Wish You Were Here

Jodi Picoult’s latest novel is set in New York City during the early days of the covid virus. Diana O’Toole, an art consultant, has plans to travel to the Galapagos with Finn, her doctor boyfriend. When his vacation is postponed, and he is forced to remain behind, due to the surge in virus cases, he urges her to go without him. Diana makes it to the island just as everything is shutting down, and decides to stay. She befriends some locals, who find her a place to stay and feed her. Diana has no internet service, though, so she sends postcards through the mail to try and reach Finn. She winds up staying on the island for two months, before she is able to return home. By then, Diana has experienced a change in thinking about life and her career path, and experiences a major shock upon returning home. I enjoyed this very much, even though it revisits the terrible impact of covid upon New York City. The twist at the end was a great touch.

Chez Bob

If you are looking for a good read aloud for the kindergarten to grade two set, have I got a book for you! Bob Shea will dazzle you with his zany humor and cheery tropical palette in his latest offering. So Bob the lazy alligator decides to open a restaurant for birds on his snout, figuring it’s an easy-peasy way to get some quick food. But he didn’t take into account that the birds might become his friends. Such a dilemna: to eat or not to eat! The heart warming ending makes this- a sure-fire hit!

Seven Perfect Things

The novel follows the path of several protagonists: Elliott, a forty-something man who lost his loving wife recently; Abby, a very responsible 13 year old girl with an abusive father, and Mary, her mother. When Abby sees an adult throw a sack of something moving in the nearby river, she dives in and rescues seven adorable puppies. The shelter is full, so she finds a nearby empty shed to house them temporarily. It just so happens to be on property owned by Elliott. Caring for the puppies soothes Abby’s battered spirit, and she finds a kind soul in Elliott. This is a great read; while it deals with abuse, it balances the dark with the light, and proves that people are capable of change. I intend to read more by Catherine Ryan Hyde…

Red, White and Whole

Reha finds herself existing in two worlds at once, the world of her Indian family and friends, and the world outside of it. She is a typical teenager, who wants to fit in both worlds, and finds that it’s not very easy to do. Reha quickly realizes what is important, though, when her mother becomes ill and has to be taken to the hospital. Rajani Larocca has written a heart warming story about finding yourself and your path in life, and is one of the novels chosen for our Mock Newbery discussion next week.

Surviving Savannah

Patti Callahan has written a remarkable narrative based on the true story of the sinking of the steamship Pulaski, which sailed from Savannah on June 14th of 1883, on its way to Baltimore. After a boiler explosion during the night, the passengers were forced to save themselves from the wreckage and the waves, as two of the lifeboats had rotted away and the remaining two were hardly enough to carry the roughly 200 passengers and crew to safety. Callahan based her main characters, the Longstreet and Forsyth families, on the real life Lamar family that sailed on the steamship on that eventful day. The novel moves smoothly between present day, where researcher Emily Winthrop is creating a museum display of artifacts recovered from the ship, and the past, with the exploits of the strong women endeavoring to survive the aftermath of the sinking. Interesting enough, after the original recovery of the wreckage in 2018, the stern of the steamship was found this past August, where divers hope to find more gold coins and jewelry.