Taylor and Angus serve two parts of a whole lot of drama. They have a volatile relationship. And when they break up, it gets ugly.
For Taylor, getting dumped is one thing. Having your ex-boyfriend post an explicit video of you on to a porn site is something entirely different. And now she is out for revenge.
But what starts out as a plan for some kind of petty vengeance, soon turns into something more twisted. Taylor soon realises the person she loved is not who she fell in love with.
With Taylor’s plan for revenge spiraling out of control, she soon realises it’s not just a petty game anymore.
Drysdale’s novel, ‘The Sunday Girl’ is narrated in the first person by the main character, Taylor. This is much the same as Drysdale’s second novel, ‘The Strangers We Know’. And in much the same fashion, the reader sees things from Taylor’s perspective and gets a first-person account of Taylor’s thoughts and feelings.
As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of first-person perspective, but I did find ‘The Sunday Girl’ to be written better than ‘The Strangers We Know’. ‘The Sunday Girl’ was far easier to relate to, and the feelings the narrator felt, I began feeling too.
This novel had some interesting twists, and although neither party (Taylor or Angus) was completely in the right when it came to their actions, the ambiguity was realistic.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and the modern storyline.
Charlie’s life gets turned upside down when she discovers her husband, Oliver, on a dating app on a girl’s night out. Unwilling to believe her husband could be unfaithful, Charlie digs deeper, becoming suspicious of his friends, his work and his overseas trips.
But the deeper Charlie digs, the more danger she puts herself in. In a search for the truth, she finds far more than she was bargaining for.
Pip Drysdale’s novel, ‘The Strangers We Know’ is narrated in the first person, as Charlie. I find that writing in the first person can be slightly risky, as the story can become jumbled.
Drysdale does do an alright job writing in the first person, although I found the plot line jumps a little bit, as sometimes you’re in the moment, and then ‘Charlie’ will say things like:
‘And that should have been it: rock bottom. A cheating husband and broken dreams. Fair is fair. But no. Life was just getting warmed up.’
For me, it created an air of disorientation, and broke the suspense I was feeling beforehand.
Regardless, the plot itself was quite dramatic and had many twists and turns, which would keep any reader on their toes, no matter the perspective or tense. Everyone is a suspect, and no one is immune to Charlie’s scrutiny.
I can’t say much more without giving away all of the juicy details, so I’ll leave it at that.
Luke Hollander was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, 20 years ago in the town of Edgewater. And his half-sister, Rachael, has been living with the guilt of it ever since.
What was meant to be a silly teenage game, turned deadly in a heartbeat, and Rachael still doesn’t know who replaced her soft pellet gun for a real one.
Rachael continues to blame herself for shooting Luke, and regardless of the relationships her guilt erodes, she can’t seem to move on and forget the horrors of that night. And judging by the whispers of everyone else in Edgewater, they haven’t forgotten either.
Paranoid, by Lisa Jackson, was a quick and easy read. Her writing flows well and leaves the reader wanting more. Jackson writes a compelling mystery – giving the reader enough of the past and present tense to keep up the guess-game, right to the very last page.
I was actually one of the many readers who seemed to think everything was all tied up, I knew who the culprit was and the story was done – when the last piece of the puzzle came along and whacked me in my silly, proud face.
My only qualm was that the shock ‘twist’ happened so late in the book, I felt I had already had closure and was ready to move on to a new book. Although there were a couple of telling clues, there probably could have been a few more, in order to make the ending seem more ‘complete’ rather than a tacked-on last thought.
Doctor Louis Creed moves his family to Maine – a quiet, sleepy town with rolling hills and trees as far as the eye can see. A perfect spot for his children, Ellie and Gage, to grow up.
A perfect spot. The only sure danger is a busy highway where the trucks blaze by, on their way to the big cities. But nothing scary to worry about. Not even the ‘Pet Sematary’ in the woods, where countless generations of children have buried their beloved companions.
Nothing to worry about. A perfect spot. For a perfect little family.
Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ made my skin crawl the moment I saw the book on the shelf. And that feeling simply became more pronounced as I made my way through the pages.
