Hello, friends! Time to talk about some more books on my TBR! This is a series where I talk about a specific subset of books on my TBR. I’ve done a few posts of really long lists of books on my TBR, so for these posts I’m going to try to keep the list fairly small, provide the synopsis from Goodreads, and talk about where I found it and why I want to read it.
Today, I’m talking about the lowest rated books on my TBR. I think it’s fun sometimes to read poorly rated books to see if I agree with the rating, or if everyone else is wrong. So let’s take a look at the six lowest rated books on my TBR!
Ok, Mr. Field by Katharine Kilalea
Mr. Field wants a new life, a life cleansed of the old one’s disappointments. A concert pianist on the London scene, his career is upended when the train he is travelling on crashes into the wall at the end of a tunnel. The accident splinters his left wrist, jeopardizing his musical ambitions. On a whim, he uses his compensation pay-out to buy a house he has seen only once in a newspaper photograph, a replica of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye on a stretch of coast outside Cape Town. Together with his wife, Mim, Mr. Field sets out in the hope that the house will make him happier, or at least less unhappy.
But as time passes, the house–which Le Corbusier designed as “a machine for living”–begins to have a disturbing effect on Mr. Field. Its narrow windows educate him in the pleasures of frustrated desire. Its sequence of spaces, which seem to lead toward and away from their destinations at once, mirror his sense of being increasingly cut off from the world and from other people. When his wife inexplicably leaves him, Mr. Field can barely summon the will to search for her. Alone in the decaying house, he finds himself unglued from reality and possessed by a longing for a perverse kind of intimacy.
I really have no idea how this book got on my TBR, but it sounds super interesting. I tend to enjoy creepy house stories, and stories about people who fall from grace, so this seems to fit the bill. People seem to find it dull and boring, so we’ll see how I get along with it.
Devotion by Madeline Stevens
Ella is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella’s days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26 – but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.
Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie’s seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella’s resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings – for Lonnie’s lifestyle, her attention, her lovers – that she may never come up for air.
Ah look, a book about a poor woman becoming obsessed with her rich friend. Who’d’ve thunk this would be something I’m interested in. Shocking. People seem to not like the ending of this one, and I tend to hate bad endings as well, so we’ll see what happens I guess.
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.
The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.
This one had quite a bit of buzz last year, and everyone seems to have the same reaction: I hated yet loved this, so 3/5 stars I guess. It sounds really interesting and like something I would love, so hopefully I enjoy it!
Prudence by David Treuer
A haunting and unforgettable novel about love, loss, race, and desire in World War II-era America. On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family’s rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he’s about to leave behind: his hovering mother; the distant father to whom he’s been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker who’s been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy, the childhood friend who over the years has become something much more intimate. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives. With Prudence, Treuer delivers his most ambitious and captivating novel yet. Powerful and wholly original, it’s a story of desire and loss and the search for connection in a riven world; of race and class in a supposedly more innocent era. Most profoundly, it’s about the secrets we choose to keep, the ones we can’t help but tell, and who–and how–we’re allowed to love.
I’m going to be totally honest, I’m not sure why this is on my TBR. I don’t tend to love WWII books, and I’m not particularly drawn to this one. The reviews are okay, so honestly, I might remove this one from my TBR at some point.
Eden by Andrea Kleine
Every other weekend, Hope and Eden—backpacks, Walkmans, and homework in hand—wait for their father to pick them up, as he always does, at a strip-mall bus stop. It’s the divorce shuffle; they’re used to it. Only this weekend, he’s screwed up, forgotten, and their world will irrevocably change when a stranger lures them into his truck with a false story and smile.
More than twenty years later, Hope is that classic New York failure: a playwright with only one play produced long ago, newly evicted from an illegal sublet, working a humiliating temp job. Eden has long distanced herself from her family, and no one seems to know where she is. When the man who abducted them is up for parole, the girls might be able to offer testimony to keep him jailed. Hope sets out to find her sister—and to find herself—and it becomes the journey of a lifetime, taking her from hippie communes to cities across the country. Suspenseful and moving, Eden asks: How much do our pasts define us, and what price do we pay if we break free?
This sounds like a kidnapping novel, and I love kidnapping novels, particularly ones that explore the aftermath of the kidnapping. I expect people have issues with the twists in this book (though two of my very trusted friends rated this fairly highly!), but I’m avoiding the reviews to avoid spoilers.
Four-Letter Word by Christa Desir
Chloe Sanders has wasted the better part of her junior year watching her best friend Eve turn away from her for the more interesting and popular Holly Reed. Living with her grandparents because her parents are currently serving as overseas volunteers, Chloe spends her days crushing on a dark-haired guy named Mateo, being mostly ignored by Eve and Holly, and wishing the cornfields of Iowa didn’t feel so incredibly lonely.
But shortly after spring break, a new girl transfers to her high school—Chloe Donnelly. This Chloe is bold and arty and instantly placed on a pedestal by Eve and Holly. Now suddenly everyone is referring to Chloe Sanders as “Other Chloe” and her social status plummets even more.
Until Chloe Donnelly introduces all her friends to a dangerous game: a girls vs. guys challenge that only has one rule—obtain information by any means necessary. All the warning bells are going off in Other Chloe’s head about the game, but she’s not about to commit social suicide by saying no to playing.
Turns out the game is more complicated than Other Chloe thinks. Chloe Donnelly hates to lose. She’s got power over everyone—secrets she’s exploiting—and she likes to yank their strings. Only soft-spoken Mateo is sick of it, and when the game turns nasty, he chooses Other Chloe to help him expose everything Chloe Donnelly has done. But neither realize just how much the truth could cost them in the end.
This sounds like it’ll be a melodramatic, over-the-top yet with an unsatisfying ending YA thriller. Which never turn out for me, but I’m still willing to give a try.
So there are the lowest rated books on my TBR! Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations? What are the lowest rated books on your TBR? Let me know!
Also if you have any requests for things you’d like to see on my TBR, let me know!