You guys, I read up a storm this month. Blame it on snow days and vacation days, but I soared through book after book and couldn’t be happier! Here’s what I read:
How to Murder Your Life, by Cat Marnell: I was enamored by this one. It was seriously After Perfect round two in the sense that I couldn’t stop Googling everyone when the book was over! This was partly because Cat is from my hometown — I, too, grew up gawking at Mike Tyson’s house and attended the same large, public middle school that she did, and several of my friends lived in Cat’s immediate neighborhood. I was also interested in reading about her own experience working in magazines (my beauty editor at American Baby often let me attend beauty events on her behalf, but they weren’t in foreign countries like Cat’s!). But obviously the book is about so much more than magazines and glamour. Cat chronicles her struggle with drug addiction, which began when she started taking ADHD meds while at boarding school. I was both fascinated and horrified while reading this book, and I definitely feel like various people in Cat’s life enabled her (lending her money, letting her keep her job despite serious screwups, etc). But, I think at the same time, this good fortunate made the book all the more interesting. Cat continued to deteriorate yet still was responsible for producing quality work, making rent, etc. And, for some reason beyond me, I was rooting for her all the way through. There were a lot of serendipitous encounters that really ended up shaping Cat’s life, and it was also interesting reading about her friendships with up-and-coming stars (just like how the author of After Perfect talked about living with a young Emma Stone). I tore through this book in two days (I opened it as soon as I got out of work and again while waiting 10 minutes for a doctor’s appointment to begin — I was that addicted! Ha…no pun intended!), and I’d highly recommend it. There’s a reason everyone’s been talking about it and why it’s gotten such great reviews on Amazon.
The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica: I’d been meaning to read this one forever, and it was a super quick but interesting read for me. My friend had read it awhile back and loved it, and she kept warning me that a twist was coming. I was a little confused when I had 40 pages left in the book and hadn’t encountered any major surprises, but there it was…on the last page! Definitely keep reading all the way through. The book (which is about a young professional woman in Chicago who goes missing) will leave you shocked for sure.
The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena: I picked this up from the library and also sped through it. Again, someone goes missing (in this case, a baby, who is left home alone while her parents are at a party next door) but you’re left with a surprising revelation at the end about why. This book has been getting a lot of hype, and for good reason!
All The Missing Girls, by Meghan Miranda: Lots of mystery books for me this month! I had really high hopes for this one, but just didn’t love it. The story is told in backwards order, which is an interesting technique, but it still didn’t keep me hooked. I was a little surprised when I learned what had actually happened to the first missing girl, but the book just seemed to go on and on and didn’t thrill me.
The Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes: Let me start by saying that I love all of Shonda’s shows (I’ve watched several seasons of all three and have been borderline obsessed at times) but I just wasn’t drawn into her memoir. It’s a pretty short, easy read, but it didn’t hook me in the way her shows do. But I did learn a lot more about Shonda’s life and personality (she’s a huge introvert), which was interesting background. I’ve been hooked on re-watching Grey’s lately, too, so it only seemed fitting to pick up her book!
The Mothers, by Brit Bennett: This popular new book focuses on a teenage girl growing up in California and follows her into adulthood. Her mother has recently died, and she is living at home with her distant father before starting college halfway across the country. Without giving too much away, it’s an interesting coming of age read that examines the significance of early romantic relationships and the power of friendships. I really enjoyed it!
A Window Opens, by Elisabeth Egan: I LOVED this book, but I have to warn you, I was sobbing at the end. Like, woah. I kept putting off finishing the book (well, for short periods of time — I loved it so much that I tore through it in a couple of days!) because I knew what was going to happen and that it would be upsetting. For me, the main character was super relatable (she’d also been an editor for her college newspaper and, at the beginning of the book, was serving as the books editor at a major women’s mag in NYC!). Maybe that’s why I was so invested! The novel was centered on her changing financial situation and the challenges that ensued, a new job that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, an ill, aging father, and the difficulities of managing family life and a stressed out husband. I promise the book isn’t as depressing as it sounds — but for a piece of fiction, it was very honest and introspective (while still being a fun, chick lit-like read). Upon Googling the author, I learned that the main character mirrored her pretty closely, which helped make the story very realistic.
Good as Gone, by Amy Gentry: This is yet another thriller (if ya couldn’t guess from the title!) and tells the story of a girl who was taken from her bedroom as a child only to return to her family home at the age of 21. I didn’t love how the story was told from multiple perspectives (and different characters frequently went by different names, too, which made things confusing!), but it was still a good mystery read that definitely threw me for a loop!
The Futures, by Anna Pitoniak: I also loved, loved, loved this book. It tells the story of a young couple, Evan and Julia, who recently graduated from Yale and start a new life in New York City (Evan has been offered a prestigious job in finance, hence the punny title). The book examines the struggles associated with postgrad life, and, being set in 2008, also takes a look at the financial crisis and its impact on so many workers, young and old. Evan and Julia’s relationship is tested throughout the course of the year, and each are faced with stress and difficult choices both in and out of the workplace. Parts of the book were a bit stressful for sure, but I sped through it because I couldn’t get enough of the characters! I liked how some chapters are told from Evan’s perspective and some are in Julia’s voice, and I think the author did a great job capturing both main characters’ thoughts.