July Reading Roundup
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
This is middle grade at it's best. Suzy's best friend died in a drowning incident, but Franny was a good swimmer so Suzy becomes convinced that it must have been caused by a jellyfish sting. This is the story of grief that unfolds parallel to a story of the wonders of the world. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and life affirming.
Big Sky by Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson returns to detective Jackson Brodie with Big Sky. Atkinson's books are always brilliantly witty and with deft story lines inhabited by well drawn characters with rich interior dialogue. While not as complex and ambitious as Life After Life and A God In Ruins, this was a welcome return to the wry humour of her literary crime series.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Classic dystopian middle grade and hey - it's a classic for a reason people! Confronting, thought provoking dystopia written in clear sparse prose.
The Jolly Regina (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #1) by Kara LaReau
Hilarious and clever, this book follows the accidental adventures of Jaundice and Kale Bland while tickling your funny bone with swashbuckling, sea shanties and whimsy.
Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough
Written with brevity and warmth, this tale of high school pranks and high jinks with LGBT romance will capture your heart. This book doesn't miss a beat and never missteps. What's not to love here?
Hive by A. J. Betts
Strange futuristic dystopia full of intrigue and atmosphere. A world that will stay with you after you have read it - which is good because there is a sequel!
Into the Fire by Sonia Orchard
Female friendships are central to this book as it moves between the present day, where Lara's best friend has died in a fire, and the 90's where they formed a friendship while at university studying women's studies. The book creates this past strongly with sensory detail that transports the reader. The story explores motherhood, relationships and the choices we make and why we make them - and how that affects our long term friendships. The book also has a nagging slow burn mystery. It fell short on intensity for me with niggling doubts about the protagonists behaviour. But the examination of women's lives, decisions and friendships was incredibly close to the bone.
Crudo by Oliva Liang
An intellectual riff on society, politics, gender and life today written with cleverness but lacking in connection to spirit or heart. Brilliantly cerebral but the effect wasn't long lasting.
Mika and Max by Laura Bloom
A gorgeous and deceptively complex story of a girl awkward in her skin learning to come to terms with her changing body and identity through connecting to a boy with autism. The story manages to convey well drawn family life and dynamics, inner emotions and a gripping plot within a short narrative and brilliant depth.