Why You Should Read “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney | Book Review

All the way back in the fall, I knew when The Nest, the debut novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, was going to be released. March 22, 2016. The media was a’buzzin about this domestic drama, and even my boss at Kirkus Reviews was raving about it on Austin’s public radio in the fall. Not long after, Publisher’s Weekly devoted a whole newsletter to promoting the novel. I read about the novel in Wall Street Journal in late November and learned how Sweeney had received a multi-million dollar advance. So I pre-ordered The Nest on autopilot, a blind one-click affair. (Hey, I’m fond of reading about siblings in literature.) In mid-March, the anticipation built with each passing week. Finally, I waited for the mailman to stop by on the 22nd and tore open the packaging. The novel was a teal green/robin’s egg blue hybrid with a family crest-inspired cover in raised, posh, copper lettering. And so I read it. And it was…pretty good! I would absolutely recommend it. Here’s why. Premise  In The Nest, readers take an immersive look inside the Plumb family and the four siblings, all of whom have gone their separate ways and don’t really stay in touch. Leo, the oldest,...

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: Not Worth the Hype | Book Review

(Thank you to HarperTeen for giving me a galley of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way affect my review.) In Short: Dumplin’ (September 15), Julie Murphy’s follow-up to her debut novel, Side Effects May Vary (2014), offers a painful-yet-vividly visceral look at teenage obesity through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Willowdean “Will” Dickson, who lives in the shadow of her mom, a minor celebrity in the contemporary beauty-pageant arena of Clover City, Texas. Although Will tells her story in reflective narration, often providing glimpses of poignant bravery and astute observations on challenges overweight women face, she cannot overcome quite a few flaws in Murphy’s character development, reliance on stereotypes, and a turgid plot structure. A flat tone and predictable plot that relies on YA tropes are not helped by an unsympathetic, unremarkable, and ultimately unlikable heroine in what should have been a novel that celebrates individuality and originality. Plot Summary: Dumplin’ is narrated by Will, nicknamed “Dumplin’” by her mother, over the course of a few months that present challenges and changes in her life. Will works at a fast food restaurant, her after school and summer job, and is grieving for her...

Why I’m Reading Jonathan Franzen’s “Purity”

I am currently reading a book to impress a guy. This is a rare occurrence nowadays since I usually read whatever I want whenever I want to read it, and read widely at that. That’s how Outlander, The Goldfinch, and Battling Boy all get read in the course of a few months. But the book in question to impress said guy is one I’ve wanted to read for a while now anyway, so I really don’t mind. Anyway, I used to do this all the time, especially back in high school. If a guy I pined for was reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Ezra Pound, I added it to my list. I was especially susceptible to reading novels to impress my teachers. I mean, I was a little bit of a Hermione Granger in high school, kind of a suck up, definitely an obnoxious know-it-all… I’m surprised I still have friends from that era since I think if I could I’d go back in time and smack that girl in the face and tell her “Stop name dropping T. S. Eliot and Modernism. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about and nobody cares anyway! Also, in...

Books about Bipolar Moms

Recently I was feeling really bummed out. I was talking to my best friend on the phone and explaining that usually I start to tune a novel or premise out when it’s about kids or pregnancy. First of all I tend to prefer stories that deal with people my age or younger, and I’m not really ashamed of that; I think it’s natural to want to read about people who have had the same experiences you have or are about to experience them. But I also find it harder to find stories about women in their late twenties like me but without kids/children/pregnancy. I think this is going to be a big problem I will continue to face. My horrible secret—the one that makes me feel like less of a woman, like there’s something horribly wrong with me and this is why I don’t have a Happily Ever After by now, like men can see through me and deem me unfit for procreation—is that I’m not really sure I want kids. I think I’d be a terrible mom—I don’t handle crises well, I find it hard to sugar-coat a situation or not shoot from the hip giving people advice, and most...

The $260 All Freelancers Need to Add to Their Annual Budget

Wow, I reached the point where I felt suffocated by the walls of my house the other day. It’s been a nonstop grind going straight from finals into wrapping up a writing project before I launch into the next editorial role, meanwhile plotting for BBB’s relaunch, and hot damn, I’m ready to put down my laptop. I knew I had reached my limit when I had cycled through my extensive tea collection of about 25+ different teas and then yes, oh yes, not even Jon Snow and Minerva could keep me here. So I fled for Starbucks. And that was the right move. Many freelancers, especially those who are early in their careers, are tempted to stay at home and do the whole quiet hermit thing. It’s cheap, you can put some trashy reality TV on the tube for background noise, and if you get stuck on a sentence you can get up, stretch, and go hug a pet. That’s the picture that many people have of freelancing…that you sit around in your pajamas all day and can go out and not brush your teeth until 3:00. And oh, isn’t that nice. Well, that’s one option. But it’s not how...

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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