Books read in May 2015

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Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras.

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It’s going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off . . .

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Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping some major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

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“Non Pratt is a writer to watch” – The Guardian. From the author of Trouble comes a novel about boys, bands and best mates. Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life. Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record. Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.

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Lee Fiora is a shy fourteen-year-old when she leaves small-town Indiana for a scholarship at Ault, an exclusive boarding school in Massachusetts. Her head is filled with images from the school brochure of handsome boys in sweaters leaning against old brick buildings, girls running with lacrosse sticks across pristine athletics fields, everyone singing hymns in chapel. But as she soon learns, Ault is a minefield of unstated rules and incomprehensible social rituals, and Lee must work hard to find – and maintain – her place in the pecking order.

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Marnie FitzPatrick is a reclusive sixth-former from Hertfordshire with a dysfunctional family, a penchant for Pythagoras’ Theorem and an addiction to doughnuts and gin. Julie Crewe is a disillusioned maths teacher who lives vicariously through the girls she teaches, yet who once danced barefoot through Central Park with a man called Jo she has never been able to forget.

This is the story of what happened in the summer of 1969, when the sun burned down on the roof of the Shredded Wheat factory, and a boy called Freddie Friday danced to the records he had stolen. This is about first love, and last love, and all the strange stuff in between. This is what happens when three people are bound together by something that can’t be calculated or explained by any equation.

This is what happened when they saw the open door.

Book of the month:

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‘It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different – unimagined, unprepared for, unknown…’ One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

I enjoyed all the books I read this month! Although Prep has a pretty unlikeable main character, which I’m always unsure about, I must admit I like someone to root for in a book. My favourite read definitely has a main character you root for – told from 11 year old Julia’s perspective, it’s a coming-of-age story set against the rotation of the world slowing down. Her first person point of view means the changes the slowing has is limited to her family life in California so you see her growing up in this new world order where days stretch into weeks and people begin to change with it.

This book had a really original premise and I have no idea whether scientifically anything that happens in the book would ever be possible but that doesn’t matter, it’s fiction and the author makes you believe it all, the voice of Julia is brilliant and the book has an almost dreamy feel to the prose, matching the slowing of the world. It was a book that I could have kept on reading. The last paragraph is perfect too. I can imagine I will re-read this book and would definitely recommend it.

Did you read anything special this month?

Victoria

xoxo

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