Welcome to the September edition of Bookish; this month, I’ve read three novels from my favourite authors, who are all highly talented in their own right. Each of these novels is incredibly moving and enjoyable – why not read one?
One, Two, Three
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction
For Fans Of: Suleika Jaouad
What’s in the pages? Bourne is the kind of town where everybody knows everybody, where nothing ever happens until something does. Then, late one night, a moving truck is seen rolling into Bourne. Suddenly, the fabric of reality for Bourne becomes unravelled, and it’s up to the Mitchell triplets to uncover decades-old mysteries facing a system stacked against them. Will the sisters save the town before time runs out, or will their lives and realities change forever?
Why should you read it? After reading Frankel’s last book, This Is How It Always Is, I was full of hope and warmth; it almost felt like coming home again. But, after One, Two, Three, I felt anger, confusion and full of the need for social change. This novel is timely, infuriating and hilarious in equal measures, taking on the complex subject matter of environmental disaster similar to the situation of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis.
Frankel manages to make the complex subject matter succinct and easy to swallow by placing the narrative in the hands of three teenagers, who are some of the most likeable characters I’ve ever encountered. This book is an excellent follow up for fans of her previous book. Still, it’s also a very different kind of novel – Frankel has a unique talent when developing stories and characters to put you right in the centre of their world, feelings and thoughts.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Genre: Literary Fiction/Modern Classic For Fans Of: Abi Daré
What’s in the pages? Kambili and her brother Jaja live in a beautiful big house and attend exclusive schools in Enugu, Nigeria. It’s a privileged life with a dark secret; her Papa is generous and well respected but also fanatically religious and tyrannical at home – and it’s suffocating.
When the country falls apart under a military coup and their home is threatened, the teenagers are sent to live with their aunt residing outside of the city. In this more liberal setting, away from the overbearing reach of their father, they begin to find their voices, passions and happiness.
Why should you read it? If you’ve never read any Adichie, then you should; she’s an incredible writer who manages to take the struggles of a majority and turn them into a cultural critique on religious extremism on a micro-scale. This novel is almost suffocating in its writing, but that’s the point – you really manage to feel the emotions of living in a household that is controlled with an iron fist.
Adichie is more than just an author and storyteller; she’s a weaver of words and a painter of worlds in a league of her own, and although this story can seem slow to some, as it never really ‘takes off’, I found it a perfect novel and one that I look forward to returning to.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Fiction For Fans Of: Jodi Picoult
What’s in the pages? It’s the summer of ’83 in Malibu, and it’s the day of the event of the year, Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party. So naturally, everyone wants to be there and hang out with the famous Rivas: Nina, Jay, Hud & Kit; they are world-renowned and well-loved.
But tonight, everybody in the house has an issue they don’t want to deal with – Nina has been publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Hud has to finally confess something to his brother, whom he loves dearly. Jay is counting the minutes until nightfall so he can see the girl he can’t stop thinking about, and Kit has invited a guest without telling anyone. By midnight the party will be out of control, and the police will be called. By morning the Riva mansion and half of Malibu will be up in flames – but who is to blame.
Why should you read it? This is a slightly biased review because I love anything Taylor Jenkins Reid writes. This is her third entry in the Bookish column since I started writing.
It’s by far my favourite book of hers, while her other books exclusively focus on the celebrity – I felt that this story was grounded more in the everyday struggle of growing up less than rich and making it big. That aspect adds a lot to this novel and stops it from being like her other books I’ve read, but saying that, Reid manages to make anything exciting and engaging.
So come into Malibu Rising for the glitz and the glamour of 1983 and stay for the story of a family struggling to make ends meet and who end up turning their lives into the stuff that legends are made of. Lightning doesn’t usually strike twice, but for Taylor Jenkins Reid, it’s struck three times. Hopefully, this streak of incredible stories continues.