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About those January reads

My January was full of yoga, Twitter panic, LEA MICHELE, and a lot of Jane the Virgin. (I’m almost caught up on Season 2, finally!) So truth time. Magan and I announced we are back in some capacity, and we are still figuring out what exactly that capacity is. We’re playing it by ear, and I’m hoping by completing one of my fitness challenges will free up a little but more time for writing on here. We do hope you’ll follow along as we figure all of this out. But I popped on WordPress to talk books and HERE I AM.

I’m going to keep it simple. I’m sure you have lots to do. (Dishes? Nails? Paying attention to the holiday cards you still haven’t finished? Um. Not talking about me at all.) Focus, Estelle. Here are three books I hope you’ll check out super soon:

Wrecked by Maria PadianWrecked by Maria Padian / Goodreads | B&N | Amazon / Since my November tropical vacation, I’ve been in a a reading rut. I’m blaming it on the election, but I think it started a wee bit before that. It was not until I picked up Wrecked that I felt I found my reading groove again. I don’t think you hear that kind of thing very often about books on rape but it’s true for this one. Told from the POVs of Haley, the victim’s roommate, and Richard, the accused housemate, Wrecked unveils the behind-the-scenes details of a full-on rape investigation on a small college campus and just how challenging these cases can be. The strategy, the bullying, the loneliness, and the fuzzy details. It takes real skill from an author to take a reader, so confident in what happened, and turn them into a ball of frustration because what they thought was true might not be so at all. This feeling, almost vulnerable-like, heightened the anxiety of every scene and made me even more obsessed to reach to the finale. I wish I had had this book in high school. I wish we had been discussing political correctness. I wish we were discussing consent. I fear too many will pass up Wrecked because of the difficult subject matter but, to me, that’s more reason to pick it up. We need knowledge. We need to be thoughtful. We need to be open to learning from each other. We need to respect each other. Now more than ever. | Young adult novel from Algonquin Young Readers (October 2016).

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann HayduThe Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu / Goodreads | B&N | Amazon / I love when my favorite authors challenge me in new ways, and Corey has certainly done that in her latest YA book about a street in Brooklyn, bound in curses, tradition, love and grief. In this alternate version of our world, the main character, Lorna, and a few of her closest friends continue to reel from an attack in NYC that destroyed Times Square. The Affected are honored constantly; Lorna cannot escape this part of her story. Neither can she escape the “curse” of her street: that the boy she falls in love with will die. An older woman on the street tries to shield Lorna and her friends from love but this curse can’t keep feelings at bay. There’s so much to discuss in this beautiful and heartbreakingly layered book. What happens when you allow grief to run your life? What do we really know about love? How can we guarantee that love is real and we can keep those we love safe? It’s tough stuff, but, as always, Corey tells this story thoughtfully and with so many feelings and brilliant, little details. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. | Young adult novel from Dutton Books (January 2017).

Confessions with the Fat Girl by Liza PalmerConversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer / Goodreads | B&N | Amazon / As I await Liza Palmer’s upcoming book, I’m still working through her backlist and dug out this little gem. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of the cover and the title and I have a feeling if the book had been published in 2017, we might be looking at something a little different. Yes, this is a book about a girl who is overweight but her weight is hardly the whole focus of this story. Instead, we find a 26-year old at a total crossroads. Can Maggie remain best friends with her unsupportive childhood bestie (who, sidenote, also had gastric bypass surgery and pretends her younger years never happened)? Why the eff is she still working at a coffee shop when she wants to be working in a museum? Will she ever ask that cute guy out? I loved that this book asked the question: “If you can’t even choose yourself, how can anyone else?” IT’S A HARD QUESTION, and there is so much work for Maggie to do. And guess what? At 26, 32, 45, we may not still have our lives figured out but there doesn’t mean there isn’t time to make a change. We can only be good to others when we are good to ourselves. AND this has very little to do with our romantic love lives. Liza hit me where it hurts with the breakdown of Maggie and Olivia’s best friendship. It was so honest and it felt cathartic to see something so relative on the page. I love when books make you feel less alone, and soothes similar aches. A slow start but a strong, strong finish. | Contemporary fiction from 5 Spot (September 2005).

On the docket for me this month: The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies, The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek, and Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr.

Let’s see how this “plan” goes. Friends, hope to hear from you in the comments or on social! What book should I be adding to my nightstand? Or just send me some hearts. 🙂

February 4, 2017 - 10:48 am

Emma - I think a day-by-day approach to the blog is a great idea and even when there aren’t new posts here, I’ve been so happy to see new things from your and M on your Instagram or Twitter. Yay!

SO glad we read The Careful Undressing of Love around the same time and got to talk so much about it. Honestly, I feel like there are still things to say even after dissecting so much of it already.

I feel like Wrecked might not be a “me” book because I really don’t read to be stressed out which it sounds like might be inevitable with the subject matter. BUT I am making note of the title to recommend all over the place. And maybe I’ll get to it when I’m not into comfort reads. It also sounds like a great read-a-like for one of this year’s Printz Honors (Asking for It).

February 4, 2017 - 9:51 am

Lori - I have a copy of The Careful Undressing of Love. It sounds so unique and fascinating. I’m happy to hear that you liked it. I’ll have to check out the other 2 as well!

February 3, 2017 - 5:39 pm

Alexa S. - I really enjoyed THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE! As always, Corey brought a story that felt fresh, a story that really made me think about things like love and grief and the communities that shape us. I definitely loved it!

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