Book Nook – Kat Wahl, Writer
Missed Translations, Sopan Deb (2020)
It is a common analogy applied to books that they all either fall into the category of windows, or mirrors. This one book is very firmly a window.
For other readers it may be less firmly so, but what is so wonderful about Missed Translations is the pure specific uniqueness of a family in all (or at least many) of its moving pieces. A fairly deep look into a family influenced by a host of different forces and personalities, vastly different from your family in the way that every family is vastly different. Author Sopan Deb provides a sketch, for the reader and, it seems, for themself, of an estranged family full of damaged people who are all at different points in the pain-staking process of stitching themselves back together. The book does not pretend to represent a culture, or the experience of any group of people other than that of the Deb family. It is personal, well organized, and entirely fascinating.
I encourage anyone to experience this window, or another like it. Find an experience other than your own, find a book that does not function as a mirror– it was such a valuable experience to me. I think Missed Translations would be most interesting to readers of high school age or older.
People We Meet On Vacation, Emily Henry (2021)
Let’s face it: we love romantic comedies, but the idea that a couple of people can meet, blunder around for a few weeks, or even days, and come out soul mates is not terribly relatable. If you agree with me here, this might be the book you’ve been looking for. The love interests have known each other for so long, it almost feels like most of the story happens before the book actually begins. The big moments, though cinematic, are not sudden rushes of emotion, but instead a decade of emotions suddenly rushing in. And although I would definitely categorize it as a romcom, it is also very much a coming of age story. We grow up with main characters Alex and Poppy, even as they grow up with each other. People We Meet on Vacation balances the relatable with the aspirational, the authentic with the dramatic, and it all makes you fall in love.
This book is recommended for readers 15 and older who liked the Netflix original movies Always Be My Maybe and Eurovision, or books like Fangs (Sarah Anderson) and An Abundance of Katherines (John Green).