Book Review: “The Two Lives of Lydia Bird” by Josie Silver

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. It’s been this way since Lydia Bird and Freddie Hunter were fourteen years old. But Lydia’s world turns upside down when Freddie dies on her 28th birthday because of a car accident. Lost and grieving, she starts taking experimental pills to help her sleep. Then the pills don’t just help her sleep: they take her to a world where Freddie lives. But real life goes on, whether she is asleep or awake. Now Lydia has to make a choice: stay in her dreamworld with Freddie, or figure out her new life without him.


There’s no sugarcoating the pain of losing the love of your life, but Josie Silver takes you through Lydia’s grieving process with empathy and understanding. I was genuinely afraid that the plot would turn into someone spiraling into drug addiction after the loss of a loved one (my heart wasn’t ready for that), but instead, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a painfully honest but still hopeful look at love and loss – the pain, denial, and anger of it all, but still managing to find your way out. The way out may not be fast, it will be painful, and will strain your relationships with your surviving loved ones, but it is possible.

The book is told from Lydia’s point-of-view, so we get a front row seat to everything that she’s feeling. She’s a fleshed-out character, with distinct motivations and thought processes. The secondary characters – Jonah Jones (Freddie’s best friend who was actually Lydia’s friend first), her sister Elle, and her mom – are also important to Lydia’s journey. Though we only see them in the context of Lydia’s journey, Ms. Silver writes Lydia to be observant enough that we get to see the other characters’ own pain. This is especially important for Jonah, who lost his best friend as well. We get to see how Lydia’s family tries so hard to be supportive and how much that support costs them.

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Book Review: “The Wedding Party” by Jasmine Guillory

Two people who can’t stand each other but have burning chemistry, inconvenient feelings, and a wedding all come together for Jasmine Guillory’s entertaining romance novel The Wedding Party.

Maddie and Theo are two of Alexa’s best friends. To clarify: Maddie and Theo are best friends with Alexa separately. But with each other? Not so much. Maddie thinks Theo has a stick up his ass and is condescending towards her career as a personal stylist, while Theo thinks Maddie is just a frivolous girl who only cares about clothes and celebrities. But after a hot but unexpected evening between the sheets, they find that they can’t get the other person out of their heads. The solution? Hook up in secret but break up after Alexa’s wedding.

Overall, The Wedding Party is a fun read. Maddie and Theo as characters are fleshed out, with distinct personalities and backgrounds and motivations that match said background. For better or for worse, there are no plot twists or deus ex machinas in the story. The situations and issues that come up are realistic (e.g. Theo’s big rally that goes south and Maddie’s possible new job), and the plot concludes organically, with turning points that make sense for the characters. The supporting characters like Maddie’s mom Vivian are also well-formed, and interact naturally with the leads.

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