Where the Crawdads Sing
(4.5 out of 5 stars) This story takes the reader on a trip from childhood to adulthood, as seen through the eyes of Kya, its main character. Where the Crawdads Sing tells of a life of isolation and trauma, yet carries a deep message of survival. The tale of the journey is intertwined with a love story, both with people and with the world around us. Written by a gentle hand that knows how to build a story and its universe, Where the Crawdads Sing takes place in North Carolina. As the story unravels, isolation and trauma evolve into independence and acceptance of oneself. The plot carries two unique arcs that intertwine at multiple places. It is a love story between two souls and the sweet North Carolina earth around them, but also an unsolved murder mystery that taunts Kya’s community. There is no wonder this novel was chosen by Reese Witherspoon for her monthly book club.
Little Fires Everywhere
(4 out of 5 stars) Another pick from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, Little Fires Everywhere entertains its readers with a story deeply rooted in family and the ever-changing turns of motherhood. At the center are the Richardsons, whose strong mother is named Elena. (She is played by Reese Witherspoon in the TV series currently running on Netflix.) The Richardsons are a small household that thrives on the predictable and repetitive. Bring in Mia Warren, a single mother who is the antithesis of everything the Richardsons live for. Add an adoption and the custody battle that follows and you have a riveting tale of what family means, and the weight it carries.
(4 out of 5 stars) In the spirit of St. Patrick’s day, this coming-of-age story takes place amidst academic life in Ireland, from grade school to college. It is also the ever-changing love story of Marianne and Connell. Normal People has multiple themes: class, social standing, mental health, and the always complex nature of two imperfect individuals. The author, Sally Rooney, brings a refreshing psychological perspective to the story, one that reflects any reader’s experience with friendship and family. This is a story that any college student can relate to, in prose that is easy to read. It’s a good bet during these COVID-19 days of isolation.