3 Stars Reviews

Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

During the summer of 1969, four siblings hear of a curious fortune teller who can predict the day you die. Pooling their pocket money and eager for a cure to the monotony of the long summer, they seek her out, entering her cramped and crowded apartment one by one. Simon, the youngest, enters first, followed wild-haired Klara, sensible Daniel, and finally the eldest, Varya, nervously follows her siblings. They come out the other side forever changed by what they heard. Over the next five decades, the fortunes they were told shape each of the siblings’ lives, pushing the power of their familial bond to the limit.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Sofia’s mother, Rose, has spent most of her life in what she describes as excruciating pain, yet simultaneous numbness. Unable to get to the bottom of her illness, Sofia and Rose spend thousands of pounds, remortgaging their home in the process, to travel to the enigmatic Dr. Gomez in arid Spain in the hope that he may offer an explanation and some relief for Rose’s condition. Up until this point, Sofia had been sleeping on a camp bed in the storeroom of the coffee shop she worked in, after dropping out of her PhD program. A keen anthropologist, Sofia quietly studies those whom she meets in this little Spanish town, whilst battling with her own identity issues. She quickly becomes involved with an intriguing German seamstress, but struggles to determine whether her emotions are that of love or obsession.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar

Drawing on her personal experiences of growing up fat and constantly dieting, Virgie Tovar teaches others to reject that same mindset. She discusses diet culture, fat phobia, sexist fashion and more, arguing that we must unlearn what society has taught us since childhood in order to embrace our bodies, and to learn that it is fine to be fat.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Say Say Say by Lila Savage

Ella is drifting through her 20s, with the distinct feeling that she’s not where she should be. She watches as her girlfriend, Alix, succeed in her art and make plans to take her work abroad, while Ella herself fails to produce more than one painting a year, despite her similar artist aspirations. Instead, she finds herself bouncing from one care-giving job to another, privy to the most private moments of people in need. She takes on the task of caring for Jill, a client slightly younger than her usual charges who is left mentally diminished following a tragic accident. Ella is struck by the tenderness with which Jill’s husband, Bryn, cares for her, and the quiet friendship that develops between the two of them as Ella returns each day to help where she can. As she continues to observe their marriage each day, Ella finds herself questioning her own relationships with those around her.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Inspired by the film of the same name, Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke brings this nightmarish fairytale to book form. In Spain during the summer of 1944, the aftermath of the civil war plays out in the forests, in between the trees and under the cover of darkness. Republican rebels hide out in the woods, hunted by the capitán and his soldiers who make an old mill their base. Ofelia and her mother, who is heavily pregnant and very weak, arrive at the mill to be reunited with Captain Vidal, Ofelia’s new stepfather. Most do not take notice of her, the cruel capitán is irritated by her presence, but under the ground, creatures are stirring – they sense the return of the long-lost Princess Moanna. Ofelia discovers an overgrown labyrinth and meets the Fawn, who sets her three tasks to prove she is the missing Princess. Ofelia’s love of fairytales guides her, but things soon become far more sinister than they ever did in her storybooks.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger

When leading physics professor Helen Clapp begins receiving texts from her college best friend, Charlie, she starts to doubt everything she thought she knew about science and about life. After all, Charlie’s dead. As Helen becomes more involved in the lives of Charlie’s grieving husband and daughter, she begins to uncover things she had long forgotten, not only about Charlie, but also herself.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos

When immigrant Jane is offered a chance to make a life-changing amount of money at Golden Oaks Farm, she hesitantly agrees. After all, she’s not left with many other options. Jane leaves her cramped Queens dorm that she shares with her baby daughter, her super-nanny cousin Ate, and a host of other immigrants, to become a Host. For the next nine months she’ll carry the unborn child of an ultra-rich Client. Every piece of food she consumes, every action she takes, every phone call she makes, will be monitored by the Coordinators, headed up by the ambitious Mae Yu. At first Jane marvels at her surroundings, more luxurious than she’s ever known herself, but fear soon sets in as she begins to fret about her daughter’s well-being and the other Hosts’ suspicions about Golden Oaks become her own.

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3 Stars Reviews

Review: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Ijeoma is coming of age during the Nigerian Civil War, a conflict that devastates her home and her family. Sent away by her mother for her own safety, Ijeoma finds herself embarking on a passionate love affair with another girl. She quickly learns the consequences of expressing this part of her identity and struggles to navigate the violent prejudices of her people.

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