Quick takes- July 2018

The Hypnotist’s Love Story. 3 1/2 stars. Very mixed bag. The main storyline is not that interesting, but weirdly, the stalker is the most relatable character in the book. Could have used a good edit.

There There. 4 stars. I loved the structure of this book. You got to see everyone’s point of view, and you felt it building up to a strong climax. Very impressive debut.

Social Creature. 2 stars. The Talented Mr Ripley, but if Ripley was dumb and unoriginal and would have been caught instantly. I’m still rolling my eyes about this one.

The Great Believers. 5 stars. I loved every character in this book, and it broke my heart over and over. Keep the tissues handy with this one.

Convenience Store Woman. 5 stars. Oh how I loved this main character, who is truly just an oddball, not an artificially quirky character. Adorable gem of a book.

The Intermission. 3 stars. Domestic drama that goes on too long and gives you nobody to root for. Not terrible but this has been done better many times.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation. 5 stars. Depressing and hilarious at the same time is my very specific jam. This just dares you to complain about its unlikable main character. She doesn’t even have a name! Very much not for everyone, very very much for me.

Clock Dance. 5 stars. Anne Tyler at her best. I want to be friends with this main character.

Our Kind of Cruelty. 4 1/2 stars. It’s so exciting for me when I finally like a thriller. I would like to become friends with the author so we can smash the patriarchy together.

The Ensemble. 3 1/2 stars. Great characters, but their stories didn’t really go anywhere. A lot to like here but it didn’t completely come together for me.

Elmet. 4 stars. Very impressive debut. Stark story that builds to an explosive climax. I don’t know how much it will stick with me but I will definitely read whatever she does next.

Pretend I’m Dead. 4 stars. This is gross and dark and hilarious and I loved it and I’m not sure I would recommend it to anyone at all.

Then She Was Gone. 4 stars. Very well written thriller. You certainly have to suspend disbelief, but if you just go with it, it works. One very chilling scene will be with me forever.

Baby Teeth. 3 stars. Like The Bad Seed, but you’re supposed to take it seriously. And why would you want to do that? Includes one of the lamest endings I can think of.

Top picks: Clock Dance is a must read as far as I’m concerned. I would love to talk about Our Kind of Cruelty with everyone I know. The Great Believers really got to me, and I think Erika would love My Year of Rest and Relaxation.