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Dorie's Reading Corner by Doriesreadingcorner - 5M ago

Happy Friday, readers!

Today I will be sharing book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current book, as well as any first impressions or initial thoughts they might have.
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences, and post them.

I haven’t decided which book I’ll be picking up next, so this week I will be pulling excerpts from the book I just finished: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib.

Synopsis:

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

Book Beginning:

I call it the Van Gogh bedroom. Just a different color scheme. Hazy peach blanket, hazy peach walls. Pastel green carpet on a cherry wood floor. White blinds and shutters, the window and closet creak. Everything is pale and faded, a little like me.

The Friday 56:

Is the staff agreeable?

Do you know if we are allowed to have coffee or chewing gum?

I could ask her for pointers or about pitfalls to avoid, but what I really want is reassurance.

Am I going to be okay?

What are you reading this weekend? Feel free to join in with lines from your current read!

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Today I’ll be joining WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.

I am currently reading: An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

Named an Oprah’s Book Club Selection

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

I finished reading: Elevation
by Stephen King

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face—including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

This Is Where It Ends
by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

What I’m reading next: The Girls at 17 Swann Street
by Yara Zgheib

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week? Let me know in the comments below!

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Title: When Elephants Fly
Author: Nancy Richardson Fischer
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Pages: 400
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

Book Blurb:

There are some battles worth fighting even if it means losing yourself.

T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she’s not developing schizophrenia.Genetics are not on Lily’s side.

When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily’s odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there’s a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty, when schizophrenia most commonly manifests.

But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can’t abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf’s life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way.

My Thoughts:

Crazy is genetic. It’s the house I was born inside. There are no windows, just two locked doors. One door leads to Normal, the other to Insanity. At some point, I will inherit a key, but I don’t get to pick which door it unlocks. Even if I did, there’s no guarantee I’d understand the choice, or realize where I was going when I got there.

Eighteen-year-old Lily faces a fear most of us can only just imagine. When she was just seven years old, her mother fell into a deep spiral of paranoid schizophrenia and tried to kill her. Because of an alarmingly high family history with the disease, Lily’s doctors have told her that she’s at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia herself and, even worse, she just entered the twelve year period where it’s most likely to manifest. Lily is determined to beat the odds and does everything she can to prevent it. She avoids stress, alcohol, and all drugs including caffeine; she eats “clean” foods and exercises regularly; she practices meditation; she even has her best friend test her mental state every month to see if she’s showing signs of deterioration.

Lily’s dream is to be a journalist and she interns with a local newspaper to work towards that dream. When her boss sends her to do an interview about a baby elephant at a local zoo, she has no idea that she’s about to embark on a journey that will push her way outside of her comfort zone.

The calf lay beside me, gazing into my eyes. I had the urge to tell her that there’s a relief when you no longer have to prove to the most important person in your life that you’re worthy.

The author did a ton of research while writing this book and it shows. Mental illnesses don’t fit into molds, but this book offers a realistic depiction of schizophrenia while still emphasizing the fact that everyone’s experience with the disease will be different. This is NOT a book that romanticizes mental illness, which I was relieved to see, but it’s still sure to pull at your heartstrings. It also includes a wealth of information about the morally gray areas in the treatment of wild animals, the plight of elephants in captivity, and the vast differences in their quality of life in various environments, such as a circus versus a zoo versus a wildlife habitat. I feel like I learned a lot while reading this book.

When Elephants Fly was a light-hearted and cute story, enjoyable to read, but also very educational and eye-opening. This is a book I think all high school students (and adults!) should read.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Today I’ll be joining WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.

I am currently reading: The Flight Attendant
by Chris Bohjalian

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police—she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home—Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean—or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

I finished reading: Every Fifteen Minutes
by Lisa Scottoline

Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife Alice, he is doing his best as a single Dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric’s entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can’t turn off the mental rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a “person of interest” himself. Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric’s life?

Forget You Know Me 
by Jessica Strawser

In her engrossing new novel, Forget You Know Me, Jessica Strawser takes readers deep into an intimate friendship between two women. When one witnesses a shocking incident that should never have been caught on camera, the secrets and lies it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been close in a way that people envy. Even after Molly married Daniel, both considered Liza an honorary member of their family. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage. 

When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat over wine after the kids are in bed. But when Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child, a man in a mask enters, throwing Liza into a panic—then her screen goes black. 

When Liza finally reaches Molly, her reply is icy and terse, insisting everything is fine. Liza is still convinced something is wrong, that her friend is in danger. But after an all-night drive to help her ends in a brutal confrontation, Liza is sure their friendship is over—completely unaware that she’s about to have a near miss of her own. And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either. 

But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Forget You Know Me exposes the wounds of people who’ve grown apart, against their will. Best friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain. The man in the mask will change things for them all.

But who was he?

And will he be back?

