Welcome to my “Reviews in Twos” series!
At the beginning of each month, I’ll recap all of the books I read the previous month—in two sentences. One for a summary, one for my thoughts. Hopefully these little bite-size snippets will be enough to get your mouth watering for some new books. Drop your own “Reviews in Twos” in the comments; I’m always looking for more book suggestions!
Bachelor Nation, Amy Kaufman – An inside look at the show’s production, juicy contestant gossip, and on-set secrets, all written by one of Bachelor Nation’s castaways. Super engaging, fun to read, and makes me love/hate the franchise even more.
Redefining Realness, Janet Mock – A collection of essays spun into a memoir about the life of the trans activist, following her from childhood through her teenage years and into adulthood. Incredibly moving, eye-opening, and inspiring; Mock truly is one hell of a woman.
Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinbourough – Girl meets boy in a bar, girl kisses boy, girl finds out boy is married, girl finds out boy is her new boss, girl befriends boy’s wife, girl learns not all in their marriage is what it seems. All I’ll say is…if you like twist endings, read this; the #WTFThatEnding hashtag created by the book’s marketing department is NO JOKE.
Dark Places, Gillian Flynn – Girl’s entire family is murdered when she’s a child, girl testifies against her brother, girl grows up and runs out of pity funds, girl meets boy who runs a cult-like club obsessed with high profile crimes, boy convinces girl to re-examine the case to make sure her brother truly is guilty. I had high expectations from the Gone Girl author, and she did not disappoint; twists and turns at the end of every chapter left me sitting on the edge of my seat, hungry for more.
Red Clocks, Leni Zumas – A modern-day reimagining of the classic The Handmaid’s Tale, where adoption is only legal for heterosexual, married couples and abortion is legally considered murder. It was equally entertaining as it was horrifying—scarier than The Handmaid’s Tale in the sense that Zumas drew her inspiration for this dystopia’s rules from actual politicians.
Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs – A memoir about the author’s tumultuous home life, from his kooky guardian family, to grappling with his sexuality, to exploring friendships and growing up. Some parts had me laughing out loud, some parts had tears welling in my eyes; the book truly is one of the more raw and honest looks at life I’ve read.
DECEMBER 2017/JANUARY 2018
Final Girls, Riley Sager (trigger warning for violence) – A woman who escaped a brutal massacre finds her past catching up to her. I loved it, until I found out a man wrote it under a female pen name—then I only liked it.
One of Us is Lying, Karen McManus – Five kids go to detention, but only four come back out. Although I was afraid I would see a modern-day retelling of The Breakfast Club, the book was suspenseful and engaging, and the twist ending had me on the edge of my seat.
Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together int he Cafeteria, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum – An academic look at systemic racism in all of its forms. Heart-wrenching, disturbing, and angering, yet eye-opening, thought-provoking, and inspiring.
The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur – A collection of poetry about heartbreak and healing. Kaur’s simple, accessible, poetic voice left me with tears of pain and joy, craving more of her beautiful writings.
Behind Closed Doors, BA Paris (trigger warning for psychological abuse) – Woman meets the perfect man, the perfect man turns out to be a crazy physically and emotionally abusive maniac. Went in expecting something that could hold its own against Gone Girl; instead, I was entertained and appreciated that the story strayed from traditional “battered wife” novels, but I’m not sure it’s quite the same level of crazy as Gillian Flynn’s book.
Heather the Totality, Matthew Weiner – Two parents obsessed with their beautiful, perfect daughter. You can definitely tell a dude wrote this.