Two on One: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton and Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard

Two on One: Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton and Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard

You probably already know that I'm a huge fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise; for me, it is a fascinating social experiment (the "actors" know they are being staged, yet can't help falling for the scheme) and a great way to entertain myself during treadmill runs. We're in the midst of Becca's season of The Bachelorette, so I couldn't resist pulling out this old favorite. 

If you're familiar with the show, there are usually a couple of instances during the season when two individuals go on a date with either The Bachelor or Bachelorette and one of them is sent home; it's called a two on one date, hence the name of this post. 

The followed novels were both published recently and I really struggled to give either of them more than 2-3 stars; nevertheless, they both have merit so read on to find out which one gets the rose! 

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Social Creature
by Tara Isabella Burton
273 pages
Doubleday (June 5, 2018)
Advance copy provided by publisher

Much like the way in which I was curious to read Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (which earned its own hashtag #WTFthatending), I could not resist Social Creature; I'd heard that it was dark and twisty, full of unlikable characters and an unreliable narrator, all favorite elements of mine. Unlike Behind Her Eyes, I didn't feel very invested in the story; I simply kept hanging on because I assumed crazy things would happen...and they did, so I was not disappointed. Having said that, readers must suspend their disbelief on a grand scale and dive right into this world; it is not for the faint of heart, I won't be recommending it to everyone, but I can guarantee that your mouth will drop open on multiple occasions. 

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Visible Empire
by Hannah Pittard
288 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (June 5, 2018)
Advance copy provided by publisher

As a fan of previous Hannah Pittard novels, I was excited to try her latest endeavor: a historical fiction novel about an actual plane crash that occurred in 1962 - a flight from France to Atlanta, that included many of the movers of shakers of the 1960s arts and entertainment world, and the aftermath of crash through the stories of those left behind. Pittard's writing is beautiful, as always, which is the only thing that kept me going through this novel; while I certainly appreciated all of the historical references, including a character who is struggling with the racial tension and white privilege of the South, I think I was expecting something different. Visible Empire is a very slow burn; it will be great for those of you who can disregard the plane crash and focus on a different narrative.  

Will You Accept This Rose?

Even though I have my issues with it, Social Creature will be getting the rose on this date; the author has a very interesting background (studied theology, has written about religious cults) and this novel, her debut, is certainly an attention-grabber. Without a doubt, I will be interested in any new fiction titles she publishes and I will not stop thinking about this one any time soon! In my estimation, any story that has the power to keep me turning pages, despite my reluctance, and has me going crazy to discuss the story with others is a keeper! 

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman