Dietland by Sarai Walker - Plum is fat. Obese, in fact. But that life will soon be over. Once Plum has her stomach-stapling surgery, her whole life will begin. This time, she'll be Alicia. That is, until she notices that she is being followed by a strange woman. One who wears brightly patterned tights. Plum quickly falls in with a group of women who live life outside of the perimeters society sets up for women. As this is happening in Plum's personal life, globally, a terrorist group that goes only by the name "Jennifer" is performing acts of vigilante justice against rapists, pornographers, and the media. Are the two groups connected? I loved this book. It was wickedly dark, funny, smart, and a great commentary on how women are expected to behave, look, act, eat, exist. I had my mom read it, but I don't think she liked it as much as I did. "Jennifer" was too violent for her taste.
Boo by Neil Smith - Boo, thirteen years old, wakes up in an unfamiliar room and is told that he is dead and he's now in heaven. Boo, very intelligent and pragmatic, deduces that he must have been killed by his heart defect. He quickly begins writing down his afterlife experiences to hopefully share them with his parents someday. Boo discovers that heaven is segregated by age, with all who die at thirteen sharing the same town. Everyone has a job, a way to contribute to the town, and Zig aka god, sends them the things that they need. Johnny, a classmate, turns up in heaven after Boo has been there for awhile and claims that he and Boo were both murdered by a school shooter they call Gunboy. Johnny believes that Gunboy is in heaven too and they need to find him to avenge their deaths. This is such a smart, imaginative, gorgeous book. I think it is marketed as YA, but I really enjoyed it and didn't feel that things were toned town in any way for a younger audience.
The Only Ones by Carol Dibbell - Inez is immune to disease, even when a wave of pandemics have ravaged the globe. She's a Sylvain Hardy, untouchable. Poor and alone, she makes her way in the world by working as a guinea pig for various agencies and people. She finds a new job on a farm, becoming the mother of test tube babies that will belong to a grieving woman who lost her own children. When the woman backs out, Inez must take the surviving baby and raise it as her own. This all sounds exciting, but I found this book incredibly boring. While I like stories that jump into things without much explanation, all of the reproductive science took a really long time to understand. The Only Ones is a smart novel, but one that I quickly forgot.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi - I'm very into Helen Oyeyemi lately, seeking out everything she's written. This book was no exception. Boy flees her abusive father and finds herself in Western Massachusetts, where she quickly becomes the wife of a widower and a step-mother to his daughter, Snow. Shortly thereafter, Boy finds herself pregnant. This new child completely upends the household, family, and town dynamic. Without giving too much away, this is a re-telling of any and all fairytales with an evil step-mother.