2018 Book #11 – The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

51MbMthRSSLTitle: The Things We Wish Were True
Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Date finished: 1/29/18
Genre: Fiction, suspense, thriller
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Pages in book: 290
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This is from my 2016 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book whose title uses alliteration” category.

This book delved into the minds and lives of a number of different characters in a small town, including a child and a matron of the community. A boy is rescued from the pool one day during the summer, unconscious and unresponsive. The people there too witness the event seem to form a bond over the shared experience but all of them have significant secrets to hide. I think that’s one of the things that bothered me about this book, everyone seemed to be betraying someone and (while its naive) its sad to me to think that people are so deceptive and selfish. All of the characters were so downtrodden and unhappy at different points of the story, it was slightly frustrating to get involved with such flawed (but realistic I guess) characters. That being said, I thought this was such a great story and I love how everything was laid out in the end and all the loose ends got tied up neatly. There were some great plot twists, most of which the reader can see coming due to being able to tie together multiple view points but were still exciting. This was a really good read and I would recommend it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after I’d finished it!

 

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #35 – My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

91nYoKiAndL

Title: My Sunshine Away
Author: M.O.Walsh
Date finished: 4/22/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Pages in book: 303
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

It was the summer everything changed.…
My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.
In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the#ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Simsbury Public Library. I’ve seen this book in a number of recent book review publications and it was listed as #11 on Amazon’s Best Books of February 2015 listing. Going into this book, I knew that it was not going to be a happy-go-lucky book. This was an odd book for me. From the beginning of the novel, you can feel the narrator’s guilt. It is confusing at first trying to discover whether the narrator was the actual criminal in the act that would forever alter Lindy Simpson. After learning of the narrator’s character through the story though, it is hard to imagine him capable of rape. The book alternates between memories from before and after Lindy’s rape, centering around our narrator’s experiences with his family and with Lindy herself.
There were a lot of profound thoughts that this adult narrator looking back on his teenager self is realizing or just now articulating. His description with his mother and father, who are divorced, as well as how he deals with his sister’s death, are thought-provoking. His description of realizing that weakness lives in both his parents is something every child realizes as they grow and have to realize that a weakness lies within all of us. One of the thoughts from the book that really stuck with me is when the author states that he finds it amazing how little information children have to work with on a daily basis, or something to that effect. It really is entirely true. Children have to operate on a daily basis with less information that adults because the adults in their life are (hopefully) trying to shield them from the harsh realities of the world.
The whole story is told in the first person through the view of our narrator and I found it really amazing that looking through the narrator’s eyes as a teenager, I could connect so well and see the hormonal ups and downs and emotional rollercoaster that the narrator was just trying to survive during this awful period of time in Lindy’s life.
I thought this was overall a very interesting book. It deals with some very heavy issues though so I would say that readers definitely need to have the mental maturity to handle those issues that are introduced in the story.

The bottom line: A little dark but I think contains some very important thoughts, I would recommend with a precaution. You read about the aftermath of how a neighborhood deals with a girl’s rape. It is harsh. Just be prepared. Not for kids.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page