Monday, September 26, 2016

All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda

All the Missing GirlsSynopsis from Goodreads:
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

My Thoughts:
I was confused through the first part of this book as it was written in such an interesting format.  At one point, the present jumps two weeks prior.  Then the author spends the rest of the book running the present day narrative backwards with flashbacks into a decade past.  It was an interesting format. 
I will say that I had good portions of the suspense figured out by the time they were revealed.  But not all. 
I did like exploring the deeper themes of who we are (or aspects of it at least) disappears over time as we grow and change. 
I think this would be a great book club book as it has a lot of fodder for discussion.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Next to Love - Ellen Feldman

Next to LoveSummary from Goodreads:
For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Postmistress, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave set during the years of World War II and its aftermath.
  Set in a small town in Massachusetts, Next to Love follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities—and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of the war.
 Beautifully crafted and unforgettable, Next to Love depicts the enduring power of love and friendship, and illuminates a transformational moment in American history.

My Thoughts:
Okay, first of all, this book is *nothing* like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I mean, other than they’re both set (sort of – Next to Love spans more years) in the same time frame.  But I think the similarities end there. 

Next to Love is the story of three friends as they go and grow through World War II and beyond into the 1960’s.  As they face love and loss and everything in between. 

It took me awhile to get into the book and the characters.  Even towards the end, they were doing things and things were happening that made me say “What?”  However, towards the middle and end I was more able to overlook those as I wanted to know where the story was taking the characters. 

Here are my caveats on why I maybe struggled with this book:

1.       I read it on my Kindle.  So I couldn’t easily flip back and forth to line things up as the timeline and story jumped around in and between characters.

2.       I read it in the midst of moving my family a few states away.  So chaos was in my head, and I perhaps transposed some of that to the book.

As I’ve said, I was thoroughly engaged with the characters as the book progressed.  All of the main characters were incredibly nuanced, which I appreciated. 

There are a lot of triggers in this book:  sex, drinking, violence, rape, some language.  So I’m not sure I would necessarily recommend it.  It was interesting but not my cup of tea. 

Also, I read the e-version from my library that had these great hyperlinks throughout.  You could click on one, and it would jump to the appendix and tell you more about Western Union or a particular location or whatever.  So that was a neat feature.  Although now that I think about it, that could have kept me from delving into the story sooner as well.