The week in review

I have been doing a whole lot of running and baking (and hot yoga) lately, but what I haven’t been doing is blogging about it. I still feel behind from when my laptop died, but this weekend I hope to do some catching up. I did a great race in Portland over St Patrick’s Day and I want to at least do a recap so I don’t forget about it. And I have a special Easter dessert planned that I am super excited about. And by “Easter” I mean “Jesus Christ Superstar live starring John Legend,” of course. Anyhoo…

How do I sum up Girls Burn Brighter? I could see any rating from 1-5 for this one. I loved these two characters. I loved the story for about the first 100 pages. Then it got incredibly dreary, and the writing was very flat, but it was impossible to put down. I was getting extremely anxious toward the end. I kind of loved the ending? I sort of hated this book and loved it at the same time. I guess I need someone else to read this so we can discuss it; apparently I just need to process this one.

I had high hopes for The Family Next Door. I’ve never read Sally Hepworth before but she comes highly recommended from my reader friends, and suburban domestic drama is right up my alley. The writing and characters were fine, but the plot went way too soap opera for me. I mean, there are two storylines that involve DNA paternity testing; that feels like at least one too many. And there is sort of a cop-out involving a character who committed a major crime. She just wasn’t in her right mind, no worries! I didn’t love this but I may read her again.

Another one I did not love at all was Alternate Side. I was really excited for this, because I like Anna Quindlen a lot, and again, domestic drama! This was a frustrating one for me, because there was so much good writing, and great insights about marriage. But something about this rubbed me the wrong way. It felt like she was trying to shine a light on issues of race, class, and privilege, but she didn’t really say anything about it. It feels very white feminist in that way, like, it’s not enough to just show that you’re aware of your privilege, you don’t get a medal for that. And I know that I am white and a feminist and I just used ‘white feminist’ as a criticism, but such are the times we live in.

Finished the week on a good one! T Greenwood is such an underrated author, who never disappoints, and I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Rust & Stardust recently. This was fantastic, and I had so many feelings about it. This is a novel based on the real-life kidnapping that inspired Lolita. I’ve read Lolita a few times but I was only vaguely aware of any real life inspiration. I really want to reread it once again soon because I know I’ll appreciate it on a new level. Anyway, Rust & Stardust is totally compelling and heartbreaking, and very difficult to read as the parent of an 11 year old girl. This is a stunner and I’m still dying from the description of Sally being four feet ten in her socks. I would hate the ending if it weren’t based on a true story, so I can’t blame the author for that one. Way to ruin a story, real life!

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