Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: May 2020 – Part 1


*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution by KaeLyn Rich, and Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk


» The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides



5-Star Rating System

*4.5 Stars*WhatILiked»  The Silent Patient is one of the best thrillers I’ve read!  I’m not one to reach for thrillers, but I do pick up a few each year.  The Silent Patient is a new standout for me.  The fact that this is the author’s debut novel is mind-boggling.  I look forward to reading more of Michaelides’ work in the future.

» The Silent Patient had everything I enjoy in a thriller: quick pacing, blurred atmosphere, short in length, and an explosive reveal.  I did guess one of the big twists, but it did not hinder my enjoyment.  There was still an aspect to the big reveal at the end that I hadn’t even considered.  Bravo Michaelides!

» I have a feeling this will be turned into a movie sooner rather than later.  I think it will translate well.

» This made for an excellent book club selection.  Every member enjoyed it, which doesn’t happen often.

» Like most thriller/suspense novels, I’d recommend going into this one as blind as possible.  Do NOT read reviews!  The payoff will be that much better going in not knowing anything,

WhatIDidntLike»  There were a few different plot holes that I found to be pretty unbelievable.  These were small details that probably wouldn’t bother most people, but I’m finicky.OverallThe Silent Patient has been added to my short list of favorite thriller/suspense novels that I will not hesitate to recommend to others.

› Recommended to ⇒ thriller fans; fans of Gone Girl

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ suicide; violence; mental illness; depression; stalking; cheating; abuse

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Good Girl by Mary Kubica


» Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts



5-Star Rating System

*4.5 Stars*WhatILiked» This was a lovely historical fiction about Maud Gage Baum, wife of the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum.  I have never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but this book made me want to read it ASAP!

» I loved seeing the back story both to Baum’s book, and to the 1939 film adaptation.  It was fascinating to learn about Frank & Maud’s life together and see where Frank may have drew inspiration to create this beloved classic.  I was equally interested to see a “behind the scenes” look at the making of the film.  I was horrified to learn how poorly Judy Garland was treated.  It really isn’t hard to imagine why she had so many struggles as she grew up.

» The dual timelines worked well here.  I was interested in both story lines equally.  The flow of the story was seamless, Letts did a wonderful job transitioning between the two stories .

» With all its feminist tones, this was a wonderful book to read for Women’s History Month!

» You can tell that Letts did a tremendous amount of research here, which I always appreciate.

WhatIDidntLike» Parts of this book were very slow moving.  I feel like I would have struggled more had I read this book in print form.

» While I was interested in each timeline, I wanted to see a bit more of the production of the film.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of The Wizard of Oz

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ depression; substance abuse; abortion; abuse; neglect

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin


» Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution by KaeLyn Rich



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» This was a wonderful field guide for teens (and adults) to become involved in activism.  I found the information to be very practical, informative, and accessible.

» The organization of the book was easy to follow & made a lot of sense.  I was impressed with the level of detail that Rich includes in each step of the process.  You can definitely tell she is sharing many tips that she herself has learned over the years.  I also liked how the author summarizes each chapter with key takeaway points at the end, which makes it easy to go back through later.

» While I read this book straight through, you could flip around to whichever sections apply to your agenda.  This book should be used as a tool to refer to over and over again throughout the process of rallying for a cause.

»  The author did a wonderful job of being as inclusive as possible.   She gives tips on how to make participation in your cause accessible to all different types of people.OverallThese are the types of books we should be sharing with young people to inspire them to make change in the world.

› Recommended to ⇒ those looking into getting involved in social activism

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson


» Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk



5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» This was a beautifully written middle grade historical fiction book about identity & family.  Wolk’s writing is so lyrical and lush, making me wish I would have listened to this via audiobook.

» I am a sucker for eccentric characters and unconventional families, so this book hit the right notes.  I adored Osh & Miss Maggie and the dynamics between them & Crow.  The underlying theme in Beyond the Bright Sea is that family doesn’t always mean biological relations, but rather it is those who care for us unconditionally.

» It was heartbreaking to see how Crow was treated by her fellow islanders, even as a small child.  I think Wolk did a great job portraying how horrific people with leprosy were treated & the discrimination they faced.

WhatIDidntLike» I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something missing from the story in regards to the plot.  It almost seemed as if the author was more focused crafting beautiful lines, thus the plot wasn’t as sweeping as I wanted.

» There was zero development or backstory in the villain.

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ discrimination

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder




Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: May 2020 – Part 1”

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