Quick takes- March 2018

Girls Burn Brighter. 3 1/2 stars. This was very hard to put down, but also very hard to enjoy. Good story, flat writing. Really mixed bag.

Liar & Spy. 4 stars. One of the best YA writers today. Lucy and I both loved this.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore. 5 stars. Loved every page of this one. Great story and structure, great characters. A real standout.

The Woman in the Window. 2 stars. This was so dull and boring for an alleged thriller. At first I enjoyed all the movie references, but eventually it just highlighted how much better those movies are than this book.

Good Neighbors. 2 stars. Hello, worst narrator ever. This is the kind of thing I normally eat right up but it was a big mess. Such a loathsome narrator, and not in an interesting way.

The Family Next Door. 3 stars. Another one that I should have liked a lot more than I did. The plot just got too soap opera-ish for me. One storyline involving paternity testing is plenty. Two is overkill. I’d read her again though.

Back Talk. 3 stars. Decent story collection, but no real standouts. I already don’t remember anything about this.

Neon in Daylight. 4 stars. This is a plot that’s been done over and over but when the writing is this good, who cares? I can’t wait for more from her.

The Perfect Nanny. 3 stars. This feels more like an idea for a book than the actual book. “It’s about a nanny that kills the kids! Ooh, creepy!” (Not a spoiler, happens on page one.) And that’s about it.

Alternate Side. 3 stars. Once in a while there are great flashes of insight here. But mostly it is about rich people arguing over parking spaces. The fact that one of them is mildly aware of their privilege does not redeem it. Not even close.

Brass. 3 1/2 stars. The problem with alternating points of view happens when one is much more interesting than the other. Half of this book is great, half is just okay.

Improvement. 4 stars. This was really cool, it was like taking connected stories to another level. It lost its way for me a little bit about halfway through, but it recovered big time. I loved how it all came together.

Rust & Stardust. 5 stars. A novel based on the real life kidnapping that inspired Lolita. Everything about this is good. T. Greenwood is a great writer, it’s a total page-turner, and a good reality check for anyone who’s still inexplicably romanticizing Humbert and Lo.

I Am, I Am, I Am. 4 stars. A few of these chapters are incredibly strong and haunting, but I did get tired of some of this. I just don’t love memoirs in general, so it’s a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’

Top picks: The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, Improvement, Neon in Daylight. Rust & Stardust doesn’t come out until August, but pick up literally any T. Greenwood book to tide you over while you wait.

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