Tag Archive | book clubs

Best Books of 2016 – aka, I Am A Terrible Person

So firstly, I am ashamed, ASHAMED, of my lack of blogging since my Journey to Employment post – my only excuse being my employment. With how busy my first two months of work have been and keeping up with the PubInterns account, and attempting to have a social life, I just haven’t had the time or inclination to blog as much as I used to. SHAME CHLOE, SHAME.

But I’m making a quick return, and though I can’t promise my blogging will be better in 2017, at least I’m ending 2016 on a high note, with a run down of the best books I read this year (totally my opinion, probably not the mainstream or what everyone else thinks, but whatever, this is my blog, not theirs). Incidentally, I am currently reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and loving it!!!

No particular order, just wonderful books, and I can’t even remember all the books I read this year (there were lots okay) but these are the ones that stood out to me.

Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t? 

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. 

And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. 

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…

I loved this book, such a brilliant, humorous read, that made a difficult subject honest and real and entertaining without taking away from the severity of it. Shappi is a fantastic writer and this was definitely a stand out this year – Nina is a great character and I wish she was my friend.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. 

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

This is a book that I felt really and truly affected by after I read it. It has stuck with my long after I read it and I am itching to get my hands on Jennifer’s next book, Holding Up the Universe to enjoy her writing again. I wrote a longer but still ‘mini’ review of it here but to repeat the most important thing from that review – this book is not afraid of the hard stuff, of real life and unhappy endings. And that’s what makes it special.

In a small town where everyone knows everyone, Emma O’Donovan is different. She is the special one – beautiful, popular, powerful. And she works hard to keep it that way. 

Until that night . . . 

Now, she’s an embarrassment. Now, she’s just a slut. Now, she is nothing.

And those pictures – those pictures that everyone has seen – mean she can never forget.

This is the kind of book I just want to throw at people and force them to read it. Again, longer review here but in essence Louise O’Neill teaches a valuable lesson about the blurred lines between consent and rape, victim blaming, and the painful after effects of rape. What’s really quite special is that Emma is not a hugely likeable character but that still is no excuse for what happens to her.

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .

Controversially, I actually prefer Fangirl to Rowell’s more celebrated novel, Eleanor and Park. (I’ve done reviews of both here and here, and state why I prefer Fangirl in my E&P review.) I felt really connected to Cath as a character and really enjoyed seeing her different relationships: with Wren, with Reagan, with her parents, and with Levi. How each relationship added personality to Cath and developed her as a person was so great to read and I loved seeing her grow. However, this book is certainly not without its problems.

Every day I am someone else.

I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else.

It has always been like this.

Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . .

Such an interesting idea for a novel, and so well written. For a character whose body is constantly in flux, A manages to have such a complex and solid personality and development. My longer review is here and I have re-read it since then and still love it just as much. I love that it explores loss of identity in quite a bold way by actually having A lose their identity repeatedly.

They were the victims of separate massacres. Three strangers bound by similar traumas grouped together by the press.

When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

Is this cheating if it isn’t out until next year? Whatever, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a proof copy and devoured this novel. It was so well written and so great for a debut, I will encourage everyone to read it if they can next year! A total page-turner that keeps you guessing throughout. Definitely a must-read in 2017.

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

You can see my longer review here and see that I do love Jandy Nelson as a writer and think she is so talented. What is great about I’ll Give You the Sun is that, like Fangirl, it understands that relationships other than romantic ones are so formative in your teenage years, especially ones between siblings. Also the dual narrative is absolutely brilliant – two different characters and two different timelines that manage to complement each other so well.

What if you had said yes . . . ?

Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future – together, and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.

I love, love, love this book! It’s such a clever idea by Laura Barnett and I wrote a nice long review of it here. It was such a gift to receive it as part of a competition I won, that I had no pre-conceived ideas of it and was allowed to fall in love with the purity of a great story and brilliant writing. This is a love story that goes beyond the norm. It’s one for the ages.

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

It’s no shock that this was on my must-read list this year and that it gained so many good reviews. It is superbly written, compelling and exciting. Clare Mackintosh does a brilliant job of keeping the reader’s attention and focus and the book zags in places where you expect it to zig which I love. I wrote a full review here and still maintain that it was the best thriller since Girl on the Train. 

