The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick

Published: July 4th, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins

“The New York Times-bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It might be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It might also help him finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and goodhearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese-American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.”

Review:

The Reason You’re Alive involves a sixty-eight year old Vietnam veteran who has a brain tumor. Once he gets his surgery, things in life seem to matter more now than they did before. He has a son named Hank who has a daughter named Ella. He doesn’t like Hank so much, but Ella is his world. He is an honest American man, who doesn’t like any other race than his. He hates how America is run, especially since he’s a veteran. During the time of his brain tumor, he learns the truth about family and friends, and how to continue life in a happy way.

Matthew Quick did it again. I love him and his books so much. I might be a little biased because he is a local from where I am from, so he always puts different things about Philadelphia and South Jersey in his books. This book was the longest I’ve ever taken to read one of his books. However, once I sat down and really got started, I couldn’t stop.

David Granger is a man who no one really would like in today’s society. He seems like he would be one of the guys in the Facebook videos you keep seeing when people record racists. He doesn’t care. He fought for the country. He only wants Americans. I really had a problem liking David. I had to keep putting this book down, taking deeeeeeep breaths, and returning to it. I think that it’s really important to acknowledge that I’m not giving this a bad rating because I didn’t like the character. A book is about feeling a way towards something or someone; it’s about bringing forth knowledge on a topic that you didn’t really know about. Matthew Quick made me feel for David. He made me hate him. He made me switch my mind. He made me watch him see all of these important lessons and epiphanies at age sixty-eight. I think only a really good author can do that.

There were times where I really felt like David was my grandfather. I felt like I was reading a handwritten story for future generations to read. The writing style that Matthew Quick had David portray really made him feel realistic. I felt like I was waiting for a phone call from him.

Lastly, being a Philly girl, I love all of the acknowledgements towards Philadelphia. I love that he brought up going to Phillies games as a kid, hating the Dallas Cowboys, going over the Ben Franklin Bridge, etc. It’s all so real to me. I love that he does that in every book he writes. It’s like he doesn’t forget where he’s from, and when you become a celebrity of sorts, its important to remember that.

Overall, I love this book. I finished it and was very happy with how everything was in the end. Matthew Quick hasn’t failed me yet, and I’m excited to see his next book, whenever that may be.

Rating: ★★★★★

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: ★★★★★

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches. In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

Review:

Let’s just start out by saying Matthew Quick is one of my favorite authors. So when I pick up a book of his, I have extremely high expectations. Every single time I have picked up one of his books, I have not been left disappointed. Leonard Peacock is just a young boy with a messed up brain and heart, that needs some help and guidance. His life was never as beautiful as it could have been, and therefore, he wants to kill his former best friend, and himself. I read this book in two days. Maybe even less than that. I couldn’t believe what Leonard had been through, and I wanted to know more.

My favorite characters in this book would have to be Leonard, Walt (Leonard’s neighbor), and Herr Silverman (Leonard’s teacher). They have this unbreakable bond with Leonard, and their bond makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens at the end. Oh, the end, let’s talk about that. The ending of this book will make you freak out. Not so much the final sentence, but maybe the last few chapters. It had me going insane finding out what was going to happen and if things would actually pan out the way you thought. I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: ★★★★★

Didn’t you ever just simply want to…stop? Star athlete and straight-A student Nanette O’Hare has played the role of dutiful daughter for as long as she can remember. But one day, a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper—a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic—and the rebel within Nanette awakens. As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she befriends the reclusive author and falls in love with a young, troubled poet. Forced to make some hard choices that bring devastating consequences, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price.

Review:

The book starts out with learning about Nanette who is an awesome soccer player who is about to start her future. She’s a senior in high school, and finds herself reading a book that would change her life forever. When she reads this book, she has a crisis trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. Every Exquisite Thing was a capturing novel from the very beginning. Going through Nanette’s journey of finding herself with her was excellent. Empowering.

 

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Harper
Rating: ★★★★★

Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her – and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident. Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metal-head little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia’s chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.

Review:

There is something about Matthew Quick’s words that grab your attention immediately. Love May Fail begins with a woman, Portia, who ends up drunk in her closet in her million-dollar-home waiting for her husband to come home with his mistress. If that doesn’t immediately grab your attention, there’s something wrong. My brain was begging to find out what was going to happen when they finally came in the door.

