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Judging Covers with The Husband, fifth edition

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Judging Covers

Book haul=judging covers. And this time the child wanted in on the action.

Let’s see how they did.

Book #1: Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughterpretty girls

The child says: It’s about someone who gets killed and the find the necklace at the bottom of the ocean. And they’re pretty. And they’re a girl.

The Husband says: Oh! Lee Child! That’s the guy I read! (This was said in response to an endorsement on the cover). Me: That’s your answer? The Husband: No. The book is about some bitch who’s gonna die.

Goodreads says: More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Book #2: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

crankThe child says: It looks creepy. Someone dying and a monster.

The Husband says: I think it’s pretty obvious. Someone is going to be doing some drugs. A teacher who gets high on crank. Because the white letters on a black background means it’s a blackboard.

Goodreads says:Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

Book #3: Skippy Dies by Paul Murrayskippy dies

The child says: It’s about someone named Skippy and he dies at the end and it’s funny.

The Husband says: Skippy dies. Via Slinky.

Goodreads says: Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster is his roommate. In Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, all kinds of people take an interest including Carl, the school psychopath.

Book #4: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

stole my life

The child says: It’s about a boy who lives in NYC and he comes across a woman who he starts dating but she kills him.

The Husband says: Probably about a person who is unhappy with their life and sees someone who is happy and decides “that’s for me!”. Like a chick version of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Goodreads says: In her own words, Stella Sweeney is just “an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband and two teenage kids,” working for her sister in their neighborhood beauty salon. Until one day she is struck by a serious illness, landing her in the hospital for months.

After recovering, Stella finds out that her neurologist, Dr. Mannix Taylor, has compiled and self-published a memoir about her illness. Her discovery comes when she spots a photo of the finished copy in an American tabloid—and it’s in the hands of the vice president’s wife! As her relationship with Dr. Taylor gets more complicated, Stella struggles to figure out who she was before her illness, who she is now, and who she wants to be while relocating to New York City to pursue a career as a newly minted self-help memoirist.

Book #5: Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnsonfortune smiles

The child says: Someone who is an orphan and wants to get a lot of money and he gets his fortune and it involves a tiger. 

The Husband says: Well, it’s obvious that it’s stories. So those stories are about scratch off lottery tickets, a sports team mascot, and maybe it’s about making money as a mascot. 

Goodreads says: These brand new stories from Johnson are typically comic and tender, absurd and totally universal. In post-Katrina Louisiana, a young man and his new girlfriend search for the mother of his son. In Palo Alto, a computer programmer whose wife has a rare disease finds solace in a digital copy of the recently assassinated President. In contemporary Berlin a former Stasi agent ponders his past.

And in “Interesting Facts”, a woman with cancer rages against the idea of her family without her.

Jana says: I think he did a good job this month. I sense a slight improvement in his judging skills. Either that, or the covers are just more obvious. It’s definitely one of those. And as for the child, she thinks every single book is somehow about death which means she knows her mama’s choices very, very well. 

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Judging Covers with The Family, sixth edition

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Judging Covers

So, this used to be just a feature with me and the husband. Then the child wanted felt left out and wanted to be part of it and now it’s a whole family affair. In fact, the child is the one who reminded me that a new one of these was due so it seemed unfair to leave her out. 

Because the family that judges together, stays together. 

Book #1: Beasts and Children by Amy Parker

beasts and children

The Husband says: It’s about a magical wrist corsage that when thrown to the ground, turns into hummingbirds. Jana says: What is this, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and everyone gets a turn at the same thing? The Husband says: Screw this book. 

The Child says: It’s definitely short stories and most of them will involve beasts andn children and flowers and hummingbirds and takes place in Texas. 

Goodreads says: From the tense territory of a sagging, grand porch in Texas to a gated community in steamy Thailand to a lonely apartment in nondescript suburbia, these linked stories unwind the lives of three families as they navigate ever-shifting landscapes. Wry and sharp, dark and subversive, they keep watch as these characters make the choices that will change the course of their lives and run into each other in surprising, unforgettable ways.  The Bowmans are declining Texas gentry, heirs to an airline fortune, surrounded by a patriarch’s stuffed trophies and lost dreams. They will each be haunted by the past as they strive to escape its force. The Fosters are diplomats’ kids who might as well be orphans. Jill and Maizie grow up privileged amid poverty, powerless to change the lives of those around them and uncertain whether they have the power to change their own. The Guzmans have moved between Colombia and the United States for two generations, each seeking opportunity for the next, only to find that the American dream can be as crushing as it is elusive.  

