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VICTIM by Andrew Boryga

Just as last year’s juggernaut Yellowface featured a shameless, amoral author taking advantage of woke liberalism and tokenism in publishing, Andrew Boryga’s Victim does the same thing with journalism. It looks at victimhood -projected, experienced or faked – and how one young man’s manipulation of it sent him soaring, and then crashing, through the New York City journalism scene. If you enjoy fast-paced novels with unlikeable characters and can’t-look-away plot trainwrecks, then Victim is for you. Why I picked it up: Victim was a buzzy book this spring! And it is my book club’s May pick. Javier “Javi” Perez grew

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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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SMALL WORLD by Laura Zigman

Small World by Laura Zigman is about two sisters, Joyce and Lydia, who lived through a traumatic childhood. Their sister, Eleanor, was born severely disabled and eventually moved into an institution before she died at age 12. Growing up, Joyce and Lydia were mostly ignored by their parents, and the family essentially fell apart after Eleanor’s death. In the present, Joyce and Lydia, both divorced and approaching 50, decide to live together when Lydia returns

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ROMANTIC COMEDY by Curtis Sittenfeld

I have been a bit of a curmudgeon on EDIWTB lately, doling out 3-star reviews and generally complaining about the last few books I’ve read. Well, the negativity stops now! I recently finished Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (one one of my auto-buy authors), a contemporary romance about a writer on an SNL-type show who develops a flirtation with the host/musical guest on the show one week. A few years later, during the pandemic, they

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WOMEN ARE THE FIERCEST CREATURES by Andrea Dunlop

Women Are The Fiercest Creatures by Andrea Dunlop is about three women’s relationship to an egotistical tech CEO named Jake, whose social media community, Strangers, is about to have an IPO. Anna, his ex-wife, supported him through the development and launch of the app; Jessica, his current wife, is pregnant with his baby; and Samanta is an entrepreneur who worked with Jake on the site during its development. Anna and Sam have unfinished business with

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PINEAPPLE STREET by Jenny Jackson

Pineapple Street, one of 2023’s buzzy books, has an enticing premise: the trials and tribulations of a rich family in Brooklyn Heights. One daughter, Darley, is happily married but keeping a secret from her family. One daughter, Georgiana, is single but involved with an unavailable man. And the son, Cord, is married to Sasha, a woman the sisters call the Gold Digger because she wouldn’t sign a prenup. Pineapple Street is about their family dynamics

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My Last Innocent Year by Daisy Alpert Florin

My book club met tonight, and it turned out that four of us had coincidentally just finished the same book (not the one we were discussing). That book is My Last Innocent Year by Daisy Alpert Florin, and out of the four of us, three of us loved it and one of us didn’t. I was – as usual – the contrarian, and I can’t figure out why I had such a different reaction to

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I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOU by Rebecca Makkai

I was really excited when I heard that Rebecca Makkai had a new book coming out this winter. I *loved* her last one, The Great Believers, which I read in 2019, and when I learned that I Have Some Questions For You would be a campus novel, I was especially looking forward to it. I adored her writing the first time around, particularly appreciating how she immersed her readers in a pretty specific and remote

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