Welcome to Friday Reads. Each Friday, I’ll review any books I’ve completed that week, as well as share what I’m reading right now. And by “Each Friday,” I mean “some Fridays.”

April has NOT been a great month for reading, as evidenced by the lack of Friday Reads posts. Since last time…

Finished reading:

Moxie – Jennifer Mathiew – 5* (Apr 12)

I can’t remember the last time I felt so enthusiastic about giving a book 5 stars.

This YA book is about a “good girl” driven to action by the sexism and misogyny in her high school. What starts as a quiet movement becomes a school-wide act of standing up.

YA books often have a reputation for being silly or fluffy but Moxie deals with many complex issues beyond the rampant mistreatment of girls at the school. There are issues relating to single parenthood, friendship, teen relationships, racial privilege, and more.

It’s not perfect – I found some of the language repetitive, both in the dialogue and narrative portions of the story. But that’s such a minor nitpick. Also, I had trouble getting into it, waiting for SOMETHING to happen. At first, that bothered me. As a writer, you’re always supposed to start big with some major event. Here, it was the perfect build-up, helping portray how Vivian felt until she just couldn’t take it anymore.

A quick read once it got started, and perfect for the current social environment.

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware – 2.5* (Apr 26)

I really enjoyed the first book I read by Ruth Ware, “In a Dark, Dark Wood.” Then I read “The Woman in Cabin 10,” which was ok but not as great. “The Lying Game” is her third novel and probably my least favorite.

Ware’s most recent story follows four best friends. It’s an all-too-common trope at this point: Random people meet at some kind of boarding school (or university), something big happens, and then it all starts to unravel some years later, bringing them back together to avoid exposure. Perhaps if I hadn’t read so many other stories lately that follow this structure, I would’ve been more impressed.

In this case, there’s just too much contrivance. The four supposedly best friends have barely seen each other or exchanged even an email in the past 15 years. But when one sends a text to say “I need you,” the other three drop everything and go. Well, almost everything. Our POV character, Isa, takes her baby with her on this emergency visit. The baby is totally a plot device, with Isa constantly putting the baby in danger, conveniently finding a babysitter when the women go out for a night, driving a wedge (beyond the mystery-related lies) between her and her husband.

Largely, the book fell flat for me. Sure, there was plenty of action to keep me reading. Mostly, I kept going because I had guesses about major twists early on and wanted to see if I was right. I was. Between the lack of surprise at big reveals and the constant “why the hell are they doing that?!?!”, I was disappointed.

Abandoned:

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty. I found the first five pages completely unreadable due to the writing style. I might go back to it at some point, but for now, I decided to drop it.

Next up:

A Piece of the World – Christina Baker Kline

I loved “Orphan Train” when I read it a few years ago so I’m hoping she’s able to strike gold twice.

What are you reading?

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