Review Round Up | The Night Swim, Admission, and Recommended for You

Posted November 13, 2020 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!


Review Round Up | The Night Swim, Admission, and Recommended for YouThe Night Swim by Megan Goldin
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Macmillan on August 4, 2020
Format: Hardcover (352 pages) • Source: Book of the Month
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble
four-stars

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

I forgot to cancel BOTM and ended up with a rogue credit to use. The very small synopsis on the website seemed addicting and up my alley (I mean, any book about a true crime podcaster will win me over). However, after I selected it and headed to Goodreads, the heavier subject matter (that I usually avoid- sexual assault and rape) became apparent. It’s out of my wheelhouse and comfort zone, generally speaking, but I decided to go with it anyways.

I’m really glad I did! Yes, it was hard to read at times, especially because both stories or “timelines” in this feature sexual assault. It was a super addicting book that I never wanted to put down, which is huge for me in 2020. Actually, all three of the books here did that for me!

The main character, Rachel, is visiting a small beach town in North Carolina to follow a rape trial for the third season of her podcast. While there, a former local tracks her down and leaves mysterious messages for Rachel, begging her to solve the mystery of her own sister’s rape and murder 25 years prior. The two stories were similar and because intertwined in ways I didn’t see coming.

Overall, really glad I ended up reading this one – very obvious trigger warning for those on the fence.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Review Round Up | The Night Swim, Admission, and Recommended for YouAdmission by Julie Buxbaum
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Penguin Random House on December 1, 2020
Also by this author: Tell Me Three Things, What to Say Next
Format: eARC (304 pages) • Source: Publisher
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble
four-half-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes an of-the-moment novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.

It's good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She's headed off to the college of her dreams. She's going to prom with the boy she's had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It's good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer--at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she's long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

I’m a Lori Laughlin/Felicity Huffman fan from watching them in shows over the years, but the whole college admissions scandal didn’t really rock me as much as it did everyone else. Yes, I thought it was super wild, but I didn’t follow it all too closely. However, ADMISSION intrigued me right away when it was announced. I love Julie Buxbaum and knew she’d turn this into a fascinating story.

If you’re someone who said “so what?” about these admissions scandals, you’ll be forced to reexamine that position when reading this book. It looks at the abundance of privilege the main character really had, and how it affected other people in her life directly.

The story basically mirrors the real-life college admissions scandal I mentioned before. Chloe’s mom is a famous actress and decides to help her daughter get into college by buying new SAT scores, faking a pole vaulting team, and more. I LOVED that this went back and forth between “then” and “now,” in order to see the pieces come together. Chloe’s life was really looking good in the past chapters.

Overall, this was a solid read that will probably stick with me for a while. I thought the ending was realistic and enjoyable, albeit a little bit sad. Chloe ended up where she “deserved” or where it made sense.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Review Round Up | The Night Swim, Admission, and Recommended for YouRecommended for You by Laura Silverman
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Simon and Schuster on September 1, 2020
Format: eARC (272 pages) • Source: Publisher
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble
four-stars

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets You’ve Got Mail in this charming and hilarious rom-com following two teen booksellers whose rivalry is taken to the next level as they compete for the top bookseller bonus.

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

What a freakin pleasant surprise this was! I am a major sucker for books set in bookstores – who isn’t?! – so this was immediately on my TBR and requested from Netgalley. Bonus that I didn’t even realize? It’s set in the week leading up to Christmas! In a mall! With a food court! And did I mention the bookstore?! So many fun elements that I love to read about.

Despite this book being set in the leadup to Christmas, the MC (Shoshanna) is Jewish. Her moms are fighting, she needs a holiday sales bonus to fix her car, and her new coworker Jake is being a jerk. Shoshana was definitely a bit… much… at the start, but I could soon tell that she meant well and was just a little over-the-top. She grew on me! The rest of the cast was really diverse, which was great. The romance was super cute.

I absolutely loved the atmosphere for this. I wanted to dive in to visit Once Upon and then get lunch at Bo’s Burritos. I don’t go to the mall much anymore (even before Covid) so this was very nostalgic and fun for me. There was a pretty huge cast of characters with a lot of things going on – I wish this book was longer by like 50 pages to really dive into a few more things! The Christmassy spirit was all there too, and it was nice to read a book with a Jewish main character at the same time.

Shoshanna’s annoyingness at the start and the underdeveloped side plots took this down juuuust a little for me, but I really enjoyed reading it – could not put it down and basically read it all in one sitting. The shorter size definitely helped, but it was such a FUN story to dive into. I’m so happy I picked this up!

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