Bev’s Imaginary Book Club: Beach Read, The Push, and Good Company

Books! And it’s like, prime time reading season. What is it about summer that has people all psychotically shoving paperbacks and e-readers and hardcovers and tablets in their faces? It’s the best.

Alright, so these three chosen books are pretty different from each other. One is an easy breezy read, one is D A R K ay eff, and one is just all around wonderful. So you need to know about all of them.

Which I feel like you already do because these books have been on this list and that list and best of and don’t miss and all the lists everywhere I look. And all year long!

Raise your hand if you’ve already read this. SEE? Okay, let’s discuss.

Beach Read! Let’s start with light and fun and summer sexy.

Look, I know you’re distracted by my janky punk thumbnail, but try to focus. This book is GREAT, for all the simple and steamy reasons you need a book to be great. We’ve got two writers, one dude, one gal, who knew each other back in their collegiate days. They weren’t friends really, more like nagging competitors. Nagging competitors who drunkenly shared one semi-steamy night at a frat house yeaaars ago. (but does he remember?) Fast forward to now and they’re both living next door to each other in these lake houses next to Lake Michigan.

Let me interject quickly to say that “BEACH” is sort of a stretch. They’re next to a lake. So erase all pristine images of clear blue waters next to some exotic sea and replace it with a lake. A lake. But listen, the book is good enough to forgive it. Once you get to know Gus’ floppy hair and washboard abs you’ll be like, “what lake?”

So right, it takes place over the course of one summer, and January (that’s her name) and Gus (abs) are both living in these neighboring lake houses (his has lots of windows which makes her stalking that much easier), trying to write their next masterpiece novels, but obviously they’re distracted by each other, January’s newly unearthed family secrets and tragic happenings, and the charm of a small town.

While, okay, a tad formulaic (nothing wrong with it), this book checks all the boxes. Family heartbreak (a funeral), a stressed mother-daughter relationship, youth and good skin and taut bodies (damnit!), rom-com charm, crazy hot scenes, a fourth-of-July pool party, the BIG MISTAKE, the tears, the takeout, the slutty best friend, the summer clock ticking as writing deadlines loom. You know. It’s great!

READ IT. (And yes, I’ve got The People We Meet on Vacation happening soon. You’ll see in a bit.)

The Push: Okaaaaaaaay. Saddle up, because this one is w i l d.

And yes, I could have painted my toenails before shooting this photo but honestly who has that time?

I’ve noticed the reviews are all over the place. And I can get it. It’s very sad. It’s disturbing. You have to be in the right headspace for it. But it’s quick and thrilling and twisted and oddly fit for a summer read!

Okay, it’s a new mom who’s come from a line of abusive women in her maternal lineage, and she’s terrified she’ll be the exact same. She has baby daughter Violet, with her husband Fox. Things are – strained. Violet grows up and there are all these red flags (but are there?) of her impending psychotic behavior. But is it in Blythe’s (the mom, forgot to tell you her name) head? Or did that thing that she thinks she saw really happen just now? Yes I’m being cryptic because I don’t want to give anything away.

The book flip flops from Blythe’s childhood to her mom’s childhood to her mom’s mom’s childhood to today, to give us a better understanding of why Blythe is so paranoid to become an abusive mom. Of course the marriage is stressed and eventually doomed (this gives nothing away), and Blythe has to get, um, creative with how she’s able to keep up with Violet and Fox’s new life “without” her.

But it’s the last line, the very last line that will have you bolting from your seat or bed or sofa or lounge chair or pool chair and screaming, “I KNEW IT!” to anyone in a 12-mile radius.

But did you know it? What exactly did you know? What did you think you knew?

It’s fantastic. Read it!

Good Company: Ohhhh it’s just so good (company), you guys.

It’s one of those books that warms you, makes you miss your friends, make you cringe, makes you sad, makes you so, so happy, makes you want to be in theater and/or television.

So the broader story is – these four friends (two married couples), all around 50 years old. Margot and David, Flora and Julian, with their 18-year old daughter Ruby, who just graduated high school is about to embark on her early adulthood life. They all started out in the New York City theater scene way back when, eventually making their way to the Los Angeles on-screen scene. It begins by Flora finding her husband’s wedding ring in the bottom of a filing cabinet in their garage. But he lost that wedding ring in a pond like, 15 years ago. Or he said he did. Oh shiiiiii. So then it just UNRAVELS from there, man. Who knows what, who’s kept what details from whom, what actually happened, how do we keep this from our 18 year old daughter. Wait, what’s even going on with our 18-year old daughter? And then there’s a stroke during a heart surgery on a baby. Dude I’m telling you, it’s a good (company) one.

The book’s epic strength is character development. The story is equal parts captivating and heartbreaking, but there is just so much depth to each character, that you find yourself not sure whose hashtag team to be on. New York’s or LA’s? (ba-domp.)

It’s wonderful! An easy read, relatable, descriptive, beautiful, charming, sweet, heartbreaking. And it will make you miss your friends and want to recreate old photos.

Read it!

