Sometimes a clever and intriguing story line makes a novel great. Sometimes, it is the interaction of a number of interesting characters. And other times, a novel is great because because of the carefully developed setting that gives life to the situations and characters. In One Came Home (January 2013, Knopf Books for Young Readers),

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It is the era when anyone can write a memoir, but not everyone can write one in comic book style. Relish by Lucy Knisley (First Second 2013) is a memoir about food during her life, from childhood to her adulthood. Lucy is a child of two true “foodies,” so her childhood revolved around good home-cooked

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Quicksand, Nella Larsen’s debut novel (published 1928) was not nearly as satisfying to me as her second one, Passing (published 1929), which I found a complex but intriguing look at race and repressed sexuality for a light-skinned “coloured” woman in New York during the Harlem Renaissance (thoughts here). Despite my frustrations with Quicksand, it is

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Summer by Edith Wharton (published 1917) is a short novella about a young woman searching for her place. In some places, it’s been cited as Wharton’s most “erotic” work1. Charity Royall does come to her own sexual awakening over the course of a summer, but Wharton writes about Charity’s choices without too much sexual reference.

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Although I don’t think her debut novel is necessarily as polished as her later novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stunned me with her perfectly crafted story in Purple Hibiscus (published 2003). It’s full of symbolism, but the touching story of a girl coming to terms with life in general (her abusive

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The following post contains spoilers for War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I really didn’t intend to write yet another post on War and Peace, but as I was reviewing comments, I decided that Katrina had a fair point. I need to write about my disappointments in Tolstoy’s women.

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