Book Title: We Can’t Be Friends
Author: Cyndy Etler
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Series: Continuation from The Dead Inside
Genres: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Pub Date: 10/01/17
For the readers of GO ASK ALICE, TWEAK, and DEAR NOBODY, Etler details her turbulent readjustment to life at home and high school after spending sixteen months in Straight, Inc. Advertised as a rehab program for troubled teens, in reality, Straight subjected Cyndy and her fellow Straightlings to cultlike brainwashing and bizarre “treatment” methods. There was no privacy, no freedom, and no room for error. But when Cyndy is finally released, she discovers she’s living by an entirely different set of rules than her peers. What new extremes will she go to in order to fit in?
This book is a bit difficult to review, as I haven’t read the author’s previous memoir The Dead Inside, but I still found it moving and profoundly touching nonetheless. If you have the opportunity and can read her first book prior to this one, you will likely get even more out of it, as she describes her experience inside of Straight, Inc in detail; this book picks up after the first one has ended and tells the author’s story of life after the “rehab” center. At many points I was tearing up reading about how the struggle only continued once leaving such a controlling facility, and while I’m not the target audience for Etler’s latest memoir, I think many teens will be able to relate to the various issues she encountered as they remain just as relevant today as they were when she experienced them. Highly recommended with caution for teens and young adults who may want to connect with the true story of a young woman who continued to rise above the odds and keep on keeping on when the going remained tough.
*Many thanks to the author for providing my copy via NetGalley.
Book Title: The Sisters Of Glass Ferry
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Reviewed By: Chelsea
Genres: Southern Fiction, Coming Of Age, Suspense
Pub Date: 11/28/17
Glass Ferry, Kentucky, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler’s daddy, Beauregard “Honey Bee” Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state, aged in barrels he’d take by boat up and down the Kentucky River until the rocking waters turned the spirits smooth and golden. Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so.
But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister Patsy, older by eight minutes and pretty in a way Flannery knows she’ll never be.
Then comes the prom night when Patsy–wearing a yellow chiffon dress and the family pearls–disappears along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins’ birthday, Flannery’s mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family’s past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution . . .
A southern novel set around twins?! Yes please! It’s no secret that I love any plot featuring multiples; give it an atmospheric setting in the deep south and I’m sold. While Richardson isn’t a debut author, she’s “new-to-me” and I’m really glad I discovered her treasure trove of a novel. I don’t want to touch on the plot at all in any specific places, but I absolutely loved the beautiful writing; it captured that southern feeling so well and I became a part of the small town drama. There are some tough topics discussed here, and while this was somewhat of a historical fiction saga, we have the opportunity to witness the ever-changing, defining moments of what it means to be a woman in any decade and how secrets can run rampant in any place, at any time. Such a worthy read for lovers of historical southern fiction; I’ll definitely be looking for more from Kim Richardson in years to come!
*Many thanks to the author for providing my copy.