“Elektra” by Jennifer Saint – Review

By: Angie Haddock & Tory Tanguay

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?


While the Goodreads blurb gives some of the basics here, a little of the story might be helpful before we get into the conversation we had about this one!

We briefly meet sisters Helen and Clytemnestra in their home of Sparta, before they marry brothers Menelaus and Agamemnon. Helen stays in Sparta, and Clytemnestra moves with her husband to his kingdom of Mycenae.

Years later, Agamemnon is leading the Greek forces to Troy. On the eve of the Trojan war, he kills his and Clytemnestra’s oldest daughter, Iphigenia, as a sacrifice to the gods. Clytemnestra was tricked into taking the daughter to him, and lives out the ten years of the war waiting to seek revenge on her husband.

Tory and Angie both read this one recently, and here are some thoughts.

Angie: So, I guess the first thing that came to my mind is… we have 3 different perspectives. Was there one that resonated with you more than the others? Or, conversely, one you didn’t like as well?

Tory: I feel like I resonated more with Clytemnestra especially considering her understandably very heart-wrenching reaction to the loss of her daughter. I feel like her responses were something along the lines of what I would experience if I had been in her shoes.

What about you?

Angie: Same, at least at first. I felt like her situation was so horrific, and I wanted to give her a lot of leeway for the decisions she made. I also felt like Elektra’s perspective was very sheltered. She was young, and idolized her dad, but it came from a place of… well, of course, he’s her dad. So he could do no wrong, ya know?

Which made it interesting later, that she became more and more like her mom as she became an adult. Whether she saw it or not.

Tory: I felt the same about Elektra. Like she really wasn’t considering the whole picture. Sure you can idolize your dad and think he hung the moon but to totally absolve them of cold-blooded murder?

Now I’ve been a Greek mythology buff since I was a pre-teen. Did you have any knowledge of this storyline or characters before you read the novel?

Angie: And really, I think kids would be just as likely to idolize either parent? So the fact that she gave no grace to her mom… really came from Clytemnestra’s subsequent distractedness. Like, her dad wasn’t around for the next 10 years, so she could keep an idealized version of him in her mind… but not of her mom.

Tory: True.

Angie: I’m not really deeply versed in it. Like, I knew the basic plot points of the Trojan war, and I’d read “Circe” as an adult.

But I couldn’t say I remembered who Elektra or Clytemnestra was. The name Cassandra sounded more familiar to me, but I wouldn’t have remembered her story per se.

How did this stack up against your prior knowledge of these characters?

Tory: So I first became knowledgeable about basic Greek myths (like origins of the gods type stuff, basic how the world works things) when I was about 12-ish? But the story of Elektra (also spelled Electra) I really became familiar with after having to read the play by the same name in high school if I remember correctly by either Sophocles or Euripides. (Both of them wrote plays regarding the story but I don’t remember which one I read.)

Jennifer Saint’s version seems to stick to my knowledge and remembrance of the story but I thought it was interesting how she added Cassandra’s version in there too because she really has such a minor part in the whole thing.

It was nice for background information especially from the Trojan aspect of things but I wonder if she could’ve gotten away with not having her point of view at all.

Angie: Hers did not entirely fit with the other two. But like you said… I feel like having a voice within Troy just helped us, as the readers, keep tabs on Agamemnon and how the war was going?

I felt like her story was semi-interesting in its own right, but could have definitely been a different book.

Tory: I completely agree.

I sometimes felt like Cassandra’s version of events was just in there to make a fairly short book slightly longer.

Angie: Ha! Fair enough.

Tory: Now going back to Electra and what you mentioned about her having an idealized version of her father, I kinda get the impression that she is completely responsible for Orestes’ view of Agamemnon. Like if Electra didn’t exist then Orestes wouldn’t have had a real view of his father to begin with.

Angie: Agreed.

Tory: Does that make sense? He wasn’t even born yet when his dad left and then because of Electra he takes on the same view.

Angie: Yep, fair. And if anyone gets unfairly shafted in this book, I feel like it’s Orestes and Georgios.

Tory: Oh completely.

Angie: Cassandra, ok, I’ll say she didn’t create too many of the agonies she was dealt. But everyone else… kinda did.

Tory: If I remember the plays correctly I think Georgios is strictly made up for the story.

Angie: Ah, good to know. But, it does give Elektra a place to hide out for a while, so I think it’s an ok addition?