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

I just finished this last week and am so pleased to write a review of a book with NO ROMANTIC INTERESTS. This book passes the Bechdel test on so many levels and pages which gets all the applause. Caddy reminded me so much of me at 16 though without a Rosie or a Suzanne and it was so easy to see how she could get swept up in the danger of someone a little bit more exciting than her. It was a beautiful representation of life after a trauma, how tragedy affects the victim and damages them even after they are supposedly saved.

In this historic romance, young Elizabeth Bennet strives for love, independence and honesty in the vapid high society of 19th century England.

Shock horror but I hadn’t actually read Pride and Prejudice until this year. But then I found myself addicted to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (which if you haven’t watched you really really need to) and decided it was about time I actually read the most famous novel in the English language. Plus, now that I knew the story from LBD, I would be able to keep track of what was going on and focus more on Austen’s words. And I have to say, I totally understand why it’s so popular and beloved (aside from Colin Firth coming out of a lake sopping wet). It is a great narrative, with the original boss bitch Lizzie Bennet and a brilliant representation of 19th century high society.


So, what were your top books of 2016? Any recommendations?

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Shtum – Jem Lester

I must start this review by thanking the wonderful Sam Eades for sending me a proof of Shtumalong with The Versions of Us by Laura Barnet, which has been added to my expanding ‘To Read’ list, as part of a Secret Santa giveaway.

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I had heard so much about this book: on THE Book Club on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the general book world. Since diving into the book world myself on my unwavering hunt for a job in a publishing house, I have become more eager than ever to read proofs before the book is publishing so that I too can rave about them upon publication. Therefore, I knew I had to get my hands on Shtum, if not to see what all the fuss is about really.

And it’s completely worth the fuss.

Shtum tells the story of Ben and his autistic ten-year-old son Jonah, who are forced to move in with Ben’s father Georg in order to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal. Thus, three generations of Jewells are thrown together and a tale of family, history, identity and crisis unfolds.

I found the novel initially, not so much challenging, but challenging in its simplicity, in that I kept waiting for the bomb to drop and for it to to become the incredible novel I had read about. I did however, enjoy the opening sections for Lester’s writing similarities with Jonathan Tropper. I found his depiction of Ben to be quite similar to Tropper’s Judd from This Is Where I Leave You, though the two characters are on paper rather different. The way Lester plays with family dynamics and the meaning of family – in that family does not necessarily have to be blood – is incredibly reminiscent of Tropper’s writing, and Lester achieves that same casual elegance in his development of character and character relationships as does Tropper.

The wit and humour in Ben and his father Georg in times of hardship is what keeps the novel afloat and really makes up the heart and the emotion of the novel. The way the three generations interact and share their lives is simply charming and effervescent,

However, once the bomb dropped, and the bombs continued to drop, with more and more punches and twists to the tale that strike right at the heart, I realised just how fantastic this book would really be, and how it exceeds Tropper in so many ways. There is an emotional depth and an authentic sentiment to the closing chapters that really makes you root for the Jewells, despite their, at times, negative qualities, such as Ben and Emma’s dissolving relationship and their own individual demons.

The very end of the novel packs a serious emotional punch, that I was not expecting and really shook me as I read it. I don’t wish to spoil it here, but I will say that I felt it was slightly rushed, and though there were hints of it throughout the novel, I would have preferred a different narrative style, perhaps interweaving the close of the story throughout the novel in a dual narrative style.

I have seen much success with this kind of narrative in the past, though at the same time as it is a common narrative move, I can understand why Lester would choose not to write his story as such. But I really do feel that as impactful as the final note of the story is, it would benefit from more attention throughout.

I have no doubt that this will be a huge seller in 2016, and the success of it is truly down to Lester’s incredible ability to write compelling but relatable characters that really tug on your heartstrings, as well as packing a punch at the end of the narrative. I read it in approximately four hours, and have no doubt that with the right amount of hours in a day, you could too.

 

Shtum is published by Orion books on 7th April 2016 and again, all thanks go to Sam Eades for sending me a copy of this much desired first novel. 

My Name is Leon – Kit de Waal

Another book that I was so lucky to be given during my work experience this summer at Penguin. I feel guilty that it took me this long to get around to reading it, but then, I did manage to read it before it was even published, so I guess I still win? It took me a mere three days to read, in between essays and journals for uni, it was so nice to dip into under my duvet as the rain poured.

