Book Reviews

“If You Knew Suzy” by Katherine Rosman

After her mother’s death, Katie Rosman is left reeling. Her mother, Suzy, was only 60 years old, and the diagnosis of lung cancer came as a shock to the nonsmoker. After Suzy’s death, Rosman, a journalist, decides to investigate her mother’s life in order to understand how she faced her own death.

“The Color of Water” by James McBride

James McBride, the eighth of twelve children, always wondered why his mother looked so different from his siblings, his stepfather, and everyone else in their predominantly black neighborhood. He badgered her for details all of his life, and when he became a journalist, he began recording her responses.

“This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff

Toby Wolff is used to running–driving from Florida to Utah to Seattle to escape his mother’s boyfriend; moving to Concrete, WA, with his stepfather; dreaming of high school in Paris, France. But when he stops to face himself, he finds only scattered shadows of an identity.

“Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book tells the story of young Kivrin, an undergraduate at Oxford, who wants to travel back in time. Such technology is typically forbidden to undergrads, and doubly so for the generous and uncharted fourteenth century. But she manages to finagle a trip and heads back to 1320 for the chance at some first-hand historical reporting. Back in 2054, things start falling apart as soon as Kivin is gone.

“S.E.C.R.E.T.” by L. Marie Adeline

It’s been a long time since Cassie Robichaud has felt desired. She was estranged from her alcoholic husband when he crashed his car and died five years ago, and they never really had a healthy relationship in the first place. Since then, her romantic life has sputtered and died.

“Butterfly’s Child” by Angela Davis-Gardner

Angela ­Davis-Gardner’s novel, Butterfly’s Child, begins where Puccini’s opera, “Madame Butterfly,” leaves off. Frank Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, has returned to Japan with Kate, his new wife. Cio-Cio-san (Butterfly), his mistress, sees her chance at simultaneous revenge and redemption. She commits suicide, and Benji’s world changes in a moment.

“More Like Her” by Liza Palmer

Frances Reid, a speech pathologist who guides readers through the world of Markham, a private school, is riddled with insecurity after breaking up with fellow teacher Ryan. But after acknowledging her much-maligned flaws, Frances is ready to lose herself in the bustle of a new semester: new students, new challenges, and a new headmistress.

“War” by Sebastian Junger

In War, Sebastian Junger follows the men of the 2nd Platoon, Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in eastern Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. He reported on the men for Vanity Fair in five visits, from June 2007 to June 2008.

“Losing Clementine” by Ashley Ream

Clementine has made up her mind: In 30 days, she’s going to end it. Kick the bucket. Buy the farm. Push up daisies. That gives her an entire month to put her life in order. Because she’s resolved not to leave a mess… not like her mother did.