My May reading list has all kinds of book suggestions for every type of reader.
I love May — my wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day are this month, and it’s also the month when the weather finally gets nice enough to hang out by the pool. Hooray for poolside reading with margaritas!
I’ve added so many books to my “to read” list lately. Tons of great novels are dropping this summer (I always eagerly anticipate Elin Hilderbrand’s latest) and they’re all in my Amazon shopping cart. Whoopsies.
Here are my picks for this month!
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
This book has gotten a ton of buzz and great reviews, so it’s been on my radar for a little while. To be honest…it didn’t sound that compelling to me, but I finally had to see what all the fuss was about. I’m about 3/4 of the way through and it’s SO GOOD. Some may find the subject matter to be controversial — I encourage you to read it regardless. This book gives a very realistic look into the difficulties parents and families face when making decisions that will affect their children’s future. It’s hard to put down, cozy, and inspires a great deal of thought, all at once.
This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.
This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.
This is how children change…and then change the world.
This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.
When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.
Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
This title originally grabbed me because of the name “Lucy,” but when I read the description, it sounded really magical. It’s been described as “riveting,” “eclectic,” and “otherworldly,” so I obviously have to see for myself!
Edgar and Lucy is a page-turning literary masterpiece; a stunning examination of family love and betrayal.
Eight-year-old Edgar Fini remembers nothing of the accident people still whisper about. He only knows that his father is gone, his mother has a limp, and his grandmother believes in ghosts. When Edgar meets a man with his own tragic story, the boy begins a journey into a secret wilderness where nothing is clear, not even the line between the living and the dead. In order to save her son, Lucy has no choice but to confront the demons of her past.
Profound, shocking, and beautiful, Edgar and Lucy is a thrilling adventure and the unlikeliest of love stories.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
A friend recently recommended this book to me. I really love a sweeping novel involving complicated family relationships, so this is right up my alley.
Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.
In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.
After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.
A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.
Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
I always try to find a page-turner with a plot twist to add to the list — this one looks like it will fit the bill quite nicely. The reviews are really good!
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
That’s it for this month! What books have you been reading and loving lately?