Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.
The Summer Reading Guide (coming TOMORROW, yippee!) is signed, sealed, and almost delivered, which means I’m reading more older books these days, and fewer that are just-published or soon-to-be-published.
Today I’m sharing two backlist titles I love and was happy to return to this month, plus three books I was considering for the Summer Reading Guide, but decided not to include. (Don’t worry, I tell you why below.)
Luckily, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth sharing.
I read this ages ago and included it in my list of Unputdownable books I read in 24 hours, but this month, I'm excited to talk to the MMD Book Club about it with author Julie Buxbaum—so I took the opportunity to read it again, for the third time. In this stellar YA novel, a girl-next-door type suddenly finds herself in an elite California prep school, and has to figure out how to navigate this new privileged world while still grieving her mother's death. When she gets an email from an unidentified boy who calls himself "Somebody Nobody" offering to be her spirit guide to her new school, she doesn’t want to say yes—but she really needs his help. A sweet and fun teen romance, but also a pitch-perfect portrayal of the grieving process. I couldn’t stop myself from cheering for Jessie as she put her life together again. (Hot tip: if you're an ebook reader, this is on sale right now. Check all the deals out here.) More info →
This was another recent re-read, and the subject of One Great Book episode 8. Family stories are commonplace in fiction, but I love this one for its intricate plotting, nuanced characters, true-to-life feel, and ultimate hopefulness. This is the story of an unlikely but successful marriage between a floundering American professor and a British film star who hated the limelight so much she faked her own death and disappeared ... until an unexpected bit of news, twenty years old but newly discovered, threatens to unravel everything they've built together. The story is told in interlocking scenes from different viewpoints, occurring between 1944 and 2016. More info →
Last year's hit Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Liions was a delightful surprise (and a Summer Reading Guide pick!) I'm happy the series continues here. I considered including this in the 2019 guide because it's such a fun pick for summer (Vineyards! Italy! Mystery!, but held back because though it's not strictly necessary to read book 1 before book 2, it would be more fun that way. More info →
I enjoyed Morin's previous book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, and was interested in this female-specific follow-up. Through Morin's work as a therapist, she came to believe that people who were intent on reaching their greatest potential didn't engage in counterproductive bad habits. They made progress not just because of what they did, but because of what they didn't do. In this book, Morin examines why habits like perfectionism, overthinking, self-doubt, and deflecting praise are so destructive—and what women can do instead. An excellent, informative new read—but I decided to limit this year's nonfiction titles to more story-driven works. More info →
My husband has been pushing me to read the 2014 novel The Moor's Account from Pulitzer Prize-finalist Lalami, but this is the first of her books I've read. I thought it was incredibly well done, but didn't include the it in the guide because I found I could only read a few pages at a time—I had to stop and think! ( I read this on my Kindle, and the plot was complex enough that I strongly suspect I would have been happier reading this on paper.) The story begins when a Moroccan immigrant is hit and killed by a speeding car not far from his California home. What follows is part procedural, part family saga, part love story, and part American origin story. More info →
What have YOU been reading lately?
P.S. The Summer Reading Guide is going out to newsletter subscribers TOMORROW by email. If you’re not on the list, click here to sign up.