The Vacationers, 7/10 -
I really enjoyed this book! It was very light - would make a great beach read. It's essentially about a family vacation, where every member of said family is sort of in flux. The mother and father are teetering back and forth about whether to stay in their marriage, the older son has lost his way after leaving home, and their high school age daughter is feeling like she hasn't experienced enough of life for someone who will be headed to college soon. Their vacation in Mallorca is cathartic - without it being too saccharine, they all work through their issues in surprising ways. Sometimes a happy ending is what you need, and without my giving away too much, that is mostly what you get from this book.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home, 10/10 -
So, yes, this book was that good. My first thought upon finishing it was that I was sad I had chosen to purchase it on an e-reader, because this is the kind of book I'd like to physically hand to Claire once she's old enough to read it. The main character, June, is the kind of narrator that so many of us have a lot in common with. Do you remember what it's like to be 14? Stuck in that funny place where you want to act like a grown-up, but just aren't quite ready to give up being a child? June will remind you. Set in the late 80s, the book is about life after the death of her Uncle Finn, a gay man with AIDS. Finn is June's very favorite person in the world, and she soon finds that although she believed she knew everything about him, there was a whole other part of his life she knew nothing about. "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" chronicles the short but meaningful relationship she cultivates with her uncle's secret boyfriend after his death. This book, to me, was magic. I really don't want to give anything away, but it has a heartbreakingly wonderful ending that made me wish I could tack on another 1000 pages to the book's already hefty 900. I have to thank my friend Lindsay for the recommendation (I think she is my literary spirit guide), it is truly one of those books you want to shove into the arms of other people once you've finished. I've probably already tried to convince ten people to read it.