My Name is Leon is a touching, heartwarming story about little Leon who lives with his mum, Carol, and his new baby brother Jake, who only he can really look after. Because Carol is unfit to look after her sons, Leon and baby Jake are taken to live with Maureen, where the adults speak in low voices and make Pretend faces. And one day, Jake is taken to live with strangers whilst Leon gets left behind – because Jake is white and Leon is not.

The story is beautifully written through Leon’s eyes as he struggles to understand the changes in his life, why Jake was taken away from him and why he can’t see him or Carol anymore. de Waal perfectly captures the mind of a 9-year-old, without it becoming too cloying at times; it is perfectly balanced between awareness and imagination, set against the backdrop of racism in 80s England.

It is a truly thoughtful novel and a wonderful debut, which takes a delicate and potentially bleak subject and injects it with enough heart to make it light and warm and perfectly endearing. It is an easy read with simple language, but sensitive prose and descriptions, which for me, as well as a solid and engaging story, is the mark of an excellent writer.

I am so pleased to have read this novel, particularly before the masses, because it means that when everyone else gets around to reading it I can gush and say ‘Oh yes, I’ve read that and it was wonderful!’ I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and immediately recommended it to friends to put on their TBR 2016 list, which I would recommend to all of you as well!

Let me know if you think it sounds good in the comments below and if you’ll be putting it on your TBR list!

My Name is Leon, by Kit de Waal, is published by Viking in June 2016. 

Summer Reads Vol. II

Returning to my summer reads! If you need a reminder, this will be a blog post that recaps a number of books in succinct reviews rather than in depth ones. Because my life is dedicated to university reading at the moment (currently reading: NOT The Shock of the Fall, rather A Feminist Companion to Shakespeare – don’t be too jealous) I’m recapping the rest of my summer reads here.

I would’ve loved to review some of these books in far more detail but I feel it’s more important to get the reviews down on the page whilst the memory of reading them is still fresh. Forgive me, but hopefully you find these useful!

Summer Reads Vol. II

1. This is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper

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This is Where I Leave You is a story of a family brought together by tragedy. When Judd’s father dies, his last wish being that the family comes together to sit the Jewish tradition of shiva, Judd’s world becomes the suffocating circus that has been his life with his family.

This was a lovely, easily read book that really gives an insight into family dramas and relationships. It is a story about love, life, loss, faith, faith in people, and above all, family. I love the multiple character threads that all tie up nicely together. Judd’s ending is a little predictable, but the ensemble ending is definitely an unforeseen delight.

What’s really great about this book is the family dynamic, and showing how family don’t always have be blood relations. Tropper is a master of casual writing: none of the text seems forced or tries too hard, it sits comfortably within the pages and calmly unpacks the characters giving due attention to them and their needs.

It is tender and it is dysfunctional and it all comes together to make an extremely satisfying read.

2. The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak 

What’s firstly so fabulous about this book is that it has just been reproduced as part of the Penguin By Hand collection by Penguin General, which means the cover has been re-made with a beautiful craft-inspired jacket, in this case, a tapestry. I think we can all agree that artwork is simply stunning.

I found the book a little harder to get my teeth into; with complex language and subject matter that does not necessarily prescribe to my own interest, it was a book I ploughed through without my usual vigour. The novel (again) has two parallel narratives: the first of the unhappily married Ella in Massachusetts who whilst working for a literary agency is instructed to read the novel that makes up the second narrative. “Sweet Blasphemy” tells of the wandering dervish Shams’ life and his interaction with the Sufi Rumi.

Interestingly, within the novel Ella herself originally struggles with the second narrative, but soon grows to become deeply attached to it and its author. I, myself, preferred Ella’s narrative, though the multiple perspectives of Shams’ story were certainly an interesting addition to perspective.

This book has been wonderfully celebrated, and thus I do encourage reading it. Though for me, it just wasn’t my favourite.

3. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins 

What a novel. As soon as I got stuck into this, I certainly knew why it was one of the most popular and talked about books of the year. It is full of frustrating stops and starts and twists and turns, with a huge killer twist at the end. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every morning stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost with her ex-husband Tom, who happens to live just down the road from “Jess and Jason”, with his new wife Anna.

