Motherest – Kristen Iskandrian

MOTHEREST can most definitely act as a cautionary tale and could be an interesting suggested read for everyone graduating high school and heading out to university in the fall. Boys and girls alike.

Though it didn’t start out that way. Agnes’ mom already left her first, so heading out to university did not cause a great teary chaos behind, what with her father numb to the core. She’s got a roommate, who is positive and overall sunny in her behavior. She’s got a crush and classes she’s focusing on.

But then her crush becomes more than a crush and suddenly she’s always at his place. Suddenly she’s fallen for someone. And suddenly… she gets pregnant. She needs her mother more than ever, but the only comfort she can get in that department is secretly writing her mother letters that are never received and never answered.

To her credit, Agnes is pretty strong in all of this. There is so much change in her life, and while she is in denial of her new reality and the new emotions cursing through her for a while, she is still able to make some decisions and accept the support of others, more notably her father.

As scary, unexpected and emotional as Agnes’ new ‘’situation’’ is to her and others in her life, this is regardless a very beautiful, and I dare say lyrical, story. I think everyone’s experience with pregnancy is unique in some ways, and Agnes understands that she has other options, that people expect her to ‘’deal’’ with the baby and continue her studies, but she follows her own path, makes her own choices and handles the both positive and negative consequences that come with that.

I do have an issue with Agnes’ mother (well, there’s a whole club for that, really), because though we are given context around the tragedy Agnes’ family went through, we are still told little about who Agnes’ mother is, meaning that her character remains pretty one-dimensional throughout the book. I know Agnes doesn’t understand her well either, so it is jarring at times to have a character take so much mental space in someone’s life and for neither the reader nor heroine to decipher her.

Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the copy in exchange for a review.

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

34273236Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Press
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Family Relationships


BLURB:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned — from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren — an enigmatic artist and single mother — who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Continue reading