Staff Reads: September 6

Staff Reads: September 6

staff reads

Do you wonder what the Bookish team is reading? Do you want to take a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations. Tell us what you think in the comments!

If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Summer Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

I dove into The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine, which is the tale of two twin sisters named Laurel and Daphne. From a very young age, Laurel and Daphne have had a way with words. They develop their own secret twin language as small children, and as they get older, their grasp of the English language becomes downright formidable. There’s so much fun wordplay in this book, and I loved watching the dynamic between the two sisters shift over the years. I was excited to get the opportunity to interview Schine about her novel, and you can check it out for yourself here! —Elizabeth

Work for It by Talia Hibbert

If you’re thinking, wow a book hasn’t ripped my heart out recently, allow me to recommend Work for It by Talia Hibbert. With a weekend at the beach ahead of me, I picked up Talia Hibbert’s latest and was completely swept away. The novel follows Griffin Everett, a manager at a fruit farm with a gift for making cordials, and Olu Keynes, a Londoner living with depression and recovering from an ex’s betrayal. Their romance is a slow burn, with Griffin taking extra care to be sure Olu is comfortable every step of the way. Add in found families, hilarious one liners, and the rescue of a fox and this was a winner for me. It’s a book that breaks your heart and puts it back together again, and I’d highly recommend it to romance readers who love stories about two hurt people finding solace in each other. The only thing better than the reading experience was getting to interview Hibbert immediately after finishing to hear more about how she crafted these two incredible heroes. –Kelly

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

After finishing The Belles last week I immediately had to start the second book of the series, The Everlasting Rose. Picking up where The Belles left off, we are thrown into the chaos and uncertainty of Orléans. Camille isn’t sure who can be trusted and the fate of most of most of her sisters is unknown. She finds herself racing against the clock to shine a light on Sophia’s evil ways, save the Belles, and restore order to the kingdom. I am obsessed with Clayton’s descriptions and world-building. From makeup and food to precious teacup animals, she builds a world absolutely fit for the goddess of beauty. —Kirsten

The Avant-Guards by Carly Usdin, illustrated by Noah Hayes

One of my 2019 reading resolutions was to read more graphic novels, and after Kelly raved about Carly Usdin’s The Avant-Guards, I just had to give it a read! This story follows Charlie, who has just transferred to a performing arts college and is recruited by the new basketball team. As a former basketball player who didn’t enjoy the team experience at her last school, Charlie is very reluctant to join and requires much pestering by Liv, the team captain. Liv was definitely my favorite character. She’s this overachiever with a clear plan of what she wants and she goes after it, but it’s her romantic interest in Charlie that she’s more shy about. I really appreciated how diverse this graphic novel was and the attention to different types of representation of race, sexuality, and mental health. The Avant-Guards is heartwarming and hilarious, with a bit of a cliffhanger ending. If you’d love to see more queer YA graphic novels, Carly Usdin talked about why it was important to write characters she wanted to see as a teen here. —Dana

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I’m shocked that I’ve made it this far in life without ever reading Toni Morrison’s masterpiece novel, Beloved. I’m even more shocked that my alma mater gave me some English degrees without ever assigning it to me. But that’s neither here nor there. When Toni Morrison died, I took it as an opportunity to request some of her most famous novels from the library. It’s hard to say something new about this book, so suffice it to say that it not only lives up to its acclaim but is better, not to mention weirder. It’s shocking to me how few stories I have read that are about the peculiar time just after the Civil War, when formerly enslaved people are trying to make new lives for themselves, haunted by the atrocities they experienced. Reading Beloved and delving into work like the 1619 Project from the New York Times, I’m thinking a lot about the legacy of slavery as an American inheritance. —Nina

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour’s YA novel is slim but it packs a punch. It takes readers to New York, where college freshman Marin is spending her winter break on campus. Mabel, a friend from her past, is coming to visit, bringing with her memories that Marin would rather forget. The chapters alternate between the summer before the start of the fall semester and Marin’s present. Slowly, Marin’s secrets and the truth behind the grief she’s coping with are revealed. It’s a book about the ache of loneliness, the suffocating weight of grief, and the importance of reaching out to help those you love. Like poetry, every single word felt intentional and powerful in this book. I stayed up late into the night reading because I simply couldn’t put it down. Fans of realistic contemporary stories will devour this moving story. –Kelly

Hired by Zoey Castile

After booking a trip to New Orleans, I went on the hunt for NOLA romances and realized the second book in Zoey Castile’s Happy Endings series fit the bill. This book follows Aiden Rios, one of the dancers from Stripped, after he’s been stood up by the woman he was hired to be an escort for. While at the hotel bar, he meets Faith Abigail Charles and is instantly attracted and smitten in a way he’s never been before. The two have a whirlwind romance as she shows him an authentic New Orleans experience, which was my favorite part and made me so excited to visit the city. The end was filled with lots of drama as secrets came out and many characters from the first book showed up. I’m excited to pick up the third book in this series soon! —Dana

The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer

I’m reading The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer. It’s about two rivals competing for dominance in the newspaper publishing world after World War II. They are both ruthless characters who will stop at nothing to succeed. Although they grew up differently, their lives become very similar as they vie for top spot by acquiring established newspapers. Jeffrey Archer is a master storyteller who brings their lives to life–so much so that you can visualize each scene. Although not a new book, this is a great read. —Barb


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