Mini Reviews // The Secret History, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Party Crasher

I’ve had a hard time sleeping past 5 a.m. the past week and as such, have had an extraordinarily productive reading month so far. Here are some mini-reviews of three books I’ve recently finished: The Secret HistoryLittle Fires Everywhere, and The Party Crasher.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt — ☆ ☆ ☆

I struggled with what to rate this book. There were parts I really enjoyed, parts I felt completely indifferent about, and parts I hated, and the latter two outnumbered the first. That being said, the parts I really enjoyed were fantastic and so compelling. The characters are absolutely awful. There is not a single nice thing that can be said for any of them, but it’s a testament to Tartt’s writing that I didn’t DNF on that basis alone. Despite the characters being absolutely horrible people, you’re still morbidly curious about what will happen to them and you’re curious to hear the stories they have to tell.

Ultimately, this wasn’t my cup of tea but I certainly appreciate having finally read this. Tartt is a great writer but this will likely be my first and last book by her.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng — ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

If I were to rate based on quality alone, I’d give Little Fires Everywhere 5 stars. If I were to rate based on enjoyment, 2.5 maybe? And although 3.5 is not technically the average of those two, it felt like the right rating for it. Little Fires Everywhere is phenomenally written. Ng is truly a spectacular writer and if you are someone who enjoys character-driven stories with deeply flawed and unreliable characters, you’ll love this. I’ve come to learn that I am not one of those people, however. I am also not a fan of open-ended stories. I am a basic bitch who loves closure and a good HEA. Still, I can appreciate the beauty and excellence of this story without actually having enjoyed it.

The Party Crasher* by Sophie Kinsella — ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

I was, admittedly, nervous going in to The Party Crasher, having been burned and let down by I Owe You One, but The Party Crasher is much, much better. It’s got the hallmarks of a classic Kinsella book: charming, a bit ridiculous, and very, very, British. Where The Party Crasher improves upon I Owe You One is that the characters aren’t as ridiculous and over-the-top, the main character isn’t exasperating, and there’s more depth to the story.

It’s a quick and easy read, and the second-chance romance is very sweet. It is not the main focus of the story, however, but I generally view Kinsella’s books as women’s fiction more than romance.

And although the characters are much more likable in this than in I Owe You One, it’s worth noting that the characters still make the most exasperating decisions, fail to communicate, and are a bit too twee and quirky to feel real or genuine.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This has not impacted my review or opinion in any way; all opinions are my own.

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