books and reading

What I Read This Week

These are the books I finished this week. Without further ado:

32508637See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt: Lizzie Borden alerted her maid on August 4th, 1892 that someone “had killed father.” The ax-murder of her father and stepmother gripped an entire town, and this re-imagining of the day in question is a gripping account of a famous historical event.

This retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders has been described as “feverish” in its narration and its absolutely true. Told from multiple perspectives, the book focuses on just a few days over the course of its run, but the result is a gripping, creative retelling of the murders. It’s not the most historically accurate portrayal, but it is a fascinating one.

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Honey by Sarah Weeks:

Melody lives with her father in Indiana. For as long as she can remember, it’s just been her and her dad, and she’s okay with that. But she overhears him call someone honey on the phone, and now she wonders what else all the adults around her are hiding. Factor in a new beauty shop owner with a mysterious dog named Mo who keeps having dreams about , and things around Melody’s Indiana small town are going to get pretty interesting.

I listened to the audiobook of this one and very much enjoyed it. It’s one of the finalist for the Maude Hart Lovelace book awards, and I thought it was a sweet little tale. It features a dog as one of the main characters, and so I might have cried–because I’m the worst. I really liked this.

28458598When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple Shah has graduated from high school and is ready to start her college life. She gets into a summer program called InsomniaCon which will give her a leg up on her coding practice, and she’s stunned when her parents say she can attend. Little does she know they’ve been colluding with Rishi Patel’s parents, who think the two will be a good marriage match. Rishi’s on board, but Dimple is not. But the two start to find common ground as they spend time together, with surprising results.

This is one of the most-hyped YA novels released this year, and it fell flat for me. I think there’s a lot of great stuff here: Indian-American protagonists, girl coders, an #ownvoices writer, etc. But the book suffers from a lack of editing (it is way, way too long and the plot and pacing need a ton of work) and as a result is much flabbier than it should be. I was left pretty underwhelmed.

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Made for Love by Alissa Nutting: Hazel has left her tech giant Byron and is crashing at her dad’s trailer park. Her dad has just ordered an extremely lifelike sex doll he’s named Diane and wants his privacy. Convinced that Byron will stop at nothing to track her down, Hazel tries to eschew technology and outsmart Byron while dealing with her father’s eccentricities. As she tries to figure out how to live in a world free of her controlling husband, Hazel will uncover some unsettling truths about herself.

I loved Nutting’s deeply unsettling Tampa, and this sophomore novel is deeply weird and offers some really creative ideas about the near-future, but it fell flat for me in its execution. While the first third of the book is very strong, it feels like it loses the thread and then devolves into something that isn’t as well-thought-out as it thinks it is. I definitely have more to say about this, but I was left mildly disappointed.

What did you read this week?

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