Summer Reading Update (Part 2)

Even if pumpkin spice lattes might be back on the market, it's still summer for a little while longer! If you've been following along, you may have seen my summer reading post from last month. I'm excited to share the second half of my summer books with y'all. I had the best time getting books from the library this summer, but I added an audiobook to my mix this time around.

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok 5 stars
I really enjoyed Searching for Sylvie Lee. My favorite books are the kind told from multiple points of view, and this one was no exception. It was a page-turning mystery, and I didn't want to stop until I found out where Sylvie had gone.

Told from three different perspectives, this book tells you the story in the eyes of Sylvie, her sister Amy, and their mom. I especially loved that this book glimpses into different cultures. The mother speaks broken English and her section showed that in her unique way of describing the U.S. as "The Beautiful Country." I also learned it's a little irreverent to keep Buddha statues in the bathroom and that Dutch people often keep their drapes or blinds open.

Essentially, Sylvie lived with family in the Netherlands for the first few years of her life while her parents adjusted to living in America, and then she moved back to the states at age 9. Later in life, she traveled back to the Netherlands to be with her sick grandmother and then mysteriously vanished without a word. Shy, quiet Amy has to fly across the Atlantic to try to put together the puzzle of Sylvie's life and disappearance. Of course, there are some twists and I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't able to figure it out too quickly. Definitely not overly-predictable and I would certainly recommend it!

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 5 stars
CAUTION: A few minor SPOILERS! Another awesome book! I did not want it to end; I was so invested in the characters, that I wish they were a real band so I could listen to their album. I was caught a little off guard at the complexity of the story; I was expecting sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but I got so much more than that, too.

Daisy Jones and the Six: a beautiful story of love and trust, but an absolutely heartbreaking look at life with addiction. I found myself rooting for Billy, Daisy, and the rest of the band; however, I was completely inspired by Camilla's character. I wasn't expecting such an amazing love story, but what made it so great was how real it felt. The way she coped with her fears by trusting with her whole heart is the kind of love I aspire to. There was a line in the book about trusting someone enough to let them have their secrets that felt so honest and heartwarming.

This was such a creative book. Told from the point of view of all the characters talking directly to the author, it felt like I was listening to a really well-made "Where are They Now" documentary. I was blown away at how the author managed to capture so many styles of speech in one book. I liked "watching" the writing process for the band's hit songs, and was so impressed at how one person could make it feel like a real collaboration of two people.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos 4.3 stars
This book started out feeling pretty normal. I really liked how the author incorporated bits of Filipino culture like how "Ate" (pronounced A-teh) translates to older sister in Tagalog.

Though I was slightly disappointed overall by this book, it was still good. I always appreciate a story told well from multiple perspectives (if you're new here, I'm always going to point that one out). But even though it was an interesting story and well-written, I was expecting a bit more "thrill factor." I was expecting more of a dystopian Handmaid's Tale vibe and it just wasn't that kind of book.

One of the biggest themes in this book was the distribution of wealth and how privilege can affect the course of a person's life. Mostly a story of the contrast between those who grow up privileged and those who immigrate to this country, I thought it was a good and easy read while still managing to cover a large and difficult topic.

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis 3.5 stars
I decided to listen to this as an audiobook for two reasons: 1) The waitlist at my local library was very long and I wanted to read it in time for a new Instagram friend's book club (her blog is, and 2) It's not the kind of book I usually go for. I don't usually like audiobooks because I don't feel like I'm really "reading," but it worked for this book.

I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to reading this book. I had labeled it as #basic and I wanted to be able to spend the last valuable hours I had left before school started for leisurely reading and another book. I decided to listen to it in the car, and surprisingly, kept it going once I got to my destination.
I enjoyed how it was split into small chapters with Rachel's personal stories. I think it's important to mention that her privilege probably plays a much larger role in her success than her "you are ultimately responsible for ... how happy you are" mindset might make it seem. Did I have a few empowering moments while listening? Absolutely. The book is so inspiring and I'm glad I read it before my last year of law school. It helped me pinpoint some goals I had lost sight of over the years and reminded me about the path I want to be on as I run toward my future. But, I'm not sure if I'm a full convert and probably won't be one of her blog subscribers just yet.

Becoming by Michelle Obama 5 stars
Another book that I'm so glad I read before starting my final year of law school. I wanted to read this book over winter break, but the waitlist at the library was, again, unusually long (I think more people are finally catching on to how great the public library system is!).

I was so inspired while reading this book. Of course, it's another story where privilege, though mentioned by the author a bit more than it was in Girl Wash Your Face, should still be in the back of the reader's mind. Even though I loved every detail about her Ivy League education, I couldn't help thinking, "That would have never been an option for me." Parts of it were inspiring, while other parts left me feeling a little dejected. Of course, my own privileges from growing up in a white middle-class family with one child and parents who had fairly high levels of education give me my own type of privilege.

As for the behind-the-scenes look at a presidential campaign or what it's like to live in the White House, I could not get enough. I loved hearing about her challenges as a young lawyer and mother and how she managed to juggle it all. Learning in her own words why she chose healthy eating and fighting childhood obesity was eye-opening, too! I definitely recommend this book to everyone, regardless of your political affiliation. One over-arching theme that stood out for me is that you can't make changes if you don't get to know everyone first, even people who don't look like you.

Make sure you follow along on Goodreads if you want to keep up with my current "To-Read" list!