My picks for your summer reading list this week are meant to take you out of your world and into a place that’s a little bit dark but wholly satisfying and definitely mixed with humor. I really loved the honesty in delivery of the stories in these two books. Both have the main characters struggling in unusual problems set in locations that seemed unfamiliar and yet familiar at the same time. Both Drew and Nonny have to go back home to face the small town judgment and past mistakes that may not have been their own, but they are certainly both paying for. The books left me with that satisfying feeling after reading them that you get after you watch a really great movie and want to play it again just to hang out with the characters for just a little bit longer.
Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
The bad blood between the Fretts and the Crabtrees has been going strong for decades. The Fretts practically own Between, Georgia (population 90) and the Crabtrees are racking up frequent flyer miles at the jail. Nonny Frett, biological daughter of a Crabtree and adopted daughter of the Fretts, is smack dab in the middle of it all.
Nonny grew up trying to negotiate between her two families, and she now finds herself really stuck… between. She has her new life in Athens and her old life in Between; her two mothers, one deaf-blind and the other a pinch away from flat crazy; and to top it all off she has a husband with one foot out the backdoor and an adorable best friend with one foot inching in the front door. Secrets collide in this energetic but warm tale of Southern drama.
You’ll like this if: you like a little Southern sass in your family drama (it’s okay if you’re not Southern, we welcome all y’all to dwell in our sunny front porches for a while)
Quote: “It was as if my soul had been floating above the scene, watching, waiting to be sucked into my body with the air of my first breath”
Mandatory Release by Jess Riley
Graham Finch knows that his efforts at rehabilitating inmates will be mostly fruitless. He also knows that his efforts at rehabilitating his love life will be pointless until his confronts his own problems with being entirely upfront with who he really is. This endless cycle gets completely disrupted when Drew Daniels walks back into his life. Drew knew Graham before the big-mistake-that-changed-his-life and unfortunately, she has her own “big mistake” that’s the worst kept secret in their Wisconsin small town. Both Graham and Drew have to learn to confront their collective pasts to find their own way to mend their individual broken hearts.
This story is funny and dark with a great big dash of wit and snark. Even when the characters are making smack-your-head-and-groan decisions, they’re written well enough for you to root for them and hope that they can find their way (and maybe-hopefully-will-they-please –just find their way toward one another).
You’ll Like this if: you’re a fan of witty, snarky novelists like Jonathan Tropper and Laurie Notaro
Quote: “I too could learn from the self-help lessons I deliver three days a month. Unfortunately, like the advice-giver stuck in a bad relationship or the insecure bully taunting the easy mark, it’s much easier to dish it out than it is to actually take it.”