Exchange student Ilya has just arrived in the balmy heat of Louisiana from the frozen tundra of Russia. Smart, hardworking, and thoughtful his journey was to be the opportunity of a lifetime. But he can’t seem leave his home behind, or the brother he would do anything to save. In Lights all Night Long, Lydia Fitzpatrick juggles a coming of age tale; a murder mystery; and social commentary on addiction, drug use, and corruption. And it works. Beautifully. She somehow manages to avoid all the predictable tropes of each to create this sparkling world full of hope, friendship, and the power of family in all its forms.
A reenactment of a romanticized past becomes an inescapable descent into the ugliest and most primitive side of humanity. Succinct in its suspense, you won't realize you've been holding your breath until the very last page.
I first discovered Sally Rooney after reading her first book, Conversations With Friends, which I loved! So, of course, I rushed to read her second book, Normal People. On the surface, this sounds like another popular boy befriends awkward girl but this novel unfolds beautifully as you read. With a strong political undertone and exploration of social and economic status, Sally Rooney brings to light many issues worth discussing. But at the heart of the novel, Normal People is an exploration of those friendships we form when we're young that shape us and often times sets the tone of who and what we gravitate towards later in life. Nostalgia will loom over you while you read Normal People.
I'm a sucker for coming-of-age novels, more so when the setting is a crumbling English castle. Cassandra is a witty, observant girl on the cusp of adulthood. Her family is in a perilous financial situation: her father probably isn't writing another groundbreaking novel, her stepmom has retreated to London, and her sister pins their salvation on their new, wealthy American neighbors. A lesser-known work by the author of 101 Dalmations, suitable for adult ad teen readers alike!
Niru and Meredith, highschoolers in Washington, D.C., are outstanding students, runners, best friends and more, until Niru faces the facts of being gay. Once his Nigerian parents discover his sexual preferences, Niru is beaten by his father and taken to the parish priest, who recommends a return to Nigeria to be "cured." A powerful, poignant coming of age tale, this story spotlights the joy of carefree youth careening toward tragic destinations!