Book #2: The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

flood girls

The Husband says: By the cover, it would seem to be about life in a trailer park in a small Midwest town that is prone to flooding and there’s a whole bunch of girls who are friends in that trailer park and they call themselves The Flood Girls and they’re all over at this one girl’s house and it drives the father nuts so he sits on the roof of the trailer. 

The Child says: Somebody who lives in a neighborhood and is a girl and it starts to flood next to a bar.

Goodreads says: Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame—the only bar in town—refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to having a winning season. Until now.

Rachel Flood has snuck back into town after leaving behind a trail of chaos nine years prior. She’s here to make amends, but nobody wants to hear it, especially her mother, Laverna. But with the help of a local boy named Jake and a little soul-searching, she just might make things right.

Book #3: Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser

sweetgirl

The Husband says: I think it’s about a history or story about a girl who lived on this family farm and she was such a sweet girl but she leaves and she does some bad things and she comes back to the family farm that she inherits that has fell into disarray and her getting a fresh start as that “sweet girl” again.

The Child says: I agree about the family farm. I think it’s about a girl who lives on a farm and one day she goes away without anyone knowing and it’s about how and why she went away and people trying to find her. 

Goodreads says: As a blizzard bears down, Percy James sets off to find her troubled mother, Carletta. For years, Percy has had to take care of herself and Mama—a woman who’s been unraveling for as long as her daughter can remember. Fearing Carletta is strung out on meth and won’t survive the storm, Percy heads for Shelton Potter’s cabin, deep in the woods of northern Michigan.

But when Percy arrives, there is no sign of Carletta. Searching the house, she finds Shelton and his girlfriend drugged into oblivion—and a crying baby girl left alone in a freezing room upstairs. From the moment the baby wraps a tiny hand around her finger, Percy knows she must save her—a split-second decision that commences a dangerous odyssey in which she must battle the elements and evade Shelton and a small band of desperate criminals hell-bent on getting that baby back. 

As the storm breaks and violence erupts, Percy will be forced to confront the haunting nature of her mother’s affliction, and come to find her own fate tied more and more inextricably to that of the baby she is determined to save. 

Book #4: Glass by Ellen Hopkinsglass

The Husband says: It’s obviously a play on glass with the first question being about how completely will you shatter, I think it’s poems and stories about tragedy and heartbreak and how strong are you to deal with them and do you just have a little splinter in yourself or do you completely fall apart into a million little pieces (Jana says: I’m so grateful for no terrible Unbreakable jokes).mr. glass

The Child says: I think it’s about  this woman’s daughter’s addiction to that drug and different poems on how she survives and how her mother and father are taking it. 

Goodreads says: Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she’s determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina’s life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves — her baby.

Book #5: Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

fallout

The Husband says: I think her life is burning down around her. Because the match is a symbol.

The Child says: I think now it’s about how she still wanting to care for the baby but isn’t but she finds herself devastated (Jana asked: Did you just read that from the cover? The Child: No) that she had to give up her baby because she cared more about meth than taking care of her child.

Goodreads says: Hunter, Autumn, and Summer–three of Kristina Snow’s five children–live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.

As each teen searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together–Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.

Bonus Husband quote: I think that if a cactus could talk, it would sound like Rick James. I’M A CACTUS, BITCH!

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Judging Covers with The Family, seventh edition

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Judging Covers

So now it’s officially a family affair. Also when I capitalize “The Family” it makes me feel like I’m talking about some literary mafia who’s terribly bad at determining the subject and plot of a book. Which is actually pretty accurate. 

That was probably the laziest paragraph I’ve ever written. No matter, though, because the rest shall speak for itself.

This is a short list because most of the books I have lined up this month are eBooks (see, NetGalley! I do respect you! #pleasedontkickmeout)

Book #1: The Marauders by Tom Cooper (I received this through Blogging for Books)

the marauders

The Husband says: Five words: Fanboat pirates on the bayou. Looks legit.

The Child says: A dad or a husband who is deployed and it takes place in the 1900s and while he’s deployed he discovers an island or different places and they’re all in a group called The Marauders and he runs out of gas or something that runs his boat and he’s trying to figure it out. 

Goodreads says: When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For the oddballs and lowlifes who inhabit the sleepy, working class bayou town of Jeannette,  these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. At the center of it all is Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters, ranging from a couple of small time criminal potheads prone to hysterical banter, to the smooth-talking Oil company middleman out to bamboozle his own mother, to some drug smuggling psychopath twins, to a young man estranged from his father since his mother died in Hurricane Katrina. As the story progresses, these characters find themselves on a collision course with each other, and as the tension and action ramp up, it becomes clear that not all of them will survive these events.

