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How’s your summer going? Mine has been a little strange, but things are settling down. I’m lucky to be spending time in beautiful Sunriver, Oregon relaxing, playing, and going on adventures with family. It’s a gorgeous area and being here always revives me. Before I headed out, I did a lot of July reading and it was a bit of a roller coaster, but the highs were HIGH. This month’s favorites, which includes a 6/28 release, brought four (FOUR!) books that will at least be in the running for my Best Books of 2022. One might even be THE Best book.
So, to be clear, I HIGHLY recommend all of these books. You can’t go wrong with any of them!
The Measure by Nikki Erlick (debut)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Length: 368 pages
My Thoughts: THE MEASURE by Nikki Erlick was one of those books that took me completely by surprise. Its debut author’s premise is so original, so fresh, and so well done that she had me hooked immediately. One day everyone on Earth, 22-years and older, wakes up and finds a small box marked for them. In it is a string. The length of people’s strings vary. This alone causes mass confusion and fear, but after a short time even more panic arises as mankind figures out that the length of the string marks the length of its owner’s life. Tensions, fears, regrets, sorrow and joy arise around the length of strings. They bring out the worst in many people, both with short and long strings. The story unfolds from several different perspectives with people who are all loosely connected. Some are short-stringers, others long-stringers, and still others have chosen not to look.
This is a book that will give you much to think about and I love that. It puts into focus how we tend to group people, and in doing so, rob them of their individuality. It will also have you constantly considering how you’d live your life if you knew how long you’d live. Would you want to know? How could you live your life differently if you knew when your time would be up? If you knew you’d die at 50, what would you be doing at 40? How would knowing your end date change the trajectory of your life? Like I said, much to think about, and isn’t that the mark of a truly great book? Grade: A-
The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Length: 448 pages
My Thoughts: 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐂𝐄𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐒 by Bruce Holsinger is a wild ride that will leave you with a whole lot to think about. After an unprecedented category 6 hurricane hits Florida and Texas within a 10 day span, Daphne Larsen-Hall finds herself, her college age step-son and her two young children displaced, along with millions of other Americans. Adding to the confusion, all her ID was left behind, and her husband is nowhere to be found. The family ends up in a mega-shelter, living in a tent in rural Oklahoma together with thousands of others left homeless. For the first time in her life, Daphne experiences what it’s like to live going without, to have no money, to lose any semblance of a safety net, even as her skin color continues to offer protection others are denied.
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 is a wonderfully written cautionary tale of a future none of us want. Through the eyes of the director of the Oklahoma shelter and others, the reader is forced to take a closer look at the growing impact of global warming on our planet. Wildfires, heatwaves, tornadoes, and hurricanes all seem to be more prevalent as time moves on. Yet our preparedness for disasters lags and our willingness to enact change moves much too slowly. With thoughtful, creative prose and characters I grew to really care about, Holsinger delivers a story that is at the same time compelling AND terrifying. Grade: A-
Thanks to Riverhead Books for both an ARC and finished copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Kaleidoscope by Cecily Wong
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Length: 320 pages
My Thoughts: Sometimes you simply fall hard into a story and that’s exactly what happened to me with 𝐊𝐀𝐋𝐄𝐈𝐃𝐎𝐒𝐂𝐎𝐏𝐄 by Cecily Wong. Hers is a book I flew through in a single day, and then was left wishing I hadn’t yet finished. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and one of my two July book hangovers.
This is a difficult book to describe without giving too much away, but I’ll try a few basics. Above all, this is a story about the relationship between two sisters, Morgan and Riley, daughters of very successful entrepreneurs. It’s about the reasons they’re so close, why they drift just a bit, and how one reacts after she’s left on her own. It’s also about both sisters’ relationships with their parents, who treat the two very differently. It’s about crossing boundaries, and about being lost and finding yourself again. Ultimately, 𝘒𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘪𝘥𝘰𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘦 is a love story in which love takes on many different forms.
I know I’ve given you little to go on, and the story may even sound a little grim, but it really isn’t. Yes, there is sadness and pain, but also hope and renewal. The last thing I want to say is, “𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐢𝐭!” 𝘒𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘪𝘥𝘰𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘦 is a book I highly recommend! Grade: A
Thanks to Dutton Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Knopf Puplishing
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Length: 416 pages
My Thoughts: Wᴏᴡ, Wᴏᴡ, Wᴏᴡ! I absolutely loved 𝐓𝐎𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐑𝐎𝗪, 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐎𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐑𝐎𝗪, 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐎𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐑𝐎𝗪 by Gabrielle Zevin. I had expected to like it, but I didn’t expect to be blown away. There is no scenario imaginable in which this book won’t be among my Best Books of 2022.
Some may think that 𝘛𝘰𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘸, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘰𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘸, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘰𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘸 is a story about the world of video games, but they would be wrong. It’s a story about deep friendships SET in the world of video games. Gaming is the background for lifelong relationships that are beautiful, intense, complicated, evolving, and at times heart-breaking. Its three main characters, Sam, Sadie and Marx, fit together brilliantly and I miss them intensely. I need to know more. I want to make sure they’re okay. It’s these rich character-driven stories that I most love and when that’s done among a group of friends, I’m in heaven. I know I’ve given you little about the story itself, but it’s so big I don’t know where to begin. 🤷🏻♀️
I will say three things. First, the audiobook was amazing, brilliantly narrated by Jennifer Kim and Julian Cihi. I sat for hours doing nothing but listening. Second, there’s a chapter towards the end that I think will throw some people. My advice? Stay with it. It’s important and you’ll understand that in the remainder of the story. Finally, to @gabriellezevin, thank you, thank you, thank you. To everyone else, just read it, or even better, listen to it! Grade: A
Thanks to Knopf Publishing, PRH Audio, and Libro.fm for an ARC/ALC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.