Book of The Month Book Reviews

Monthly Book Reviews: November 2019

Christmas is 2 weeks away, but here I am just sharing my November books. Better late than never!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (BOTM)

I don’t require too much for a 5 star thriller…just to keep me completely engrossed throughout and have a decent ending. The Family Upstairs is narrated by 3 characters and takes place in 2 time periods – the present, and the late 1980s. In the present day, Libby receives a letter on her 25th birthday stating that she will be inheriting her birth parent’s house. Soon after, she uncovers an article detailing the gruesome story of how they died in the house – a murder/suicide pact under mysterious circumstances, with the other children that were staying in the house missing and never to be heard from again. The 1980s time period is narrated by Libby’s brother as a child. Gradually, the stories converge and the mysteries surrounding the family and the deaths are uncovered. I really love thrillers set in multiple time periods, and especially about families. I literally couldn’t put this book down and finished it in just a few days (though if you had more time, I’d say you could probably read it in a sitting as its fairly short).

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

I actually picked this book up from the library! Fun Fact: I don’t think I’ve checked a book out of the library since…um…high school? Before that? I couldn’t tell you. My goal for the new year, though, is to try my best to get books from the library and maybe only one a month from BOTM when possible. We’ll see. Anyway…Beartown was written by Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove which is one of my favorite books. However, I’d say there isn’t a whole lot of similarities between the two. AMCO, while sad at times, was also pretty light-hearted and sweet. Beartown, by contrast, is heavy. Very heavy. On the surface, the initial plot of a small town hockey team trying to win the finals to bring outside recognition to their otherwise failing town sounds a bit…Mighty Ducks. However, the subplot deals with sexual assault and is incredibly detailed, heart-wrenchingly sad, and pretty anger inducing. Its also completely realistic which is one of the reasons its so angering to read about. While beautifully written, the only complaint I really have about this book is that Backman tends to go on these paragraph-long narrations about philosophies of hockey, small town life, etc and it kind of takes away from the actual story and plot quite a bit. I’d say basically every chapter is full of little paragraphs like this, which I feel would have been better suited for the beginning and ending of the book, not necessarily throughout. Despite that, it was still a very moving read and I’m interested in picking up the sequel called Us Against You.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And with that book, I officially completed my Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge. Woo hoo!

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