So here’s what’s up for the next couple of months! I did finish The Paris Wife (not in this stack) and am soooo excited to talk about what a turd Ernest Hemmingway was in person with you on June 29th at the French Market! (4-6pm, if you need the reminder) Also, last night I started Golden Girl because I just couldn’t wait another minute for it. And yes, there’s another Elin in the stack because you know Ashlee and I are working our way back through her archives. Nothing wrong with it.

Have you read any of these? What’s been your absolute fave (not fav) summer read so far? I have more I’m itching to add, but I need to make a dent in this word mountain first.

Thanks for humoring me! Bye!

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20 Responses to Bev’s Imaginary Book Club: Beach Read, The Push, and Good Company

  1. Janel June 15, 2021 at 8:51 am #
    The only one of your books that I have read is Push. I had the exact same reaction to the last line. Chills. Dark topic but certainly for a reaction from me. Creepy kids scare me!
  2. Christine June 15, 2021 at 9:30 am #
    I’ve read The Rumor-so good! But it’s an Elin, so of course it’s good!
  3. Candace S June 15, 2021 at 10:23 am #
    OHH! Highly recommend "The Flatshare" if you haven't already read it. Super fun and light! Also, it's set in the UK so you can imagine the accents while you read, if you're in to that sort of thing.
  4. Faith June 15, 2021 at 10:24 am #
    Just finished The Push last week after your review. And oh my. I could hardly put it down. It was exactly as you said…so sad and yet and that last line you are so right!
  5. Sara W(sallyhp) June 15, 2021 at 11:01 am #
    I just read People We Meet on Vacation in one day! It’s such a good like, elevated fluff - exactly what i needed! Crying in H Mart was excellent and i highly reccomend the audible because the author reads it and you get all the correct food pronunciation-grief and love shown through food-(chef’s kiss). Malibu Rising and Carrie are my two current reads. And my tbr list is so long but i just downloaded Rib King for a book club and it sounds so interesting.
  6. Bonnie Bonnivier June 15, 2021 at 11:37 am #
    Ok, I was so disturbed by your disparaging comments about Lake Michigan I had to stop reading your blog to respond. It appears you have never had the opportunity to visit Lake Michigan, or perhaps any of the Great Lakes? Lake Michigan has beaches that are glorious, beyond pristine, vast, and quite often sparingly populated. It is not a “lake” in the normal sense. It is large enough to create its own weather patterns. If I was more technically savvy, I would attach a few photos as examples (or evidence). And I read this book some time ago, and thought the book didn’t do the lake justice either 🤣
    • Bev Weidner June 15, 2021 at 11:47 am #
      Ohhh but I wasn't dissing Lake Michigan at all! I was just saying that for the word BEACH, you expect something else. I've never been, but I do know it's beautiful. And like you said, it didn't really paint Lake Michigan the way it's deserved! :)
  7. dawne June 15, 2021 at 12:06 pm #
    Beach read is on my list, the push OMG! I feel like it needs a follow up/sequel, so twisty and how much can one person take. I cried at one point and gasped at several. But yes that last line, wowser!
  8. Smitha June 15, 2021 at 12:55 pm #
    I am reading Soulmate Equation now and will read People on Vacation next! LOVED Beach Read and added your other two to my (too long) TBR pile!
  9. Kristin L June 15, 2021 at 1:33 pm #
    Totally agree with your review of The Push. Really liked it… and that ending! I totally knew it!! For your new book stack, I’ve read In Five Years and I’m super intrigued on your thoughts after you’ve read it. I waiver between really liking it and thinking it’s just ok. The premise is good and I like how everything ties together, but I feel like it needed more… something. Adding your other books to my forever-long list!!
  10. Joy June 15, 2021 at 1:59 pm #
    Oh my God. I tore through The Push in a day and a half over Spring Break, and could. not. put. it. down. And yes, I too screamed at the end, which was unfortunate, given that I was in a car returning from said Spring Break with my husband, B/SIL, and nieces, at the time. Anyway. If you loved The Push, add The First Day of Spring, by Nancy Tucker, to your list. I described it to a friend as "picture the girl from The Push, only in England and with a miserable childhood, trying to "break the cycle," so to speak, with her own daughter. So, so, good. And recommended by the author of The Push!
  11. Heather June 15, 2021 at 3:27 pm #
    I've read the three books that you mentioned. I think that Good Company was my fav of the three. Did you ever read We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver? The Push had a similar storyline to it, but I think that I liked the Kevin book more. I'm listening to Malibu Rising right now and am really enjoying it.
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  13. Sonia MacQueen June 17, 2021 at 11:08 am #
    oooohhhhh!!! New Elin book !!! yay!!! Getting all of these TODAY !!!! Thank you for the great descriptiions of all them. And I totally get what you mean when you think "beach" ! I live in Michigan and on the Gulf of Mexico - I would think the latter. :) :)
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  16. Kristy June 20, 2021 at 2:11 am #
    Omg, I tore through The Push in two nights, I couldn't put it down!! So good and twisted!!

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