The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes - This was the first book I read on my new Kindle (Prime Day wasn't a total fail for all of us) and even though it took me a bit of getting used to, I really enjoyed this read. The book itself was fantastic, combining a murder mystery, time travel, and a revenge arc. After she narrowly escapes being murdered, Kirby becomes obsessed with finding her killer, convinced that she is not his only victim. Told by several different "shining girls", the book takes you into their lives before they are hunted down and killed by Harper Curtis, a man who stumbled into his destiny. This book is messy, haunting, and terrifying. It's brilliant.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay - Bad Feminist has been on my list FOREVER. I was so happy when I finally made it to the top of the waitlist at my local library. Bad Feminist is wonderful. It's full of essays that I wish I were brave enough to write. Gay combines her humor, her love of pop culture, her intelligence, her confusion, her anger, her sadness to make this perfectly imperfect book. She questions the status quo and makes the reader reassess their feelings on gender, on race, on academia, on sexuality. She isn't ashamed to say that she's not an expert, that she's not a perfect feminist, but she is trying, just like the rest of us are or should be. It's a beautiful book that I can't recommend enough.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith - When a child murderer is on the loose and staying in the shadows due to Stalin's government's insistence on the lack of his existence, Leo Demidov begins to doubt the state to which he has pledged his life's work. Leo, and eventually his wife, Raisa, go rogue and investigate the murders themselves, intent on finding the killer and bringing him to justice. Child 44 was a really fun story, a mix of a spy novel, an action story, and a love story. I'm a big fan of stories where propaganda is taken down by the people. Fun, action-packed, and smartly written.
The Virgins by Pamela Erens - I have a soft spot for stories about how hard it is being a teenager because I remember those days well. I was also a whiny, self-obsessed brat. So, take from that what you will. The Virgins follows the lives of three students at a New England prep school in the early 1980s. Our narrator, Bruce, watches new couple Aviva and Seung from afar all year. Aviva and Seung are young and in love and the talk of the school. They're so wrapped up in each other that everyone assumes they are having sex everywhere, all the time. As the year progresses, Aviva and Seung struggle as a couple. Bruce watches it all play out, biding his time until he can make Aviva his. It's melodramatic and teen-angsty, but this book was beautifully written and captures the heavy emotions that go along with being seventeen.