We made it – finally, that horrible winter is behind us. Although it did provide many an opportunity to cuddle up in a chair next to a fireplace with a good book, summer brings us vacations and vacations mean… more time to read! At least, they do in my book (see what I did there?).
So as I am WAY backlogged on my review list, I decided to catch up with a proposed summer reading list packed with some of my favorite reads of the spring. Aren’t I clever? Here goes:
WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart
I actually read this on my own vacation. Suffice to say, I turned a few heads sobbing my eyes out poolside. WE WERE LIARS is the story of the Sinclair cousins and step-cousins who have spent every summer since they were 8 on the beaches of their family’s private east-coast island. Until one summer, something horrible happens. Something Cadence can’t remember. Going back to the island for the first time since whatever happened happened, Cadence tries to reconcile all the changes – from her aunts’ relationship with her mother, her own parents divorce, and the upheaval of the four Liars (Cadence, her two cousins Mirren and Johnny, and their friend Gat). Everyone seems determined to let Cadence find out for herself what her migraines won’t let her remember. But as her memories return, Cadence fears reality might be more terrifying than remaining in the dark.
Haunting is a word I’ve seen used often to describe this outstanding book – but it’s about so much more than Cadence finding her lost memories. It’s about love and prejudice, faith and strength, betrayal and living with choices, both good and bad.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Hayley Kinkaid’s father Andy is a veteran. They’ve spent most of her life on the road, as he drives his rig to pay the bills. She knows keeping on the move is a way for him to run from the demons of his military service in Iraq, but she never really understood what war did to him before. They’ve returned to his hometown to allow Hayley to attend her last year of high school. She wants a normal existence, and maybe even a boyfriend, but it seems being back at home isn’t helping her dad’s PTSD, in fact, it might be making it worse.
Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to tackle tough issues while telling an intriguing story never disappoints. IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY is no exception. Heart-wrenching, difficult to read at times, compelling and moving, it sucks you in and forces a confrontation with the hell that is war, how it changes people, and how it follows soldiers home.
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal
Full disclosure – Ms. Neal is also represented by my literary agent, making us agent-sisters. (Yeah, Glicksterchicks!)
Regardless, I would recommend MY LAST KISS. I’m fascinated by stuck-between-life-and-death stories and Cassidy’s tale adds an interesting twist. Everyone thinks she committed suicide. Cassidy herself doesn’t even remember how she died. She does know that her “fall” from the covered bridge happened right after kissing a boy … but she’s not sure if that boy was her long-time boyfriend or someone else. Somehow, Cassidy has to find out what really happened in the days leading up to the night she died, even if it means discovering she betrayed the love of her life. Great debut from Bethany Neal. Certainly looking forward to more from her.