How to Start a Fire
Anna and Kate are roommates who meet Georgianna (George) the night that she is passed out on the front lawn of a party. The two girls bring George to their house in a shopping cart and from this moment, their futures are linked. The book bounces between the past and the present: the past girls have dreams. The present girls are a barista, a doctor who has lost her medical license and a mom who gave up her career for an abusive, philandering husband. Behind this is the hint of something awful and unspoken that happened between the three. I really loved this book. Parts of it were hard for me to follow when the time would jump, but the way their lives were linked was fascinating.
Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)
This is a book that got into my brain. Swamplandia! is the theme park owned by the Bigtree family. They aren't really Native Americans, but for the sake of showmanship, they pretend to be. The book introduces us to the family dynamic by talking about Hilola Bigtree, famous alligator wrestler, who died not by a tragic alligator bite but from ovarian cancer. In the family also is her husband, Chief, and her children, Kiwi, Osceola and Ava. Ava is the youngest and training to be an alligator wrestler like her mom, until it all starts to fall apart. A new bigger, more amazing theme park opens nearby, called World of Darkness and fashioned after the Underworld. Swamplandia! loses tourists until there are none left. Kiwi escapes to the mainland to attend high school and try to earn money to save the family theme park, Chief leaves on one of his "business trip," Osceola believes she can talk to spirits and claims to be in love with and getting married to the ghost of a Dredger whom she will follow to the Underworld, while Ava sets out to save her sister. There were times when I didn't know if this book was supernatural or if it was showing a dark side of human nature, and it definitely weighed heavily on my mind. The narration switched back and forth between Kiwi and Ava. I will admit that I didn't find Kiwi's parts as interesting because what Ava was going through was so worrisome, but I loved this book. It was truly unique and stunning in its own way.