Book Reviews

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune was unlike any story I’ve ever read before. Though there is a lot of Magical Realism sweeping through bookstores, this does something the others don’t. For one thing, the magic isn’t heavily focused. And two, the magic they are referring to is the youth who are beings or have powers we the reader are familiar with. Thus it isn’t such a stretch to imagine these magical beings in our world.

But what really works for this book is Linus Baker, a caseworker for the magical youth from the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, or DICOMY for short. DICOMY is a government agency that requires all magical beings to be registered, and any youth cast aside without a home were sent to orphanages. That’s where Linus comes in.

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Attachments by Jeff Arch

As a genre fiction publication created by—and for!—Emerson College students and alums, nothing gives us more pleasure than celebrating the literary achievements of our peers. This week at Page Turner Magazine, we’re taking a break from judging submissions to highlight a novel written by one of our college’s distinguished graduates, Academy Award-nominated Jeff Arch.

Usually you hear of people making the leap from page to screen, but Arch has done the reverse—more than 28 years after penning the screenplay for the beloved hit rom-com, Sleepless in Seattle, the Emerson College alum (Class of ’76) published his first novel, Attachments, in May.

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The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

Review by Abigail Lee

Motherhood is a minefield in The Lost Daughter, Elena Ferrante’s 2006 novel originally written in Italian. The book was adapted into a Netflix movie in late 2021, which has brought a new wave of readers to the story. Ferrante has perfected how to explore the friction between the self and social convention, and The Lost Daughter feels like a perfect distillation of the second-wave feminist themes that populate her many works. 

The Lost Daughter is about an educated woman who, originally hailing from the poorer Naples, has ascended to the middle class of northern Italy. Leda is a 47-year-old empty nester who finds that after her two daughters leave home, she suddenly feels an unburdened liberation. She decides to take a summer vacation on the Ionian coast, and all goes well until one day, a rowdy Neapolitan family arrives at the beach. They remind her of her own family: “Every question sounded on their lips like an order barely disguised by a false good humor.” Leda notices a woman who stands out from that group, a beautiful young mother named Nina who plays with her daughter Elena. 

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Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan

Let’s just admit it—high school was hell. And if it wasn’t, I’m so happy for you. But for most of us, high school was a confusing time because we were trying to figure out who we were. And this novel definitely takes you back to that time. 

Yet it isn’t some blast from the past. Despite how advanced the human race has become, we still face intolerance, bigotry, and suppression of self. And this book absolutely tackles that. However, it digs deeper into the complexities of being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you’re out or not, everything isn’t so black and white and things get even more complicated when you’re falling in love.

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