GIRLS IN TRUCKS, Katie Crouch. Southern debutante Sarah Walters takes center stage in this novel of interconnected stories, each literary snapshot focusing on a different stage in her developments from young member of the Charleston Cotillion Training School to her return home as a thirtysomething following the death of her father. Various techniques are used for the individual chapters - first person, third, even second. Few writers can pull off the novel as interconnected stories - Melissa Bank's Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge - but Ms. Crouch easily takes her place among them. This is stupendous storytelling and Sarah Walters is a character that will remain in readers' hearts and minds.
DO-OVER!, Robin Hemley. The subtitle of this nonfiction work says it all: "In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments." The idea of a do-over - the chance to go back and repeat critical periods in a person's life in the hopes of getting it right the second time - will appeal to many readers, prompting them to mull over what they'd demand a do-over on if given the opportunity. Each reader will find their own standout chapters here. For me, it was the one on summer camp, even though I've never been.
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