The Dry by Jane Harper
I was impressed with this debut from Jane Harper. Oftentimes, I dislike thrillers because they can become all about the 'whodunit' and little else. The writing, character development, world building, etc. is left by the wayside. This was NOT the case with The Dry. The story of investigator Aaron Falk returning to his small farming hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, after years in exile, has all the good stuff in spades - AND great suspense. It's reminiscent of Tana French's In The Woods, where there are two mysteries we are trying to pin down at the same time: one from the main character's past, and the current murders. It looks as if this was the first in a series featuring Falk, and I definitely look forward to more from Jane Harper!
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
It's been awhile since I read any YA fantasy, and I have been meaning to read Bardugo's work. This started off a little confusing for me, as there are a LOT of gangs, characters, locations, grudges, hierarchies piled into the first few chapters. I also felt as if she started the book by investing me in some characters that never resurface, and it took awhile to get invested in the main characters. But, once I did, I was hooked! I especially loved the dynamic between the female leads, Nina and Inej - this book passes the Bechdel test, for sure. This was an exciting, and also gut wrenching, romp that was like a mashup of Mistborn, Dune, and Gangs of New York. I will for sure queue up the sequel, Crooked Kingdom.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Awwww, this was just WONDERFUL. I can't believe I had never read this book about a girl who runs away from home to hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her little brother. Although, I am glad I read it as an adult, since the book is rife with so much humor that might have gone over my head in elementary school. It is truly hilarious. Claudia, our runaway, is the eldest and when she gets upset about being in charge of the youngest sibling:
"But her parents hadn't learned. She couldn't remember being anyone's charge when she was in the first grade. Her mother had simply met her at the bus stop every day."
And Konigsburg's shrewd observations of Claudia's motivations reflect much about human nature and wanting to feel important, to have an adventure, to feel happy.
"Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around."
I am also so glad the Kindle edition included the foreword written by the author for the 35th anniversary edition. It was inspirational and humorous, just like the book. I can't wait to read this one with my kiddos.
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
I'm a sucker for literary fiction with a science-y story, especially one that involves the contemplation of our humanity and the vastness of space. This had a similar feel to Station Eleven in that it takes place during the time immediately following an apocalyptic event, but it's not really about that event. Two seemingly separate stories follow a group of astronauts stranded in space and, ostensibly, the last man on earth. The slow burn of how they make sense of, and come to terms with, their situation was gripping and poetic until the very last sentence.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was my choice for vacation read after finishing up Good Morning, Midnight and it was exactly that - perfect for a light diversion by the pool. It wasn't exactly fluffy, as it's an emotionally charged read: basically Castaway told from the perspective of the woman left behind. It was a little predictable, a little saccharine, but an overall quick and engaging read. Of the two books I've read by this author, I'd say Maybe in Another Life was a slightly better novel.
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