The Lido

October 3, 2018 by

aa bookLibby Page is a British first time novelist who has penned a story about friendship and the importance of standing up for what you believe. The Brockwell Lido is an free outdoor swimming pool in South London where Rosemary has been swimming since she was a child during WWII (she is now 86!). But it is slated to be torn down, and replaced by an expensive gym exclusively for members only. So many fixtures have vanished: the library where Rosemary used to work, the nearby market that was family-owned, and the threat of the pool closing is the last straw. When she meets a young woman, Kate, who is writing the story for the local newspaper, Rosemary befriends her, and they continue the fight to save the beloved pool. Tune in to read “the rest of the story”. I was surprised to learn that there are several lidos in London, and they exist throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. Too bad the idea hasn’t been adopted here in the U.S.

A Heart in a Body In the World

September 30, 2018 by

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I have always been a huge Deb Caletti fan. Her books always include some deep and dreamy romance that in no way exists for real teenagers. But she also has long introspective inner dialogue that leaves me feeling like I’m in a sundress in a field of flowers, or something.

Anyway, her newest book has all of that. It is a great YA book. The characters are charming and quirky. The story is different than some other YA books. There are some moments of humor. But I do not care about all of that. This book is getting five stars from me because of a speech that the main character gives at the end of the novel that is so relevant to current times and so important for young women to read, or anyone to read actually who wants to affect some change, that I don’t even care what the rest of the book is about. 

Annabelle Agnelli lives in Seattle with her divorced mother Gina and her genius younger brother Malcolm. Annabelle is popular and pretty and perfect, but has gone through some kind of tragedy before the book starts which she refuses to let herself think about, so much so that as a reader you do not get the entire story until the end of the book ( but you can pretty much guess). She obviously is not handling this tragedy well and everyone seems to be handling her with kid gloves. Annabelle has so many pent up feelings that she decides to just…run. As in run cross country. As in run with her own two legs to Washington D.C. and she decides this in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and she takes off with the clothing on her back and nothing else. Cut to a month or so later when she is actually on this trip in a more organized way (accompanied by her Grandfather and his RV) and with a GoFundMe bank account that people who are inspired by her cause (what is her cause again?) have been donating to. Annabelle wants to keep her journey personal but people can’t help but to be inspired by her ability to move on from her tragedy (which is what?) and persevere. Whatever.

Towards the end of the novel is where the speech happens. In a world where school shootings are regular news, the #metoo movement is taking over, and Supreme Court Justice nominees can also have (allegedly) committed sexual assault: Annabelle’s own personal tragedy can take all of these topics into one and she finally is able to speak out loud on her story and MAN does she say everything that I have been thinking for the past few months about all of these topics. I cried while reading it. I wrote it down in an e-mail to myself.

Go Deb Caletti. You are my new personal hero.

The House with a Clock in its Walls

September 27, 2018 by

Based on the 1970’s novel by John Bellairs, the movie reviews (see Common Sense Media site) seem to be saying dark, creepy and perhaps too much horror for little kids. The book, however, reads like a creepy, gothic tale of an orphaned boy who goes to live in an old house with an uncle he never met. Set in the mid 1900’s, the grim tale is less than 200 pages. Released in a timely manner for Halloween season, the movie has “jump-worthy” scenes and may be over the top for very little ones. Perhaps best to stick with the book for the younger set where the original Edward Gorey illustrations will satisfy the haunted mood necessary to conjure up goosebumps.

Bridge of Clay

September 26, 2018 by

aa bookMarcus Zusak, author of The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, has a new teen book being released on October 9, titled The Bridge of Clay. It is being touted in Amazon as “an unforgettable and sweeping family saga”. It’s the story of five brothers, the Dunbars, who help to bring each other up, since their mother is deceased and their father has disappeared. The title refers to one of the brothers, Clay, who will be responsible for building the metaphorical bridge referred to in the title. Booklist gives it a starred review. I am looking forward to reading this, stay tuned…

The Family Next Door

September 20, 2018 by

Australian author, Sally Hepworth, has created a family drama set in an Australian suburb. Three married couples all appear to have perfect lives until peeking beneath the surface. Essie has 2 children and a husband she adores. She is close to her mother who helps out all she can. Yet she has a secret and all is not as it seems. Fran and Nigel are another couple who seem to have it all. Fran, however, is afraid she will lose Nigel if she is honest with him.  Ange and Lucas are the third couple living on the same street. Ange would like to believe she has the most wonderful marriage, but is suspicious there might be something her husband is keeping from her.  When a single woman moves in next door, each family is exposed and secrets are revealed.  Recommended.

The Family Next Door: A Novel


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