The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
Touted as a Tana French style author (I love her), I said I'd give this debut novel by Erin Kelly a go and I wasn't disappointed. It follows the story of Karen- flipping back and forth between her present day life and her past when she first meets Biba in college- a free spirited, fun loving but ultimately selfish individual who changes Karen's life irrevocably. This book really gripped me from the start- gradually what happens to Karen is revealed but it's almost impossible to guess the outcome of the book, which is always refreshing. Definitely worth a read.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
This dystopian thriller, originally published in 1985 but set in the distant future became an instant cult classic and was made into a film in the early 90's. I do love a bit of dystopia and this is particularly freaky. In this reality, the United States as a nation has broken down- in it's place is a new ultra-religious, ultra-conservative cult style movement which strips women of all their rights. In this world, an unidentified virus along with constant sexual violence towards women has lead to widespread infertility and women being kept as "handmaidens" by powerful men, for the purpose of control and procreating only. The book follows one of these handmaidens through her daily life which at times makes for disturbing reading but is compelling and gripping at the same time. Mostly I found it disturbing because it wasn't wholly unimaginable- women's place in today's society is becoming increasingly more precarious and it seems like women's rights are more at risk than ever. So while it's a difficult read at times I still loved it and would highly recommend it.
Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S. Choi
The "Hello Kitty" in the title here refers to young Asian-American women, who although appear outwardly modern are trapped by their culture and family traditions- expected to marry a wealthy Asian man, give up work, have a family and be obedient. Fiona is a classic example of this-a young San Francisco based lawyer desperate to get away from her constrictive family, she meets up with an old school friend Sean, who turns out to be a complete psychopath- something Fiona doesn't seem as appropriately disturbed by as she should be..I liked this book, the story is very unusual and makes for an entertaining read.
Testimony by Anita Shreve
I'd read one of Shreves books before and liked it so I thought I'd give this a go. It's the story of how a sex tape involving underage students at a private boarding school in America can affect and damage an entire community..so far, so interesting. In spite of the subject matter however it was actually a really tedious read- told from the perspectives of everyone involved it somehow managed to be really drawn out and completely missed the mark as far as I was concerned. I'd give this one a miss.
Over to you! Read any of these? Any other good reads I should be checking out?