If you’re looking for a spooky read involving modern witches and ancient demons, then look no further! Sasha Laurens’s debut novel, A Wicked Magic, is a spell-binding YA fantasy-thriller that is out today that will have you wrapped up in every twist and turn.
Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless. During a spell gone wrong, Liss's boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss's friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured? Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss's orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she's hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with. When another teenager disappears, the girls know it's no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?
Set in the wilderness of California's northern coast, this novel has all the witchy/spooky vibes any reader would want in a book about self-made witches. The plot was engaging and will keep readers intrigued as to what will happen next! Additionally, the novel wraps up really nicely and all the loose ends get tied up at the conclusion of the book. However, Laurens hits upon dark topics, including self-harm, suicide, mental health issues, and violence. While it never felt too forced or excessive, there are some major trigger warnings for this book!
Being a young adult book, there was an overarching theme of friendship and the relationships between Dan, Liss, and Alexa. The mending of these girls’ friendships was really well written in that it wasn’t just “forgive and forget”. Liss and Dan had to work to gain each others’ trust back as well and work through their own demons. Even Alexa had her own issues to grapple while trying to maintain her friendship with Dan. However, this novel shows that the bonds of friendship are very hard to truly break and how through hardship, true friends can find their way back to one another.
I am not someone who reads a lot of thrillers, but I found this book to be a great read! Fans of Ninth House or "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" would enjoy this stand-alone and become entranced by this stunning debut!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
In Martha Waters’s debut book, To Have and to Hoax, readers are transported to Regency England where a husband and wife try to get the others attention through fake illnesses and pranks. This second-chance romance will have you laughing and hooked on every page wondering what will happen next.
Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since. Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent. Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?
I loved the concept of this book! It was silly, funny, and steamy and all set in 1870s London! However, this book is a sloowwww burn and it takes a little bit for the action to pick up. Paired with a long prologue and very long chapters, this book requires a bit more patience to get to the good stuff. On top of that, I found some parts a bit repetitive: they get mad, the make up, they get mad again, the make up again, the get made again... you see what I mean? However, if you don’t mind a little miscommunication between lovers and some steamy reconciliations, then this is a great book to read!
What I really enjoyed about this regency romance is how Violet had her own agency and didn’t allow James to sweep her off her feet without trusting her first. She was determined to make her husband work to win her love back and she wouldn’t accept anything more that she deserved! Violet was headstrong, confident, and had agency in her relationship and it was refreshing to read about.
If you’re looking for a regency romance with strong women that’s also fun and just a little silly, then this is the book for you! I cannot wait to see what Waters will write next and what other regency shenanigans will ensue in her future books!
Grab your denim jackets and hairspray, because it's time to party like it’s 1991! Beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, Megan McCafferty, takes readers on an epic trip back in time in her new novel The Mall which comes out July 28th.
The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after. But you know what they say about the best laid plans… Now jobless, boyfriendless, and feeling a little hopeless, Cassie is determined to make this summer worthwhile and maybe even get involved in a secret treasure hunt in the process? Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places.
This love letter to the 90s is chock full of nostalgic references to NKOTB, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, 90210, and more. Any one who grew up in the 90s (or wishes they were) will love the backdrop of the novel and all the minute details that just make this book all that and a bag of chips! While I didn't grow up in the early nineties personally, I could still appreciate the references and setting of the story. Plus the treasure hunt that Cassie takes part in keeps the reader wondering where the next clue will be hidden and what’s at the end of the hunt.
However, this coming-of-age book isn’t just a funny teen rom-com with a built in treasure hunt. It also tackles those classic YA tropes of fitting in, getting back at an ex who screwed you over, friend drama, and the mysterious boy next door, who takes the form of a Sam Goody worker that Cassie can’t keep her eyes off of in this story. All of these themes combine to create a funny yet meaningful book about becoming your own person and finding camaraderie amongst your fellow mall employees.
McCafferty does a great job of representing a nostalgic yet relevant story that any fans of YA will enjoy. This book is just barrels of fun and so engaging that you’ll want to keep reading it long after it’s over! The Mall is the ultimate throwback feel-good book you’ll want to add to your summer reading list.
