At the end of each quarter, I go through the list of books I’ve read over the past three months and compile a list of 5 of my favorites. This is the list of my favorite books that I read during the first quarter of the year (I’ll be sharing the second quarter list soon).
1. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
This is an amazing book that takes place in Chinatown in 1954 is about two women, Lily and Kath who fall in love with each other.” This is a dangerous time to fall in love with Red-Scare paranoia threatening their existence, especially Lilly who is Chinese American. So the story kind of revolves around The Telegraph Club, which is a Lesbian bar – a place where Lily and Kat hang out together, after sneaking out of the house. Well, a pivotal event occurs at the bar which changes and shakes up both of their lives. A moving story about discovering where you belong.
2. Dead Sea by Mia Kerrick
The story follows Lenny, a seventeen-year-old talented creative kid who loves to sew and dress up in costumes. After an upsetting event during which all of his secrets risk exposure, Lenny, unable to face the potential humiliation, decides to walk into the ocean and never return. Caught in a riptide, he begins to drown but is rescued by the unlikeliest of heroes: one of the school’s biggest and meanest bullies, Kyle. What follows is a transformation of our two characters, especially of Kyle, after the event. Though the book is layered with complexities of identity and societal expectations, ultimately, Dead Sea ends being a beautifully written story about friendship, redemption, and first love.
3. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
I’ve read a couple of other books by this author: Magic for Liars and When We Were Magic and enjoyed both of them. But I’d say that this book is my favorite one of the three.
This book asks the question: How far would you go in the pursuit of perfection?
The story takes place in the not-so-distant future and follows a brilliant and driven award-winning scientist named Evelyn Caldwell whose work involves Clone technology, in which she is able to perfectly replicate human beings using their DNA. Unbeknownst to Evelyn, her husband Nathan has stolen her research and created a genetic clone of her…of Evelyn, named it Martine. The husband made Martine with only the qualities that HE wanted in a woman: more patient, loving, pliable, meek, even-tempered, more focused on him rather than her work, and especially more obedient. So, snake that he is, he leaves Evelyn, moves in with Martine to live life with his wife’s clone, and files for divorce. Things get really crazy when the cheating bastard ends up dead in Martine’s Kitchen and the two “Mrs. Caldwells” end up having to work together to fix the mess.
4. What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton
This is a haunting story told from the point of view of two sisters, one dead and one alive. After the death of her mother and of sister May, June finds out that she is now the owner of Avril Island, a place she hasn’t been to since her father’s sudden disappearance when they were children. Her mother told her that she’d sold the island years ago, so June was more than surprised that it was still in the family and now belonged to her.
Unaware that her dead sister’s ghost accompanies her, June returns to the isolated family island cottage for the first time in decades to find out why her mother lied to her about selling the cabin and perhaps why their father left them one night, never to be heard from again. She begins digging through decades worth of clues and uncovering all sorts of creepy family secrets in the process. What we have here is a wonderfully crafted and thrilling tale about loss, grief, love, lies, betrayal, and dark family secrets that I absolutely loved.
5. When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
I read The Paris Wife by this author, which I loved, so I thought I’d give this one a go as well. Set in the early 1990s, “When the Stars Go Dark” follows Anna Hart, an emotionally damaged detective specializing in searching for and finding missing children. After a horrendous tragedy in her life, Anna escapes to her hometown of Mendocino to try and figure out her next move and find herself. Once there, however, she’s asked by an old friend who is now the Sheriff to assist in the case of a missing 15-year-old girl named Cameron. Alternating between the past and present, Anna not only uncovers similar disappearances in other nearby towns but also unearths information about a missing child case that occurred while she lived in Mendocino years ago. This is a gritty and gripping mystery with many unexpected twists and turns that illustrates the extent of how trauma can affect someone’s life. Because of its dark subject matter — the kidnapping, abuse, and murder of children — the book is heartbreaking and tough to read. I knew this subject will be a gut puncher- but was woefully ill-prepared for how much. It kinda destroyed me for a few days, truth be told.
My 2nd quarter list will be forthcoming. How about you? Read anything good lately?
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