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SAM by Allegra Goodman

Remember me? I used to blog about books here. Sheesh. It’s been a while. To make up for the lack of posts, here’s a review of a book I really liked. Probably a 4.5 or 5 star read. It’s Sam, my first book by Allegra Goodman, and it came out last year. Sam is a character-driven coming-of-age story about a girl navigating childhood and adolescence. That’s pretty much it – not a lot of drama. But it was so good. I love Goodman’s writing and I was totally taken by this sensitive story about a girl growing and maturing while

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THE WIFE APP by Carolyn Mackler

In Carolyn Mackler’s The Wife App, three divorced single mothers in New York City create an app called the Wife App, which allows men (or women) to pay hired hands to cover the time-consuming, uncompensated mental load chores that usually fall to wives: school forms, birthday gifts, travel arrangements, medical appointments, etc. The goal is to show that this work is valuable and that the women doing it deserve to be paid – and to

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PAGEBOY by Elliot Page

Whether you will like actor Elliot Page’s memoir, Pageboy, may depend on what you expect from memoirs. If you like linear, start-from-childhood memoirs that cover all the grounds and answer all of your burning questions, then Pageboy might not be for you. But if you can tolerate memoirs that jump around in time, skip big swaths, and keep a lot of things private, then give this one a try. Why I picked it up: My

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ALL THAT IS MINE I CARRY WITH ME by William Landay

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay is a character-driven mystery about Jane Larkin, a wife and mother of three who disappears in the 1970s. Her husband Dan becomes the prime suspect, but the detectives cannot make a strong enough case to bring charges. Many years later, the case is reexamined when a novelist, friend to one of the kids, revisits the facts surrounding Jane’s disappearance. All That Is Mine I

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YOU WERE ALWAYS MINE by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

The writing team of Christine Pride and Jo Piazza is back with another book about race, this time in the context of transracial adoption, in You Were Always Mine. Cinnamon, a married Black woman who spent a chaotic childhood bouncing among foster homes, befriends Daisy, a young white woman who meets her at the park every Friday. One week, Cinnamon shows up for their usual lunch, but instead of Daisy, Cinnamon finds a newborn baby

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YELLOWFACE by R. F. Kuang

If you like books about writing, publishing and the question of who owns a story, then you’ll like Yellowface, the latest novel from R. F. Kuang (and one of the hot books this summer). Athena Liu and June Hayward are college classmates and fellow novelists, though Athena has has had a lot more success than her friend. A charismatic, stylish Asian-American writer with several successful novels under her belt, Athena is about to finish her

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THE FAKE by Zoe Whittall

The Fake by Zoe Whittall is about a con artist who insinuates herself into the lives of two lonely, vulnerable people, testing them to see how much they will trust and sacrifice for her. Ultimately, it’s about how people project what they need onto others and ignore signs that they don’t want to see. Why I picked it up: I don’t remember where I read about The Fake. I read Whittall’s earlier book, The Best

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HELLO BEAUTIFUL by Ann Napolitano

**I have been traveling for the last week and have gotten very behind on reading and reviews, so this will be a short one!** After a few false starts, I finally got to Hello Beautiful, Ann Napolitano’s juggernaut 2023 novel about four sisters which is loosely modeled after Little Women. It is a character-driven family saga that tracks several decades in the life of one Chicago family and its four daughters, as they navigate love,

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THE TEACHERS by Alexandra Robbins

The Teachers by Alexandra Robbins follows three public school teachers – a special ed teacher in CA, a middle school math teacher in the south, and an elementary school teacher on the east coast – over the course of an academic year, to paint a picture of the challenges they face, especially post-covid. This is a disturbing, frustrating, but very important book about one of our most undervalued professions and the devotion and sacrifices of

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YOU COULD MAKE THIS PLACE BEAUTIFUL by Maggie Smith

You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith is a poignant, poetic account of the breakdown of the author’s marriage and her subsequent divorce. This is not a new story, but in Smith’s hands, it felt fresh and raw and compulsively readable. I had a really hard time putting this one down. Why I picked it up: I haven’t read any of Smith’s poetry, but this book got a lot of buzz when it

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I COULD LIVE HERE FOREVER by Hanna Halperin

I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin is a sad but gripping novel about a tough relationship. Leah is a creative writing MFA student in Madison, WI who gets involved with Charlie, a man she meets in line at the grocery store. She falls hard for him, only to learn that he is a recovering heroin addict. I Could Live Here Forever chronicles the year they spent together – the ups and downs, the

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GO AS A RIVER by Shelley Read

Go As A River by Shelley Read is an old-fashioned historical fiction novel about Victoria, a young woman growing up in rural Colorado in the 1940s whose life goes through a dramatic turn of events when she is 16 years old. A stranger in town, a crime of unspeakable violence and an impulsive act all shape Victoria’s life for decades to come, as she grows fiercely independent and protective of her secrets. This lushly written

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BOOKWORM by Robin Yeatman

Bookworm by Robin Yeatman is a dark comedy about Victoria, a Montreal woman trapped in a bad marriage who starts to fantasize about a handsome man she sees at her coffee shop reading the same book as she is. She grows obsessed with him, sure that he is the answer to the unhappiness in her life, as her husband grows more and more intolerable. As her dreams become more vivid, the line between her two

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ATOMIC FAMILY by Ciera Horton McElroy

Atomic Family by Ciera Horton McElroy is historical fiction that looks at the looming threat of 1960s Cold War through the lens of a small family in South Carolina. Dean is an agronomist at a nuclear power plant who studies the effect of radioactive waste on the soil. His wife Nellie is a housewife who has suffered from depression and possibly alcoholism, and their ten year-old son Wilson is obsessed with protecting their small town

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REALLY GOOD, ACTUALLY by Monica Heisey

Really Good, Actually is an entertaining but ultimately one-note novel by Monica Heisey about the aftermath of a Toronto woman’s separation and her attempt to get her life back on track. Maggie and her husband Jon – together for 10 years, married for two – have decided to split up. Things haven’t been great for a while (though it’s unclear what’ s really wrong) and when Really Good, Actually opens, Jon has just moved out.

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MAAME by Jessica George

Maame by Jessica George is a novel about Maddie, a young Ghanaian woman living in London, who is coming in to her life as an adult. She is the primary caregiver to her father, who has Parkinson’s, as her mother spends very long periods of time in Ghana, leaving Maddie to handle things at home. When Maame opens, Maddie’s mother is coming home, freeing her to move out of her parents’ house and into an

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