If you’ve read any of these I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Also, tell me about what you are reading now. Anything good?
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Beartown is a town centered around hockey and is slowly dying. Most of the town residents believe that an upcoming junior championship could change that by attracting sponsors and players that are usually lost to bigger surrounding cities. All seems to be on track until, after a drunken party, accusations of rape are made by the hockey manager’s daughter and the star of the team, sending the entire town into a tailspin.
This was a book we read in my book club that received mixed reviews from the group. There was a consensus that there was SO much character development. Some felt this made the first half of the book drag and feel long. Others felt like this reminded them of the story Friday Night Lights, setting us up to buy into the characters even if you aren’t into hockey at all.
At our book club meeting, we shared our own experiences and thoughts about the Me Too movement, how family and community dynamics impact decisions with kids and adults, and how standing up for what is right can be difficult at any age. We all felt that Beartown was worth our time to read even if some didn’t necessarily like it. It certainly prompted a lot of relevant group discussion.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Avery Stafford is a lawyer in a prominent family. She is being groomed to take her over for her Senator father. At the same time her grandmother with a failing memory has been moved into an upscale nursing home. After a few encounters regarding her grandmother’s past don’t add up, Avery takes her focus off of her professional development and starts to look into her grandmother’s early life. As Avery investigates, the story of a family from the 1930s whose lives were affected by the Tennessee Children’s Home unfolds.
The parallel storytelling format within the book kept a quick pace. The current day story with Avery was predicable. However, I had never heard of the Tennessee Children’s Home prior to this book. This was an actual orphanage that abducted children from poor families to adopt (sell) to prominent families. Even though the story shared here isn’t based on a specific person’s journey, it does represent things that actually took place and deserve to be known about. Like Beartown, it isn’t a book that is going to be a new favorite, but I feel like reading it was time well spent.
Agatha H. and the Airship City by Kaja Foglio and Phil Foglio
This young adult steampunk novel was another book club read. We were all kinda curious about the genre. So what is steampunk? Well, it’s a sub-genre of science fiction that incorporates 19th-century type of steam-powered machinery instead of modern technology.
The storyline follows 16-year-old Agatha Clay who struggles as a lab assistant with little natural building talent. Mad scientists rule over most of Europe, and when Agatha’s city is overtaken by a ruthless tyrant she is kidnapped and held prisoner on an airship. Agatha’s abilities start to unconsciously show themselves as she gets wrapped up in political upheaval.
This is the first book in a series based on a comic book turned web series. Meaning this is 100% outside the realm of anything I’m familiar with. There were a lot of characters referenced that were not actually in the story, like lore being introduced. Even for a YA book, it was hard for me to keep everyone straight. I probably won’t continue in the series. Even so, it was still fun to read something completely new and different. That’s what book club is for though, right? Expanding reading horizons.
For more book reviews click here.