Saturday, November 9, 2019

Book Reviews - Technology, Truth and a Track Star

Why, hello there. I almost, but definitely didn't read on a theme this time. There were two books about technology, one about a track star, and then a rom-com. That said, the two advanced copies I read were fan-freaking-tastic. They are definitely worth checking on. Read on, people I know (and people I don't). . . 

The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing and Coming Out by William Dameron was an intriguing memoir. I haven't read many memoirs where the author wasn't "famous," so this was definitely a different foray into the genre. The book starts with the author detailing how he was unknowingly catfishing people. His picture was being used by multiple people, and he had no idea until those who had thought they were communicating with him learned they weren't. This is quite the intense story, but the author's story is so much more. Much of his memoir is focused on his coming out process. After being married to a woman for twenty years and having two daughters, the author realizes he can no longer live the lie he has been. He has always been a gay men, and while he's tried to hide this and ignore these feelings, he can no longer. From here, the book is some recalling of how he's lived this secret, but also where he goes from the revelations of his truth. This one is a deep dive into the emotions of one man's journey. He tells this with such raw honesty, and he gives you an in-depth look into each twist and turn of his journey to (re)discover himself. 

Read this book if - You want a memoir where a guy goes into all the feels. You want a memoir that is grounded in all the honesty (and not about a celebrity).

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters is the rom-com of a book that I just devoured! Y'all, I did not realize how much I needed an absolutely wonderful love story in my life. This review may just be me gushing, but that's because it's just a book that made me smile. Evie is an assistant looking for a promotion. She is assigned to work with Ezra, a well-respected screenwriter, who has signed on to write a romantic comedy. Problem is, he has a case of writer's block. Ezra looks to Evie for inspiration. She agrees to a deal with him where she will recreate meet-cutes from movies in hopes of finding love. Evie needs Ezra to come through on this script for her promotion, so while she thinks this is kind of a ridiculous endeavor, she goes for it. I'll say this with this premise I was sure I figured out how this one was going to end, and I'd read along as a formality. However, I was so wrong. So while this had all the best elements of a rom-com, the plot development was unexpected in a very good way. Evie was a character I loved as a rom-com heroine, and I flew through this one because I was enjoying the twists and turns of Evie's meet-cute quest, and I needed to know where this one was going to go. Thanks to Putnam Books/Penguin Random House for the advanced copy of this December read that y'all are just going to love.

Read this book if - You love a good rom-com. You have spent your days/nights watching Hallmark movies.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds is a book I found my way to via The Great American Read. Ghost loves running - for both the joy and the escape. He's been through a lot with his mom, and he's just trying to navigate life on many levels. Along the way, Ghost finds his way to a track team. The coach is impressed by his talent, and he wants to do what he can to support him. What I appreciated most about this one was that Ghost's struggles were so honestly told. There was so much want to fit in, and that influenced many of his choices. I can see the appeal of this book for kids as Ghost is a relatable character. He's flawed, but he also shows resilience and perseverance.

Read this book if - You want a middle grade book focused on fitting in and standing out told in an honest, authentic way.

Followers by Megan Angelo is a fascinating exploration of technology - both what is and what could be. In the present (2055), the government runs the internet. Way back in 2015, the internet was very similar to now because, well, it is now! The present focuses on Marlow trying to find out the truth about her life. This happens after a bombshell secret is revealed, so she must trek back through the past to get answers. In 2015, the story focuses on Orla and Floss. Floss is a social media darling. Orla dreams of being a famous writer, but to get there, she writes articles to cover celebrities. Floss and Orla form an unlikely friendship, but there are also a lot of dynamics and layers to their friendship. The story goes between the past and present focusing on the social media that was and the social media that is. Throughout, it starts to build a connection between the characters in each time, and you start to wonder how this might all come together. This was the realest of real commentaries on social media. While you could say this is dystopian, you could also say this is legit where we are right now, and the future it paints isn't so far from where we could go. This one captivated me as the author did a fantastic job at using technology as well as characters to tell her story. My only critique is that I wanted to know more! I was so drawn into the world she built that I craved more detail. I had all the questions. Really that critique speaks to the realness of the story that was told! Also, this is an wonderful commentary on the role social media has come to play in our lives, and it's a good piece to turn a mirror on how its used and the dystopia that could very, very well be our reality. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this January 2020 release!

Read this book if - You want a look at social media in both an honest and dystopian way. You like stories where there are intersections you have to figure out.

Until the next round!