By: Fredrik Backman
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.
At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager’s daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.
Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people’s dreams on our shoulders.
I read A Man Called Ove (review) last year and greatly enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to read his other books, but in the meantime I kindly received an advanced reading copy of his latest novel, Beartown. This book will be available on 25 April 2017.
By: Cecelia Ahern
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
What happens when two people who are meant to be together just can’t seem to get it right.
Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, the are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston. Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel o f several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn’t quite done with them yet.
I’ve often seen Cecelia Ahern’s books floating around but never thought to pick them up, really. I did see the movie adaptation of this book earlier this year, which I thought was a cute enough watch, but when I saw the eBook on sale, I decided to pick it up and see how the original story compared (also, goodness knows I need some light reads peppered throughout my TBR pile; I’ve amassed a lot of hefty and chunkster titles lately). Contains some spoilers ahead (if you’ve seen the movie, you’re good)!
Close Enough to Touch
By: Colleen Oakley
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…
And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.
One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…
Close Enough to Touch is an evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart.
The premise of this novel fascinated me so much that I requested an ARC to read. This book will be available on 14 February 2017.
By: Alice Hoffman
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA through Netgalley
Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.
What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.
Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.
I’ve been curious about this book since I first heard about it from Simon & Schuster CA earlier this year. I’ve read two of Alice Hoffman’s books to date (see author tag), both of which I’ve enjoyed, but something at the back of my head told me that this book was going to be something different. I was approved an eARC of this novel by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 01 November 2016.
Me Before You
By: Jojo Moyes
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my purchase
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Guys, I finally did it! After years of seeing this book everywhere–reviewed my book bloggers, cropping up on GoodReads and elsewhere on the Internet, seeing the billboards in the subway–I’m finally reading this book. It took the upcoming movie adaptation starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin to prompt me to pick up this book to read 😛 Contains spoilers ahead!