The way King can give you a sense of growing unease, just from words on paper, is a talent very few authors have. Pet Sematary was full of (dark) colour and characters that seemed to form in your head and appear right in front of your eyes, like you’d known them for years.
All of this character and scene building makes the story come to life – pun intended.
I won’t write any more, for fear(!) of ruining the experience for you. But you’ll certainly be sleeping with one eye open after you finish this one!
Normal People, by Sally Rooney, explores the dynamics between two socially opposite people (Connell and Marianne) – and how they clash and also how they come together.
Connell hails from a severely middle-class, single parent background, while Marianne was born into money. On the outside looking in, the two of them appear at odds with the other, yet their connection is somehow unavoidable and oddly romantic, in a very un-romantic kind of way.
Normal People had my attention very early on. On a personal level, differences in social class and status hit home for me, and so I was immediately intrigued. Love is often the only common ground between two people, and yet sometimes that’s all that’s needed.
But Rooney’s novel quickly became very repetitive and oftentimes, predictable. Whether this is simply to do with what the title suggests, I cannot say. But I can say I was severely disappointed. The fire I was hoping for was not there, and the ending was one that seemed almost at odds with what the story seemed to convey.
Although I can understand the idea of ‘Normal People’ having normal, uneventful, angst-y and uncomfortable lives, the notion made the novel seem un-novellish. Yes, I know that isn’t a real word. Hopefully you get what I mean without me spoiling too much of it.
Personally, I think some people will find this book better than others, depending on their personal experiences with social classes, status and love itself. For me, I could not seem to find any strong feeling of connection with the ending, although I connected on some level with both the characters.
Such a Fun Age, authored by Kiley Reid, follows Emira Tucker – a 25 year-old black woman from Philadelphia, who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. In the meantime though, she works as a babysitter for the Chamberlains – a nice, well-to-do white family who has just moved to town.
But when Emira is filmed being apprehended in a grocery store on suspicion of kidnapping Briar Chamberlain (the child she babysits), things start to snowball. One thing she knows is that she most certainly doesn’t want the video to get out, despite pressure from the boy who filmed it, and her employer, Mrs. Chamberlain.
Emira buries the video, and pretends it never happened.
But the well-meaning white people in Emira’s life can’t seem to let it go, forcing Emira to realise the stark reality of her situation – there’s always someone trying to take control, protect her or help her, even when she never asked.
Kiley Reid really brings everything to the table in ‘Such a Fun Age’.
Through character depth and connection, she tells the story of modern American racism, inequality and presumption. Reid’s approach to such broad issues in a way that is both eye-opening and yet not insensitive to others is truly a testament to her personality and writing style.
Such a Fun Age looks at this complex issue from all angles, with an acute understanding of ‘well-meaning’ white people who often overstep and ‘protect’ black people where it is not necessary, not asked for and often not even needed.
Reid has really created a work of art in the pages of ‘Such a Fun Age’, reminding everyone that a subject doesn’t have to be a mystery, for people to still miss the point.
Alicia Berenson won’t say a word – not since she shot dead her husband, Gabriel.
Once a famous painter, now turned notorious, Alicia now resides at ‘The Grove’ – a psychiatric ward. Refusing to speak for over 6 years, when she shot her husband point blank 5 times in the face, Alicia suddenly becomes aware of a new Doctor in the ward.
Psychotherapist Theo, has recently switched jobs – intrigued by Alicia’s case, and desperate to unravel the mystery behind the silent patient at ‘The Grove’.
‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides is gripping, from start to finish. Alicia Berenson is an extremely interesting character, providing thought-provoking moments, even in the absence of her voice.
This novel has many twists and turns, partly written from Theo’s point of view, and partly from Alicia’s, in the form of her personal diary entries. There are so many questions, all culminating into a final up-ending.
Without giving away too much, all that can be said is that as the reader, it was easy to become drawn in, invested and intensely mystified – and subsequently de-mystified – all in the space of a few hundred pages.
My only criticism is that ‘The Silent Patient’ ends as quickly as it started, and although that is partly intentional, it left me wanting more – more information, more backstory and more pages.