After my spring of YA, I decided to ease back into the world of contemporary fiction. But let’s just jump into these book reviews!
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Liane Moriarty’s books have always been on the periphery for me. I see them everywhere and I just never pick them up. The Bee Book Club decided on Big Little Lies for May, and it exceeded all of my expectations! The story is set in an Australian suburban beach town. The three main characters, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are all mothers to brand new kindergartners. Madeline and Celeste have long been friends, and Jane is new to town as a single mother. Madeline takes Jane under her wing for one more person on her team in the PTA battles of elementary school parents. What begins as a silly fluff book quickly turns into a serious book with heavy subject matter. But the beauty of the book is how Moriarty effortlessly weaves humor and satire about suburban school politics into the overarching story. I was thoroughly surprised by this book, and quickly looked for more by Moriarty. It’s a fun, easy read that still manages to make you think. 4/5
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Not kidding. I literally jumped right into another Moriarty book. This was again set in a suburb of Sydney. Cecilia Fitzpatrick has it all. She juggles and balances and never has a hair loose. Her husband is kind and loving to their three daughters. Tess was just blind-sided by news regarding her marriage, and takes her son to live with her and her mother in Sydney. And then there’s Rachel. She’s living alone, working at the elementary school, and dwelling on her daughter’s murder that occurred twenty years ago. In the span of a week, their lives intertwine and intersect and news comes to light that affects them all. This one was slightly more predictable than Big Little Lies, and had less humor as well. I still enjoyed it, but just a little less than the previous read. 3/5
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Lydia has died in the lake near the Lees’ house. Lydia can’t swim. It makes no sense why she would be out there. Not perfectly lovely Lydia. But it is true, and Lydia’s parents, Marilyn and James Lee are beside themselves in grief and misunderstanding. And it’s not just Marilyn and James. Their older son, Nate, who was very close to Lydia, is grieving and angry. And their younger daughter, Hannah, is just trying to cope, always living in the shadow of her sister, and never being seen or acknowledged. Lydia lived with all the expectations, to be a doctor from her mother’s unfulfilled goals, and to be liked and social, from her father’s own anxieties and worries. Each family member holds secrets, concerns, hopes, and truths from each other, and in Lydia’s passing, everything comes to the surface or at least boils underneath. I loved this book. I found it to be a heartbreaking family saga, and applaud Ng for her writing style. I read this rather quickly, and think it is worth a glance. 4/5
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
This is the companion piece to the wildly popular Life After Life. In Life, we learned about the ins and outs of the many lives Ursula Todd lived throughout the years of the war and beyond. In this companion book, we learn about her beloved brother, Teddy and his life during the war and beyond. Unlike Ursula, Teddy lives only one life. He was an RAF pilot and flew on many bombing raids on Germany. Along with the tales of his life in the war, we learn about his daughter, two grandchildren, and his lifelong love, Nancy. We also get a taste of England post-war and into the twenty-first century. This book was amazing. I liked it more than Life which got a little tedious. It was written wonderfully and I just wanted to swim in the text! I love how literary the characters are and how many references they make to poetry, which was true in the first book, but felt more relevant in this one. I can’t sing its praises enough and do hope you read both books! 5/5
My summer reading has gotten off to a great start. My library queue is not going down at all, so I see lots of good reads in my future! What are you reading this summer?