BJ’s Standout Reads: November 2017

Looking for book recommendations?  Here are my top 3 from the end of October and early November. 

BJ Knapp enjoyed Girls on Fire by Robin WassermanGirls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

Nothing can come between teenage girl BFFs right?  Girls on Fire is an obsessive relationship between Lacey and Hannah.  Lacey is the town bad girl, and Hannah is the town good girl.  Set in the 90s their relationship explodes into violent passion.  What I liked about this book is how deep it got into the obsession these two girls had for each other.  It dives headlong into the there’s-more-than-meets-the-eye about girls.  Lacey and Hannah share their secrets, all but one of Lacey’s secrets.  When Hannah finds out the story takes a very dark turn that has the town good girl teetering on becoming very very bad.  I admit, I enjoyed how salacious it was.


BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Something Borrowed by Emily GiffinSomething Borrowed by Emily Giffin

This one bothered me, and I am kind of bothered by how much I got into this one.  It’s the story of Rachel, her best friend Darcy is getting married.  But one night Rachel and Darcy’s fiancé have too much to drink and sleep together.  The story is about Rachel reconciling her feelings for the fiancé and her best friend.

What bothered me about it is that I have a very visceral reaction to cheaters.  And I hate it when a cheater is portrayed to be someone I should have sympathy for—it makes me feel manipulated.  But the story was from Rachel’s perspective and we hear her thoughts about why she was justified in cheating with her best friend’s fiancé just months before the wedding. 

But it worked.  I DID feel sympathy.  Just like I felt sympathy in the movie Battle of the Sexes where Billie Jean King cheated on her husband with a woman.  If she were cheating with a man we would have called her terrible names.  But because she was cheating with a woman we were expected to be OK with it.  But in the end she was still cheating on her husband, and that’s NOT OK.

But Emily Giffin made me feel sympathetic to Rachel.  Rachel had known the fiancé first and she introduced him to Darcy.  But all along she’d wanted him for herself and didn’t have the courage.  And then she has to figure out what’s more important… the best friend or the man? 

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Perfectly Negative by Linda CarvelliPerfectly Negative by Linda Carvelli

This one was close to home for me, as I lost my own mother to cancer.  In her memoir, Linda Carvelli lost her mother to breast cancer, her father to lymphoma, her sister to breast cancer, and then herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s bad enough that she had to watch her family get picked off by this insidious disease one by one and has to face the fear of it in herself too.  And she learns how to cope and how to function with all the grief and the pain of her own diagnosis.  It was a reminder of how to be strong in the face of everything going to shit.


I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 11.17.17

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