Tory: A “you reap what you sow” kind of idea?

I think having him in there works for the story.

Angie: I mean, yea… I guess to an extent, Clytemnestra losing her oldest daughter was only brought on by her husband (not her). Although, she talks about having that fear of his line being cursed, anyway. But after that… she basically loses her youngest two children because of her rage over the first one. And Elektra grows up to also live a life fueled by vengeance.

As did Aegisthus.

Tory: You’re right, Clytemnestra didn’t bring things on by herself at first but her reactions to the events did so. One thing you learn after reading a lot of Greek myths and tragic plays and such is that you can’t escape fate.

So if Agamemnon’s family line is destined to be cursed, it’s gonna be cursed no matter what you do or don’t do

Angie: Ok, so… since you’re more versed in it… does the curse continue? I honestly didn’t see Elektra becoming a mom herself, but she does in the end…

Tory: I feel like and through that and her response to her daughter’s death, like we’ve said, she brings on the continuing cycle through giving Elektra a need for vengeance.

Oooh good question! I think as far as we know it ends with Elektra and Orestes just cause we don’t hear anything else about the characters because the plays end. But I could be wrong.

Angie: It’s interesting to me that she did become a mom, but… I wonder if she really didn’t know that much about the history of her own family? She and her mom spent so much of her childhood avoiding each other, it’s possible.

Tory: And does the generational trauma end with her? It’s interesting to think about.

Angie: Right?

Tory: It’s an interesting choice by Saint to be sure.

Angie: Ok, so another thought I had… we agreed that Georgios and Orestes get the major shaft. So, could we say that, in this story, the men are largely used as chess pieces by the women of the book? Even though the men are technically in charge in their society… are they really?

And I think, along with that…we have to consider Helen! We don’t get her perspective here, but all these men went to war for her.

Tory: Oh that’s a great thought! At least in this story I would agree with that cause in the original tellings of these storylines it’s completely the opposite.

Angie: Interesting. So… ok, I’d say Helen gets off basically scot-free here. The rest of the women do see consequences to their actions. But overall, we might consider this to be a feminist retelling of the story? Just based on how these women wield their power over their lovers, brothers, etc.?

Tory: I could see that. At least it being the women’s side of the events of the Trojan war aftermath.

However, I usually think of feminist stories as women taking matters into their own hands with a better outcome and I don’t really think a better outcome happens in this case.

Angie: For sure, they all make a mess of things.

Tory: A large bloody mess.

Angie: Are there any other points you want to discuss before we wrap up?

Tory: The only other thing I’ve been thinking about since we first mentioned Georgios is that I saw him as a hopeful redemption arc for Elektra. Like, he agreed with her that Agamemnon was awesome but at the same time wanted her to let go of that idealized fantasy a little and just move on with life.

But Elektra sees the possibility of redemption so to speak (settling down, being a wife and parent with him) and just looks at it and is like “Nah.”

The cursed line could have ended there but it doesn’t.

Angie: So it’s like… that offer of living a redemptive, different life was right there, but she just couldn’t quite do it.

Tory: Exactly.

Angie: She is, for all intents and purposes, her parents’ child.

Tory: 100%.

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“I’m Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers)” by Austin Channing Brown – Review

By: Angie Haddock

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with race in America came at age seven, when she discovered that her parents had named her Austin to trick future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Channing Brown writes, “I had to learn what it means to love Blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.


I want to say up front that I have not read the grown-up version of this one, so I cannot compare the two! But I did love this version on its own merits.

Brown grew up between Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio, so I related to her instantly on that front. (Hello, fellow Cleveland native!) And she grew up in a similar time period, as well… so things like having to use a pay phone are things I understood. Maybe Gen Z will or not, but that will make itself seen when they get their hands on this one.

The stories here are mostly short and to the point, but they are great reminders (to an old folk like me) of how we are molded as kids. The stories are about church, school, hanging out with friends, getting that first crush. Things that kids – even ones growing up in a different time – will surely relate to.

This book is written to and for black girls, primarily. This only comes out in certain parts, though (mostly at the beginning and end). And while these girls will be able to see themselves in these scenarios, I think it’s equally important for other kids to consider the stories as well.

For example, she tells a story about a teacher using a hair salon as a scenario in class. A hair salon experience will be different for black kids and non-black kids, though. So, while the black kids reading this could be identifying with Brown’s confusion over the example – a white kid reading this might have never considered before why the teacher’s scenario didn’t make sense to everyone in the class. I feel like it could be eye-opening for younger readers to see that different perspective, maybe for the first time.