Through a series of events, Rachel finds herself in the middle of “Jess and Jason”‘s lives and dramas and turns everything upside down as the tangled web she weaves gets more and more messy.

What’s great about this novel is that the narrator and main character, Rachel, isn’t really the most likeable person in the world. In fact, she’s pretty unlikeable – she’s a drunk, she’s a mess, and she doesn’t help herself with her obsessive personality. There were multiple times whilst reading that I just wanted to scream at her, ‘Rachel, get your act together!!”

It was an incredibly unsettling book, frustrating and times, compelling at others but the mystery at the heart of the novel is what keeps the book alive. Hawkins’ combination of relationship drama with criminal possibilities illustrates the dark secrets behind the facade of perfection, and how this perfect mirage can break down to reveal horrors underneath. It’s a totally gripping novel that I would thoroughly recommend to any reader who enjoyed Gone Girl and wants more of that sticky, interesting drama.

4. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes 

I loved this book. I could tell, as I read it and immediately afterwards, that – like Cecelia Ahern novels – it would be a book that I would return to again and again (though I will have to buy it first, as my kind best friend let me read it on her Kindle!). Like Cecelia Ahern, Jojo Moyes has the ability to create captivating and relatable characters and she certainly punched me in the gut with the ending.

This was actually the first book I’ve ever cried at. I’m a cryer, but my tears are usually reserved for films. This is definitely a testament to Moyes’ writing, her beautiful words and her wonderful, wonderful characters. The story tells of Lou, an out-of-work 26-year-old, whose only option left to support her family is to take employment as a carer for Will, whose successful, glamorous life has been ripped away from him in a motorcycle accident and left him as a paraplegic.

The story in itself is basic rom-com narrative, going back as far as Much Ado About Nothing: Lou and Will are mismatched, don’t get on and are frustrated with each other, but eventually they find a way to work together and find that their lives before each other are nothing compared to their lives with the other in it.

What truly makes it special is the navigation of relationships between family, between lovers, between employers and employees and how that really comes alive on the page through Moyes’ deep, complex and entertaining characters. I’ve always loved the kind of sarcastic bad-boy that Will brings to the table (seen in characters like Finnick Odair – coincidentally also played by Sam Claflin in The Hunger Games, and who plays Will in the upcoming film adaptation).

Lou and Will’s relationship is at the heart of the novel, and the development of their progression from uncomfortable employer/employee to friends really fuels the narrative and made the page ever turning for me.

I read it in one sitting and wouldn’t be surprised if you did too. Grab it now before the movie comes out and you won’t regret it.


So that’s the end of my summer reads (even though it’s now November) – I hope you enjoyed them! Do let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of these (I’m sure you have) and what you thought of them.

 

We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver

SPOILER FREE. Also a relevant review for its film adaptation. 

We need to talk about this book. Everyone talks about this book. And for good reason. It is haunting, disturbing and ultimately sticks with us, and certainly stuck with me, for time to come.

A quick recap of the events: this story is written in epistolary form, meaning that it comes in a series of letters written by Eva Khatchadourian to her seemingly estranged husband Franklin as she discusses her son’s imprisonment for a school massacre and the lead up to these events.

Though I found the novel slow to build, it reads as a thriller when the story of Kevin’s life is interweaved with his mother’s visits to the juvenile prison where he is detained, offering insight into Kevin both before and after his terrible crime. The slow build allows for intrigue and curiosity about the ultimate massacre itself and lets the reader question Kevin’s motives and what in his life led him to that point.

What’s interesting about this novel is the questions it raises about criminal responsibility and nature vs. nurture. The reader is forced to ask whether Kevin himself is a pure sociopath or whether Eva’s brand of detached motherhood led him to a dissatisfied existence that drove him to sociopathic thoughts.

Shriver considers Kevin’s innate characteristics and life experiences as factors in his development and questions who is in fact more responsible for his unfavourable actions: is it his mother Eva or himself, from his own inner qualities. Is Kevin a villain or a victim? A villain due to his own actions or a victim due to the actions of his mother?

It is certainly a distressing and disturbing book that will leave you unsettled, reeling and unnerved. But in my humble opinion, that is what makes a successful author: one who has a profound effect on their reader at the close of the novel. A book that leaves you thinking and questioning and challenged.

