Topiary Reading Club Vol. XVIII: Plane & Vacation Reads
The languid of summer is riddled with long travels and languid days lounging on the sand. This 18th volume of TRC presents the perfect reads to supplement two quintessential summery scenarios: plane rides and beach vacations.
PART I: PLANE READS
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
“Perfection comes at a sacrifice.”
Crazy Rich Asians is a 2013 romcom that begins with Chinese-American Rachel Chu accompanying her boyfriend, Nick Young, to his home in Singapore during the summer for the wedding of the season. Prior to the trip, Rachel thought that Nick belonged to a modest Chinese family, but soon she discovers that he is actually the heir of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Singapore, and that by dating him, she has basically gained a target on her back, making her victim to relentless scheming and backbiting. In arriving in Singapore, Rachel is immediately thrown into a ruthless society of out-of-this-world opulence where she encounters people like Astrid, the It Girl of Singaporean society; Eddie, a spoiled private banker who lives in Hong Kong; and Eleanor, the domineering mother of Nick. The novel unearths the dynamics between old money and new money, between overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese, and provides a glimpse into the fabulous reality of the filthy rich. Dramatic, ridiculously funny, and wildly addicting, Crazy Rich Asians is the ideal read to pick up and speed through during a flight—you won’t even notice the hours passing by.
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
“Everything’s a game, Avery Grambs. The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.”
Avery Grambs had a clear-cut plan to escape poverty and gain a better life: study hard and secure a scholarship. But her life and her plans take a complete turn when deceased billionaire Tobias Hawthorne leaves all his wealth to Avery in his will. What’s peculiar about all this is that Avery has no idea who Tobias Hawthorn is—she has never met him, never seen him, and, as far as she’s aware, she possesses no connection to him. Unfortunately for Avery, acquiring the fortune isn’t as simple as it may seem—she first must fulfill a few strange conditions, one of them being that she must live in the Hawthorne family manor for one year. In the Hawthorne House resides a series of secret passages, riddles, and codes, but most importantly, the house is also home to the dispossessed family of Tobias—four sharp and alluring grandsons who had always expected to be the ones to receive the fortune. Thrust into a dazzling world of splendor filled with twists and dangers at every corner, Avery must learn how to play the game to survive it. Fast-paced and utterly un-put-downable, The Inheritance Game is a thrilling mystery that’ll leave readers itching to discover more, a deliciously entertaining escape to get lost in on the way to your destination.
PART II: VACATION READS
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
“I wish I could bottle this moment and wear it as a perfume. It would always be with me. Everywhere I went, he’d be there too, and so I’d always feel like myself.”
Poppy and Alex have been best friends since college despite being polar opposites—Poppy is a wild and adventurous free spirit, while Alex is more of a serene homebody. Throughout their decade-long friendship, the two would go on a trip together every single summer without fail. But the book opens with readers finding out that their annual trips had halted two years ago as a result of a falling out, and now Poppy and Alex had not made contact since. In present day, Poppy finds herself discontented in spite of her glamorous life in New York City working her dream job. She realizes that the last time she felt genuine happiness was when she was with her best friend, so she decides to reach out to Alex to ask for one more vacation in hopes of rekindling their relationship and making everything right. People We Meet on Vacation follows this one pivotal summer trip, with flashbacks to Poppy and Alex’s past summer trips, prompting readers to piece the puzzle of the falling out and taking them on a fun and feel-good journey of Poppy and Alex’s history, friendship, separation, and reconnection.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
“But as long as you know your constellations, you're never lost.”
Seventeen-year-old Taylor Edwards has always had a penchant for running away when things get complicated. But when the devastating news breaks out that her father is diagnosed with cancer, her parents decide to take the family on a summer trip to their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. And suddenly, she can no longer run away. Because of an incident in the past, Taylor hadn’t been to the summerhouse in five years, and in returning, she finds that there are things that have stayed the same and things that have changed—like her ex-best friend, Lucy, and her first boyfriend, Henry Crosby. Here, Taylor is forced to confront the people and remnants of her past, and to face all the possibilities of the present, all the while fearing the inevitable heartbreak of the future. Morgan Matson brings readers an emotional story of a once distant family learning to draw closer together and a girl navigating change and young adulthood, a story of what it means to have hope in the midst of grief, what it means to give and gain second chances.
We’re wishing you sunny skies, relaxing shores, and safe and smooth travels as you devour these compelling and summery reads.