*I received an ARC from Wednesday Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
In his newest book, acclaimed novelist Larry Watson, takes a reader through the decades of one woman’s life and her attempts to navigate life on her own terms. The Lives of Edie Pritchard, which comes out on July 21st, simultaneously shows the simplicity of humans and the complexities of everyday life through three moments in Edie’s life.
Edie—smart, self‑assured, beautiful—always worked hard. She worked as a teller at a bank, she worked to save her first marriage, and later, she worked to raise her daughter even as her second marriage came apart. Really, Edie just wanted a good life, but everywhere she turned, her looks defined her. Two brothers fought over her. Her second husband became unreasonably possessive and jealous. Her daughter resented her. And now, as a grandmother, Edie finds herself harassed by a younger man. It’s been a lifetime of proving that she is allowed to exist in her own sphere. The Lives of Edie Pritchard tells the story of one woman just trying to be herself, even as multiple men attempt to categorize and own her.
This novel is simple in its delivery, but also shows depth in the way these three portions of Edie’s life parallel and intersect one another. This story is not just about one woman: it is about relationships and how they get built up and time down over the years. It also examines all of these things happen within one small town and how the perceptions of a community can influence an individual.
Even though there are no chapters in the book (only three parts), it allows for the reader to be even more sucked in to Edie’s life and what makes these three moments in time so important. That’s the other thing about this novel: we only get to see Edie at three points in her life. While some characters give clues as to what transpired in the gap years we don’t get to read about, the focus remains solely on living life in the present. Roy and Dean try to hold tight to what they had years ago yet Edie is always looking forward. None of them make an effort to live in the moment and be defined by who they are currently, as opposed to who they were in the past. Watson forces the reader to pass judgement on these characters and develop opinions on them while only seeing a small part of the whole picture, which I think is the point. This close examination really forces the reader to analyze what it means to be a good or bad person and how to live life in your own way when others constantly expect something else from you.
Filled with rich and complex characters, Watson has developed a story that will suck you in and be grateful for the little moments in life. Timeless, engaging, and real, The Lives of Edie Pritchard is a must-read!
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
NOTE: This book was republished under the title Fool Me Once after the publication of this review.
Bestselling author Staci Hart is back with a new romance series that will take you deep into a world of luxury, secrets, and thrill. Kicking off her new Bright Young Things Series is Star Bright, which follows a New York socialite and an up-and-coming journalist who cross paths and try to form a relationship amidst the secrets they try to hold tight to.
Stella Spencer has one enemy—her secrets. The world’s obsession with the Bright Young Things is real. Every lavish party thrown by the most exclusive group in New York is a spectacle, stalked not only by the media, but by the police commissioner, who’s declared war. He’s out to ruin everyone’s good time, starting with uncovering the mysterious benefactor leading the group, thus answering the question on everyone’s lips. Who is Cecelia Beaton? And no one knows it’s Stella. If society finds out the truth, her plans will unravel. And with one smoldering look from a stranger, her carefully ordered world catches fire. Levi Hunt has one plan—get the story. His future at Vagabond magazine depends on his ability to do the one thing no one can: infiltrate the Bright Young Things. If he can find out who Cecelia Beaton is, he’ll earn enough notoriety to permanently secure his career. His dreams are at his fingertips, so long as he doesn’t blow his cover. But one night with the brightest, most brilliant young thing of all, and he knows he’ll have to make a choice. The job he loves or the woman of his dreams. Secrets and lies. Love and laughter. And two people with something to hide and everything to gain. Welcome to the party.
Fans of Anna K and other opulent romances will be sucked into Hart’s world and fall in love with Stella, Levi, and the rest of the Bright Young Things. Diving deep into the world of the lavish parties and socialite drama was so much fun and made this romance that much more engaging. Like her other series, this novel works as a standalone romance, but also threads in other drama and subplots that make this more than just a steamy rom-com.
On top of that, the challenges that Levi and Stella must overcome and they way they must learn to trust each other is relatable, real, and shows that relationships aren’t all glitz and glamour. The themes of trust and communication, coupled with the sultry romance and mystery behind who is out to get the Bright Young Things, take this book to the next level and creates such a delicious story!