So, I think kids of all colors would learn something from these stories. Their takeaways will inherently be different, but it would be a good introduction to trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

This book comes out today, April 4th. I was able to read it in advance through Netgalley and the publisher, Convergent Books.

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“The Last Lion of Karkov” by Dale Griffin – Review

By: Angie Haddock

Raised in Karkov, a military, male-dominant kingdom, twins Natalia and Jillian know nothing but battle. When Jillian emerges as the dominant twin and apparent heir to the throne, Natalia, the softer and more diplomatic sister, ceases her military training. As Natalia prepares to marry the prince of her father’s favored Western ally, Jillian is set to become the first woman Lion of Karkov. But things don’t go as planned when the older generation of warriors values her womb over her sword. Suddenly, the role Jillian has fought for all her life is slipping through her fingers…and she’s not about to let it go without a fight.


This book is a chonky one, coming in right around 600 pages… but it’s also full of action and moves quickly. So you’ll understand that the blurb at top really only encompasses about the first 100 pages! It does, however, introduce you to our two main characters.

Jillian and Natalia were raised without a mother, and they are literally the only females they’ve ever known. It’s also their society’s tradition to kill off female babies born to the king – known as the Lion – and also any additional siblings, once one is deemed the Heir. So, the fact that either of them live to be teens – let alone BOTH of them – is already “against tradition.” And we meet them as teens here, although we do occasionally hear stories from their earlier years. Their mere existence is revolutionary, and they know this, so they don’t expect to be hemmed in by old traditions now.

But as Jillian learns more about the traditions that have come before her, she becomes convinced that neither her nor Natalia can be a part of them. Natalia is set to leave, anyway, but can Jillian protect her if they’re apart?

Both twins have a fierce loyalty to each other, which is sustained throughout the entire book. It’s one of the few things that doesn’t change!

As I said, this book moves quickly. We see characters move geographically, and visit these other neighboring kingdoms. I should say that all the kingdoms are roughly based on actual places we know, seemingly around the 1700s of our own history. (This estimate is largely based on the technology available to our characters.)

We also see a lot of action. I am not big into war books, or battle strategies, and there is some of that in here. But the story always moves on from it, and it never felt overwhelming.

One thing that caught me off guard a few times is that the characters would often make a plan – or learn of one being crafted by the opposition – and then we’d see that carried out within mere paragraphs! Even in a book this big, not a lot of time is wasted waiting for the next thing to happen.

There are wars, alliances and betrayals, and also a citizen rebellion. That aspect definitely gave me some “Les Mis” vibes. If you’re into European historical stuff, I’m sure you could draw even more parallels.

Another interesting aspect to me is that, with a book this big, there were some characters that I grew to like… and then didn’t see again for a few hundred pages. But honestly, despite the deeply troubling pasts of these countries, there are many likeable characters in here. There are even a few who will surprise you.

Many of our characters converge in the last 100 pages or so, when four of the nations prepare for a battle. Considering there are multiple warriors, military leaders, and royals involved – I was happy to see that the machismo was not too heavy. Sure, some grumbled about their ideas being better than someone else’s, but mostly the men involved all wanted to do what was best, and were willing to work together to make it happen. And I was very happy that the battle was not too long.

This one comes out today, March 14th. I was gifted an advanced copy from Books Forward. The author, Dale Griffin, is donating $2 from every copy sold to Girls, Inc. from now through the end of April. If you’re into fantasy and action, pick this one up today!

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Online Book Sales with Miss Penny’s Books

By: Angie Haddock

During the lockdown days, I stumbled upon Miss Penny’s Books on Facebook. If you’re in any book buy/sell/trade groups, you’ve probably seen people post pictures of books… mad amounts of books… that aren’t necessarily in order. But if you’re anything like me, you feel compelled to sift through these pics anyway, just to see if there’s anything you’d want.

That’s exactly what shopping from Miss Penny’s is like.

While it may not be for the super-organized or impatient among us, it can be a lot of fun. Books are priced from $1 to $3, and you need a minimum of $5 to order. Shipping is added, per media mail rates. Karolin, who runs this page, is very responsive to messages and will usually have your total to you pretty quickly.

