What to Read: Book Reviews

Welcome to What to Read by Elementary Connections. I’m Samantha Goodman, a former bookseller with a passion for helping people find the perfect way to unwind. I’ve teamed up with my friends at Elementary Connections to give you some respite from the craziness of life under quarantine. Each week, we’ll recommend books with suggested drink pairings for each title.

The Highlights: epistolary novel set on the island of Guernsey during WW2; a group of local residents form an underground book club

Drink Pairing: English Lager

Synopsis: This gorgeous novel takes place at the end of the war as English citizens begin the painful process of rebuilding their cities and lives. A young writer from London moves to the island and befriends a group of locals who had been members of an underground book club during German occupation. Told in letters sent between various members of the group, this novel will capture your heart instantly….

The Highlights: rich housewives in a small suburban town keep secrets from their families and one another in order to protect one of their own after a school even ends with someone dead

Drink Pairing: Chardonnay

Synopsis: You’re probably familiar with the HBO adaptation of this novel. The biggest difference is the setting: where the show is set in Monterey, California, the book takes place in suburban Australia. In both cases, the mothers in town can be just as catty as their children, but when one of them is threatened, they come together to protect her. This page-turner will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end….

The Highlights: teenage cousins spending the summer on their family’s island compound are free to do as they please while the adults struggle to recover from a devastating incident that took place the year previously

Drink Pairing: Corona beer

Synopsis: This YA novel will have you reminiscing on summers past, where the days stretched out endlessly, the nights were filled with bonfires on the beach and parties lasted until sunrise. The central characters in this thriller, the Liars, have a secret they aren’t sharing with you and it will take until the last page before they finally tell you the truth….

The Highlights: YA coming-of-age story filled with heartbreaks, romances, and major life lessons

Drink Pairing: Arctic Summer hard seltzers

Synopsis: Haven is lost and unsure of where or how to fit in. She used to look to her big sister for guidance, but that’s not an option this summer and things seem to be changing too quickly. When her sister’s old boyfriend comes back into the picture, she’s thrown back in time to the summer when the three of them were inseparable and life was perfect. Maybe she can find a little bit of that magic somewhere inside of her this year….

The Highlights: family hijinks on a private island famous for an unsolved mystery that has intrigued amateur detectives for decades

Drink Pairing: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Synopsis: Sophie was pretty sure Thomas was the one who got away until he suddenly popped back into her life. It turns out that she’s very unexpectedly inherited a home on Scribbly Gum Island previously owned by one of Thomas’s aunts. When she moves into the house she’s immediately welcomed back into the family by his eccentric aunts and sucked into the drama of the Munro Baby Mystery. As things on the island become more complicated, Sophie learns that she can’t wait for life to get exciting – she needs to create the excitement herself….