Category: Contemporary Fiction

Meeting Angie Kim, Author of Miracle Creek

Last week my book club had the opportunity to meet with Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek, a courtroom drama about a Korean-American family.  Kim was fantastic and spent a lot of time with our group.  She shared a lot of interesting details about how her life experiences influenced the book, and the kinds of things she…

Review: The After Days by Amy Ginsburg

I received a copy of this book from the author, through a friend who lives in the DC area.  Ginsburg’s story of what happens in a Maryland suburb during a world-wide power outage was pretty fascinating, although the premise requires a bit of a leap: terrorists have banded together to attack power grids covering most of…

Review: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

I really enjoyed this debut novel that combines courtroom drama with a moving story about a Korean-American family.  Even better, the author is local and writes about a small town in Virginia that doesn’t exist but felt very real. The Yoo family runs a  a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a submarine-like contraption that people sit in to…

Review: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

I recommend this historical novel about two researchers who discover a cache of letters from the 1660s about a rabbi in London and the young Jewish woman he’s taken in, Ester Velasquez.  The rabbi and Ester have emigrated from Amsterdam, but before that they were refugees from the Inquisition in Portugal.  The researchers soon discover…

On The Come Up and The Poet X: a Double Review

These books share a lot of similarities and both were fantastic, so I’m reviewing them together.  Both are about teenagers dealing with racial identity, religion, friendship, and family.  Both are gifted poets struggling to express themselves.  Both love their families but find themselves hiding more and more of themselves. On the Come Up is Angie…

Review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos

I really liked this slow-burner of a novel about a program for the wealthy who want surrogate parents.  Ramos creates what I found to be a very believable scenario and raises a lot of really interesting issues regarding parenthood, wealth, immigration, race and class.  A corporation creates a home for young women to bear the children…

Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

I loved the way this book begins, because I identified very much with Marianne, one of its two narrators.  Marianne and Connell are two teens in a small town in Ireland.  Marianne is smart, independent, and proud, but has no friends at school.  Connell is popular and outgoing, and like many teens he worries a…

Review: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

I had to force myself to finish this book, and that’s never a good thing. At times this book was nicely written and I found myself see-sawing between frustrated and absorbed. I knew from reviews that there were major changes in the plot and I wanted to see what happened. Trust Exercise is about Sarah…

Review: Ghostwritten by David Mitchell

I love David Mitchell – I love how every book by him is more of an experience than just a read.  This book felt like a whirlwind, or a roller coaster.   It’s told in nine slightly-interlocking chapters.  At first the chapters feel very distinct – a character in one might bump into a character in…

Review: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

This is my favorite book of the year so far.  It was everything I like in a book – really character-driven, about complex family relationships. It’s about a family where the parents are immigrants to the U.S. and they struggle to raise their children in a culture that is sometimes foreign to them.  Their children…