The Disappearance of Emily Marr by Louise Candlish

Book Description:

Published: August 1, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A stunning story of secrets and scandal, identity and infidelity
 When Tabby Dewhurst arrives heartbroken and penniless on a picturesque, windswept island off the coast of France, her luck appears to change when she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door. Hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the woman to leave and then lets herself into the house. And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emily Marr—or so her new friend introduces herself. Soon, however, Tabby forms suspicions about her new friend, suspicions that lead her back to England, and to revelations that will have explosive consequences for both of them.

Review –

Running from a broken relationship and low on cash, Tabby finds herself in a little village off the Coast of France. While wandering the streets wondering where she can sleep, she overhears an English woman repeating her access code to her apartment. As the woman appears to be heading off somewhere with a large bag, Tabby seizes the opportunity and lets herself in.

Meanwhile, the book splits into two stories, Tabby’s and the apartment owner’s, Emmie.
The two women become unexpected flatmates and unlikely friends. Emmie obviously has a story to tell but it is only through snooping and surfing the internet that Tabby can try to discover what is making her so reclusive and withdrawn.

The girl’s stories are set in both France and England and while there are some similarities in their lives, the reader starts to wonder if it’s a good thing that they met at all?

This is a wonderfully warm novel with a nice easy pace and enough bite to make you want to keep reading. The character of Emily Marr is well described and you genuinely feel like you may know her and why she chooses to disappear. The descriptions of her life before the disappearance are well thought out and give her some depth which I think is needed for the main storyline.

The character, Nina, is hateful. Angry, bitter and hell bent on revenge she doesn’t care who she mows down on the way. Her anger hops off the pages and becomes quite understandable as the story unfolds.

This is a great  read, full of surprises, wonderful writing and would be ideal for bookclub discussions. It also has Reading Group Questions at the end which is a nice bonus. The only fault I would have is the lack of description of the French island. I would have liked to get a bit more of the sense of the place, the smells, the sounds and the atmosphere. Other than that ,a great book with a surprising twist.

This mystery is sad yet intriguing, a definite page turner! This isn’t regular chick lit, it’s on a different level with the mystery angle.

Damaged (Rosato and DiNunzio #4) by Lisa Scottoline

Book Description:

Published: August 16, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Damaged finds Mary DiNunzio, partner at the all-female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, embroiled in one of her most heartbreaking cases yet. Suing the Philadelphia school district to get help for a middle school boy with emotional issues, Mary ends up becoming the guardian ad litem of her minor client. As she goes up against Nick Machiavelli, her opposing counsel and the dark prince of South Philly lawyers who will use any means necessary to defeat her, she becomes more and more invested in the case—and puts everything, including her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, on the line.

Review –

Mary DiNunzio, a partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, takes on a heartbreaking case involving a dyslexic fifth grader, Patrick O’Brien, who’s bullied at school and is getting no support for his language disability. Patrick, who’s being raised by his paternal grandfather, allegedly attacked a school aid with scissors, and now the aid is suing both Patrick and the school board for damages. On the brink of her wedding to college professor Anthony Rotunno, Mary becomes emotionally attached to Patrick, more so than any previous client, and finds herself pitted against a diabolical attorney, Nick Machiavelli (aka the Dark Prince), who’s determined to win a settlement, despite the emotional cost to the 10-year-old boy. In her struggle to save Patrick, Mary finds herself fighting her associates, her fiancé, and social services. Tensions mount until the story concludes with a satisfying, unexpected twist. 

This was the fourth  book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series, and it’s an excellent addition to the series although it can certainly be read as a stand-alone novel. Damaged made an excellent addition to my Scottoline collection, and I highly recommend it!

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Book Description:

Published:July 31,2012

Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

Review –

Dare Me is the sixth  book by an American author Megan Abbott, and is centered on American cheerleading,( not just the pom-pom shaking kind) and an ambiguous death that takes place in the first few pages. The book explores themes of friendship, obsession and power. This is expressed through not only the events of the novel, but also the relationship between the protagonist, Addy Hanlon, and her best friend, Beth Cassidy.

While they might also have tans and wear glitter, those items are used as war paint: “You may have the bodies of young girls,” says a character at one point near the novel’s end, “but you have the hearts of warriors.” The girls in this book are not at all “sugar and spice and everything nice”, not by a long shot.

Besides the world of modern cheerleading there is a mystery subplot and again I am confused as to what genre to place this book. It reads like YA, but it mentions, wild keg parties, binge drinking at a house with an authority figure present, bullying, and make all of them seem like an everyday occurrence.

While I enjoyed reading this book I would not recommend it to any one under seventeen.

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You by Charles Benoit

From Booklist

Fifteen-year-old Kyle is a member of the “hoodies.” So named for their ubiquitous hooded sweatshirts, they are the slackers/burnouts/freaks common to every high school. In fact, Kyle would be the first to admit his commonness—he gets picked on by bullies, he serves detention, he pines after a girl. The deadness he feels is impinged upon by the arrival of Zack, a private-academy transfer who wears sports coats, quotes philosophers, laughs at Shakespeare, and seems to have every student and teacher in the palm of his hand. Zack takes on Kyle as a sort of project, but his swank parties and daring escapades soon turn to deeds far darker. Benoit’s stylistic gamble here is the use of the second person—you, the reader, are Kyle. The gimmickry of it quickly fades; in fact, the reader identification helps fill in the gaps of an otherwise watery protagonist. Zack is a theatrical, Iago-like villain, and he makes a great foil to Kyle’s antihero in their twisted relationship. This is a brutal, fast, and satisfying read. Grades 8-12. –Daniel Kraus

Review –

This is another book given to me to read by my daughter whose passion is young adult literature.

This one gave me a bad feeling from the very first page.  I normally don’t read depressing books and lately that’s all I’ve read. Again, like the books before this one, the ending leaves you hanging so you’ll have to use your imagination.  I lean toward the “happy ever after ending” but it’s hard to find in my latest choices of literature.

Enough of depression.  I’m going back to happier stories after this one.

 

By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Product Description

Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right.  She starts visiting a website for “completers”— http://www.through-the-light .com. 

While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten.  When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up.  Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up.  And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge.  

Review –

 
This is not a book I would have normally chosen to read but it was given to me by my daughter whose passion is Young Adult Literature.
 
The story was just too depressing for me and I don’t recommend it for immature young teens. I had a problem with the ending because I like it spelled out not left to your imagination.  I always imagine a happy ending or at least one that isn’t so depressing or sad.
 Parents should read this and be mindful of the signs of  depression and thoughts of suicide.  It may help save a childs life.