White as Silence, Red as Song 
by Alessandro D’Avenia

International bestseller White as Milk, Red as Blood, has been called the Italian The Fault in Our Stars.

Leo is an ordinary sixteen-year-old: he loves hanging out with his friends, playing soccer, and zipping around on his motorbike. The time he has to spend at school is a drag, and his teachers are “a protected species that you hope will become extinct,” so when a new history and philosophy teacher arrives, Leo greets him with his usual antipathy. But this young man turns out to be different. His eyes sparkle when he talks, and he encourages his students to live passionately, and follow their dreams.

Leo now feels like a lion, as his name suggests, but there is still one thing that terrifies him: the color white. White is absence; everything related to deprivation and loss in his life is white. Red, on the other hand, is the color of love, passion and blood; red is the color of Beatrice’s hair. Leo’s dream is a girl named Beatrice, the prettiest in school. Beatrice is irresistible – one look from her is enough to make Leo forget about everything else.

There is, however, a female presence much closer to Leo, which he finds harder to see because she’s right under his nose: the ever-dependable and serene Silvia. When he discovers that Beatrice has leukemia and that her disease is related to the white that scares him so much, Leo is forced to search within himself, to bleed and to be reborn. In the process, he comes to understand that dreams must never die, and he finds the strength to believe in something bigger than himself.

White as Milk, Red as Blood is not only a coming-of-age story and the narrative of a school year, but it is also a bold novel that, through Leo’s monologue – at times easy-going and full of verve, at times more intimate and anguished – depicts what happens when suffering and shock burst into the world of a teenager, and the world of adults is rendered speechless.

What I’m reading next:

I’m actually not sure what I’ll pick up next. I have a couple library books that are due to be returned this weekend, so it will probably be one of those (I really hate to return library books unread…). But I also have several ARCs that need to be read and reviewed soon, along with some shiny brand-new books sitting on my bookshelves tempting me. I think I’m just going to wait and see which book grabs me first.

That’s my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?

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Title: Forget You Know Me
Author: Jessica Strawser
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): Suspense, Thriller, Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Pages: 336
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

Book Blurb:

In her engrossing new novel, Forget You Know Me, Jessica Strawser takes readers deep into an intimate friendship between two women. When one witnesses a shocking incident that should never have been caught on camera, the secrets and lies it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been close in a way that people envy. Even after Molly married Daniel, both considered Liza an honorary member of their family. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage. 

When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat over wine after the kids are in bed. But when Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child, a man in a mask enters, throwing Liza into a panic—then her screen goes black. 

When Liza finally reaches Molly, her reply is icy and terse, insisting everything is fine. Liza is still convinced something is wrong, that her friend is in danger. But after an all-night drive to help her ends in a brutal confrontation, Liza is sure their friendship is over—completely unaware that she’s about to have a near miss of her own. And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either. 

But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Forget You Know Me exposes the wounds of people who’ve grown apart, against their will. Best friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain. The man in the mask will change things for them all.

But who was he?

And will he be back?

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Jessica Strawser’s last book, Not That I Could Tell, from earlier this year and was looking forward to reading another book from her. Unfortunately, Forget You Know Me did not quite live up to my expectations. The characters aren’t as likable, for one. This was a very character-driven book, but the only character I actually liked was Max, Liza’s best friend from Chicago, and he’s just a side character with a limited role in the story (and even he annoyed me at times by doing or saying the completely wrong thing). All of the main characters came across as frustratingly stubborn and unsympathetic towards each other. I just wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into them!

Another thing I found to be disappointing was the lack of action and/or suspense. I don’t think this book should be classified as a thriller. It’s more of a women’s fiction novel with an underlying mystery. It starts off strong, with a masked man breaking into Molly’s house while she’s on a video call with Liza. But within minutes, the police are called, the intruder gets away, and then the suspense just kind of fizzles out. Although the readers still don’t know the identity of the masked man (and won’t until much later in the book), I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, anxious about whether Molly and her family were safe. Instead, the majority of the book was focused on the everyday activities of the characters, which can get tedious to read, with little hints of suspense or mystery mixed in here and there. Rather than discussing what happened that night and trying to investigate who was behind it, the characters are busy analyzing their relationships and the issues that they’re working through. 

Quick side note: I noticed I made the same observation about Not That I Could Tell. I don’t think any of Jessica Strawser’s books should be labeled as thrillers–they all seem to be more like women’s fiction novels–and moving forward, I’m going to try to keep that in mind if/when I read any more books from her.

On a positive note, I really like Jessica Strawser’s writing style and how relatable her books are. This book was no exception. I think everyone has had a good friendship fall apart, especially after a major life event–like changing jobs, moving out of state, or getting married/having kids. You don’t mean to drift apart, but you find yourself spending less and less time together until suddenly you realize that you barely know each other anymore. This book did a really good job of portraying what it feels like to be in a friendship like that.

