Hello, Cannonballers! Whether school’s out or not, the time for summer book club is nearly upon us.
Since I decided that my first time participating in CannonBookClub in any way, shape, or form should involve me organizing and hosting, I figured the smart plan would be to keep things simple: one book, nothing too heavy. It was a good plan, but then I remembered that much like summer in the hometown I’ll soon be moving back to (New Orleans, LA), I have ZERO chill.
So, without any further ado whatsoever…
The new plan
Two genres, four books, one newbie book club host to chat with you about them all.
Hot Fun in the Summertime
Romance and Mystery
- Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn
- Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky
- Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
- Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
Clayborn’s Georgie, All Along won the romance popular vote in the Cannonball Read volunteer Slack. But especially since book club is happening during Pride Month, including the second-place selection—Timothy Janovsky’s Never Been Kissed, described as “a feel-good summer LGBTQIA+ New Adult RomCom”—seemed like a no-brainer. And since I was already planning to listen in the coming weeks to Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute, Talia Hibbert’s YA romance debut, it seemed like I might as well include it, too. It also has the benefit of being YA, so if anyone’s got a Jr. Cannonballer who wants to read along…
Finally, as we thought about a second not-heavy genre, my thoughts naturally turned to murder mysteries.
Let me explain: When I was 13, I spent the entire summer reading murder mysteries. No idea why that was the genre of choice that year, but that summer is probably the reason that as soon as the idea of a mystery came up, I thought it was just the thing for a summer book club. Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo is a cozy mystery, which seemed like the way to go both because it’s the lighter side of the mystery genre, and because while I will be sweating it up in New Orleans come the end of June, some of you may be several weeks into winter and ready to curl up with a hot cup of ginger tea and a good book.
How #CannonBookClub Works
- There’s just about six weeks to read any or all of the selections. I’ll post some discussion topics and a reminder of the upcoming discussions a couple of weeks beforehand (so in about a month). Once discussion posts go live on June 23, I hope folks will join in!
- I’m going to try to get reviews posted before the discussion groups go live on the 23rd, and I hope some of you will, as well. If you do post reviews (whether before then or not), remember to tag your posts with “CannonBookClub.” You can find more info about tagging in the Cannonball Read FAQ.
- Want to join in on one or both of the Zoom discussions on June 24 (time TBD)? Be sure to sign up for Cannon Fodder, the Cannonball Read newsletter, if you haven’t already!
About the Selections
Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t another reinvention.”
Georgie Mulcahy has spent several years making sure other people get what they want. Suddenly cut loose from her job as a personal assistant when her employer decides to retire, Georgie finds herself back in her small hometown, “jobless and homeless and entirely without a plan,” which aligns far too well with the ghost of Georgie past. But she stumbles across two things I strongly suspect are going to help her figure things out: an old diary full of “possibilities she once imagined” and Levi Fanning, a “quiet, grouchy man” with ghosts of his own.
Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky
“Every perfect first kiss has three key elements…”
Wren Roland is newly 22, recently out and still questioning, just about to graduate from college, and looking forward to the comfortable safety of his summer job at the local drive-in. A film lover and a “hopeless romantic (heavy on the hopeless),” Wren has never been kissed, and he’s been holding out for the perfect first. After a night of birthday drinking (and an ill-advised vanilla vodka nightcap), Wren stumbles drunkenly to his ”Pre-Coming-Out-Almost-Kisses folder,” where he’s kept four unsent emails, each written after a first kiss that never was. The morning after, his hangover is overshadowed by the memory of sending those emails, the sad reality that time travel is not a thing, and the response he gets from Derek Haverford, the most painful of the ones who got away.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
“It’s the first day of school, and I’m already being forced to socialize.”
Celine Bangura is a self-described TikTok “conspiracy theorist” with big plans: “get into Cambridge, …get an excellent law degree and take over the word.” Bradley Graeme is a star student-athlete whose grades are almost as good as Celine’s and whose “brain…is kind of a dick.” Former friends turned archenemies, Celine and Bradley are forced to work as a team for the chance to win a full university scholarship, which sounds like the end of a beautiful enemy-ship to me.
This is Hibbert’s first YA romance. Going on The Princess Trap and Get a Life, Chloe Brown, I expect a bit of emotional heft, well-drawn characters, and a healthy dose of humor. Given that it’s YA, I’m sure it will be much, much less steamy.
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P Manansala
“My name is Lila Macapagal, and my life has become a rom-com cliche.”
After a bad breakup, Lila Macapagal moves back to her small hometown and throws herself into saving her family’s restaurant. As Lila’s aunties try to find her a new love, her high-school ex—who is also both a “notoriously nasty food critic” and the son of the “shady landlord” Lila is trying to save the restaurant from—dies after trying a new dish Lila has just created, making her the prime suspect.