Goodbye, Vitamin: a novel by Rachel Khong
Thirty year old Ruth moves home for a year to help her parents after her engagement is called off. Her father, a prominent history professor, is suffering from memory loss which seems to be dementia or Alzheimers. Ruth's mother is trying to find her way towards forgiveness of her husband's betrayals in light of his illness, but she is struggling. In a poignant turn of events Ruth's dad shares entries he made in his journals about Ruth as a child, while she ends up keeping a journal of her father's good and bad days. By turns funny and heartbreaking, this is a story that will be not be soon forgotten.
I could not put this book down and finished it in one day! Told from the point of view of three women this is a funny, intelligent and enthralling novel about the life of a young woman caught up in a political scandal. Rachel Grossman's daughter Aviva is an undergraduate at the University of Miami when she takes a job as an intern for a congressman. Rachel is horrified when her young daughter confides that she is having an affair with their former neighbor who is twice her age. When the affair comes to light, Aviva is slut-shammed and finds herself unable to find a job, even outside of Florida. She finally changes her name and moves to a small town in Maine to raise her daughter Ruby. But then Aviva, now Jane Young and an event planner, decides to run for office. Her thirteen year old daughter Ruby, a very smart child who is the target of mean girl bullies, discovers that her mother is not who she thought she was. The narrative includes Aviva's unfortunate blog about her affair and Ruby's emails to an overseas pen pal. This is a heartwarming and heartbreaking novel that will have you rooting for these three strong women to find a happy ending.
Here are the YA books:
Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
In alternating chapters, Australian teens Rachel and Henry recount their friendship. Rachel moved away from Gracetown three years previous after leaving a love letter to Henry in a book inside his family’s bookstore. Henry never acknowledged it and their correspondence fell off. Rachel left her perfect love letter in a copy of T.S. Eliot poems in the bookstore’s section called the Letter Library where customers write in the margins and leave notes for each other. Henry, who never got Rachel’s letter, is getting over a major break up while also dealing with the fact that the bookstore is failing. Rachel returns to Gracetown after the drowning death of her brother Cal and takes a job at the bookstore cataloging the Letter Library. Will these two former best friends help each other through their own personal losses and grief? Will their friendship change into something more? This is a heartfelt novel full of literary quotations that will appeal to the romantic in all of us.
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Two lost souls find each other and themselves through letters left in a cemetery in this heartbreaking yet hopeful novel. Teenage Juliet lost her globe-trotting photojournalist mother when she is killed in a hit and run on the way home for the airport. Since then, Juliet has been unable to take part in her own love of photography and she deals with her grief and guilt by writing letters to her mother that she leaves on her gravestone. Declan, a high school student with a reputation for trouble, is fulfilling community service hours at the cemetery. Misunderstood and dealing with his anger towards his parents after the death of his younger sister, he finds one of Juliet’s letters cannot help but pencil in a reply. Writing anonymously to a fellow grieving person begins to help both Juliet and Declan. Although the two run into one another at school, neither knows who the other is as they use the aliases Cemetery Girl and The Dark in their letters and eventually online. This is a wonderful story that captures the heart of teen grief and offers hope.