Carly Reads Here | December

I guess I'm ending my Show Us Your Books posts on a high note this year because this is the post with all of the really good books! I came up one category short for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge (see my list here), and if it wasn't the category for a 600+ page book I might try and squeeze it in these last couple of weeks. Overall I was really happy with the challenge and everything I read was 3.5 stars or above so definitely no flops!


The Leavers
 |  I genuinely missed this book once I was done reading it and later on the day I finished it I had a brief moment thinking I could just start it again. It's about a Chinese-American boy who is adopted by American parents after his mother disappears one day. It's the story of the boy, Deming/Daniel, as he tries to figure out who he is, but also intertwines with the story of his mother, her past, and what happened to her. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

American Fire |  I haven't read very much non-fiction this year and I've never read much true crime but I really loved this book and found it so intriguing and interesting. It's told by a Washington Post reporter, Monica Hesse, who goes out to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to investigate a string of arsons. What was once of the richest rural places in America is now one of Virginia's poorest communities and while the book focuses on the fires and the arsonist, it's more about the community and was a really interesting story. I could see this being a really good mini series.

What Made Maddy Run | This book is a must read and definitely a story that so needed to be told.  It's about Madison Holleran, a student athlete at UPenn who seemingly has it all and commits suicide during her freshman year. Kate Fagan uses text messages, emails, and other forms of communication with the narrative to tell Maddy's story, and it was so devastating to read how many times Maddy tried to express that something was wrong, but in many well-meaning attempts people seemed to try and normalize how she felt, even though she knew it wasn't normal. Her friends & family were concerned, but I don't think anyone really knew what to do or how to help.

The writing was extremely compelling and it kept me turning the pages, but my only tiny critique was the format-- I wasn't expecting Fagan's own story to be intermixed so much and while it was equally interesting,  sometimes it felt like it disrupted the flow. There's a big focus on the lack of mental health services available to student athletes and the dangers of social media and the ability to portray that everything is great when nothing is great at all. It's such an important topic that tends to get brushed over and Fagan really did an amazing job capturing Maddy's life, sharing her story, and highlighting changes that need to be made to mental health services and starting a really important conversation. It's okay to not be okay. The National Suicide hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text HOME to 741741 if you're in the US to reach the Crisis Text Line

The Marriage Pact | Its been a while since I've been in the mood for a thriller, but so many people had mentioned how much they loved this book & Nadine's review finally convinced me to give it a try. The book is about a recently married couple who are invited to enter the Pact, which is a group for married people that's supposed to help strengthen their marriage. It's a mystery/suspense and in the first chapter you find out something bad has happened, but it doesn't quite make sense yet. It's told from the husband's POV, which I wasn't crazy about at first but it eventually grew on me and it definitely kept me turning the pages.

Next up is finally finishing Lincoln in the Bardo, and I read so many amazing new releases this year that I'm already anticipating what great new books will come out next year.

32 comments

  1. Oh, What Made Maddy Run sounds intriguing - and definitely an important topic. I've heard good things about The Marriage Pact, so I'm glad you liked it! I want to read Lincoln in the Bardo too.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  2. I miss books when they are done, too!

    The Madison story is so sad, I stalked it when it happened in the news. SO so so so sad.

    Very interested in the Marriage Pact.

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  3. Ooooh man I need to read What Made Maddy Run, but it may be hard at times. Sounds very 13 Reasons Why, so compelling but so sad <3
    Green Fashionista

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  4. I absolutely loved The Marriage Pact and totally agree with you about The Leavers. Both were great reads.

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  5. The Marriage Pact is on my TBR list!

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  6. Definitely adding The Leavers to my list! Also The Marriage Pact has been on there for a while.

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  7. I Just added The Leavers to my to read list. I always love a good suspense book and enjoyed the Marriage Pact.

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  8. I could not with Lincoln in the Bardo's format.

    Really intrigued by Fire. I've read about it a few times and decided against it since I'm not big into nonfiction. You might have pushed me towards it again.

    I liked The Marriage Pact. I thought it was nuts in a great way.

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  9. I liked the Marriage Pact - and have The Leavers on my list!

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  10. I am glad you liked The Marriage Pact! It was just so interesting and I had a hard time putting it down. I am adding What Made Maddy Run and The Leavers to my TBR! How are you liking Lincoln in the Bardo? I know of two people who couldn't finish it.

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  11. We just ordered What Made Maddie Run, it's supposed to be a gift, but I'm going to read it first.

    I added American Fire to my list, thanks!

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  12. The Marriage Pact is on my TBR. I've seen lots of love for it on the link-up. I believe I put it on hold at the library but now need to double-check or I'll be waiting forever. LOL! The Leavers is on my TBR too. And What Made Maddy Run sounds really good. I can see why having the author interweave her story could be annoying though. We cannot talk about mental health enough and I'm glad it's finally becoming more of a topic that people are willing to discuss and understand.

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  13. I’m intrigued by The Marriage Pact... sounds like my kind of book! Also, What Made Maddy Run is a book that I’ve been thinking about reading but not really sure I should since I suffer from depression and suicide kind of hits home for me. I’m not saying that I’ve attempted but the subject in and of itself. But I appreciate your review on it!

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  14. Oh I know exactly that feeling when you miss a book once it's over - It's so bittersweet.
    Maddy sounds like a hard read but one that I definitely should get to sooner than later.

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  15. I’m definitely adding The Leavers to my list! It sounds like a really good and intriguing read! And I’m glad that you liked The Marriage Pact! It was definitely one that kept me turning the pages too!

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  16. I read a lot nonfiction and a lot of true crime and I adored American Fire.

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  17. I love a good thriller - going to need to check out The Marriage Pact!

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  18. I'm tempted to read The Leavers. Sounds like a great read I will enjoy. Thanks for sharing. Awesome!

    http://www.missymayification.co.uk

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  19. I'm on the wait list for The Marriage Pact.

    I DNF Lincoln in the Bardo but I'm interested to hear everyone's thoughts about it anyway...it seems polarizing?

    What Made Maddy Run seems fascinating and so sad.

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  20. What Made Maddy Run is going on my list right now. I’ve also heard a lot about The Marriage Pact. Lucky you ending the year on a high note with books!

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  21. I'm glad you liked The Marriage Pact! Such a good read.

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  22. The Marriage Pact sounds so good!! I think I'm already on hold for it at the library so hopefully I get it soon!

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  23. What Made Maddy Run sounds so sad :( i keep going back and forth on the marriage pact, i might keep it for when i'm in the mood for something like that.

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  24. I read The Leavers not too long ago and the book still stuck with me. Deming/Daniel was getting a bit annoying in my opinion, but the storyline of his mother (Polly) was amazing! It's almost heartbreaking to read her parts and history as she tries to make a good life for her son in America.

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  25. I have your first three on my TBR list already and I'm adding The Marriage Pact right now. Good reads!

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  26. I've had the marriage pact on my list for such a long time, wish the library would get another copy!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  27. Definitely adding The Marriage Pact to my must read list! I'm always looking for a good read during the holidays, especially when I have to travel!

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  28. Ooh glad you had so many good reads this month! I read almost nothing! But I did squeeze in some reading time this week! :) American Fire sounds super interesting! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  29. I am adding all of these to my list right now. What a great month for reading you had! Thanks for sharing!

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  30. I've heard about The Marriage Pact somewhere else before. Now that I've heard about it twice, I'm definitely intrigued.

    Glad you ended the year on a high note!

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