Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

Leave a comment

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Olivia is coming home for Christmas. The only reason is because she has to be quarantined for seven days after providing medical assistance to Haag victims. Joining her in quarantine are her mother, Emma, her father, Andrew, and her sister, Phoebe. They are going to the family estate, which has limited cell service and is in the middle of nowhere. To add to the stress of quarantine, Andrew has found out that he has a son from a previous relationship that he knew nothing about and Emma has just been diagnosed  with cancer.

Olivia also has a secret. She is in a secret relationship with one of the other doctors. And when you are there treating patients, there is a no touch policy, which they repeatedly violated. And now he has the Haag. This Christmas is already stressful without all of the secrets. But when the biggest secret actually shows up at the house, no one will ever be the same.

I enjoyed this book. There was one thing I didn’t like in the end but I guess it was good for the story. You don’t really like the characters but you don’t hate them and they redeem themselves as the story goes on.


Leave a comment

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Sometimes you are enjoying the characters and story in a book so much you don’t want it to end. This was the case with Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng for me. I also listened to the audiobook version which was excellent.

The story is set in 1996/97 Cleveland and tells the story of two families. Mia, a single mom and her 15-year-old daughter Pearl,  and the wealthy Sanderson family, Lenore and Peter and their four children. Their lives intertwine in an interesting way, with some surprises along the way.

Mia is an artist who just moved to the area and rented a house from Lenore Sanderson. Mia’s daughter, Pearl, meets the Sanderson children at school. Trip, the popular athlete, Lexi, part of the “in” crowd, Moody, the shy, studious one that she becomes good friends with, and Izzy, the black sheep of the family.

The book begins with a fire and then flashes back to what happened before and how certain actions led up to the fire. The friendships and relationships throughout the book and the actions chosen by some of the characters make for a gripping story. I can see why it has gathered a lot of buzz this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Liane Moriarty or Kristin Hannah.

Leave a comment

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen finds a box on his doorstep with his name on it. He cautiously opens it to find a bunch of audio cassettes inside. Confused he pulls them out and sees that they are labeled on each side with a number. Thirteen numbers in total. What he hears  when he plays them shocks him. Hannah Baker’s voice. Hannah had killed herself a couple of weeks ago. As she talks she explains that if you are listening to the tapes then you are one of the reasons why she did it.

Clay is shocked. He continues to listen and is told to follow the map that was included and that whoever is mentioned after him on the tapes is the next person who gets the tapes. If these instructions aren’t followed someone who is watching will know and release a second set of tapes to everyone. Clay ends up staying up all night wandering around town listening, waiting to hear his name. Because he has no idea why he is on the tapes. And he can’t believe what Hannah is revealing about their classmates.

This was a very difficult book. It had a lot of serious material like suicide, date rape, and bullying. And unfortunately it is very relevant in today’s schools. Netflix made it into a thirteen episode series. It has had a lot of backlash and support. Thirteen Reasons Why is the book you need to read especially if you have teenagers.

Leave a comment

The Hate U Give

This was a terrific, eye-opening, Young Adult novel about Starr, a 16 year old African American girl who has to deal with the shooting death of her friend Khalil by a white police officer. Starr has a supportive mom and dad, along with two brothers, one who is her half brother. She lives in the ‘hood, but goes to a predominately white school where she has a white boyfriend, but feels she can’t be herself.

At first after the shooting, her parents try to shield her from the situation but Starr realizes she needs to stand up for Khalil and tell everyone what really happened that night.

The story follows Starr through testifying to the Grand Jury, riots in the neighborhood, her dad finding out about her white boyfriend, and protesting against the outcome of the investigation. Through it all you get a sense of her family and the love and support they give each other,  her neighborhood, as well as the racial injustice everyone deals with daily.

I loved this book. The story and characters felt so real to me, not forced or fake. The dialogue was sometimes sad, sometimes funny and always realistic. I highly recommend this book to everyone as it is a timely topic in today’s world.

Leave a comment

Breaking Good by Madeline Ash

During high school, tomboy Stevie Case and Ethan Rafters shared nothing more than secret glances across the room until the night before Ethan left for good. He invited Stevie to his last party, and they gave into their sexual chemistry once and for all. Stevie was a brilliant student with plans to become an engineer, whereas Ethan, unable to focus, rarely attended classes.

Fast forward seven years and now Stevie and her son Zach are on holiday from Melbourne in Byron Bay. Living nearby is Ethan, who finds Stevie’s name when looking for a painter to spruce up his house before he rents it, and thinks it might be fun to catch up. As a struggling single mother, Stevie needs to find work on their vacation and is in shock to discover her client is Ethan, a successful CEO of his own company, who she heard had died shortly after she gave birth.

Now she needs to come clean and tell him he is a father as a result of their one night stand. And even if there is a chance for him to find love with Stevie again, will he also love their son?

Ash (You For Christmas) gives good insight into dealing with ADHD in adulthood through her character Ethan in this contemporary novella. Readers will be reminiscing about young love and the challenges of love as we grow older, while rooting for Ethan, Stevie, and Zach to become a family in the end.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | September 23, 2016 

Leave a comment

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

For fashion mavens, every new season brings must-haves.  A must-have handbag (Birkin),  must-have shoes (Louboutin), and the eponymous little black dress.  Must-haves are always in great demand and invariably in short supply, so when only one shop in midtown Manhattan has THE little black dress (Max Hammer), store assistants scramble to fulfill their clients’ needs by allowing the dress to be worn for one-night-only appearances by nine of their best (or most deserving) shoppers (friends).

There’s Natalie, who wants to show her ex-boyfriend what he is missing, and Felicia, who wants her widower boss to see her as more than an assistant.  There’s Andrea, the private investigator trying to catch another cheating husband in the act, and the model, straight from Georgia to the runway whose career is made by wearing this lovely creation.

A charming tale full of longing, romance, and fashion, this book is for anyone looking for a light summer read.  Perfect for the beach, or for your jitney to the Hamptons, this light romp will get you 272 pages closer to earning a prize in our Summer Reading Contest.  For fans of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.

***Publisher Release Date: July 12, 2016***

Leave a comment

The Assistants by Camille Perri

Drowning in student loan debt, and trying to survive in NYC on an assistant’s salary, hard-working thirty year-old Tina Fontana dreams of living a life free from financial worry. That’s all it is, a dream, a fantasy, like winning the lottery.

Then an accidental double reimbursement for her employer’s expenses mean Tina has access to funds to pay off her student loans. Ethically, Tina knows it’s dead wrong, but the longer she goes without returning the extra payment, the easier it is to rationalize the theft.  The money taken is a rounding error, so small in the scheme of things, it will never be missed.  So she pays off her loans, thinking no one will be the wiser.

Oops!  Seems that someone in Accounting has noticed, someone who also needs her student loan debt erased, someone who directs Tina to continue her double requests to get access to more money.  Will she bend to the extortion and embezzle more money from her trusting boss, or will she stop rationalizing and start making amends?

Readers who liked The Devil Wears Prada will enjoy taking this one to the beach or on vacation this summer.