I’m all about summer reading. Sometimes I like it deep. Not this year, at least not thus far. In fact when I was looking for a book this weekend I wasn’t even looking at titles. So when I saw a cover that said “Get Laid, Get Rich, Get Even,” I thought, that’s the book for me. Without further adieu, some light picks for the beginning of the summer.
The Underwriting Michelle Miller
Hedgefunds, silicone valley startups, college hookups revisiting you years later. All of this makes for some trashy fun. This book made me so grateful not to be twenty-something in the 20-teens (what are we calling this decade anyway)? Michelle Miller wrote the hell out of the male characters and female characters. I was actually sure it was a male author until I bothered to look at the title page, three chapters in.
If you wonder what the bankers are doing with their free time or how the Silicone Valley crew rolls compared to their NYC counterparts then give it a spin. When a New York firm is selected to take an app that facilitates “hook-ups,” easier the question about our privacy on the world wide web comes into question. What degree of our personal information are we willing to share for convenience? It’s a relevant question. So if you need a book to take to the beach this summer. Grab this one. The cover looks awesome covered in shiny suntan lotion.
China Rich Girlfriend: Kevin Kwan
China Rich Girlfriend is a rollicking fun read. Have you ever wondered what Asian “squillionaires,” do with their money? If so then grab this book and get ready to eye roll and guffaw at the same time. Nick Young and his wife, Rachel Chu, travel to China for their “honeymoon,” and manage to see more excess in two weeks than most would believe exists.
Kwan writes things like “Your dress is like a Community College in the summer. No class.” And it works coming, as it does, from the mouths of his over the top characters. You can also pick up a fair number of Mandarin curse words if you read the footnotes.
The sequel to his best seller Crazy Rich Asians is released this week. If you didn’t read his first book and want something different and fun, this is a good pick. He writes about ABC’s (American Born Chinese), MLC’s (Mainland Chinese), and islanders with an uncannily observant eye.
In his earlier book he writes about the wealthy (usually obscenely) Singaporean Chinese families, living in the USA, and the various social embroilments they find themselves in straddling two cultures. Kwan creates a whole new cadre of stereotypes and their views of each other.
Both books follow the story of Rachel Yu, and ABC, and her fiancé, Nick, an uber-wealthy Singaporean, as they maneuver his families objections to his marriage. But it is the secondary characters, Nick’s mother Eleanor with her constant stream of consciousness judgment on everything mainland China and American “so tacky,” and his cousin Eddie the fast talking banker, “oh fucky, fucky, fucky,” who help to move the story along.
This is a super fun and quick read and was super popular a few years ago; the film rights have been optioned by Nina Jacobsen has options the film rights.
In his sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, Kwan brings back the same troop of hilarious characters. If you liked Crazy Rich Asians you will love China Rich Girlfriend.
Luckiest Girl Alive: Jessica Knoll
In her knockout novel, Jessica Knoll brings us a female character who is really tough to like. There have been loads of comparisons to Gone Girl, but I don’t really see it. Aside from presenting an abrasive, unlikable protagonist, there aren’t many similarities.
Jessica Knoll was willing to dive into such a twisty and dark character. The reader meets someone who is manipulative, unkind, and hard, and it takes several chapters for us to get any glimpse into why she is this way.
TifAni FaNelli (yes this is how her name is spelled and I guess may actually explain her bitterness from the get go), grew up right at the edge of the Main Line of Philadelphia. Anyone who can relate to being an outsider, just on the outside of the social norm, which is actually harder than being way outside of the circle, will want to know what makes her tick. She spends her time micro-analyzing other’s behavior in an attempt to fit in.
The story, which does have some mystery to it, has been optioned by Reese Witherspoon to be turned into a film. Another beach read winner.
In The Unlikely Event: Judy Blume
Who didn’t read “Are you There God, It’s Me Margaret?” It was our book, our book, the book that reassured us, someone gets us. I know I was one of many eagerly anticipating her new book.
This is by far the least “light,” book on the list. It centers around a series of flight accidents that happened near the Newark Airport in the 1950’s. But Judy Blume’s characters are what we love. And this book has a lot of characters. At one point it was hard for me to keep track. But Miri, one of the main characters, brings you back to your own adolescence and the fear and angst that accompanies it compounded by a series of communal tragedies.
Is this novel chic-lit? Is it YA? It delves far deeper into the emotional maelstrom than chic lit typically does and treats the personal events and larger events with more reverence than what I think of as “chic lit,” does. Judy Blume is the Godmother of YA Literature and this book brings us back to our own adolescence and youth with her details and memories of first slow dances with boys and buying bras. But ultimately it is a story about moral ambiguities and the uncertainties of life and how one young girls gets through both. If you like Judy Blume, go for it.
The Woman Who Stole My Life: Marian Keyes
Full disclaimer, I haven’t read this one yet, I have it pre-ordered at Amazon and am recommending it based purely on Marian Keyes previous works. If you haven’t read Sushi for Beginners or Rachel’s Holiday, you should put them on your summer light reading list.
Rachel’s Holiday deals with addiction and its ramifications with buckets of snark but doesn’t handle it so lightly that it is dismissive. It’s serious subject matter, but when you fall in love with Rachel, the protagonist and addict, you take a ride through the world of hangovers and blackouts and they are written in a way that let you share the shame and pounding head of someone who has spent days in a bed wondering how to dig themselves out of the mud pit of addiction.
The Woman Who Stole My Life follows the life of a woman who is dealing with the fallout from a neurological disorder and raising two sons. Early editorial reviews for the book are promising and claim Stella Sweeney’s life and antics will provide laugh out loud laughter (please keep the promise). If you like slightly off and twisted characters who are filled with snark you will enjoy her earlier books and probably this one as well.
Finding Audrey: Sophie Kinsella
Remember the Shopaholic series? Some of my friends loved it, some hated it. I thought the first two in the series were good rollicking fun. While this book is totally different, it’s YA, it’s about tougher material, Sophie Kinsella’s writing style remains the same so not a great choice if you didn’t like her earlier work.
Kinsella tackles bullying, adolescence and anxiety with a humorous edge. As someone who can relate to anxiety, and remembers adolescence I thought this was a fun read. The story was well paced and the characters (British) all quirky. People who like YA literature and The Shopaholic series will enjoy this one too.
The writing is fun, quick and snarky, much like it is in the Shopaholic Series.
It’s a quick read, and perfect for a teen and her mom on the beach.