Parent Teacher Association by Jennifer Soosar
This story had so much potential!! But, the reader is so bogged down by Lizanne’s day-to-day happenings, not enough time is spent developing the IMPORTANT story pieces. Although, mother of pearl, with about 100 pages left, the book started to get juicy.
However, overall I felt this book was rushed to execution making it rather hard to read.
Publication Date: June 24th, 2017
Rating: 1.75 Stars – Rounded to 2 stars
Why I Chose This Book: I first was turned on to this book when I saw it in a Goodreads Giveaway. The description held the recipe for a perfect novel. While I didn’t win the giveaway, I was so attracted to this book I reach out directly to the publisher. The book didn’t have many reviews (to date it only has 5), so it was relatively unknown/widespread.
This book is about Lizanne, whom is fresh out of a mental hospital looking for a teaching job and struggling, given her gap in work history. She receives a teaching job in a small town with an interesting history. The school has seen two students die in the last two years, and interestingly enough the town houses an infamous cult leader. The bulk of the plot centers on Lizanne’s struggles with a parent of one of her students and PTA president, Naomi.
Given this description, I was excited to read a classic suspense novel set within a classroom. This book sounded like it held all the pieces to be an extremely engrossing novel. What I actually was a half-cooked story with so many underdeveloped plot arcs.
I would have liked to see Lizanne’s “boyfriend” removed, the storyline surrounding her “boyfriend” seemed an unnecessary distraction. In fact, at one point I forgot he was even part of the book. I would have also loved to see more chapters dedicated to evolving Naomi and even her son, Sebastian. There were a few instances the author devoted a few paragraphs to their thoughts that were intriguing and provided significant character development. Additionally, little background was given on Lizanne’s family or reason for her stay in the mental hospital, I would have enjoyed seeing this expanded upon. Further development of Lizanne’s character would have provided me, as the reader, more hook and significantly more engagement in the story.
Why I (Sort Of) Liked This Book: The last 100 pages the story really started moving. The reader started to understand why the author included what felt like otherwise unnecessary story arcs (like Lizanne’s boyfriend). Although, I’m still not convinced enough time was dedicated to these plot developments and I believe the story could have still come to the same conclusion without them leaving the book feeling like it was only half-baked.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
This book became more of a “hurry up and rip the Band-Aid off” novel. After I started, I just wanted it to be over with and while it was well written the storyline failed to engage.
Publication Date: July 11th, 2017
Rating: 1.25 Stars
Why I Chose This Book: I will admit I judge books by their cover. I wholeheartedly believe cover designs are important, just like first impressions and appearances are important. That said, I chose this book because of its gripping and bright cover. It led me to believe it was a happy, beach-y, easy read.
Why I Disliked This Book: This story is set in Dublin, although I didn’t really know that without reading the book’s description. The characters, Frances and Bobbi, are college students, so I was hoping I’d be able to relate to them. Throughout the book I kept HOPING I would find something I could attach to and relate to that would hook me into this book, but the only thing I was able to come up with was that Frances kind of reminded me slightly of an old friend of mine…kind of. Overall, the book was well written, but the story was dull and certainly was NOT happy, beach-y or anything of the sort. I was willing to overlook this, but the characters were easily forgettable, un-relatable and the storyline failed to engage.