This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Notes On Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and You Are A Champion by Marcus Rashford.
1. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is published in hardback by Hutchinson, priced £14.99 (ebook £9.99)
Every year, Nina Riva throws an epic end-of-summer party – everyone wants an invite, so they can be near the four famous Riva Siblings.
This year, over the course of 24 hours, their lives will change forever – and their Malibu mansion will end up in flames.
As the story shifts between 1983 and the 1950s, Reid shows the painful relationship between iconic rock star, Mick Riva (a character familiar to eagle-eyed fans of the author) and the children who live in his shadow.
Fast-paced and addictive, Reid’s vivid world-building provides the ultimate in summer escapism.
With touches of 1980s glamour and scandal, Malibu Rising is another thrilling read from a talented writer, sure to delight old fans, as well as winning her new ones.
(Review by Megan Baynes)
2. Careless by Kirsty Capes is published in hardback by Orion, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99)
It’s impossible not to feel moved by the protagonist of Kirsty Capes’ debut novel; 15-year-old foster child Bess, who discovers she is pregnant. Careless not only explores the trauma Bess goes through in deciding what to do about her baby, but also what it’s like to grow up in care – something Capes experienced herself.
Perhaps this is why it feels like such a tender and honest read; the author has captured Bess’ vulnerabilities and raw emotions so vividly.
Then there is the captivating love story of this coming-of-age tale – the friendship between Bess and Eshal, a British Bengali facing her own difficult choices. Some of the other characters and relationships don’t feel quite as well-formed or real, but the book becomes much more gripping as it goes on.
It’s ultimately a worthwhile read; a reminder that every young person should be able to have big dreams.
(Review by Georgia Humphreys)
3. Notes On Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is published in hardback by Fourth Estate, priced £10 (ebook £4.99)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s prose is never not affecting; on the trauma in her own life, her writing is just as powerful.
Notes On Grief is a handful of pages that speak of the loss of her father, James Nwoye Adichie.
A famed professor of statistics in Nigeria, he died aged 88 in 2020 – during the pandemic, as a result of kidney disease complications.
What Adichie captures in this deeply personal, searing collection of short chapters is the confusing, fragmentary nature of grief, and how difficult it is to pin it down with words – let alone accept as fact.
She describes the tiny things that break you open, and help put you back together; gives a real sense of her family and its many moving parts; and outlines the strange tug-of-war between losing someone and the many practicalities you then have to untangle – all made worse by the injustices and restrictions in place because of Covid.
It is a painful read, but reassuring too.
Adichie gives voice to something so many of us aren’t able to articulate, and her relationship with her father is still so distinct and funny and life affirming. Quite beautiful.
(Review by Ella Walker)
Children’s book of the week
4. You Are A Champion: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be by Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka is published in paperback by Macmillan Children’s Books, priced £9.99 (ebook £9.99)
In his debut children’s book, England footballer Marcus Rashford uses stories from his own childhood to demonstrate to young people today how success comes from having the right mindset.
Written with journalist Carl Anka, this is an empowering read touching on the themes of building confidence, setting goals and finding your passion. Rashford starts the book by saying it’s one he wished he had growing up, and many adults reading alongside their children will agree with this sentiment.
It gives an interesting insight into Marcus Rashford’s personality – his love for puns, tendency to play ‘knock a door and run’ as a child and just why his first nickname was Shot – making it a thoroughly enjoyable read for both children and adults alike.
(Review by Sophie Morris)
1. The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz
2. Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
4. Six Tudor Queens: Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir
5. Circus Of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
6. Left You Dead by Peter James
7. The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
8. Shards Of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky
9. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
10. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
1. You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell
2. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
3. Making It by Jay Blades
4. Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony & Cass R. Sunstein
5. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
6. Operation Pedestal by Max Hastings
7. The Power Of Geography by Tim Marshall
8. Pinch Of Nom Quick & Easy by Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson
9. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin
(Compiled by Waterstones)