what I have been reading (early August edition).

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The Never List by Koethi Zan (from NetGalley)

I was afraid this book would be gory, since it’s about a girl who was kidnapped with her best friend and tortured and kept in a basement. But the subject matter is handled carefully and without being gruesome. The book focuses on Sarah’s quest to find out what happened to her best friend’s body and the creepy letters that her kidnapper is now sending her from prison. There are a couple of (pretty big) plot holes and some seriously convenient contrivances, but it’s a good mystery/thriller/page turner and I couldn’t put it down. Recommended for: people who keep up with that crazy story about the guy in Cleveland who trapped women in his house.

Juvie by Steve Watkins (from NetGalley)

This is a YA book about a girl named Sadie who confesses to something she didn’t really do in order to keep her sister out of jail. She gets sent to juvie and we see her adjusting to her new environment. I liked it for the descriptions of life on the inside, but it bugged me that the message seemed to be that it was right for Sadie to take the fall so that her sister could get her life together. Recommended for: people who have no idea what juvie is like, people who need to be scared straight so they don’t have to go to juvie.

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell (from NetGalley)

Rebel gets stuck in detention with a girl named Kennedy, and their assignment is to write “bucket lists” of what they want to do before they die. When Kennedy dies that night, Rebel is compelled (by the universe?) to complete Kennedy’s list for her. This was a great premise, but I was disappointed with the actual story. Kennedy’s death was never really explained (nor was it realistically depicted as far as the high school setting). I liked Rebel as a character but overall it was a disappointment. Recommended for: people who have written bucket lists.

Sabbath in the Suburbs by MaryAnn McKibben Dana (from NetGalley)

Other than getting a little tired of reading the word “Sabbath” I loved this one. It was a thoughtful and funny and realistic description of one family’s attempt to have Sabbath time each week for a year. Both MaryAnn and her husband work outside the home, so I found this to be much more relatable than many books that focus on spiritual practices. Many of these year-long experiment books feel forced, but this one was head-and-shoulders above the pack. Recommended for: anyone interested in the practice of Sabbath.

The Sacredness of Questioning Everything by David Dark (from the used bookstore)

I read this right after Atticus was born, so my brain was kind of fuzzy. This time through I got more out of it. I basically wanted to underline something on every single page. It’s dense but really good. Recommended for: people who like questions, people who like Sarah Masen (his wife), people who like books that make them feel smart.

NetGalley provided me with review copies of several of these books but my opinions are my own.

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