Cardinal Times staff reviews Sputnik Sweetheart and One of Us is Lying

Mei Xu and Devyn McMillen

During online school, more and more students have discovered old and new passions to fill their time. For many, one of these passions is reading books. Below are a few our our favorites.

Sputnik Sweatheart is a book written in 1999 by Haruki Murakami. (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble)

Mei Xu:

Title: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Pages: 210

Genre: Romance, Fiction, Cultural (work in translation)

Release Date: 1999

Favorite Quote: “So that’s how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that’s stolen from us… even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence.”

Synopsis: Sumire, a recent college drop-out, finds herself in love for the first time with Miu, a woman 17 years older than her. The narrator, K, is good friends with Sumire from college, and together, they bond over phone calls in the early mornings in which Sumire pines K for advice on love, writing and making sense of the world. Sputnik Sweetheart explores the intense, yet unrequited, love triangle between Sumire, Miu and K, and delves into themes such as the complexity of relationships, longing, isolation and the forever incompleteness attached with human desire. 

Why I like it: Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors, and Sputnik Sweetheart is one of my favorite books by Murakami. The way that he writes is deeply personal, as if each sentence is like a warm hug. I love Sputnik Sweetheart, as it yields inevitable self-reflection. The book itself is centered around a “shell of our former selves” perspective and provokes an innate awareness of the internal loneliness of life while questioning the futile attempts that humans make to conceal this devouring feeling. Oh, and it’s also filled with literary techniques, such as symbolism and metaphors, which only add to the excitement. 

Devyn McMillen

Title: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying is a book written in 2019 by Karen M. McManus. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Pages: 327

Genre: Murder Mystery

Release date: Jan. 11, 2019

Favorite Quote: “Welcome to life in a small town. You’re only as good as the best thing your family’s done. Or the worst.”

Synopsis: Twin high school students, Ellery and Ezra, are forced to move to their mother’s hometown, Echo Ridge, to live with their grandmother while their mother is in rehab. When they arrive, they come to find out why their mother refused to tell them about her childhood growing up in Echo Ridge: her sister, the homecoming queen, went missing and was never found when they were only teenagers. Though their aunt was the first homecoming queen to go missing in Echo Ridge, she certainly wasn’t the last….

Why I like it: I like it because the outcome is not predictable, but it’s not out of the blue or random either. In my opinion, McManus does a very good job of making sure you don’t know until the very end what is going to happen, which can be hard to find in a murder mystery. The writing is disturbing and scary without being unnecessarily violent or graphic. And, best of all, it’s the kind of book you can re-read over and over, and still be able to experience the thrill of the mystery each time. 

If you’re interested in hearing other book recommendations from Cardinal Times staff members, check out this article.

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