I asked Karolin how this adventure got started:

“Miss Penny” has always been my alter-ego. I’ve always been a deal hunter and one day (maybe a decade ago) came up with the name. “Miss Penny” has had a coupon blog, a youtube channel and now is selling books. Who knows what’s next! For now, Miss Penny Books is here to stay and very happy to be here.

Miss Penny Books started when I saw a friend of mine selling books on Amazon. She would buy books in bulk and throw all the popular fiction books away because they didn’t have a high resell value. When I saw her disposing of things that I would like to read, I stopped and thought, there has to be someone out there who wants to buy these. We have to keep these and find a purpose for them! So, I started selling books on Facebook $1-$3 each plus the cost of shipping and Miss Penny Books was born! 

I visit a few different thrift stores and library sales each week and buy the books that I think my shoppers would like. If I notice a particular author is popular, I try to pick their books up as I find them. New books are added to the Facebook page weekly.

If you like the thrill of the hunt, or finding titles you didn’t know you needed, find Miss Penny’s books in all the following places:



Pango Books

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“Badass Stories: Grit, Growth, Hope, and Healing in the Shitshow” by Jodie Eckleberry-Hunt – Review

By: Angie Haddock

Badass Stories” is all about the grit of survival in tough times, the growth that comes from pain, the hope for something better, and the healing that happens along the way. It is a compilation of short stories that illustrate some of the most important lessons I’ve learned about life from the real people in my life and my psychology practice.


This is the third new book I’ve reviewed from this author, and I actually read this one months ahead of its release so I could offer her publisher a “blurb.” This is the one I submitted:

“Badass Stories” is Jodie Eckleberry-Hunt’s most personal book yet – and it also manages to be the most universal. There is (at least) one story inside that will resonate with every reader.

And I hold to that opinion!

The author breaks the book up into four parts, with chapters focusing on grit, growth, hope, and healing. These are stories from her years studying and then working in psychology. The stories feature many patients with different backgrounds and stories, obviously… but what I found more interesting is that, often, it is Eckleberry-Hunt who learns a lesson in these chapters.

Some of these may seem like they are tied to her role as a therapist, but I believe they can be useful for many of us. Lessons like sticking to boundaries, or not being able to will someone else to change, are probably ones we have all had experience with. How she goes about being able to help her clients – or NOT help them, in some cases – are the parts that I found both personal (to her) and universal.

The clients’ stories themselves are at turns heartbreaking, frustrating, and triumphant. Please note: these people are dealing with heavy things. Veterans with PTSD, parents who have lost a child, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and more are represented here. If these sorts of topics are too triggering for you, consider this your warning.

Because there are so many different topics, though, I found myself drawn into each story for different reasons. Sure, some may have reminded me of myself… but just as many brought to mind friends, family members, etc. I kept thinking of the many people I could pass my copy on to, because so many of us will find something within the pages that comes close to some aspect of our own stories.

This one comes out on February 14th, and is available for pre-order now. I was given an early copy from the author and her publisher, Turner Publishing.

Related Reviews:

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Move On Motherf*cker

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“The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz – Review

By: Angie Haddock

a psychologically suspenseful novel about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.


The basic idea of this one is that an author – Jacob Finch Bonner – hears an idea for a novel from one of his writing students. Years later, he finds out that the student died without ever writing the novel. So, Bonner writes it. It becomes wildly popular – on Oprah’s list, being made into a movie, etc.

But then, Bonner starts getting anonymous threats. Someone out there knows he stole the idea. They are threatening to expose him, but will that be as ruinous as he fears? He did write the whole book, so is it plagiarism if it was just the plot he stole? And more importantly, who else knew the plot? The dead student was very stand-offish, and most of his family is also dead, so who did he tell?

All of this sounds fine, but this book was all the rage in the summer of 2021! It made several lists, and was a Goodreads Choice nominee for Mystery/Thriller.

I will say, a lot of this book struck me as something that would specifically appeal to writers, publishers, and people who work with them. So much of it takes place in that world, and I wondered if that appeal is why people who write about writing/books were crazy for it.

Not that it was bad, by any means. But it was a bit slow. Things progress with Bonner’s online stalker, a bit at a time, over the course of months. In the meantime, Bonner travels around on a book tour, meets a woman who eventually moves in with him, and works on his next novel. A decent story thus far, but nothing revolutionary.

All the punch of this book comes in the last 25% of it! There are about three big revelations, by my estimate, and they definitely increase in craziness. But of course, why would I give away the ending?! If this book sounds at all interesting to you, you’re going to have to slog through it like the rest of us and find that epic ending for yourself!

