I'll be honest. I read a lot of YA, but I had never read Jason Reynolds prior to his latest release, Long Way Down. I was able to pick up an advanced copy at a book expo earlier in the year and trust me when I tell you that it is a must-read. It's a must-read for not just lovers of YA, but for anyone who appreciates a good "can't put it down, read it in one sitting" kind of story.
Long Way Down begins with Will, whose brother Shawn has just been murdered. In Will's world, there are rules that you follow. No crying. No snitching. Just revenge. Revenge is what leads Will to take Shawn's gun out of his drawer and place it in the waistband of his jeans. He walks to the elevator on the seventh floor, steps on, and presses the button for the lobby. The elevator stops on the sixth floor and on steps Buck, who Will soon discovers originally gave Shawn the gun. Buck instructs Will to check the gun, which is when Will notices that one bullet is missing. Yet he doesn't recall Shawn ever using it. Oh, and there's one more problem. Buck is dead. With each floor, someone from Will and Shawn's past will step on. They will give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows.
Anyone who read Celeste Ng's debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, knows the woman has a gift for pulling you into her narrative and not letting you go until the story has been told. Little Fires Everywhere is another shining example of that. Ng sets the story of a family, two outsiders new to town, and a highly publicized custody battle in Shaker Heights, Ohio (her hometown). Shaker Heights is what I expect would be a great setting of a modern day adaptation of The Scarlet Letter. Everything and everyone are regulated- until Mia and Pearl move into town and set things on tilt, just by being themselves. All is fine and dandy until a custody battle between adoptive parents and the biological mother of the child splits the town, friendships, and precarious family dynamics into an inferno of right, wrong, and a conclusion that will leave you quietly stunned. If you want a steadier, less bleak Jodi Picoult, Celeste Ng is your next destination.
I’m a big fan of Isabel Allende’s work. Her new book came out recently. I was disappointed in it. THIS book by Maria Duenas? The opposite. In fact, I would go as far to say that this book is more like an Isabel Allende book than that one. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves Allende’s work, or fans of Kristin Hannah. Really, anyone who likes historical fiction based around a time and those living in it (rather than historical events that took place), would enjoy it.
Imagine having financial security based on years of hard work, and then life comes along and deals you a losing hand, which results in that security being threatened. This is what happens to Maura Larrea. But this guy is a fighter, and he manages to take a huge chance with what he has left, and he inherits a neglected house and a vineyard in Spain. He leaves behind his life and heads for Spain, with the intention of selling the property and going back to Mexico.