I really enjoyed Landline by Rainbow Rowell! The story is about an established married couple that faces some troubles in their relationship. The wife, Georgie, is super busy with work and decides not to go with her family to Omaha for Christmas. Unexpectedly, her husband, Neal, leaves with their children without her, and Georgie spends Christmas by herself in Los Angeles. Suffering from loneliness and guilt, Georgie goes to her mother’s house where she finds a phone that allows her to communicate with a younger version of her husband. As Georgie talks to the past Neal, she begins to realize new things about her marriage and gets the opportunity to repair or destroy it.
Landline has the perfect blend of humor, sadness, and warmth. I especially liked the inclusion of the magical telephone. Georgie is a fascinating character. She is funny, demanding, and determined. Neal suits her so well!! He is super grumpy but loves Georgie so much that he is willing to sacrifice part of his career to make her happy. I also like how Landline focuses on other relationships besides marriage. Georgie’s relationships with her parents, younger sister, and best friend all develop throughout the novel. The flashbacks in the story focus on Georgie’s love life, but the present scenes focus on her interactions with other people besides her husband. Landline does not have a very strong Christmas influence, which makes it a good read at any time during the year.
Cassandra (Alumna) rates this book 3.5/5
Tags: family, relationships, loneliness, self-discovery, humor, realistic fiction, fantasy
Boomerang Effect = “When lending a helping hand comes back to slap you in the face” The Boomerang Effect is a HILARIOUS novel evolving around Lawrence Barry who is forced to participate in a mentorship program after almost getting expelled from high school. His mentee is Spencer Knudsen, a Norwegian exchange student with Spock-like intelligence but minimal social skills. Things start to get more complicated when everyone suspects Lawrence to be the one destroying the Homecoming floats. Add to the mix a demon Goth girl named Zoe, a Renaissance LARPing group, an overzealous yearbook editor, and three vindictive chickens, and Lawrence soon realizes that his situation may be a little out of control. Just as expulsion is drawing even closer, Spencer comes to the rescue with his seemingly endless knowledge of random facts. In fact, Spencer may be the one friend Lawrence never knew he needed.
The Boomerang Effect was SUPER funny! I loved Lawrence. He is the perfect clown character who always gets into trouble. I also really liked how the novel discusses more serious matters, like overcoming drug addiction and piecing together a broken family. Overall, I would recommend The Boomerang Effect to anyone who likes funny realistic fiction.
Cassandra rates this book 5/5
This book is about high school student Lina who makes an unexpected move to Italy, to live with the father she never met. All she wants to do is go back home to the US, but then she reads one of her mother’s journals, uncovering mysteries about her mother’s life in Italy and her father’s strange past. She and her friend Ren travel to the stunning city of Florence, and find the answers to her burning questions about her parents’ love – as well as exploring her own.
I would highly recommend this book to students grades 9 and above. It is a thrilling modern day love story, set in one of the most beautiful, romantic, and historic cities in the world. This novel was charming, exciting, and bittersweet – I couldn’t put it down! Every chapter leaves you wanting to read more. If you want an exhilarating novel where love is an escapade all on its own, then this book is definitely for you.
Surya rates this book 4/5
Paloma High School will never be the same again. Rumors have it that there was a student-teacher affair at their school. One Monday morning the principal confirms those rumors but who is it? Is it the drama queen or the school slut? Maybe it’s even the one girl who would actually get into Harvard to leave small-town Kansas? The main relationship they focus on is the small family of Kat and her sister Olivia who have really grown apart after their mother left them with their distant father. They look for ways to finally connect with each other again no matter how different their lives have gotten.
This story is told in seven perspectives each with I would say, a main sin. Though I only could figure out a couple of them. These seven perspectives are important because each person is somehow connected to another. I would really recommend this book to those who really like character development and really like LGBTQ+ characters that have their own problems too. I did skip some parts because you find out who the affair is about a hundred or more pages before the end and those hundred pages or so are dedicated to tying up all the other characters who I thought were not as important as the main three or four people.
Tiffany rates this book 4/5
“The view of Florence was just as stunning as my mother had described it, a sea of red rooftops under an unblemished blue sky and soft green hills circling everything like a big, happy hug.” Love & Gelato is a sweet story about Lina, who is sent to Italy after her mother dies in order to live with her father. However, Lina has no desire to spend time with a father that she knows nothing about. All she wants to do is to go back home. But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly, Lina is thrust into a world of mystery, romance, art, and hidden bakeries (YUM). Together with the charming Ren, Lina must follow in her mother’s footsteps to uncover a secret that will change everything she knew about her mom, her dad, and herself.
Love & Gelato was such a wonderful read! I loved the touristy descriptions of Italy. (After reading this novel, I added Italy to the list of places that I need to visit.) I also really liked the high amounts of lighthearted humor within the novel. The book is not entirely a gentle read (it has its sad and heavy moments), but the hilarious characters subdued some of the harshness. While reading Love & Gelato, I was practically drooling over the beautiful descriptions of the food. Yeah, there is a lot of food, which is not surprising given the cute cover design. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction and traveling.
Cassandra rates this book 5/5
Set in Stalinist Lithuania, this novel covers the “travels” of fifteen year old Lina across the Soviet Union in 1941 after being rounded up by the Soviet NKVD. It covers her experiences, from meeting others peoples from around Lithuania and different nations to witnessing the worst of Soviet torture. Along the way, she and her mother and brother must stay together while she desperately tries to make contact with her father, discreetly using her artistic ability to attempt communication that will pass under the eyes of the Soviets. Meanwhile, her family make friends with those around them, as they aide each other to survive and build strong relationships, such Lina’s relationship with Andrius, a teenage boy whose father was killed, which helps them to survive the harsh winter and harsh soldiers.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a dramatic story about history, love (generally unromantic), and determination because of the historical background (though Lina is fictional, this story follows the plight of many Slavs under the Stalinist regime and many of their different situations: the educated, the poor, etc.). The storyline of family and friends makes this novel a great read because they create a good feeling about the characters for the readers. Also, it brings the readers closer to the characters like friends. This novel may be slightly depressing, but it is really well written (from a first person view, which contributes to the close connection with the characters and inside the story. In addition, the occasional flashbacks are a great breathing point and pull in a less chaotic version of the same feelings of Lina from the past.
Paul rates this book 5/5 Stars.