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“Woman, Captain, Rebel” by Margaret Willson – Review

By: Angie Haddock

A daring and magnificent account of Iceland’s most famous female sea captain who constantly fought for women’s rights and equality—and who also solved one of the country’s most notorious robberies.


Last year, I read a handful of non-fiction books about badass females… albeit, some better written than others. One was even written by the first lady of Iceland! So the reasons this book appealed to me should be obvious.

This is the story of Thurídur Einarsdóttir, who was born on the Southwest shores of Iceland in the late 1700s. She lived a long life, from 1777 to 1863, and spent all of it in roughly the same region. (Although she did take to traveling in her later years, it was all still within Iceland).

Thurídur was born to a poor family, and while she was very young, the area suffered from a volcanic ash-induced famine. Her dad refused a lodger, as they had no food in the house to offer him, but this was a cardinal sin in their culture. The lodger supposedly cursed his family for nine generations.

And here our story begins.

Despite the curse, Thurídur did fairly well for herself. She learned to fish as a young teen, and developed a knack for being able to read the coming weather. As her fishing skills grew, she became highly sought after as a deckhand, and even outearned many men on her boats. She was eventually hired to captain other people’s boats, even, and was trusted among the boat owners and the fishermen (and women) under her care. In fact, in 52 years of fishing, it is said that she never lost a crew member.

While she did not have much trouble getting her crew to respect her knowledge of the sea, she still did face some discrimination in life. She was known to wear trousers everywhere except to church, and later she added a top hat to her ensemble (just because she liked it!). She also did a lot of farming when it was the season for it, and could scythe hay with the strongest of men. So of course, some were put off by her way of living.

She was married a few times, and had one daughter who died in childhood. She later adopted her sister’s daughter, who was disabled. In her later years, she spent all of her money trying to make sure her niece would be taken care of after her own death… and that niece did live to be 89 years old!

We spend a lot of time in her home village getting to know all the townspeople, as she does interact with them constantly – both on land and at sea. So by the time a very brazen robbery happens, we have established that Thurídur knows everyone. A county commissioner is sent to town to investigate, and – not knowing the townspeople himself – immediately pushes her for her thoughts on it. (This set-up definitely made me think of the BBC’s “Broadchurch.” Anyone else?) She doesn’t want to implicate her friends, but starts pointing out clues the commissioner missed. This leads to confessions, and four area men being sent to prison in Denmark (which ruled over Iceland at the time).

After the convictions, Thurídur has a tougher time with her neighbors. Several make threats, and someone even goes so far as to set fire to a boat in her care. She still has many allies, also, and they try to help her. Eventually, she is forced to move to a bigger city nearby, where she starts out working in a shop. She also starts acting as a tour guide, leading travelers through the nearby mountains to other villages and cities. She remains lively and sharp into old age, but ultimately ends up destitute anyway (because she spends all her money on her niece).

This is a great story, and well written. There is drama, action, and politics.

When I first got this as an advanced reader’s copy, it was set to publish on January 31st of this year… but the date moved, and this book has already come out! We’ll still call it a new release, though. I read it thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks.

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“Daughters of the New Year” by E.M. Tran – Review

By: Angie Haddock

In present day New Orleans, Xuan Trung, former beauty queen turned refugee after the Fall of Saigon, is obsessed with divining her daughters’ fates through their Vietnamese zodiac signs. But Trac, Nhi and Trieu diverge completely from their immigrant parents’ expectations. Successful lawyer Trac hides her sexuality from her family; Nhi competes as the only woman of color on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show; and Trieu, a budding writer, is determined to learn more about her familial and cultural past.


This one intrigued me for several reasons – firstly, the family in the book ends up in New Orleans. Secondly, astrology is fun. Thirdly, I tend to read a lot of books about characters from other places.

The story starts with all three daughter characters as adults, and we’ll call this the “present.” As we go through the chapters, we learn more about all of the daughters and their mom. The story is also moving backwards through time, though. We progress through their teenage years, see how the family fared during Hurricane Katrina, and move onward to their childhoods. The daughters all have their personal struggles, obviously, but they collectively deal with the pressures of being first generation Americans – like having parents who eat, shop, and speak differently than those of many of their classmates.

