2020, Books

Books I Read Last Month – April 2020

April was a month of reading ALL of Reese’s book club picks! And I read almost all of the books on Kindle (thanks Alex for letting me borrow!) as I couldn’t get physical books from the library. I also had my sister Jiyoung drop off some books for me because I was freaking out about not having books before I figured out the Kindle situation…what can I say? I need my books! 

A photo of me holding Kindle via Alex and Searching for Sylvie Lee via Jiyoung

SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid

What an interesting premise! Emira, a recent college graduate unsure of her career path, lands a babysitting gig with Alix Chamberlain, an influencer who has begrudgingly relocated to Pennsylvania from NYC. One night, Amira is babysitting Briar for the Chamberlains in a grocery store where she gets accused by a security guard of having stolen the child. A random guy named Kelley in the store records the incident for her. Emira and Kelley run into each other again and start dating. It turns out Alix and Kelley share a past from a long time ago, and they try to “save” Emira from the other person. With these white people fighting each other “for her”, Emira makes a decision for herself. I thought it was a great coming of age story as Emira figures out what she makes of the situation and what she wants from life.     

THE NIGHT TIGER by Yangsze Choo

Set in Malaysia during the 1930s, this story develops around five characters who make up the five Confucian virtues. The main plots revolved around superstitions regarding man-eating tigers, the Malays and British doctors at the hospital, and sudden deaths, which adds a magical and spooky element to the story. It’s suspenseful since you’re anxiously waiting for the characters’ paths to cross, and there’s mystery surrounding who the fifth character is throughout the entire book (revealed in the later chapter, and it definitely surprised me!). This was a fun read, and I added Yangsze’ Choo’s debut novel The Ghost Bride  (which has been adapted into a Netflix original series) to my to-read list. 

THE CACTUS by Sarah Haywood

This book sort of reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, with a solitary female protagonist with an eccentric personality. It took much longer for me to like Susan Green than I did Eleanor Oliphant, and I couldn’t help but wonder (and judge a little) for some of the stuff she was getting herself into for her righteousness (ex. her response to the unexpected pregnancy and handling of her mother’s death and the will left behind). But by the end of the book, I could empathize with her. There are some good moments brought on by her new friends Rob and Kate. 

THE OTHER WOMAN by Sandie Jones

Kind of a stressful read–Emily meets Adam at a bar, and they begin an intense relationship. Adam is the perfect guy she had always been looking for, but his mom Pammie not so much…Pammie is one of those crazy, manipulative moms you read about (this is terrible for me to say, but I was reminded of Barb, Bachelor Pete’s mom). There is more to the story than gaslighting and lying, and the story continues to escalate. I feel like the way the story unfolded needed more justification/explanation, but it was worth a read! 

SEARCHING FOR SYLVIE LEE by Jean Kwok

This was a much anticipated read for me as I absolutely loved Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. Sylvie, a daughter of Chinese immigrants in Brooklyn, gets sent to live with her distant cousin’s family and her grandmother in the Netherlands for the first nine years of her life as her parents couldn’t financially keep her. Sylvie returns to the Netherlands once again as an adult when her grandmother is very ill. When Sylvie disappears without a trace, her little sister Amy leaves for the Netherlands to find her and is faced with drama and mystery. Though this book did not quite live up to my expectations (they were high to be fair), it’s still an interesting read and explores many topics—the cultural differences between Chinese/American/Dutch, racism, relationships, family history, and more.

ONE DAY IN DECEMBER by Josie Silver

A cute romance! One day in December, Laurie sees this guy at a bus stop with whom she has a spark, but unfortunately the bus does not wait for the guy. She looks for the “bus boy” for the next year until he enters her life as her best friend Sarah’s boyfriend. Jack. The story follows them for a decade as their lives, careers, and significant others change. Josie Silver did a great job of turning a cliché of love-at-first sight/I’m-in-love-with-my-best-friend’s-boyfriend narrative to one where you really root for the characters. This would make a great movie!

P.S. You can still check out eBooks and audiobooks from the public library via Libby/Overdrive mobile apps. Lots of indie bookstores are shipping books as well so check out your local bookstores!

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