Portia is a traumatized character and really shows it throughout this novel. She had a really questionable childhood with her mother as well as having a cheating husband. It was a really telling story. Portia moved home to south New Jersey. I loved this because it tells the story of the author. Matthew Quick is also from that area so we got to see his hometown area through his own eyes. As someone who grew up in the South Jersey area, I really enjoyed seeing all of the landmarks that Matthew Quick had to offer.

One of my favorite things about this book was the character development. Portia, Chuck Bass and everyone really just improved themselves throughout this entire novel. I really enjoyed Portia as a person. She was kind of messy to start, but by the end, I felt like I really could understand and see her through my own eyes.

Lastly, the title really is something to pay attention to. Love May Fail is the perfect title because Matthew Quick really has you thinking that love may just fail. Portia had been through so much that you really weren’t sure where she was going to be in the end between location and her development. Love May Fail is really, really true because it may, but it may not.

 

Authors A-Z

Authors are filtered by last name.

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

Adult Fiction

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

Young Adult

#

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

Favorite Reads of 2017: Published in 2017

2017 has been a phenomenal year for books. Here are some of my favorite titles that I read that were published in 2017!

You can see my “Read in 2017” shelf here!

 32054243

The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Publication Date: January 24, 2017

A psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception—and the hottest title at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair.

A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season.

Find my full review here.

 

31434883

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Published: May 9, 2017

“Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living–and it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.”

Find my full review here.

32075671

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

Find my full review here.

 

Barley Cross Series by Emma Hart

The Barley-Cross Series (Being Brooke & Catching Carly) by Emma Hart
Publication Dates: December 13, 2016 & March 7, 2017

Being Brooke (#1)

My name is Brooke Barker…

And I’m a freaking disaster.

No, seriously. I’m a college drop-out working a dead-end job, my best friend Carly’s dog gets more action than I do, and I have more bad dates in my diary than there are movie remakes.

Not to mention I’m completely and utterly in love with Cain Elliott.

The problem? He’s in a relationship. With a girl who’s so plastic she makes Barbie cry herself to sleep with jealousy.

The second problem? He’s my best friend.

My shut-up-and-put-on-Harry-Potter, yes-this-is-your-shirt, help-I-have-no-power, crap-I’m-out-of-tampons, kinda best friend.

And that’s all he can be, right?

Right.

Catching Carly (#2)

Life Goal #1: Forget about my best friend’s brother. (Because Zeke Elliott is a colossal cockwomble.)

From New York Times bestselling author, Emma Hart, comes another hilariously wild romantic comedy about being the third wheel in your friendship and, um, accidentally having sex with your best friend’s brother…

Find my full review here.

 

33785151

Friend Request by Laura Marshall
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

“Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.”

Find my full review here.

32571395

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: May 30, 2017

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

Find my full review here.

34621496

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle
Publication Date: April 25, 2017

“I first met William McAlister when I was just a teenager.

He was handsome, had a beautiful wife and was on the verge of success, having just joined my father as his business partner. Mr. McAlister was full of smooth charm, but back then he was barely a blip on my radar. Just a family friend.

Fast forward ten years: I’m 25 years old and a single mom trying to make things right for her seven-year old son. I’ve made some mistakes, grappled with my demons and now I’m back in the city of Vancouver, getting a second chance at a better life.

I’ve started by working for my father’s production company as an executive assistant. My first day on the job and I already know I could have a promising career there.
That is until I see Will McAlister for the first time in a decade.

Now recently divorced and as sophisticated as always, Will has gone from being my father’s friend and business partner to something so much more.

We’re both older, for one thing, and he just oozes this worldly confidence and stark sexuality. Combined with his tall, muscular build and sharp suits, strong jaw and bedroom eyes, Will has turned into one hell of a distraction.

A distraction I’m having a hard time staying away from, considering his office is right across from my desk and I work with him in such close proximity.

But it’s just a harmless crush, right?

It’s just an innocent fantasy of screwing him on his desk, right?

It can’t ever be more because he’s my father’s best friend, business partner, and my boss.

Right?

Wrong.”

Find my full review here.

31933085

Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Publication Date: July 18, 2017

Who says you can’t run away from your problems?

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, LESS is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half,” LESS shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.”

Find my full review here.

 

32522527

The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick
Publication Date: July 4, 2017

“The New York Times-bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It might be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It might also help him finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and goodhearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese-American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Aliveexamines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.”

Find my full review here.