is a goddess!
Easy, Tammara Webber
I have a feeling this is a self-published kind of deal and it was all very predictable and a bit melodramatic but I found that I couldn’t stop reading it anyway (and I’m not a girl who has qualms about giving up on a book halfway through). It’s set in college and it’s very much your average boy-meets-girl, but it does cover some interesting stuff about rape, victim blaming, and so on, and it involves frat boys and sorority girls (on a low level) which I’m always interested in. Definitely not a heavy read but enjoyable all the same.
Lastly, I’m currently midway through We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, which was recently been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I wasn’t sure about it at first but now I’m really into it and although I haven’t had much time to read since getting home, I’m eager to finish it!
What’s been your favourite summer read? Have you read any of these or do you want to? Let me know!