Contemporary

Book Review: Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies
Author: 
Moriarty, Liane
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Big Little Lies is about a group of parents who come to know each other when their kids all start kindergarten together and all their drama collides and ends with a death. I loved how this book kept me interested the whole time. Every chapter something new is thrown at the reader. All the characters were very well developed and everything came together very nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book that can keep you interested through the whole book just wanting to get to the end to know what happens.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana

Book Review: Normal People

Normal People
Author: 
Rooney, Sally
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

I really wanted to like this book. I really did. Her writing style is nice and crisp, but the content of this book was just so vapid, and at times disturbing. The book was mostly about sex, but there is no indication of that in the book’s description. I’m no prude, but the plot was only driven by the character’s sex lives. It just wasn’t for me.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ashlea J.

Book Review: Normal People

Normal People
Author: 
Rooney, Sally
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This novel about two Irish teens in an on-again-off-again love affair that deftly displays the transformative power of relationships over time through lessons learned. The decisions made by teens Connell and Marianne are ones many can remember from their own past. That makes their emotional travails realistic and their longing believable and poignant in the hands of a skilled writer like Sally Rooney. This is only her second novel following up her well-regarded debut, Conversations With Friends. In Normal People, the two grow up in the same small town with Connell lliving the life of a popular athlete while Marianne is a loner. Their situations reverse at college due to their different social classes. But despite the constant change of their formative years, these complex characters are drawn together by a shared emotional connection these intelligent kids struggle to understand. It is this journey together as lovers and friends and all the messy emotions involved that makes this coming-of-age tale resonate. This title is available as a PPLD book club set and is also the basis for an Emmy-nominated Hulu television series that is written and produced by the author.
Awards: British Book Award, Costa Book Award, An Post Irish Novel of the Year

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman
Author: 
Murata, Sayaka
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This poignant English-language debut of one of Japan best contemporary writers is the best-selling story of 36-year-old Keiko Furukura, a quirky outsider who struggled to fit in until she found peace and purpose in her life working at Smile Mart. Human interaction and social norms are difficult for her to comprehend but the store manual explains, line by line, how to act. She does her best to copy her fellow employees' mannerisms and dress to better play the part of a "normal" person and remain a "useful tool" for the store. But after 18 years at the same store, her family and coworkers pressure her to make one of two choices -- focus on a career or marry and start a family. These constraints force the self-described "convenience store animal" whose emotions are only stirred by "the store's voice telling me what it wanted, how it wanted to be" to take measures to avoid scrutiny. This deadpan love story about a quirky woman and a store sticks with you long after you've finished thanks to some beautiful writing, a memorable protagonist and the larger questions raised. The short novel (163 pages) touched a nerve in Japan, generating a sustained discussion concerning conformity, especially for women. The book's notoriety garnered Murata, who continues to work at a convenience store after 18 years, Japan Vogue Magazine's 2016 Woman of the Year honor.
Awards: Akutagawa Prize

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: Geekerella

Geekerella
Author: 
Poston, Ashley
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Your classic Cinderella story, but with a geeky twist. Geekerella takes us on the story of Elle Whittimore and Darien Freeman. They are two teenagers in love with an old TV show, and they fall in love with each other over a series of text messages. A take on the classic story Cinderella, we get to sit back and watch as all of the fandom-filled fun plays out between the two characters, who only know each other over text, and mostly hate each other in real life. Darien Freeman is taking over the role of Prince Carmindor, from the TV series that both of the characters love, for the movie adaptation, and Elle runs a scathing blog that is starting to make Darien's life much harder than it needs to be. As both of the characters face many different challenges in their separate lives, everything leads up to ExcelsiCon, a con started by Elle's late father, and a con where the two both happen to be in the same place at the same time. I chose this book because I am a long time lover of the Cinderella story, a story that is classic and I have seen played out on the screen many times. That is what originally drew me to the book. But as I started reading the book I was immediately enraptured in the world that Ashley Poston has created. Starfield, although it may not be a real television show and was just created for the sake of the novel, is a show that I would be happy to watch. I think it is safe to say that if it ever did become a show, it would stand beside science fiction classics such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The tale of the two characters, Elle and Darien, while it is a fun and lighthearted story to read, is also filled with grief and loss and love. Both of the characters are dealing with their own drama, and while I may not personally understand the drama that Darien as a celebrity is dealing with (a manager he doesn't like, a somebody sneaking onto set and leaking pictures of him), I do know about the drama that Elle has to go through: drama with friends and drama with school. The story had me reading late into the night, anxiously awaiting to see what would happen next. Geekerella takes on the themes of loss and grief, as Elle is dealing with the loss of her father and mother. We see Elle deal with this grief in many different ways, and she is also forced to deal with her terrible stepmother and stepsisters on a day-to-day basis. Darien is coping with loss as well, but not in the typical sense, and not like Elle. He is dealing with the loss of himself, because we see him dealing with who he used to be before he was famous, and get a sense of grief about who he is now that he is famous. If you love the Cinderella story, and geeky and nerdy TV shows, Geekerella is the book for you.

Reviewer's Name: 
Birdie

Book Review: The Naturals

The Naturals
Author: 
Barnes, Jennifer Lynn
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Naturals is an amazing book that was so fun to read. The whole book was very exciting and kept me interested the whole time. The ending was so shocking so I was extremely happy to find out that it is a series. All the details of the book are very well thought out and the author did a great job of developing each character to be special. The book is very similar to the tv show Criminal Minds which I thought was awesome.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: 
Honeyman, Gail
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was a very interesting book that made me feel different every page. The book takes quite a long time to get interesting and once it does it still has weird boring spots. While the book wasn't always very interesting I was hooked because I had to know what the hints at the beginning of the book would lead to. I really liked the end of the book and how the character grows throughout the story though. I would recommend this book to a more mature reader because of some of the topics covered in the book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana

Book Review: Sick Kids in Love

Sick Kids in Love
Author: 
Moskowitz, Hannah
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Sick Kids in Love was a good book; however, throughout the whole book it felt like something was missing. It would skip what seemed like long periods of time and go to the next topic. It also felt like the same thing kept happening or was talked about over and over. There were some minor plot twits that made it interesting, but they didn't last long and were not really developed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy read that doesn't go into much detail on anything and nothing too sad.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jana

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