Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Ope’s Opinion: This is a really hard book to read, so don’t pick it up unless you are ready to sink into a dark story that could be real and is disturbing.  It is a heartbreaking story.

I thought Courtney Summer had an interesting way of telling the story from Sadie’s perspective and from the “Girls” ( podcast ) perspective. I would suggest you know your young adult  well before you advise them about reading this one.  It will leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The ending left you at a place that felt real, but I can’t say it felt complete or satisfying.

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Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina Lamanna
Publisher: Sourcebook Landmark
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  Four Women. Four Confessions. One Murder.

Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime — alone.

Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated.

Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything.

Emily can’t shake her reputation or her memories, and she’s planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle.

Lulu’s got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way — as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back.

Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know — and they’re not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore.

Ope’s Opinion: I picked this book up on a whim at the  Book Expo 2019.  I had not read this author before and didn’t know much about the book.  The synopsis sounded cute and thought it would be a fun read. 

The introduction to each character at the beginning of the book was clever.  It gave you insight to each person, their relationship to the wedding and a little background, so you could understand them.

There wasn’t a reliable narrator – which was frustrating.  Who was really telling the truth? The murder seemed to be a side story.  The relationships are at the center of this book.

The ending and epilogue left me with more questions then it answered – not really satisfying.

The Birthday Girl

Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Mystery
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  In the thrilling, suspenseful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, all of Ellie de Florent-Stinson’s secrets come to light in one eventful evening full of twists, turns, and surprises.

Before she became a glamorous fashion designer, Ellie de Florent-Stinson was a trailer-park teen about to turn sixteen. But a night of birthday celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned and descends into a night she’ll never be able to forget.

Now, on the cusp of her fortieth birthday, it appears Ellie has everything she ever wanted: a handsome husband; an accomplished, college-age stepdaughter; a beautiful ten-year-old girl; adorable and rambunctious six-year-old twin boys; lush, well-appointed homes in Los Angeles, Park City, and Palm Springs; a thriving career; and a dazzling circle of friends.

Except everything is not quite as perfect as it looks on the outside–Ellie is keeping many secrets. And hiding those skeletons has a cost, and it all comes to a head the night of her fabulous birthday party in the desert–where everyone who matters in her life shows up, invited or not. Old and new friends and frenemies, stepdaughters and business partners, ex-wives and ex-husbands congregate, and the glittering facade of Ellie’s life begins to crumble.

Beautifully paced and full of surprises, The Birthday Girl is an enthralling tale of a life lived in shadow and its unavoidable consequences.

Ope’s Opinion:  This might have been a 3.5, but you would have to take the “f” word out and put in more creative descriptions.  I almost quit reading this book a couple of times.  I read a couple of reviews and they encouraged me to keep reading.  I was glad I finished it in the long run.

It took a long time to get involved in the story.  Some of the background was needed to understand how everyone ended up where they did, but I wanted it get there faster.  Switching from past to present felt like two different stories until closed to the end when they collided and it was brought to a nice clean end.

Past Perfect Life

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult
Source:  Book Expo 2019

Goodreads:  Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.
But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?

Ope’s Opinion: This book had perfect pace.  It started out sort of slow with no drama.  So you might think, why keep reading??  Well, it was how Ally’s life started out.  She was happily living with her dad, thinking all was normal until she started applying for college.  Then the pace of the book picked up and secrets were revealed…

I highly recommend this to a YA or adult reader.  It will keep their attention, the characters are realistic, the emotions are real and friendships are positive.  The only negative was the “f” word was used a couple of times – both in high stressed situations.

The ending made me see how strong Ally was ( a good example ).  She handled her situation better then some adults would.  I felt it was very positive and uplifting.

The Last Book Party

Author: Karen Dukess
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Fiction
Source: Book Expo 2019

 

Goodreads:  A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

Ope’s Opinion: I wanted to read this book because the synopsis talked about books and the writing world.  In my opinion, there wasn’t enough about books and too much about who was sleeping with whom.  I am not, nor will I ever be a writer, so maybe coming from that perspective I missed something.

I am also a bit frustrated that “the coming of age” had to have an affair to happen.  Can’t a young woman come of age without having an affair with an older married man?

All the secrets came out at the last book party – which is why it was the last one!