Megan McCafferty – Perfect Fifths
The fifth Jessica Darling book ties things up satisfactorily, though I must admit I missed Jessica’s first-person viewpoint a lot. Sure, you get to see what Marcus thinks sometimes, but still… the humour, wit, and ability to let characters be unpleasant and flawed sometimes, is still there.
J Courtney Sullivan – Commencement
Hilariously, this comes in a turquoise glossy cover and exudes a frothy summer reading vibe. It is very readable, but it’s precisely what people don’t think of when they dismiss chick lit as a fizzy combination of shoes, shopping, and sex. Four girls meet at Smith College (sidenote: alma mater of so many cool writers! I mean, how many places can boast both Sylvia Plath and Ann M Martin?) and the novel focuses on their lives both in and beyond college, and the difference between the two. There’s unabashed feminism, smart conversations, some commentary and a plot line on sex workers, lesbianism, SLUGism, pregnancy, marriage, work… and friendships as an important thing in the lives of women. Definitely worth reading.
Abby McDonald – The Liberation of Alice Love
Like The Popularity Rules, this is mostly about identity rather than, well, shoes/shopping/sex. Though some of the latter does feature. Alice Love, sensible lawyer at an agency, discovers someone’s been assuming her identity – and has emptied out her life savings. When she finds the thief is closer to home than she might expect (this is on the back of the book! Not too spoilery!) she sets out to track them down. I love the supporting characters, from Alice’s friend Ella to her stepsister Flora to her crazy boss to her forgetful father to the love interests (or possible love interests) in her life. Mostly Flora though. A compelling read.
Gemma Malley – The Returners
Gemma Malley, author of the fabulous The Declaration and The Resistance, tries her hand at another dystopia, this time much closer to home. It’s 2016 and there’s a growing moment in Britain to keep Britain for the British, with the current depression ongoing, and fifteen-year-old Will has memories and dreams he can’t explain. It’s an interesting read, with some nice twists, but I missed the world of Anna and Peter and Jude a little too much to properly appreciate it.