Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

http://www.mariankeyes.com

It’s about time for another review of a book by my beloved Marian Keyes. If you haven’t already taken my advice and read Watermelon, do so A.S.A.P. so you can get to my favorite book in the Walsh sisters chronicles, Rachel’s Holiday.

Rachel’s Holiday follows another Walsh sister, Rachel, who moved from Ireland to New York, and got a little too wrapped up in the enticing big city scene. Rachel doesn’t see her love of partying, alcohol and drugs as anything more than something to pass the time, until she wakes up in the hospital after an overdose. And thanks to a dramatic piece of poetry she wrote the night before in her drug-induced stupor, the doctors also believe she’s suicidal.

After a lot of coercing from her family and friends, Rachel reluctantly returns back to Ireland to enter into drug rehab. But the prospect of going to the big-named treatment center has Rachel more excited than scared. She’s convinced she’ll meet celebrities, receive exclusive spa treatments, and emerge a glamorous, rejuvenated starlett. She could not be any more wrong. In treatment, Rachel battles with her addiction, her peers, her advisers, and mostly herself, until she discovers what she really wants her life to be.

Rachel’s Holiday gives a true look into drug treatment and rehab, and the struggles that everyday people can face when their innocent partying goes too far. Keyes tackles the issue of substance abuse in an honest, straightforward way, but breaks up the intensity with Rachel’s sarcastic humor and encounters with fellow rehab patients. Although Rachel’s Holiday deals with a serious current issue,  Keyes continues to weave in the lovable quirkiness of the Walsh family and the honest emotions of these women. A definite read for a serious story with a feel-good ending.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

http://www.jodipicoult.com

My Sister’s Keeper has recently been made into a successful Hollywood movie. But unless this movie is out of this world, the whole saying is true, the book is always better than the movie. Because this book is phenomenal.

The story is about Anna, a normal 13 year old girl with an abnormal story. Her sister, Kate, has terminal cancer. Kate is constantly in and out of the hospital, can grow sick at a moments notice, and interrupts many of the joyous times Anna should be experiencing as a young teenager. And Anna’s life does not only revolve around Kate, it was created because of Kate. Anna’s parents decided to have another child after Kate was diagnosed with leukemia, in order to use the cells from her umbilical cord to help Kate get better. But after the cord blood was used up, Kate’s family used more donations from Anna to keep Kate healthy–her blood, bone marrow, etc. And now, at 16, Kate’s kidneys are failing and she is in desperate need for a kidney that her family is naturally expecting to get–from Anna.

But this is the last straw for the younger sometimes forgotten sister. She is tired of playing savior to Kate. So Anna goes to a lawyer, Campbell, to sue her parents for the right to her own body. The legal battle is the thread that holds the plot together, but Picoult weaves so much more into the storyline: Anna’s older brother’s rebellion, her father’s frustration, mother’s grief, and sisterly bonds.

Picoult’s novel moves quickly, with twists and turns to keep you interested and makes the book hard to put down. My Sister’s Keeper has a very surprising ending, which I never saw coming. I’ve heard some people say they hated the ending, but I thought it was fitting. I have yet to see the movie, but hear that the ending is completely different from the book, which I am not too fond of, I like for movies to stay as true to the book as possible.

Picoult has written sixteen novels, all on contraversial issues such as teen suicide, school shootings, rape and mercy killings. Although I’ve only read two of her novels so far, I picked up another at Border’s last weekend and can’t wait to get started. Her books are different than those that I usually review, so if you are looking for a light happy read, this is not for you.

My Sister’s Keeper is a powerful story, and definitely a tear jerker (I bawled multiple times while reading), but something that will move you, tear at your heart, and make you appreciate your family and the blessings in your life.

The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

http://www.sophiekinsella.com

I just got back from a week long vacation in Key West where I had lots of free time, so of course I spent much of it reading! Sitting by the pool reading a good book is one of the most relaxing things in the world. I got through three books, two of which were by Madeleine Wickham, one of my (sort of) new favorite authors.

Madaleine Wickham is the real name of famous author, Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic series, and a book I have previously reviewed, The Undomestic Goddess. Wickham’s writing style is almost identical to her books as Kinsella–light, any funny with characters who are easy to connect with and relate to.

Her first book as Wickham that I read is called The Gatecrasher. This book follows Fleur Daxeny, a high-maintenance single woman looking for love, and more importantly, for money. But what is most unusual about Fleur is the way she meets men…at funerals. With the help of her flamboyant friend Johnny, Fleur attends burials and viewings where she is sure to meet an uber wealthy widower, looking for someone to heal his heart. Fleur sure knows how to put on a show, staying long enough only for him to fall in love with her…and for her to steal his gold card. She bounces from man to man, shattering their already broken hearts, and running with their money. Until she meets Richard Favour.

Richard is a kind, good-hearted man who Fleur finds is surprisingly easy to stay with. But problems with his children…and even hers…may make it more difficult for her to get what she wants. When someone important comes back into Fleur’s life, she is left to decide if money or family is more important.

Although the book focuses on Fleur, it also develops a wide array of other rich characters in Fleur’s and Richard’s lives, intertwining several small stories into one. As my first book from Wickham, I was more than pleased, and glad that I have now more “Kinsella-like” books to read!