The chapters move around between perspectives, too, so we’re also consistently seeing things from the mom’s point of view. And eventually, we get to the parts of Xuan’s life from before she had her daughters – how she met her husband, how she left Vietnam, and the real story behind that beauty pageant trophy she prizes.

As we progress further, we start to see things from the perspectives of Xuan’s mom as well… and then her mom, and even further back. Most of these earlier generations are really only represented in the last quarter of the book, though. Here we learn about how their family was rich and respected in Saigon, and how they got that way.

I enjoyed this story, in both the New Orleans and Saigon parts. I also found the mom’s obsession with her daughters’ signs fun. (I should point out that she uses astrology based on the Lunar year, and not the Western kind many of us might think of first.) I did kind of wish that we knew more about what happens to the characters when we first meet them, though. For example, one is a contestant on a “Bachelor“-like program… but then we move back in time, and never know what happens to her on the show. It’s such a small thing, though, amid a very rich story.

This book came out in October, 2022. I read it through NetGalley, albeit after its release date, thanks to the publisher (Harlequin Trade Publishing) and BookClubbish.

Happy Lunar New Year, and Happy Year of the Rabbit!

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“The Sisters We Were” by Wendy Willis Baldwin – Review

By: Angie Haddock

The weight of their family secrets could not have shaped Pearl and Ruby Crenshaw any differently. Ruby’s a runner, living in Dallas and only reluctantly talking to their mother, Birdie, when she calls from prison. Pearl is still living in her mother’s fixer-upper and finds herself facing a line in the sand: her weight is threatening to kill her. She’s hundreds of pounds beyond the point where she can celebrate her curves or benefit from the body positivity movement, and unless she takes drastic action, the future looks dire.


I find that I get roped into reading more contemporary fiction than I intend to, but sometimes it pays off… and this is one of those times!

While this story is fiction, it’s based on some real experiences of the author and her sister. More on that later.

The sisters in the book are Pearl and Ruby. When I first read the description, I assumed Pearl’s weight was just a part of the setting, but it really is the main driver of the whole book. Pearl struggles at first to commit to bariatric surgery, but she knows she has to do something before she gets any bigger than her 531 pounds. She is obsessed with Chip & Joanna Gaines, and tries to view herself as a “fixer-upper” project.

She and Ruby don’t really talk anymore, and their mom is in jail. So reaching out to Ruby to ask her to come and help during her recovery is another hurdle Pearl has to jump to make this surgery possible. That’s on top of the cost, the idea of not bingeing Taco Bell anymore, and of course… seeing herself as “worth” all the work and money this transformation will need from her.

The book includes some notes from both the author and her sister, who really did weigh in at 531 lbs at one point. In the author’s notes, she mentions that other publishers turned down this story because they found a protagonist that size “distasteful.” Obviously, this is just plain sad. For starters, I’m sure some people that size are readers, and would love to see themselves represented! But also…

The first half of the book is pre-surgery, so the struggles to make the decision and go through with it are really as much of the book as the actual weight loss. And I think that’s what makes it universal. As much as it does deal with transformation, it also deals with finding the motivation to take those first steps. And isn’t that something most of us struggle with? (Especially this time of year!)

The book also delves into the reasons these sisters are dealing with the struggles they’re dealing with. Content Warning: one of these that is not revealed until very late in the story has to do with sexual molestation.

I, for one, applaud Sourcebooks Landmark for publishing this book! It is the debut novel from Wendy Willis Baldwin, and a topic that I have not previously read a lot about. This look at obesity – and a real human suffering its effects – was at times poignant, funny, triumphant, and informative (for someone who hasn’t gone through such a surgery).

This one comes out today, January 17th. I was able to read an advanced reader copy through NetGalley and the publisher.

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Meet Tory, Our Newest Reviewer!

By: Angie Haddock

What better way to enter a shiny new year than by welcoming a new reviewer to Reading Our Shelves! Tory has been a friend of mine for over a decade, and you can see her official bio here.

Look for some reviews by her in the coming months… but for now, let’s learn a little about what she loves to read!

Favorite classic: “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

Favorite author you’ve discovered in the past 3 years?: Gail Carriger and Alison Weir

An upcoming release you’re excited about: “Loathe to Love You” by Ali Hazelwood and “The House with the Golden Door” by Elodie Harper

Favorite time of day to read: Evening/ before bed

A book you find yourself recommending often: “Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” by Christopher Moore and “The 7-1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

A book you’ve read more than once: “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire

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