Us againsts you by Fredrik Backman

This sequel to Beartown (you really want to read Beartown first) tells us what happens in the aftermath of the town’s split over the act that sent it spiralling. Take heart, redemption is possible!

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown is in the middle of a forest which is in the middle of nowhere. Yet, at the heart of the town is the junior hockey team which promises to haul Beartown out of ignominy and place it amongst the elite of the hockey world. When a young girl is traumatized by a violent act the town is thrown into turmoil and the promise of glory is threatened. A beautifully written book – you need not love hockey to love Beartown and reap the lessons it has to offer.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Willa Knox has lost her job and decides, with her husband and daughter, to move into the dilapidated home she has inherited. Her son, Zeke, moves in with his baby and without prospects. She wonders how she has done everything right and ended up with everything going wrong. She delves into the history of the house and town in the hope of finding that her house may be a heritage building for which she can get funding to repair. In the process she uncovers a story that captures her heart. Kingsolver at her best!

Where the Crawdads sing by Delia Owens

Kya has grown up on her on in the marshes of North Carolina. Known as the “marsh girl” she is shunned by the town for her wild and eccentric behaviour. She is befriended by Tate, a sensitive, kind young boy who treats Kya with respect. When Tate heads off to college, Kya is bereft and allows herself to be approached by handsome but not-so-nice Andrew Chase (doesn’t his name say it all). Chase is murdered and guess who gets the blame? I loved the story of this intelligent, sensitive young woman who finds a way to flourish in spite of her hardships.

The Confession of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Frannie Langton is accused of murdering her employer, George Benham and his wife Marguerite in London. She was found with blood on her hands and stubbornly maintains that she has no recollection of what happened. We do find out about her life on a slave plantation in Jamaica and the trail leaves us wondering who the real culprits are in this story. A great read!

Brother by David Chariandy

Michael and Francis are brothers growing up in a housing project in Scarborough, Ontario in the 1990’s. This is story looks at racism, gang and police violence and the despair that comes from lack of opportunity and poverty. Not for the faint of heart but definitely a timely and beautiful book.

This Little Light by Lori Lansens

In 2023 Rory Ann Miller and her best friend are on the run because they’ve been accused of planting a bomb at their posh California high school’s Virtue Ball. Within this 48 hour period fourteen year old Rory introduces us to the ultra right wing community from which she hails in wise, insightful and witty observations. I found myself rooting for her from the first page. I loved this book.

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

Jackson Brodie is back on the scene. He’s in a little town tracking unfaithful husbands and dealing with his recalcitrant teenage son and aging dog. But there is much more happening in this town than even he realizes. Brodie continues to be a wise, witty, pessimistic character. The book moves along quickly and the story keeps you hooked but I have to say I was a little disappointed with the ending. Doesn’t matter though, if you’re a Kate Atkinson fan!

Transcriptions by Kate Atkinson

Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited to work for M15 during the second world war. She’s sent to an obscured apartment and is tasked with monitoring the activities of a small group of Nazi sympathizers. The work is boring and terrifying at the same time. Ten years later, while working for the BBC, Juliet is confronted with people from that time and is once again in a situation not of her choosing. Another Atkinson winner!

Never Have I ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Amy Whey loves her simple life. Caring for her step-daughter, beloved husband and brand new daughter, Charlotte. When Angelica Roux comes to town it becomes clear that she is not who she seems. It becomes even clearer to Amy that her well guarded secrets are in the hands of Roux and, if revealed, threaten her carefully constructed life. In typical Jackson style, the story is fast paced, funny, disturbing, wise with a couple of twists and turns that make for a great read.