Good Afternoon, Readers!
Today I have uber talented Brandy Colbert over to talk about four books she really wants you to read… take it away, Brandy!
My Book Recommendations for You
by Brandy Colbert
I read a lot, but at the same time, I consider myself quite a slow reader. Sometimes it’s just life pulling me away—writing, copyediting, or social obligations—but sometimes it’s because I really like to savor a book. Reread passages as I’m going. Turning back several pages to see, How did the author do that? And when I love a book, I can get downright evangelical about it. You need to read it, but so does your mother/brother/sister/cousin/boyfriend/ girlfriend/spouse/cat . . . you get the idea. The following books? You (and everyone you know!) need to read them.
I didn’t quite know what this book was about when I picked it up, but Stephanie was a friend (and now, my critique partner!) and I was excited to dive into her debut. Fast forward to me devouring the last quarter of the book, having to put it down because it was almost too much for me to handle, emotionally, but then going right back to it because I just had to know what happened next. Charm & Strange is a beautifully written novel about mental illness, family secrets, and the effects of internalizing trauma. It’s not a happy book, but it is one that will stick with you for a long time and remind you of the importance of empathy.
Last year, I fell in absolute love with All Our Pretty Songs, the first novel in a series of companion books by McCarry. So, naturally I was thrilled when I read that the follow-up, Dirty Wings, would chronicle the teenage friendship of the mothers of the two best friends in All Our Pretty Songs. And then I fell even harder for Dirty Wings. This is a road trip book. It is a book about girls. It is about fighting expectations and following your heart and altering your life to make room for a person you love. I felt a bit like I was in a dream while reading this book. It doesn’t hurt hat parts of it were set in my beloved state of California, but I was absolutely enamored with McCarry’s gorgeous prose and her honest, vivid portrayal of an intoxicating female friendship.
I admire many aspects of Strasnick’s writing, but perhaps the part that sticks with me the most is her expert use of spare language to tell an engrossing, rich narrative. Nothing Like You is the story of a girl still grieving over her mother’s death while navigating the often complicated friendships and relationships of adolescence. It is sometimes sad, sometimes sexy, and always honest in its portrayal of a teen girl learning that a seemingly simple choice can send everything in your life spiraling out of control. (Also, there is a good chance it will make you want to move to/hang out in/go hiking in Topanga Canyon.)
As a longtime fan of Summers’ gritty, realistic novels, I was a little surprised when I learned her fourth book was about the zombie apocalypse. But I am nothing if not loyal to my favorite authors, so I preordered my copy and nervously awaited this story. And am I ever glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, because this book quickly became one of my favorites by Summers. This Is Not a Test may technically be classified as a zombie novel, but at its core, it is a brilliant character study of an abused, suicidal girl who is forced to decide if she wants to surrender to the zombies or fight for her life with a random assortment of her remaining classmates. This novel is horrifying, suspenseful, and heartbreaking, all pulled together by Summers’ beautiful, evocative writing and refusal to go easy on her characters.
I’ve also been lucky enough to read early drafts of books that are not yet released, so be on the lookout next year for:
- Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
- Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn
- All the Rage by Courtney Summers
I can’t wait to talk more about these when they’re closer to publication—you will absolutely be blown away by these stories. I guarantee it.
Thanks so much for having me, Patrice!
Thanks for stopping by, Brandy! I love hearing about the books people love. Aren’t these some amazing book recs? I foresee a trip to the bookstore in my future *grins*
About POINTE by Brandy Colbert*
Theo is better now.
*Yes. This book is as good as it sounds (better!). Stop by tomorrow for my gushing session about POINTE!
About the Author
Brandy Colbert grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and has worked as an editor for several national magazines. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Pointe is her first novel.