We’re in the Dog Days of Summer, but don’t hang your head unless it’s inside a juicy novel on a hot beach.
So for my fellow fans of women’s lit, here’s some new releases that are worth checking out:
Titles are linked to Amazon and there are no spoilers:
Some of you may be familiar with Emily Giffin–her first novel, SOMETHING BORROWED, became a 2011 Hollywood movie–starring Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin and some dishy dude caught between the two leading ladies. The book was fun chick-lit for women who love a good moral dilemna with their romantic fiction. The movie put Giffin on the map for many of us.
Since that first breakout novel, Giffin has penned a number of standouts–this one, her eighth, ALL WE EVER WANTED.
“All we ever wanted…” Who among us has not uttered that phrase when disappointed by our one of our offspring’s actions?
It’s a brilliant title for a book that explores how one stupid act can change the outcome of a person’s life.
Small-town girl, Nina, marries her college sweetheart who is her complete opposite. Especially when his star rises and he makes a fortune selling his tech company.
They inhabit the world of charity fundraisers, black-tie galas, and life in an exclusive enclave of Nashville. Life is good.
So when their only child, Finch (yeah, named for that famous character–as in Atticus), is a senior at an elite private school and has been accepted into Princeton, they are understandably proud.
He’s a bit spoiled though. Case in point: He drives a Mercedes SUV aka G-Wagon. He’s a jock. He’s handsome. He spends money the way some of us snack on potato chips–without concern or counting.
Finch has life by the balls, just like his dad, Kirk.
Until this perfect son, Finch, posts a compromising picture of a drunk, Latina classmate on social media. Add to the fact he posted the picture with a racist comment, and all hell breaks loose. Especially when the girl’s father finds out.
Told from the point-of-view of mother Nina; subject in the photo Lyla; and blue-collar single-father of Lyla, Tom Volpe; this book is a fast read–I read it in less than two days.
This book raises a lot of questions for the reader, but also makes a few generalizations about Republicans and Christians that some readers may find stereotypical and objectionable.
I know I recoiled a few times at the “moral highground” Giffin asserts through themes in the novel.
Not all Republicans are rich, intolerant douchebags. Not all Christians are holier-than-thou backstabbing bitches and cheating bastards. Some of us are just doing the best we can, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and we really do love our neighbors as ourselves.
I hate to think this is the first rolling wave of a whole new tone we’re going to see more of in women’s lit. I surely hope not.
I hate watching the news; social media is touch-and-go most days, and now; conservative Christians are also being portrayed as Public Enemy #1 in the fiction of someone who used to be a fun writer to read and follow.
Say it ain’t so.
Foxy Rating Scale: Four out of Five Foxes
The second new release that touches on the idea of a sex scandal involving young adults is:
Imogene Abney is an average college grad. An aspiring teacher, Imogene decides to take a job as a teaching apprentice at an exclusive all-boys prep/boarding school–the kind that draws the sons of the most powerful people in the country.
It’s a foreign world to Imogene–she’s squarely middle-class, public school/State college educated, from a bland family of four in a nothing-special upstate New York town.
Like too many of us, Imogene is stuck in her head. Self-conscious, self-doubting, tortured by her own perceived flaws, Imogene hasn’t had too many (positive) experiences with young men.
So when she arrives at Vandenberg School for Boys, it’s a revelation. She must interact with other teaching apprentices who are a bit of a challenge for someone so sheltered and self-conscious, but she is making it work.
And then there’s the boys. The self-possessed, confident, upper-crust Lax bro boys who will someday run the world and, in many ways, already know they do.
So when Imogene catches the eye of outgoing Adam “Kip” Kipling, a fuse is lit.
Kip pursues Imogene relentlessly. The problem is, he’s a seventeen-year-old senior. And she’s a twenty-two-year-old teaching assistant. And the boundaries begin to blur.
Like Giffin’s novel (reviewed above) author Sullivan touches on gender, class, and sex, but does so in a much more intimate manner. The reader feels like she is inside Imogene’s head as events play out and as such, we can empathize with why a young woman might allow herself to be put in a situation of being labeled, INDECENT.
Sometimes, the victim is not so innocent. And sometimes the innocent is not so young.
No worries for skittish readers–the sex is not graphic–the writer builds to the act and then cuts the scene. It really is more of the aftermath of a person’s actions that make the story anyway, eh?
Fans of Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel PREP will love this book. I surely did.
Foxy Rating Scale: Five out of Five Foxes
Happy Reading! Thanks for stopping by!