Book #2: American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellisamerican housewife

The Husband says: Frankly, it looks like a caricature poking fun at housewives and what people think is the life of housewives. 

The Child says: A teenage woman who is trying to be like her mother or take care of younger siblings and maybe her sick dad and she lives in America and a lot times she needs time to relax and the only quiet place she can find around her house is the bathroom.

Goodreads says: Meet the women of American Housewife: they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster,American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.

Book #3: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

broken wheel

The Husband says: A small town group that kind of decides what books should and shouldn’t be in the library. They’re like the censorship group but not in the classic sense of a censorship group. They dictate what people should read and don’t let them decide for themselves. 

The Child says: A club that’s called Broken Wheel and what they do is read a lot of old timey books and one of the books they all really didn’t enjoy and the rest they really did so they go around trying to recommend books to readers who like to read history (if you’re scratching your head at this one…me, too)

Goodreads says: Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

Not their best month but admittedly I didn’t give them much to work with. Here’s hoping next month’s is a bit better (humorwise or accuracy. I’ll take either). 

What are you reading?

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Judging Covers with The Family, eighth edition

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Judging Covers

I figured what better way to follow up Show Us Your Books than with Judging Covers? Especially since it’s National Library Week and 3 of the 4 we’re discussing are from the library. Yay for libraries!

Book #1: Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux

deep south

The Child says: I think it’s about a southern state that doesn’t have a lot of money and is really poor and nasty like New Orleans (Jana says: she probably got that from my absolutely *glowing* review of NOLA) and there is a man there who used to have a very good restaurant that’s now all torn up and in bad condition. He’s trying to make a life off of where he is because he doesn’t have enough money to move to a happier part of his state. And he’s lonely. 

The Husband says: Is this a picture book?! I think it’s a side of the South that is old and now unromantic. The poor side that’s there. It’s not the plantations and Southern Belles. It’s the hardcore, ugly side of South that’s not romanticized and that it may have been in the past, given the marquis, but is now no longer. 

Goodreads says: Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America — the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation’s worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates. It’s these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux’s keen traveler’s eye.  On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road “the plantation.” He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families — the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without.  

Book #2: We’ve Already Gone This Far: Stories by Patrick Dacey

gone this far

The Child says: I think it’s about a poor family who lives in Alaska or South Dakota and they don’t have a lot of money and they’re trying to survived based off of what they have. And they’re all really cold and it snows a lot.

The Husband says: I think it’s about, like Erica, Midwest families (Erica adds: because it’s snowing!) struggling to stay sane while they’re snowed in with their families and can’t leave their houses. 

Goodreads says: In Patrick Dacey’s stunning debut, we meet longtime neighbors and friends–citizens of working-class Wequaquet–right when the ground beneath their feet has shifted in ways they don’t yet understand. Here, after more than a decade of boom and bust, love and pride are closely twinned and dangerously deployed: a lonely woman attacks a memorial to a neighbor’s veteran son; a dissatisfied housewife goes overboard with cosmetic surgery on national television; a young father walks away from one of the few jobs left in town, a soldier writes home to a mother who is becoming increasingly unhinged. We’ve Already Gone This Far takes us to a town like many towns in America, a place where people are searching for what is now an almost out-of-reach version of the American Dream

Book #3: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

side effects

The Child says: From the looks of it, it seems like there’s drugs. Also, I think it’s about a woman who is really sick and she has one year where she’s trying to fit everything in that’s she’s trying to do but then she goes into a hospital ’cause she sick and they give her a medicine which helps get rid of her sickness and then she becomes almost better. And to celebrate that she goes on a Ferris wheel and gets a job as a ballet teacher. 

The Husband says: I think the opening sentence really tells it. She says she’s gonna die and says screw it, I don’t care if I’m sick or not, I’m going tap dancing. And on a Ferris Wheel and all kinds of cool stuff. Fuck it. I’m going to live. 

Goodreads says: When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

Book #4: Liar by Rob Roberge

liar

The Child says: I think that it’s about the man who wrote it and it’s about his experiences with all of the women he’s gone out with and one of them he lied to and she got so mad she beat him up and punched him in the face. 

The Husband says: To me it’s a book about a woman scorned so badly that the hole in the front of it represents her wanting to shoot the person who lied to her in the head. 

