Monday always seems to come around too quickly, doesn’t it? Thankfully, that means we are back, too, and we’re bringing with us three great books for you to read this week. If you’re unsure about what book to pick up next, hopefully this list will help you choose!
This week, our Hot Pick is the novel on the tip of everybody’s tongue is Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering, our Beach Read is The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis, and our Dark Horse, one you might not have added to your reading list but should, is Severance by Ling Ma.
Our Hot Pick
Tell Me Lies: A Novel by Carola Lovering
Image Via We Heart Books
Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.
Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart.
Lucy knows there’s something about Stephen that isn’t to be trusted. Stephen knows Lucy can’t tear herself away. And their addicting entanglement will have consequences they never could have imagined.
Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, Tell Me Lies follows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. With psychological insight and biting wit, this keenly intelligent and staggeringly resonant novel chronicles the yearning ambitions, desires, and dilemmas of young adulthood, and the difficulty of letting go, even when you know you should.
Named a Best Book of Summer by Refinery29, Bustle, Literary Hub, among many others, this book is a must read for anyone interested in the psychology of human relationships. Lovering recently spoke about the research she undertook in order to write the character of Stephen, and explained some of the fascinating facts surrounding sociopathy. She said:
I quickly learned that a sociopath is a person with a mental health disorder called Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), and that the profile of a serial killer is only at one far, rare end of the sociopathic spectrum. On the opposite end and in between, there are varying degrees of sociopathy, some hardly traceable, many easily masked. And more disturbingly, I discovered that sociopaths are startlingly common, and that the possibility I’d dated one or two was not so farfetched.
Tell Me Lies is Lovering’s debut novel, and she’s certainly started with a bang, so we’re really excited to see where she goes from here!
Our Beach Read
The Masterpiece: A Novel by Fiona Davis
Image Via The Novel Neighbour
For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.
For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist.” Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded–even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter–Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.
Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece–an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.
This novel is beautifully written, and has such a fascinating setting. Grand Central is an iconic location with a rich history, and Davis explores this using wonderful characters who you’ll fall in love with!
Kirkus Reviews noted that “with richly drawn characters living in two storied eras, there is much to be enchanted by.” The perfect summer read for a day at the beach!
Our Dark Horse
Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma
Image Via Semcoop.com
Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.
So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies cease operations. The subways screech to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.
Candace won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?
A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
This book has been described as ‘offbeat’ and ‘wryly’ funny, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s a gem! An unusual story, led by a great millenial protagonist, this apocalyptic satire is really worth checking out! Kirkus Reviews called it “smart, funny, humane, and superbly well-written,” and that about sums it up!
Bookish.com also named it one of their Summer 2018 reads, aliging it with the likes of Florida by Lauren Groff, and There, There by Tommy Orange!