These are the books I finished this week:
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney: Frances and her best friend Bobbi are young and beautiful and perform spoken word together. In college, they share an intertwined past. When a journalist named Melissa approaches them and tells them she sees great potential in their act, the two find themselves drawn to her more glamorous, older life. Frances finds herself particularly drawn to Melissa’s actor husband Nick. As she succumbs to temptation, she finds that many of her other relationships suffer at the hands of her actions.
I wanted to love this one, and there were parts of it where I did–the exploration of complicated female friendships reminded me a little of Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals–but here the narrative gets too bogged down in Frances’s navel-gazing. A lot of reviews focus on how unlikeable all the characters are, which isn’t a problem for me (people are, generally, the worst), but there’s a meandering quality to this novel that didn’t quite work for me.
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios:
Grace’s family life is anything but perfect, or even pleasant. Her mother makes her clean the house even when it’s spotless, and her stepfather uses fear to control her. She wants an escape in the worst way. When Gavin shows interest in her, she can’t believe it. But it isn’t long before Gavin starts controlling every aspect of Grace’s life, and Grace is caught up in a romance that is anything but the beautiful escape she wanted it to be.
I’ll be the first to admit it: the gorgeous cover drew me in, as well as the obvious illusions to Gaga’s best song (who will fight me?). But the narrative is surprisingly captivating, despite its length, and there aren’t any easy outs here. Demetrios tackles a trope in YA that isn’t always handled with subtlety and really does it justice.
What did you read this week?