There comes a point when you really do question your own sanity in persevering with such a difficult and quite frankly, horrible book. But the satisfaction in completing it – and joining the masses that have – and being able to ask your own questions of the author and the society in which we live makes it rather worth it.

So this is a recommended read of mine, extremely valuable in the canon of crime reading. Along with novels like Gone Girl and Nineteen Minutes, it really gives you the opportunity to consider humanity, responsibility and the blurred lines between villain and victim.

Let me know below if you’ve read it and what you thought! Were you as disturbed by the ending as 90% of readers?

Cover art.

The Good Liar – Nicholas Searle

This book is being talked about as one of the biggest books of next year, indeed it is sure to be one of Penguin’s (more specifically Viking’s) biggest debuts of 2016. The author, Nicholas Searle, was a Senior Civil Servant for many years before turning his hand to fiction and writing a novel that is so sharp and clever that it was unlike anything I’d ever read before.

I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy of this novel during my work experience with Penguin, and knowing that it was set to be one of the biggest novels of 2016 and published in January, I made it my priority to read it on holiday.

I finished the novel as the plane hit the tarmac in Santorini, and was so enraptured and captivated by its ending that I was reading the final pages whilst holding onto my best friend’s hand as she was terrified by landing.

It’s hard to describe the true beauty of the novel whilst keeping it spoiler free, because that which makes it so incredible are the twists that keep twisting. Reading this novel was like stepping into a Tower-of-Terror style rollercoaster: slow to begin, a slow build, before hurtling through twists, turns and unstoppable page-turning moments.

It begins with conman Roy Courtnay who is about to pull off his final steal, robbing an old woman, Betty, of her life savings by inserting himself into her life.

Interweaved with the present-day events of Roy and Betty, Searle offers glimpses of Roy’s past life, his life encounters and misdeeds, which offers insight but not true clarity into Roy’s character, until the final third of the novel, which completely flips the perspective and shoots the reader into a whirlwind of truths, clarity and earth-shattering revelations.

On the proof copy I received, one line of the blurb reads: This book will lie to you.

Indeed, the final conclusion leaves you with a taste of doubt and deception and pure thrill at what you have read, assumed and believed. Like those that Roy deceived during his lifetime, I too felt deceived by Searle, but was oh-so pleased to have been.

He is a master of deception, thrills and unforeseen twists, which make this novel a classic and a winning debut for an author.

It is an extremely satisfying read, and as a reader, I felt privileged to have read this before others, just so that I could recommend it to many other readers. I would definitely recommend it, and advise you to stick with it and persevere. Despite its slow build, the thrilling conclusion makes each turn of the crank to send the Tower up (or each chapter of Roy’s life) worth reading.

Again, this was an incredibly difficult novel to review without giving anything away and it has become so hard to express the pleasure and fulfilment I felt after reading, that I feel like I’ve been reduced to saying: ‘Just read it. Just read it.’

So that’s my only advice really: Just read it. When this novel comes out in early 2016, you will want to rave about it, just as I am, and when you do, pingback to this review and let me know what you thought! If this review intrigues you, comment below!

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My Long Long List of Books

Here you can see the long list of books I want to (and intend to) read, and possibly review:

I’m going to attempt to get a degree along the way.

Currently Reading: The Good Liar – Nicholas Searle

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • The Good Liar – Nicholas Searle
  • The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer
  • Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey
  • My Name is Leon – Kit de Waal
  • Funny Girl – Nick Hornby
  • Life Class/Toby’s Room/Noonday – Pat Barker
  • Find Me – Laura van den Berg
  • The Boy that Never Was – Karen Perry
  • When We Were Friends – Tina Seskis
  • The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen
  • Dangerous Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  • The Tutor – Andrea Chapin
  • Butterly – Sonya Hartnett
  • Dream a little Dream – Giovanna Fletcher
  • Fresh Hell – Rachel Johnson
  • The Boy Who Could See Death – Salley Vickers
  • The Mark and the Void – Paul Murray
  • These Days Are Ours – Michelle Haimoff
  • The Martian – Andy Weir
  • My Sunshine Away – M.O. Walsh
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han
  • Noughties – Ben Masters
  • Memoirs of a Dipper – Neil Leyshon
  • The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak

Note to Self: Don’t buy any more books.