A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is the sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which is the story of an "alien" visitation by a giant samurai robot referred to as Carl (the Carls when plural). It's difficult to discuss the second book without inadvertently giving away the ending of the first, so be forewarned that this review contains a spoiler for the first book. I do not, however, include spoilers for the second book.
Tarriona "Tank" Ball is a slam poet and a Grammy-Nominated recording artist with her band "Tank and the Bangas." I had never heard of Tank before reading her debut poetry collection, so, naturally, after finishing her collection, I looked into her music, and she's an amazing singer!
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.
Ari wants to move away from home and make it big with his band. Hector is taking a break from baking school to clean a recently deceased relative's house. Ari needs to convince his parents they don't need his help at their family bakery, and Hector is looking for a job. The two meet during the job interview and grow close as they work side by side morning after morning.
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.
Wilder Girls takes the essence of most YA sci-fi/dystopian novels and tightens the net around them. What's left is a small island in the Atlantic Ocean called Raxter Island. It's a school for girls that was doing relatively well on its own. Until the Tox hit. It affected each girl differently. Hetty's eye began bleeding, and she had to sew it shut. Byatt's spine warped and is now visible on her back, and Reese's hand has become a hardened silver. The Tox affected the adults differently, and most of them died shortly after it began. The younger girls weren't that affected until they hit puberty and the Tox spiked in them.
Where the World Ends is set on the island of St. Kilda, off the coast of Scotland. A group of boys and three adult men are delivered to Warrior stac, which is less of an island and more of a rock (featured on the book cover) jutting out of the ocean. On the stac, the boys and men are meant to harvest the local birds for profit. This includes killing gannet, puffin, and garefowl for meat and for the oil in the birds' stomachs, which they will sell when they are picked up and returned to the main island. This is how the people of the St. Kilda archipelagos make a living. However, this time, no one comes to pick them up.