• Erin Zaranec

2018 reads: Books 1-5

I started off the year by reading All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I don't typically read Young Adult, but figured this would be a quick read and I had heard good things.

On the surface, Violet and Finch couldn't be any more different. Violet was the it girl at school, while Finch was an outcast. The two teens travel their home state together, learning more about the similarities and the differences in their lives - leading to an unusual friendship and love story.

Commonwealth is a novel that spans five decades and shows how one chance encounter changed the fate of two families. Two families are forced to become one after a bit of a scandalous affair. Years later, when family secrets are written for the world to see, the four parents and six children are forced to come to terns with their losses, guilt and loyalty.

The novel reveals the complexity that lies within most families. Parts of it seemed a bit mundane, but the story did keep me interested from start to finish. Patchett is a great writer and the story of the Cousins and the Keatings is one shows just how fun, messy and loving families can be.

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a broadcast journalist, as a mental breakdown causes the collapse of her career, her marriage and life as she knew it. The reader gets an insight on how you don't always escape the demons from your childhood and how, sometimes, family can be the cause of your downfall.

Rachel is strong and smart, but is floundering in many ways. By the end of the book, she does learn to depend on herself - but not without plenty of bumps along the way.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is my all-time favorite. While it is a bit hard to adjust to classic writing, the message of Dorian Gray is one that always stays with me.

The relationships between Dorian and nearly every character - from Basil to Sibyl - make the reader love to hate Dorian for his selfishness and vanity.

The writing of Oscar Wilde is beautiful and the message of this book is timeless.

I switched to a memoir to round out my first five books of the year. I chose to read Wildflower by Drew Barrymore after watching an interview with her. I didn't know lots of details about her life, like the fact that she was emancipated from her mother and lived alone in her early teens. I was intrigued by her life and really excited to read about it.

This book is definitely light, which Barrymore says she wanted it to be, but sometimes does veer into being a bit scrambled. The stories span her life - from her childhood to becoming a mother. She is honest about her flaws, her mistakes and her successes. Drew is just... cool and this book reflects that.


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