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Book Reviews

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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Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli

When I first saw Lindsey Roth Culli’s young adult novel, Say Yes Summer, I figured it was going to be something akin to Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, The Year of Yes, which encourages you to say “yes” to opportunity when it comes knocking. I could tell that Say Yes Summer would be predictable, but in a good way—sometimes you just want to read a feel-good, summer-y novel. And, I’m happy to report that Say Yes Summer is a book you should say “yes” to. It’s an excellent summer read that takes you back to high school without actually having to go back to high school.

Camia Rhodes

Say Yes Summer centers around Rachel Walls, a girl who’s spent her entire life striving to achieve three goals: getting straight A’s, getting into the college of her dream, and getting an academic scholarship. In pursuit of these goals, she’s spent her whole high school existence saying “no” to everything: no dances, no parties, no boys, no anything fun. We meet Rachel on the night of her graduation and follow along as she celebrates this achievement by spending the summer before college, saying “yes” to everything that comes her way…including unexpected romance. 

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