As I compiled this list, I got to thinking how much I appreciate amazing books and how quickly I read them when they engage me. I also got to thinking how I haven't read an absolute page-turner in a few weeks. The last book we read for book club was This Is Where I Leave You, which was entertaining but not necessarily one of the best books I've ever read (and was clearly written to be a movie more than it was to be a book). I tried reading Wild, thinking it would help me be a strong, independent woman again (since Eat, Pray, Love was so pivotal in my "recovery" from a previous failed relationship), but it seemed a bit repetitive, and I only got about halfway through. Now, I'm reading Beautiful Ruins, and while I think the story is getting interesting (finally), I am having a really, really hard time engaging with it -- and I'm halfway through.
Perhaps reading the aforementioned not-so-stellar books helps me appreciate the amazing ones even more.
And, without further ado, here they are!
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Essentially, 20-something Louisa lives at home with her parents who are struggling financially, and she is hired by a super wealthy family to be the caretaker of their quadriplegic son, Will, who was once extremely adventurous, active, and quite the popular bachelor. The book focuses on the two characters and the relationship that builds between the two as Lou tries to convince Will that happiness can still be found, that life is still worth living.
Ugh. So good.
2. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
The book centers on the friendship between June and Toby and the escalating tension between June and her family. It is an absolutely beautiful book that I literally read in two days.
3. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
The book centers on Kate's search for the truth and is interspersed with emails, text messages, and conversations that Amelia had with her peers. There is crazy-suspense throughout this completely unpredictable book.
As a teacher of high school students, I thought the portrayal was very accurate and realistic, albeit extremely frightening. This was an excellent book.
4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
In this gripping thriller, the protagonist, Libby Day, was the only survivor of The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas, when her mother and sisters were killed, and as a small child, Libby testified that it was her brother who committed the brutal murders. As an adult, Libby was approached by the "Kill Club," a group set on proving her brother's innocence.
The story focuses on Libby's quest for the truth from that dark night, and the plot twists and turns at every angle, leaving readers also searching for what really happened.
I loved it.
5. The Language of Flowers
This book is about a young woman, Victoria, who was recently emancipated from the foster care system with nowhere to go and with no skill set -- other than knowing the meaning behind (the language of) flowers. The story alternates between Victoria's present-day as well as her past, specifically focusing on her history with the foster mother who sparked her interest in flowers and who first showed her love. The plot thickens when Victoria encounters someone from her past and is forced to make difficult decisions as to how to handle her painful secrets.
It was a really interesting book (especially in regard to the different meanings of flowers and the relationships between the characters), and I read it in about three days.
What are the best books you've read lately? Any great recommendations? I need a new book for as soon as I finish Beautiful Ruins. :)
Find previous "Five Favorites" here: