House of Hollow is a gothic book, through and through. It's not a mystery, though mysterious events occur. It's a dark gothic novel with bits of horror mixed in. Think of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the movie or the book, if it were written and directed by Hans Christian Andersen. Iris Hollow is 17. When she was young, she and her two sisters went missing around Christmas time. They were there one minute, then their mother looked away then back again and they were gone. No trace. When the sisters finally reappear near their house one day years later, no one can explain how they went missing or how they returned, not even the girls themselves. Such is the lore of the Hollow house. Now, Iris's older sister Grey is missing again, and strange yet familiar things start happening. Iris knows Grey is hiding something, but first Iris has to find her.
Elatsoe is a magical realism YA novel where the world we are used to exits in tandem with many other creatures such as vampires and werewolves. The world of Elatsoe reminds me of the world in the Spiderwick chronicles (the book, obvi, not the deplorable movie). Elatsoe, who goes by Ellie, is a bright young woman whose cousin has just been murdered. Everyone is calling it an accident, a car wreck, but Ellie knows better. She has dreams about the dead, and her cousin visits her while she's asleep shortly after he dies. Ellie, with the help of her ghost dog Kirby, as well as her wonderfully present and supportive parents and her hometown friends, begins to unravel the mystery of her cousin's death. But communing with the dead is a serious feat, and if done wrong, things can quickly get out of hand. Is Ellie strong enough to handle the darkness around her family's history?
Pablo has been struggling with finances, with finding a passion, with discovering what he wants to devote his life to. At the moment, he's working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour bodega. He's avoiding telling his parents how over his head he is from student loans and the credit card he opened when he first started college. Basically, his life is a mess. Then one night, famous pop star Leanna Smart wanders into the bodega and everything changes. There's an instant connection, but Leanna is crazy busy all the time, zipping from one continent to another making albums and movies and business deals while Pablo spends his time working and avoiding taking responsibility for all his problems. Is there any way they can make their relationship work, or were they doomed from the start?
My book review of Suzanne Park's contemporary romance novel So We Meet Again was recently published in Chapter 16.
My book review of Joan He's sci-fi young adult novel The Ones We're Meant to Find was recently published online by Up the Staircase Quarterly. You can read the review here: https://www.upthestaircase.org/the-ones-were-meant-to-find.html And be sure to check out He's great novel as well. Here's the synopsis for the book: One of the most twisty, surprising,…
Jim Rath is obsessed with a lost aquatic race called the Nautikons. He enjoys visiting a local hotel pool where he floats submerged in the water, with only the top of the snorkel peaking out, daydreaming about the Nautikons. One day, Jim spots a man he is certain is a Nautikon in disguise, and he follows the man to several hotels in pursuit of evidence to prove his theory of the existence of this aquatic race.
Looker is a case study at its core, a novel that hones in on motherhood, infertility, and the concept of "having it all." Our female narrator is unnamed; her husband has left her and she has had zero luck conceiving a child. After her husband leaves, her life unwinds thread by thread and her obsession with the actress who lives next door grows into dangerous territory. Her job is threatened at work, and now her husband is calling, demanding she return the cat he left behind.
Tin Man is a beautiful portrait of a love triangle between Ellis, Michael, and Annie. But it's also a story of friendship and a story of family. The novel opens in 1950, with Ellis's mother remembering the day she acquired a painting by Vincent van Gogh.
Little Fires Everywhere received massive attention when it was published in 2017, garnering over 59,000 reviews on Goodreads and winning the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award. At the time, I remember watching the publicity for the book grow, and I even read an article that broke down its marketing success. Reese Witherspoon chose it as a book club pick and subsequently developed and starred in mini series Hulu adaptation.
Eve Ensler, known for The Vagina Monologues, writes about her struggles with cancer and her tentative relationship with her own body. Raised in an abusive home where she was sexually assaulted by her father, Ensler has spent much of her life separating herself from her own body. In fact, The Vagina Monologues came about largely because of Ensler's obsession with her own vagina and her desire to understand it, which led her to seek out and interview as many women as she could about their own experiences with their vaginas.