Hart concludes the story nicely, but whets your appetite just enough that you’ll be longing for the next book in the series. Overall, it’s a fun, flirty, and dramatic read that’ll make you wish you knew Cecilia Beaton herself! I look forward to reading more about what the BYT will do next and the trouble that will follow.
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
In her debut memoir, Kendra Atleework discusses what life was like for her growing up in a desert-like terrain in a very small town. Miracle Country, which comes out July 14th, is eye-opening and allows you to view the world from someone else's mind.
Kendra Atleework grew up in Swall Meadows, in the Owens Valley of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, where annual rainfall averages five inches and in drought years measures closer to zero. Kendra’s family raised their children to thrive in this harsh landscape, forever at the mercy of wildfires, blizzards, and gale-force winds. Most of all, the Atleework children were raised on unconditional love and delight in the natural world. But it came at a price. When Kendra was six, her mother was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, and she died when Kendra was sixteen. Her family fell apart, even as her father tried to keep them together. Kendra took flight from her bereft family, escaping to the enemy city of Los Angeles, and then Minneapolis, land of all trees, no deserts, no droughts, full lakes, water everywhere you look. But after years of avoiding the pain of her hometown, she realized that she had to go back, that the desert was the only place she could live. Like Wild, Miracle Country is a story of flight and return, bounty and emptiness, and the true meaning of home. But it also speaks to the ravages of climate change and its permanent destruction of the way of life in one particular town.
This memoir dives deep into the history of California, Nevada, and the development of water aqueducts and how a desert region developed into a city. Atleework shows she did her research and references many historians and writers whose stories intertwine with her own. While Atleework does add a personal touch to this book by recounting stories of her childhood to the historic and present state of this desert region, I think this novel places a lot of focus on history which I found to be a bit boring at times; however, if you’re a history buff who love to view the world from a first person point of view, then Miracle Country blends past and present in a way that makes this story feel more personal.
If you enjoy learning about the environment and how certain landscapes have changed over the course of history because of humans, then this book will definitely peak your interest. However, if you’re looking for a deep dive into someone’s life, you might not find what you’re looking for.
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
In her stunning OwnVoices novel In the Neighborhood of True, Susan Kaplan Carlton transports readers to a time when Elvis was all the rage and girls received promise rings and varsity jackets from their beaus. Originally published in 2019 and now available in paperback, this debut book is “a powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.”
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club. Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.
This YA historical fiction book showcases life for a Jewish girl during the late 50s and what societal expectations surround her as her family moves from The Big Apple to the Peach State. Filled with pre-debutante balls, country club outings, and Tea & Etiquette meetings, this novel will transport you right back to the old South and make you feel like you are experiencing all these events along with Ruth.
The different angles this novel takes to show the injustices and prejudices against both Jewish people and African Americans in Georgia in 1959 is eye-opening and startlingly relevant in a modern day and age. Carlton does a great job of showing the world through a teenaged girl’s eyes as she grapples with wanting to be true to herself, but also avoid discrimination and fit in with her new friends.
This novel will make you not only feel nostalgia for carefree high school days, but also leave you aware that beneath the pristine facade was a world waiting for change. Overall, this is a wonderfully relevant book that will appeal to young adult readers and historical fiction lovers alike!
*I received a copy of the book from Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for my honest opinion.
Fans of Renée Ahdieh’s The Beautiful don’t have to wait any longer! The second installment in the series, entitled The Damned, is out today and takes fans back into the supernatural world that hides beneath the surface of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn. Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
This sequel provided a more varied look at the story and, while it picked up where The Beautiful left off, diverted in terms of where I thought the plotline was going to go. The multiple POVs allowed for more secrets to be revealed and really helps the reader get enveloped in the story a bit more. However, I was hoping for a bit more in the forbidden romance side of this book, but instead got more fantasy in the form of a lot more mythology and politics.
The first half of the novel really focuses on Bastien and how he grapples with his new lease on life however the second half suddenly shifts into more of an attempt to build a fantasy world beyond New Orleans. And whatever turn you think this story is going to take: think again. Plot twist after plot twist occurs and Celine, Bastien, and The Court of Lions find themselves involved in more trouble than initially seems possible.
