01 The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
Arden Maynor was a small child when she sleepwalked into a storm and was washed away. Three days later, she was recovered in a miraculous series of events that ended up with her removal from a storm drain.
"The girl from Widow Hills" was instantly famous and would be forever. Anniversaries of the event, her mother's book about the experience, and a community that wouldn't allow her to forget--all drove Arden to move and then move again, eventually changing her name to Olivia, leaving behind her mother--who was slowly destroyed by the fame and relentless attention--and led her to speak of the experience to no one in an attempt to move on.
Olivia is sleepwalking again and isn't entirely sure what she does in the night. And now someone from her past has resurfaced. He could reveal her carefully hidden secrets and ruin everything.
My book club heard Miranda talk about this story at a virtual library foundation event in the fall, and she hooked us on the whole situation!
02 The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I recently sat down to read and review the prequel to Johansen's Queen of the Tearling trilogy, Beneath the Keep, which is when I realized I'd never read this third and final book in the series, so I paused to read this one first.
Two interconnected timelines are running through The Fate of the Tearling: that of the current Tearling, with its horrifically varied nefarious activity and dark dealings, and the long-ago world of William Tear’s idealistic Tearling, where everyone is considered special in their own way but equal in importance, with equal opportunity for all.
Johansen offers monsters, elaborate escape plans and rescue plots, and two strong, clever queens savvily playing with the lines of trust and manipulation.
03 I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman
Jessica is a single mom, successful lawyer, and wise mentor to other women at her firm. Emily is her teenaged daughter who's unsure about what she wants from her future and is generally irritated by her mother and her fervent interest in Emily's plans.
When mother and daughter head out for a weeklong tour of east coast colleges with a touring company, Jessica's hoping for some quality time together, like they would have enjoyed in the days before everything she did seemed to set Emily off. Emily's just trying to escape the drama at her private school in Los Angeles, and she's not at all convinced that college is in the cards for her anyway.
The pair bond over an awkward dinner with Jessica's flirtatious college boyfriend; run-ins with an insufferably snobby mother-daughter pair from home; an interrogation from Jessica's father (Emily's grandfather), who demands details of Emily's career plans; and moments of levity with delightful, unexpected new friends. I'm listening to this as an audiobook, and so far Waxman (also the author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill) has offered a nice dose of feminism, realistically fraught mother-daughter interactions, and laugh-out-loud funny moments.
What are you reading these days?
I've got a mysterious story with an unreliable narrator and an imagined nationwide hubbub (a la "baby Jessica" and the well), the third and final book in a captivating fantasy trilogy, and a lighter fiction title that still manages to get to the heart of complicated mother-daughter relationships.
Which books are you reading and enjoying these days?