Home » Book Reviews

Go Beyond the Standard Beach Reads This Summer with These Compelling Page Turners

Author: 21 August 2016 No Comment

Go Beyond the Standard Beach Reads This Summer with These Compelling Page Turners

Book Reviews By Aimee Zuccarini

Tracks by Robyn Davidson

In 1977, Robyn Davidson, a reclusive young Queensland native would trek 1,700 miles across glittering sandstone ranges, Aborginal reserves, and a scorched expanse of Australian desert so vast and pitiless it eclipsed anything the author Cheryl Strayed claimed to have accomplished in her memoir, Wild.  Davidson, who traveled with a small herd of feral pack camels and a black lab named Diggity, had a method to her madness:  “Adventure, she said, “was like a life based on the principle of freedom.” And for a young woman in the mid-seventies, freedom also meant shedding burdens—like the memory of Davidson’s mother’s suicide when Robyn was only eleven. Months into the journey, “The Camel Lady” soon came to the attention of The National Geographic and a brash young photographer who’d record Davidson’s iconic journey. Tracks  is a sublime and reverent look at life way, way off the grid.

 

 

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

In September of 1939, Hitler prepares for the aerial annihilation of England. Among his targets are urban areas like London’s poorer districts. But for ten-year-old East Ender, Ada Smith, a worse reality is a hideous and imprisoning defect: a profound clubfoot, so ugly, her abusive Mam keeps her locked away from the world. Starved, beaten, and often, when Mam entertains gentlemen callers, made to crawl into a cramped and roach-infested cupboard, Ada make a courageous decision: To get gone.  Over the summer, she teaches herself to walk on the painfully tender mash of bones. But on the day she finally makes it to the street, mass confusion surrounds her. The evacuation of nearly a 100,000 children to the English countryside has begun in anticipation of The Blitz. Ada finds her little brother Jamie, and together, hearts beating fast, they manage to escape—boarding the next train north. Filthy, malnourished, and without a threadbare change of clothes between them, they smile.

Who would have thought that Hitler’s air force—his formidable Luftwaffe, and its thousands of bombs would become Ada’s fairy godmother in disguise? Readers will not be able to resist this gorgeous coming-of-age tale—even when they realize it’s a children’s book!

 

 

The Girls by Emma Cline

Emma Cline seduces readers into her stunning first novel, The Girls, before they realize (much like her fourteen-year-old heroine, Edie Boyd), that there may be no way out.

The story unfolds in the summer of ‘69, around a wealthy suburb of the still desolate Benedict Canyon, north of LA. Desert, scrub pine and waves of chaparral create vistas of desolation. Someone screaming for instance on an isolated ranch would never be heard. A body drenched in blood might be found days after the killers, having eaten LSD like Snickers Bars, were long gone; their black painted bus already high in the dusty hills.That summer, achingly lonely Edie Boyd, having fallen dangerously off her self-absorbed parents’ radar, makes the reckless decision to board the black bus.  Mesmerized by the beautiful Suzanne and the enigmatic Russell; (a drifter with the power to shape-shift into a surrogate father/lover), Edie is sure she has found herself a family at last. If by now you’re thinking this tale has a strong Helter-Skelter vibe, and the character of Russell feels terrifyingly close to Charles Manson, don’t stop reading.The Girls, narrated by a wiser, middle-aged Edie, turns out to be a reminiscence of special beauty.

 

Beach Reads, Beach Reads, Beach Reads,

Howard County Library