Fair warning: there is a LOT that happens in this novel, so beware of an information overload as the supernatural world gets explored a bit more. Readers learn more about the Sylvan Vale, Sylvan Wyld, The Brotherhood, and other creatures that stay hidden from the eyes of mortals. Hopefully, a third book will be planned and released soon, because Ahdieh leaves us with even more questions than answers at the end of this book!
While I enjoyed the second installment in the series, it seems like Ahdieh wanted to use this book as a jumping point for a possible third book and introduce new plotlines instead of developing the ones already put in place. I look forward to seeing what will happen next to Celine, Bastien, and everyone else as things start to shift in their world.
*I received an ARC from PenguinTeen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi everyone! Today is my youngest sister’s birthday (Shoutout to her! Welcome to teenage-hood!) so I asked her to put together a stack of some of her favorite books for a fun little #birthdaystack ! She's not a big reader, but she's definitely read some good books and then told me to read them! Almost all of these are middle grade books so if you have kids or relatives between 10 and 14, these would all be good picks for them! Here’s what she recommends and why:
🔹Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Summary: Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don't stand out--under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes--for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of color and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body. But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl's arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her. In a celebration of nonconformity, Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity--and the thrill and inspiration of first love.
Why should you read it? It's a good book that shows how people can be quirky and different but can still capture the hearts of others.
🔹Cloudy with a Chance of Boys by Megan McDonald
Summary: As the middle sister in a family with three girls, Stevie Reel doesn’t know much about boys, and that’s always been just fine with her. But lately, things have been changing: kids at school are starting to pair up, and Owen, the new boy in her Earth Science class, seems to have his sights set on her.
The trouble is, Stevie doesn’t want a boyfriend—she’s not even sure that she’s ready to have a boy friend. And her sisters, who know exactly where they stand on the issue of boys, are no help: Alex is too busy trying to orchestrate a perfect, Romeo-and-Juliet-style first kiss from her crush, Scott Towel, while Joey can’t understand why anyone would prefer a boy over a frog, anyway. If only figuring out boys were as easy as predicting the weather!
Why should you read it? It's funny and shows sisterhood.
🔹The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Summary: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse - Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena - Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Why should you read it? If you like Mythology you; definitely like this book. It's a good book because it has a lot of adventure and mystery to it.
🔹Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Summary: Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day — until a plane struck the World Trade Center. But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Nadira has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Amy is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business. These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day — the day our world changed forever.
Why should you read it? It's a good book because it shows different peoples lives and how they all are similar an dhow one event impacts them all.
🔹Lost in Rome by Cindy Callaghan
Summary: Lucia "Lucy" Rossi thought she was going to be a camp counselor for the summer, but, thanks to a very fortunate twist, she ends up in Rome, Italy, helping out at her aunt's restaurant, Amore Pizzeria. Lucy can't wait to see some ruins, eat all the gelato she can, and maybe say a few buongiornos to some cute Italian boys. But Lucy arrives to Italian trouble. Her aunt is in danger of losing her business, thanks to a flashy new pizzeria down the road that is all style, but no substance. In order to try and save the shop, Lucy decides to employ a very unique version of matchmaking—making matches based on customer's pizza preferences. Soon, word of the American matchmaker gets out, and it looks like the business might be saved! Or so she thinks—until someone decides to try and sabotage the newfound success of Amore pizza. Can Lucy figure out who might be behind everything? Or will her family be saying ciao to Amore Pizzeria for good?
Why should you read it? This was a good book because they were trying to save the aunt's restaurant and it shows friendship and how people can work together.
🔹Saving Marty by Paul Griffin
Summary: Eleven-year-old Lorenzo Ventura knows heroes are rare--like his father, who died in the war, or his friend Paloma Lee, who fearlessly pursues her dream of being a famous musician. Renzo would never describe himself as a hero, but his chance comes when he adopts Marty, a runt piglet. Marty is extraordinary--he thinks he's a dog and acts like one too--and his bond with Renzo is truly one of a kind. At first, the family farm seems like the perfect home for Marty, but as he approaches 350 pounds, it becomes harder for Renzo to convince his mom that a giant pig makes a good pet. So when Marty causes a dangerous (and expensive) accident, Renzo knows Marty's time is up. He'd do anything and everything for his best friend, but will everything be enough to save Marty?
Why should you read it? It's kind of a feel-good story and shows how pets can help their owners and owners show such gratitude towards their pets.
🔹The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Summary: The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
Why should you read it? It's just a classic in my opinion and it shows brotherhood (because the Greasers are like brothers) and how you can be different from the rest
🔹The Ghosts of Raynham Hall by SG Taylor
Summary: There’s been talk about a ghostly boy appearing in the Long Island town of Oyster Bay. When two brothers and their two cousins go searching for the ghost at the historic Raynham Hall, they stumble upon not one but two apparitions. They also find something even more unbelievable—a portal to the past. The brothers approach Grandpa George, who reveals his knowledge of the otherworldly beings. This starts a chain reaction of supernatural events unfolding. Grandpa George explains about a battle through time fought between malevolent forces that want to alter history and those who aim to protect it. With the advice of Grandpa George, the children vow to save history from being changed for the worse. They step back in time, to embark on an adventure during the days of the Revolutionary War. As they familiarize themselves with a whole other way of life, they are put to the test. While on their journey, the children encounter dangerous characters and situations, but they also meet new friends who help in their quest. As time runs out, it is solely up to them to protect the past to keep life in the present intact.
Why should you read it? It's a good mystery and it's historical and action-packed!
🔹This Is the Day by Tim Tebow
Summary: Beyond Tim Tebow's exploits as a Heisman-winning football player, he is widely known and respected for his exemplary character and personal excellence, which have made him a role model for millions. When Tim interacts with the public, he often encounters people who feel "stuck"--unable to take action on matters ranging from daily life to pursuing lifelong dreams. In response, Tim often identifies a crippling fear or lack of courage, to which he advises: "now is the time to take some risks, to quiet the voices of defeat, to step forward and make a mark, because this is the day." In this inspiring, motivational book, readers will receive the advice and encouragement to daily move from "pause" to "play" in finding deeper meaning and success. Tim illustrates the book's themes with stories from his personal life that will delight all readers, including his an update on his dream pursuit of a baseball career.
Why should you read it? It's inspiring and Tim Tebow is one of my favorite athletes, which makes it even better!
These recommendations were all direct quotes so pardon the brevity! I hope like these recs and maybe find a new book to add to your summer reading list! And who knows, if enough people like this, maybe I can convince her to write a full review for me in the future...
What would you do to survive the end of times? Kimi Eisele’s debut novel, The Lightest Object in the Universe, looks to answer that question and showcase how a new world could rise from the ashes of the old one through the grit and resilience of a community of people. Originally published last year and now available in paperback, this book shows that even in dark times, there is room for the smallest bit of light, and sometimes that’s all you need.
What happens after the global economy collapses and the electrical grid goes down? In this new world, Carson, on the East Coast, is desperate to find Beatrix, a woman on the West Coast who holds his heart. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be saved by an evangelical preacher in the middle of the country. While Carson travels west, Beatrix and her neighbors begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could be, in fact, a bright beginning. Without modern means of communication, will Beatrix and Carson find their way to each other, and what will be left of the old world if they do? The answers may lie with a fifteen-year-old girl who could ultimately decide the fate of the lovers.
Reminiscent of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, this novel doesn’t focus on an apocalyptic event, but on the aftermath of such an event. The story shifts between Carson, who is traveling West; Beatrix, who is trying to leave her mark on her new community; and Rosie, a fifteen year old girl who is still learning things about the world. The way these characters’ stories intertwine shows how certain people touch our lives in unique ways and the way Eisele alternates POVs keeps the story engaging.
That being said, I think the most fascinating part of this book is its emphasis on humanity and the resilience of human beings. Even though the world has been plagued by viruses, the fall of capitalism, and loss of technology, the people in this book band together and try to survive. Some people are kind and others not so much, but Eisele does a fantastic job of highlighting the different kinds of people in the world and showing how they all interact with one another. It also shows how people’s true colors seem to come out in the end and how certain choices define who we are as humans.
This is not your stereotypical apocalypse book: it doesn't showcase rebel wars or action-packed scenes. Instead, it focuses on the human experience and what it takes to survive when all you have driving you forward is hope. While this novel takes a bit to get into and the end result isn't clear, this novel is beautifully written and should be a book everyone reads at least once, especially during these uncertain times.
*I received a copy of the book from Algonquin Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!