Goodreads says: When Rob Roberge learns that he’s likely to have developed a progressive memory-eroding disease from years of hard living and frequent concussions, he is terrified by the prospect of becoming a walking shadow. In a desperate attempt to preserve his identity, he sets out to (somewhat faithfully) record the most formative moments of his life—ranging from the brutal murder of his childhood girlfriend, to a diagnosis of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, to opening for famed indie band Yo La Tengo at The Fillmore in San Francisco. But the process of trying to remember his past only exposes just how fragile the stories that lay at the heart of our self-conception really are.
 
As Liar twists and turns through Roberge’s life, it turns the familiar story of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll on its head. Darkly funny and brutally frank, it offers a remarkable portrait of a down and out existence cobbled together across the country, from musicians’ crashpads around Boston, to seedy bars popular with sideshow freaks in Florida, to a painful moment of reckoning in the scorched Wonder Valley desert of California. As Roberge struggles to keep addiction and mental illness from destroying the good life he has built in his better moments, he is forced to acknowledge the increasingly blurred line between the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.

Bonus book:Saturn Run by John Sandford. Kathy or Erin suggested this one to me for my husband. Since I already knew what it’s about, we had the child give her opinion:saturn run

The Child says: I think it’s about someone trying to run a marathon on Saturn. And when he needs a break, he jumps onto the Milky Way and hops into his spaceship to go to Earth. 

Goodreads says: The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins—an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond.

 

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Judging Covers with The Family, ninth edition

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Judging Covers

No fanfare. Let’s jump right in. 

Book #1: American Youth by Paul Lamarcheamerican youth

The husband says:  Lonely kids with nothing to do but hang out outside.

The child says: A kid who lives in a not very popular city and he’s sitting somewhere with no friends and very lonely. Also he’s got a gun it looks like.

Goodreads says: American Youth is a controlled, essential, and powerful tale of a teenager in southern New England who is confronted by a terrible moral dilemma following a firearms accident in his home. This tragedy earns him the admiration of a sinister gang of boys at his school and a girl associated with them. Set in a town riven by social and ideological tensions in an old rural culture in conflict with newcomers. This is a classic portrait of a young man struggling with the idea of identity and responsibility in an America ill at ease with itself.

Book #2: The Never Open Desert Diner by James AndersonNever-Open-Desert Diner3

The husband says: It made me think this–it’s a story about a group of UFO enthusiasts that meet nightly at a diner to talk about what they saw and their experiences. 

The child says: I think it’s about a bunch of explorers like Lewis and Clark who go to a mountainy kind of place and over the top of those mountains is nothing but empty plain open grass except for this one diner and they go inside to rest and see if there’s any food and while they’re in there, something happens and it locks them up and they can’t get out. 

Goodreads says: Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-traveled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert’s inhabitants, Ben’s visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn’t opened in years.

Ben’s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she’s fleeing something in her past — a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth — but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.

As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who’ve laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire’s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert’s greatest mystery — what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?

Book #3: The Two-Family House by Linda Cohen Loigmantwo-family house

The husband says: By the looks of it, it occurs in a city where two families couldn’t afford to have their own place so they decide to move in together and all the shenanigans that occur.

The child says: I think it is about two families who are living in the city and choose to live in an old-timey but nice home and there’s a door that connects the two apartments and one day something happens and the door locks and they can’t get it open and how they’re able to survive without the door opening. 

Goodreads says: Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.

Book #4: Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansmacame to the city

The husband says: It’s about some people who are coming from a no-nothing place to the city because they want to live their dream of having their name in lights doing something, probably involving jazz hands. 

The child says: I think this about a family who comes from a completely random place that’s really tiny in the whole US and they go to the city to visit and see what a bigger place with more of a name than their home. They see all the cool stuff there and they try to figure out if they can move there or not so they can be more in the spotlight than the shadows. 

Goodreads says: December, 2008. A heavy snowstorm is blowing through Manhattan and the economy is on the brink of collapse, but none of that matters to a handful of guests at a posh holiday party. Five years after their college graduation, the fiercely devoted friends at the heart of this richly absorbing novel remain as inseparable as ever: editor and social butterfly Sara Sherman, her troubled astronomer boyfriend George Murphy, loudmouth poet Jacob Blaumann, classics major turned investment banker William Cho, and Irene Richmond, an enchanting artist with an inscrutable past.

Amid cheerful revelry and free-flowing champagne, the friends toast themselves and the new year ahead—a year that holds many surprises in store. They must navigate ever-shifting relationships with the city and with one another, determined to push onward in pursuit of their precarious dreams. And when a devastating blow brings their momentum to a halt, the group is forced to reexamine their aspirations and chart new paths through unexpected losses.

I also have a few other books on my nightstand both finished and unfinished but I figured 4 was a good number. 

How do you guys think they did figuring out the plots? 

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