Jacob Stevenson had the tallest Mohawk in the history of Hood River High School. So begins the delightful and funny debut novel, The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin. Alice, a widow, hates her job and loves her bees. Jacob, a paraplegic teenager, has all sorts of issues and a horrible father, and Harry, after a life so far of poor decisions, is heading nowhere. Thrown together through need, the trio mends and heals through caring for Alice's bees.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead was one of my favorite books I read in 2019, and the perfect book for this moment. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize this year, there probably isn't much I can add to all of the accolades except to say that they are all deserved. This book is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. The tension between injustice and resistance grabs the attention of the reader and demands the reader keep turning pages. This book is wrenching but it is near-perfect in its execution. Colson Whitehead is a virtuoso writer who is ridiculously talented.
The Dutch House is another fine novel from Ann Patchett. It has it all - a beautiful mansion, a distant, secretive father, siblings abandoned by their mother, a wicked stepmother and her two daughters, reversal of fortune and cruel twists of fate..."A darkfairy tale" as one reviewer wrote. And like a fairy tale the house itself is part of the whole tale, an elegant, lovely, ghostly presence.This novel has a wonderful cast of characters that are believable, compelling and all very human. The portrait of a family is well drawn with their courage, rage, love, loyalty and finally grace.
This wonderful book is the story of Antonia Vega, a recently retired professor of English, her three adult sisters, one of whom has gone missing, and a pregnant Mexican teen miigrant in rural Vermont. It moves quietly with compassion and candor as Antonia struggles with these present day issues in her life. Julia Alvarez's writing is beautiful. The parts that involve Antonia and her siblings are especially so. The story is at times sad, but there is humor as well.
Meddling Kids is a fictional story by Edgar Cantero. Inspired by Scooby-Doo, the story follows Andy, Nate, Kerri, and their pet dog as they revisit an unsolved mystery that has resulted in childhood trauma. 1the book ties in elements of the supernatural, immortal beings, and monsters. The majority of the story takes place in Blyton Hills, a deteriorating town in Oregon, and former sanctuary now tainted by fear.
The Line Tender by Kate Allen is proof positive that it doesn't matter whether a book is written for children or adults--a great book is a great book. This is one of my favorite books I've read this year.
The Line Tender takes place over the course of one summer in Rockport, Massachusetts in the early 1990s. Five years after the loss of her mother--a marine biologist who studied great white sharks--twelve-year-old Lucy Everhart lives with her father and spends most of her days putting together a field guide to native species with her best friend Fred.
Wintercake by Lynne Rae Perkins is a ﬁne choice for the entire family this time of year. Written for 4-8-year-old children this cozy picturebook has everything a good book needs. It is fun, has an exciting story in which something actually happens, and the writing is terriﬁc. A missing basket of dried fruits returned by a stranger leads two friends to make a Wintercake and embark on a journey to ﬁnd the stranger and give him the cake. The vocabulary is sophisticated, always a good sign.
Elizabeth Strout's latest novel Olive, Again, is a continuation of the previous novel Olive Kitteridge. Olive indeed is back in all her cranky, DownEast hard scrabble ways. Olive delivers a baby, gets married again after living alone as a widow, has a poem written about her and marches into old age as only Olive can do.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club is the perfect rainy day read. It's just the right amount of heartwarming and bittersweet.
An irresistible and bittersweet coming-of-age story in the vein of Stranger Things and Stand by Me about a group of misfit kids who spend an unforgettable summer investigating local ghost stories and urban legends
"A celebration of the secret lives of children, both their wonders and their horrors . . . Immensely enjoyable, piercingly clever, and satisfyingly soulful." -Jason Heller, NPR
Not quite a British "cozy," this delightful mystery has enough suspense and threatening situations to be totally absorbing and yet the light touch in the writing makes it a fine if not too serious read. It is London, England, 1934, and an unimportant and down on her luck "Royal," Lady Georgiana Rannoch, (Queen Victoria was her grandmother) finds herself swept up into the inner circle of the royal family and the preparations for the upcoming wedding of Prince George, when she's asked to be a companion to the foreign and beautiful bride-to-be, Princess Marina of Greece.