Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time can be a bit tense, especially if you’re contemplating ending the relationship. That’s the premise for this amazing story, which on the outside seems relatively simple but is actually a very interesting and compelling dive into the mind of someone suffering from depression and grappling with the meaning of one’s life, among other things.
Availability: COSMOS, USMAI Review Submitted by: Emily Nelson Ringholm ’07 Rating: Highly Recommended Challenge: Book to film and audiobook
This was another much-hyped summer book but I found that it lived up to it. It’s hard to describe without giving anything away, but think Sleepless in Seattle meets The Fugitive… if that helps at all. The story follows Hannah, who has only been married to her husband Owen for a short time, living on their house boat in California (hence the Sleepless in Seattle reference) with his 16-year old daughter Bailey. Then one day Owen doesn’t come home from work and Hannah is left a mysterious note that says simply, “Protect her.” I enjoyed the rising tension, and for a book that started off a little slow for me, I found myself unable to put it down about halfway through and spent a morning finishing it. It will definitely keep you guessing as to what Owen is hiding about his past as Hannah and Bailey try to get to the truth. It’s mysterious and heartbreaking in more ways than one.
Availability: COSMOS Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14 Rating: Must Read Challenge: Published in 2021
A lot of people have given Jeanine Cummins flack for writing American Dirt and for the publishing claim that it is the modern Grapes of Wrath. While Cummins did do extensive research on Mexican immigration to the U.S. in the process of writing, I would not pick up this book if your reading goal is to get an accurate picture of the immigrant experience (for more information, check out the Latinx response to American Dirt reported by NPR and Alt.Latino.) I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for an improbable but well written chase/suspense novel.
Well written, this 2018 copyright book is eerie with a story line about a pandemic (bird flu strain). Without giving the main points away, suffice it to say that it is interesting to see how a naive author imagined a pandemic spreading and how the government would react. Spoiler alert: The world survives in the book.
Availability: COSMOS Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko Rating: Highly Recommended
Let me start off by saying I finished this entire book in one sitting (on National Book Lovers Day, to be exact). It has been years since I’ve read a book in one day. This book blends psychological thriller with dark, twisted mystery. Without giving away the plot, just know that this book will confuse you. If you’re into horror and psychological thriller genres, give this one a try. What seems like a book about a girl thinking of ending her relationship turns into a dark tale of warning signs, eerie places, and a massive identity crisis. Once you think you know exactly what is going on, you will realize that things are much more messed up than they seem. Your head will be turning at the end of this.
A movie adaptation is coming to Netflix in September. I’m eager to see how the movie compares to the novel.
Availability: COSMOS, USMAI Review Submitted by: Reilly Cook, class of 2019 Rating: Highly Recommended Challenge: Book to film
The Luminous Dead is a psychological thriller about a young woman named Gyre who fakes her caving credentials to land a very lucrative job so she can get off the planet to search for her mother who abandoned her. Unfortunately, Em, the financier and support staff of the expedition has goals of her own and will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve her mysterious ends. The book is very suspenseful and keeps drawing the reader in to see if Gyre can win the battle against the cave…and her mind.
TW: this book contains description of a sexual assault. Like all readers I yearn for books that capture my attention so fully that I can’t put them down. Miracle Creek did not disappoint. It’s been years that I’ve had a book so constantly in my thoughts that I finish it in just about one sitting. Miracle Creek tells the story of a murder trial after a woman and child are killed and others are wounded while undergoing an experimental treatment for a variety of ailments. Kim asks, how do you determine the truth when everyone is a liar? This book is heartbreaking and immersive. Kim doesn’t shy away from tough topics like immigration, inter-generational acculturation, sexual assault, and caring for children with disabilities. I love Kim’s portrayal of many types of women in this story, all who feel like real people with hopes, dreams, strengths, and flaws. I highly recommend this read!
I deliberately read this book, set around Christmas, to try to cool my brains as I walk in the summer heat. As usual, the authors (singly or combined) give an enjoyable, if simple, read. No twisted plot to follow, but characters that are modestly interesting (if a bit over-stereotyped).
Availability: COSMOS Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko Rating: Recommended