I’ve been listening to some great books lately, and in an effort to catch up on my review backlog I thought I’d talk about a few of them in mini-review format.
Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin is going to finally end my streak of reading Giffin’s books – that is, until her next one comes out! I really enjoy her books and this one was no different. The novel introduces the reader to Ellen, who is married to the absolutely perfect Andy, and they have a fantastic life together. That is, until she runs into an ex-boyfriend – THE ex, the one that got away, the one who broke her heart into a million pieces a decade ago. And this meeting forces Ellen to question everything she thought she knew about her life, everything she thought she wanted. I truly don’t see myself ever getting tired of Giffin’s books – her characters are so authentic, the situations she puts them in are difficult but real, and the writing is very intelligent but funny at the same time. I actually didn’t like Ellen as a character all that much throughout most of the book – she seemed so selfish to me, as it was so obvious she did have the perfect life and I couldn’t understand why she would want to screw it up. But she grew on me as the novel progressed, and I ended up enjoying this one just as much as I could have expected. The audio was done very well and overall I would definitely recommend this one.
Reading Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson is like taking a trip to the South and luxuriating there for a few days. The book begins in Chicago, where Arlene moved ten years ago, but she is forced to confront her past and travel back to Possett, Alabama where she grew up but hasn’t returned to since her high school graduation. This novel has dark family secrets, charming Southern characters, and surprisingly excellent writing. After I finished Gods in Alabama, I could have kicked myself for not reading something by Joshilyn Jackson sooner! I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the near future, that is for sure. I loved these characters so much – Arlene, her aunt Florence, her boyfriend Burr, and her cousin Clarice – they all felt so real to me, I wanted to reach into the book and become friends with them. I especially enjoyed reading about the relationship between Arlene and Burr – he was so loving and sweet to her, so patient, but so honest at the same time. I loved how he wouldn’t let her get away with stuff, how he kept her authentic, and how they truly made one another better – the ideal relationship. The audio was just okay for me – I liked the narration, but there were multiple times throughout the book when music would begin playing and it just felt very random and strange to me. It was distracting, truthfully. But I would definitely recommend the book!
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle is a supremely cute young adult novel. Fifteen-year-old Carly and her younger sister Anna have been surrounded by wealth and privilege their entire life, growing up in a ritzy Atlanta suburb, attending private school, and growing up in a big, beautiful mansion. But Carly has always felt that she is more “real” than most of her peers, and has always counted on Anna to keep her grounded too – that is, until Anna begins her freshman year of high school and shows signs of behaving like all the other spoiled, image-conscious rich kids at their school. I always love a good coming-of-age story, and this one fit the bill perfectly. Carly is definitely a likeable character – she makes some missteps along the way, but overall she is a “good kid” who is just trying to find herself in a confusing world. One thing I loved about this novel is the absence of romance. Not that I don’t like romance in my YA fiction (I definitely do) but it was really refreshing to read a novel that wasn’t completely focused on the girl getting the guy. There are boys in the book, for sure, but the focus is really on Carly’s development as a person, her relationship with Anna, and their growing up together from girls to more self-aware young women. The audio of this one is great – the narrator has a Southern accent which made it very believable. It was easy for me to put this one down for long periods of time and have no trouble getting lost in the story when I would pick it back up again. A great pick for any fan of young adult novels!
I might make this a regular thing – reviewing my audiobook selections in batches. What do you think?