During the final week of every month, we, the Paperback Paris team, come together to share our thoughts on the best books we read this month.
Summer’s ova! And the Paperback Paris team is back with yet another monthly favorites roundup — this month features poetry debuts to highly-acclaimed novels.
See the list below to find out which books made the cut for our Staff Picks this August!
Courtney Shapiro’s August 2018 Pick: Emergency Contact, Mary H. K. Choi
“This was one of the books on my TBR because I love a cute contemporary story. I enjoyed Mary H. K. Choi‘s diverse characters and how easily I was able to relate to the story. Emergency Contact is proof that everyone needs that someone they can call no matter the situation. This book was fun and the perfect light read to close out the summer. Choi works well with character development, so much that it felt like I could also be apart of those in the story as well. She does such a beautiful job of relationship building between her characters, and I really enjoyed seeing the various friendships form. Even though the story was a light story, Choi was still able to convey the emotions her characters faced during times of struggle. If you’re going to read a book in a single sitting, this is the one.”
Rachel Gonzalez’s August 2018 Picks: Dumplin’, Julie Murphy
“Dumplin’ follows Willowdean Dickson as she stumbles through relationships with her dream guy, her best friend, her mother, and her own body. What may seem like an underdog story is actually more about seeing yourself for who you are inside as Julie Murphy‘s book unfolds, and not what people tell you are because of what they see. What readers will take away from Dumplin’ is that the road to self-acceptance is not easy for anyone, no matter their shape or size, and that’s more than okay.”
Added fun fact: it’s also being made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston.
Honorable mention (because I had to): Jenny Han‘s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is all about young romantic Lara Jean being thrown head-first into in to a crisis of her own creation and having to deal with this new love triangle through some less than honest means. What makes this novel so special for me is how well Han makes the reader feel what’s happening. I shuddered for Lara Jean every time her situation got worse, I swooned when there were moments of hope — I genuinely felt like Lara Jean was a friend of mine I’d want to see through her drama.
Paris Close’s August 2018 Pick: Perennial, Kelly Forsythe
“The only thing louder than the sound of shots fired is a chorus of unyielding heartbeats. This is true in Kelly Forsythe‘s debut collection Perennial, in which terror ricochets from wall to wall, body to body, before all that remains is glass and bone and dust. Each poem holds a gasp of air, a memory, a life crossing between realms beyond the mortal eye. I absorbed these pages at a time of unusual darkness and now I turn to verses like these for light: Safety/ had changed & no one/ was ready. In memoriam, to the lives and dreams vanished to Columbine, Forsythe’s lyrical foray is as sincere as it gets.”
Leah Rodriguez’s August 2018 Pick: Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney
“Sally Rooney’s debut novel is nauseatingly impressive. She comes to us as an artist fully formed—surefooted in a craft that most writers take several major publications to master. In the book, 21-year-old Frances begins an affair with a 32-year-old married actor whose wife takes an interest in the artistic pursuits of her and her best friend/ex-girlfriend, Bobbi. Rooney shapes the narrative by exploring the scope of Frances’ keen observations, especially the way she takes notice of subtle shifts in the power dynamics between the novel’s major players. For an Irish writer, Rooney infuses the story with a distinctly American sensibility. There’s an incisive, no-nonsense quality to her prose that sets the book apart from its contemporaries. I tore through it one sitting. It’s just that good.”
Jen Weddle’s August 2018 Pick: The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen
“The Queen of the Tearling is full of magic, adventure, mystery, and romance. The three-part series follows a young princess by the name of Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, who navigates her way to reclaiming her dead mother’s throne and the heart of the Tear kingdom. As she tries to become a great ruler to her people, she must also face the malevolent and powerful sorceress named the Red Queen who wants nothing more than to destroy her and rule her kingdom. But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.”
Madison Troyer’s August 2018 Pick: The Masterpiece, Fiona Davis
“Fiona Davis‘ The Masterpiece accompanied me on a weekend-long beach vacation, and honestly, it was so good I could hardly put it down! It was light and fun, while still being totally captivating. Davis has an incredible knack for detail and description that allows her reader to feel like they’re actually present—sipping champagne in the Campbell Apartment or slipping into a silk dress to attend a gallery opening. She definitely has a magical touch when it comes to historical fiction, and this would be the perfect read to pick up for your last hurrah of summer!”