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Landline
Rainbow Rowell
Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World
Lev Grossman, Tiffany Reisz, Rachel Caine, Jen Zern, Heidi Tandy, Rukmini Pande, Samira Nadkarni, Wendy C. Fries, Jolie Fontenot, Randi Flanagan, Tish Beaty, Cyndy Aleo, Christina Lauren, V. Arrow, Brad Bell, Andrew Shaffer, Darren Wershler, Anne Jamison, Jules Wilkinson, R
A Family Daughter - Maile Meloy There are actually quite a few daughters who figure prominently in the story: Santerre family matriarch Yvette's daughters Margot and Clarissa, daughters-in-law Saffron and Katya, and especially Clarissa's daughter Abby, who is at the center of it all. The Santerre women were introduced in Maile Meloy's earlier novel, Liars and Saints, and the basic framework for this story was laid out there as well. However, I don't think it's required to read the earlier novel before this one, since A Family Daughter's perspective is different. In some ways, the two books taken together remind my of Mona Simpson's approach to the family in Anywhere but Here and The Lost Father - companion pieces as opposed to a series. Reading them in order is helpful, but not strictly necessary to understanding the characters' history, because this book isn't primarily about what happens.

I read Liars and Saints during my spring vacation last year, and was absolutely sucked into it - so much so that I didn't want to read the follow-up right away. I needed some distance. However, I may have waited a little too long; I didn't like A Family Daughter quite as much as I wanted to, or expected to. I think Meloy may have spread her story a little thin this time, spending too much time with some characters and not enough with others. I felt more distant from the Santerres this time around, but maybe my expectations were just a bit too high.

Meloy has a spare writing style that I find appealing, and while I think she draws characters very well, I felt that she could have filled them in a little more in this book. However, I still found the characters and their story emotionally affecting. There's a lot of personal drama that would verge on soap-operatic in some other authors' hands, but Meloy is good at portraying drama with minimal melodrama. A Family Daughter has enough plot to make it a fast and involving read, with enough emotional resonance to make it memorable. However, if you decide to read both books, you might not want to take as much time between them as I did.