• Erin Zaranec

2018 reads: Books 31-35

I heard so much hype around this book for years and figured it was time to check it out for myself.

Written from the point of view of Christopher John Francis Boone, a boy on the Autism spectrum, the book follows his mission to discover who killed his neighbor's dog - and why.

Christopher's life follows a code of patterns, diagrams, and rules. His brain works wonders, but his social skills are lacking and oftentimes awkward. The book is part mystery, part narrative and I really enjoyed it due to my love for Christopher as a character.

Starr Carter is a sixteen-year-old girl who is constantly moving between two worlds: the underprivileged, predominately Black neighborhood where she lives with her family and the predominately white suburban prep school that she attends every week. Starr is already walking a tightrope between these two worlds, when the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend snaps the tightrope in two. His death becomes a national headline and, as the only living witness to the shooting, Starr must navigate her way through the aftermath of one night that will cause her two worlds to collide and explode.

This book, though a young adult read, is more mature than most books I’ve read. Thomas unapologetically covers a topic that we’ve, unfortunately, seen in headline after headline. The book is one that shows a true family dynamic, a young girl who is discovering her voice and a community who only wants justice. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking story that I would read time and time again. The story has the ability to rip your heart out while you cheer Starr on as she finds out just how powerful her voice can be.

Shonda Rhimes steps outside out Shondaland to write a memoir about how she saved her own life by saying yes. She took her social anxiety head on by only saying yes, yes and yes again. Suddenly, the woman who once described herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events was appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and taking award shows by storm.

Here’s the thing – I wanted to like this book. I really did. I was ready to be inspired to take on the world and face all of my fears head on. But… instead, I was stumbling through 300-ish pages of Shonda Rhimes saying ‘yes’ to things that I wouldn’t be able to relate to. I didn’t really see any of her anecdotes to be relatable in any way and I felt like Rhimes, who often says she doesn’t like talking about herself, took a book that was meant to inspire others and made it, well, all about herself.

Evelyn Hugo is a woman of intrigue and mystery. After years in the public eye as a glamorous actress, she is finally ready to break the silence on all of the headlines that molded the public’s perception of her. Evelyn won’t just share her secrets with anyone, though, she’ll only allow unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to write her memoir. Through various meetings in Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique learns the truth behind the headlines and the seven husbands that came and went along the way.

If you want a book that you can easily get lost in - I would highly recommend this read. I was mesmerized by Evelyn Hugo’s life, her husbands and the truth behind the woman the public saw on screen. You can’t help but hate Evelyn at points, but by the end of the book I really did love the woman. Monique ties into Evelyn’s story in a way you wouldn’t expect, but works seamlessly with the plot. Also… Evelyn is a girl boss! She ends up having ore fame and fortune than all seven husbands combined and refused to let a man use her to establish themselves.

A forty-six year old divorcee with a house to herself after her child leaves for college, Eve Fletcher is coming to terms with life on her own.

A mysterious text leads her down the rabbit hole of online porn, dating, and a younger generation.

While Eve lives like she never has before, her son adjusts to college life and how to come into his own, too.

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