42. Under a Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye
It’s 1935 in Heron Key, Florida. Instead of being given the bonuses they were promised, soldiers returning from World War I have been sent to Heron Key to build a road. Their presence brings some long standing racial tensions on the island to a head just as a large hurricane is bearing down on the island. I couldn’t really get into this book. It’s based on historical events, so people who enjoy historical fiction or Southern fiction may enjoy it more than I did. I give it a 5 out of 10.
41. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer provides an investigative, journalistic look at a series of rapes that occurred at the University Montana in Missoula between 2008 and 2012. He looks at the response or lack thereof by the local law enforcement and court system. He examines the effect of the rapes on the women who were victimized and the way that most of their rapists got off and were able to go about their lives as if they had never done anything wrong. He uses all of this to talk about rape culture as a whole and why so many women never come forward and so many men are never prosecuted for their crimes. It’s a compelling, but very difficult read. I highly recommend it though. I give it a 9 out of 10.
40. Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt
Estelle wakes up in a hospital room bloodied and beat up not remembering what happened to her or her daughter Mia who is now missing. Suspicion quickly turns to Estelle and the whole world is convinced she killed her daughter. Estelle tries to recover her memories to figure out what happened. Did she actually kill her daughter? Her seemingly severe post-partum depression and estrangement from the father of her child seem to help point to the fact that she did, but there are many other strange things she starts to remember that make her thing maybe she isn’t the one who did it after all. This book was ok. The author wrote Estelle in such a way as to keep the reader guessing as to whether she in fact is the one who did something to Mia, but it also made Estelle a somewhat unlikeable character and hard to get invested in. I give it a 6 out of 10.
39. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
You’re Never Werid on the Internet (Almost) is Felicia Day’s memoir essentially covering her entire life. She talks about her childhood growing up homeschooled, going to college early, acting, her love of video games, and of course The Guild and the building of her Geek and Sundry empire. If you like Felicia Day, which I do, it’s a very enjoyable read and a great example of a woman who turned her nerdy loves into a company. She also of course goes into all the downsides of that and the issues surrounding being a woman in the nerd world. I’m not sure anyone who doesn’t already know who Felicia Day is would care about this book, but certainly if you’re a fan I would highly recommend it. I give it an 8 out of 10.
38. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
As a 16 year old Tessa was abducted and left for dead in with a pile of other girls’ bodies in a field of black eyed Susans. At the time she had very little memory of what happened and went along with who the police suspected of the murders. Now many years later the man’s time on death row is up and he’s headed towards his execution. Strange things start happening that make Tessa wonder if she fingered the wrong man all those years ago and make her fear for her own teenager daughter’s life. It was a pretty good thriller. It kept me interested and the outcome wasn’t obvious right from the start. I give it a 7 out of 10.
37. As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as Told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney
The title of this book pretty much tells you exactly what it’s about. I was the perfect age for this movie when it came out as I’m pretty much the same age as the characters in the movie are supposed to be. The fashions and catchphrases from this movie are the story of my later high school years. I’ve seen the movie a bunch of times, so when I got a hold of an advanced reader’s copy of this book I decided it could be a fun trip down memory lane. It was. If you are a fan of the movie Clueless I would definitely recommend this book if it sounds like something that would interest you. I give it an 8 out of 10.
36. Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding
Kissing Ted Callahan is a young adult novel centering around bandmates Riley and Reid. After the other two members of their band start dating they make a pact with each other that they will both devote themselves to winning over the people they have crushes on and document everything in a notebook that they pass back and forth. They don’t realize the consequences their pact will have on their friends and their love interests. It was an entertaining enough book. The characters made a lot of dumb moves that annoyed me, but in some respects that’s probably playing pretty true to what teenagers actually do. It’s not the best young adult romance I’ve ever read, but if you’re looking for one to read this is good enough to recommend. I give it 6 out of 10.
35. A Girl Undone by Catherine Linka
This is the sequel to A Girl Called Fearless, a book I really liked. That book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, but still in a way that left me satisfied and not necessarily begging for a second book. I was still excited when I saw the author decided to continue the story of Avie and her fight against the Paternalists, the male dominated organization that took over the United States and began subjugating women. This book is as compelling as the first, and provides a nice resolution to the story. I give it an 8 out of 10.
34. The Green Road by Anne Enright
The Green Road follows the Madigan family over the course of three decades, the four children Constance, Dan, Emmet, Hanna, and their mother Rosaleen. The main thrust of each child’s story is told at a different point between 1980 and 2005 until they are finally all brought back together for the first time in 2005 as their mother considers selling their childhood home. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Enright’s previous book The Gathering. It was almost a little too much like a connected series of short stories for my taste. If you tend to like Irish familial dramas you’ll probably enjoy this. I give it a 6 out of 10.
33. Where You’ll Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni
Frank Bruni exams the culture of college admissions where (he doesn’t specify this but obviously a certain class of) high schoolers and their parents focus on getting into the top schools, particularly those in the Ivy League. He talks about all the efforts they put in from test prep, tutors, and the focus on rankings that he believes are harmful to students and the wrong path to take. He shows that there really is no difference in outcomes in life overall based on where someone went to college. He tries to lay out the idea that the best fit is more important than a more prestigious school. I found it to be an interesting book, and think it would be a good read for the parents and students who are so focused on only getting into the best colleges and universities. I give it a 7 out of 10.