Year 12, Book 41

41. Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman

The title of this book pretty much tells you what it’s about. I found it to be an interesting look into the food system that feeds it and all the things that make it good and bad. If you’re interested in food writing, I would recommend checking it out. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 40

40. A House Among the Trees by Julia Glass

Tommy’s life has been intertwined with famous children’s author Mort Lear ever since she first met him on a playground as a child. Now 40 years later, she has spent most of her adult life serving as his assistant and attending to his personal needs as his housemate. Now after his death she is surprised to find that he has left her in charge of his estate in his will with entirely new instructions of what to do with it than he had planned prior to his demise. Now she has to figure out how to move on with her life and pick up the pieces of what Mort left her with.

I was really not in the mood to read a book about a woman giving up her entire life for a man who never gave her anything in return. That very much colored my views of this book. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 39

39. The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Ray and Sasha have never properly met, but for their entire lives they’ve been living parallel lives. Sasha’s dad used to be married to Ray’s mom and they share three half-sisters and a bedroom in a beach house that the two families trade off weeks in. Now this one fateful summer their paths are about to cross in more ways than one. This book was okay. It was an interesting if sort of ridiculous concept. It was a good beach read, which is where I read it. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 38

38. Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello

I have been a long-time fan of Michael Ausiello and have followed his TV scoop writing across a number of sites. I remember the day he shared with all his fans that his long time partner Kit had passed away after a battle with a rare form of cancer. This book is the long form story of the post he shared that day, detailing their relationship, Kit’s diagnosis and fight against cancer, and his eventual death. It’s a beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking tribute. I obviously recommend it to anyone who like me has been a long time reader of Michael Ausiello, but really I think it would be enjoyable to anyone. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 37

37. The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Blinds is the nickname for the small town in the middle of nowhere Texas populated by a group of people who have all had their minds wiped and given new identities. Some of them are former criminals given a second chance and others are witnesses to crimes that have chosen this as an alternative to normal witness protection. The understanding has always been that as long as they stay within the confines of The Blinds that they will be safe from the outside world, but now two murders have happened in quick succession and something seems to be brewing. It turns out there may be more to The Blinds than it first seems.

Really liked this book Adam Sternbergh has an excellent ability to create interesting fully formed worlds that are out of the ordinary. The story is really intriguing. I would definitely recommend this book. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 36

36. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger is Roxane Gay’s autobiographical book of essays about her life and her body. She lays bare a really horrible incident that happened to her in her childhood that she views as the starting place for the way she has viewed and struggled with her body throughout her life. I can’t say I always found this to be an enjoyable read because it’s very heavy, but is extremely honest. Roxane Gay is also an excellent writer so it is a very well written book. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 35

35. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

I read The Girl in Cabin 10 and enjoyed it well enough that when I had the opportunity to read an ARC of this book, I figured I would give it a go. The book follow four friends who went to boarding school together and developed a deep, dark secret about something that happened during their year together there that has kept them connected even though they haven’t seen each other in 17 years. But when one of them sends a mysterious text to the other saying she needs them, they’re all at her door within 24 hours to help figure out if someone has finally figured out their secret.

I did not care for this book at all. Everything in it seemed overblown. It made no sense to me even with their “secret” that these women would be so connected after being friends for less than a year. The mystery wasn’t that interesting to me and the reveal certainly didn’t do much for me. I give it a 4 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 34

34. Cottonmouths by Kelly J. Ford

Emily thought she escaped life in her small hometown in the Ozarks when she went away to college, but things didn’t turn out like she planned and now she’s back home after failing out of school. She wonders if things might not be as bad as she first thought when she spots her former crush Jody and decides to reconnect with her and find out if the rumors of her baby are true.

After lying to her parents about the real reason she left school and unable to find a decent job to support herself, Emily winds up being kicked out of her parents house. So she jumps at the chance to move in with Jody and play nanny to her kid. She quickly realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for when it becomes very obvious that Jody is mixed up in a meth operation.

This was an excellent book. The characters are really well written and the author has a great gift for creating the setting. I could very much feel myself in that small town and being surrounded by these people. I highly recommend this book. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 33

33. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Charlie is a teen starring in one of the most popular teen movie series and formerly linked to her co-star, so she is apprehensive about having to see him again on a panel at the SupaCon convention. Luckily she’s been able to wrangle passes for her best friends Taylor and Jamie to accompany her on the trip.

Taylor is wrestling with her own demons as she fights to overcome her extreme anxiety and her newfound realization that might have more than just friendly feelings towards Jamie. The convention winds up being a great opportunity for all three friends to discover things about themselves and to develop new relationships.

I thought this was a great young adult novel. I very much enjoyed reading it. I give it 8 out of 10.

Year 12, Book 32

32. I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival by Richard Massimo

As the title indicates this book is a history of the Newport Folk Festival and all the changes it has undergone since it’s inception in 1959. It’s a great look at a wonderful music festival. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is fan of folk music and this festival in particular. I give it an 8 out of 10.