Overall, I found Forget You Know Me to be a pretty good book (once I realized it was mis-categorized and set my expectations appropriately), but I just didn’t really care for the characters and thought it was a bit slow at times. I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Dorie's Reading Corner by Doriesreadingcorner - 5M ago

Happy Friday, readers!

Today I will be sharing book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current book, as well as any first impressions or initial thoughts they might have.
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences, and post them.

This week I will be pulling excerpts from my current read: Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline.

Synopsis:

Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife Alice, he is doing his best as a single Dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country, and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric’s entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can’t turn off the mental rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a “person of interest” himself. Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric’s life? New York Times best selling author Lisa Scottoline’s visceral thriller, Every Fifteen Minutes, brings you into the grip of a true sociopath and shows you how, in the quest to survive such ruthlessness, every minute counts.

Book Beginning:

I’m a sociopath. I look normal, but I’m not. I’m smarter, better, and freer, because I’m not bound by rules, law, emotion, or regard for you.

I can read you almost immediately, get your number right away, and push your buttons to make you do whatever I want. I don’t really like you, but I’m so good at acting as if I do that it’s basically the same thing. To you.

I fool you.

I fool everybody.

The Friday 56:

Normal was the simple wish of everyone with a mental illness. Normal was what everyone else, the worried well, took for granted. Eric had been on both sides of that line, so he knew it was an illusion.

What are you reading this weekend? Feel free to join in with lines from your current read!

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Dorie's Reading Corner by Doriesreadingcorner - 5M ago

Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Publisher: Berkley
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release Date: August 21st, 2018
Pages: 326
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

Book Blurb:

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

My Thoughts:

Imagine a world in which women and girls have no voice. Every word is counted and carefully considered before being uttered out loud. Girls are no longer taught how to read and write; even sign language and non-verbal gestures are restricted—and the punishment can be deadly. All they have is 100 words each day. Men, however, are allowed to read, write, sign, and speak freely. That’s the premise behind Vox.

While this seems like a far-fetched, unrealistic concept, the author does an incredible job of explaining away any theoretical loopholes or inconsistencies. It’s written in such a way that it makes you believe this could really happen—which is a terrifying thought! The entire time I was reading it, I tried to visualize how I would handle living in a world like this, and to be completely honest, I know I would have a hard time surviving it for long. However, the protagonist of the story, Jean, is a much stronger woman than I am. She never gives up or accepts the new status quo, even though by the beginning of the book, it has been this way for a while now and it seems like there is no chance of it ever changing back to what it was before.

Jean has no choice but to follow the rules and stay under her allotted 100 word limit each day. Still, she finds ways to make those words count. She bravely forges on, doing whatever it takes to try to give her young daughter the best quality of life, while also trying to keep her husband and sons empathetic towards the struggles of women (rather than embracing their new elevated status in society).  Until one day, Jean decides to risk everything fighting to get her voice back.

If you’re looking for a book with a strong female lead character, this is the book for you! Vox is a unique, thought-provoking, and timely read that is sure to stick with you for a long time after you put it down. I highly recommend it.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Release Date: August 14th, 2018
Pages: 384
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible

Book Blurb:

Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel from a New York Times bestselling nature writer, about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My Thoughts:

This was such an incredibly moving, poignant, and captivating read!

Kya was just six years old when her mother walked away from their house wearing her “going out” alligator skin shoes and carrying a small case of belongings. She never returned. One by one, each of Kya’s siblings soon followed in their mother’s footsteps, until it was just Kya and her father – a mean, often abusive, drunk who left for days and weeks at a time. Kya was left to her own devices, forced to learn at a young age how to cook, clean, and do her own laundry. When her supplies ran out, she found ways to make money from the marsh and learned how to shop for supplies without drawing attention to herself and her situation. Isolated from all people and lacking any familiar love, the book explains how “the marsh became her mother”. She spent her days exploring the wild beauty all around her, discovering all there is to know about the land and the wildlife it holds, and feeding the gulls who are her only friends.

Years later, Kya is a grown woman, still living alone in her home in the marsh. When a prominent town-member is found murdered, people are quick to point fingers at the isolated and strange woman they call “Marsh Girl”; and Kya is forced to defend herself and protect the life she created.

This is a very atmospheric and engrossing read. The author uses really vivid and beautifully written descriptions, allowing the reader to get lost in the lush marsh wilderness along with Kya. The story moves at a good pace and, although I would classify it as a historical coming-of-age novel, it is so much more than that. This is a tale of survival—a story about friendship and kindness, but also rejection and abandonment; romance and heartbreak. There’s suspense, courthouse drama, and a murder mystery mixed in. I was glued to the pages all night and didn’t want it to end!

I have read over 100 books so far this year, and Where the Crawdads Sing has earned its place in my top 5. Everyone needs to read this book!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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