What I Read In July

I’m really having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that August is on Saturday! I usually do this post the last day of the month, but tomorrow is Friday and I reserve that for “On My Radar.” It felt like I did more reading than I actually did in July. I had big goals and didn’t quite get there. Work has really picked up for me. This happens every year and it still catches me off guard a bit. (Probably more so because the second quarter was much slower than usual!)

Carly sitting in a boathouse while reading Escape Room

ESCAPE ROOM: 3.75/5 Stars

I had read some heavier books in June and this was the perfect “palate cleanser.” I needed something light and easy to get through. This is about a group of teenagers who go into an escape room for fun and it turns out to be real… Let me just say, I’ll never go into an escape room again. It was a little cheesy and predictable but, again, a very nice “easy” summer read. If you want a fast-paced creepy thriller… do this!


READ THIS. I wish I had read it in my mid-twenties. I purchased this after I really fell in love with Erica Williams Simon’s tweets about activism. I so appreciated her perspective and I think a lot of women can relate to her experiences of feeling “lost” in her career. Most of the book is about rewriting the stories you’ve built about yourself (which is something I 100% believe in). I feel like I stumbled through my own journey on my own and just found myself nodding in agreement with her… again, I wish I had read this sooner!!!


Hands down, A Most Beautiful Thing was my most anticipated release of 2020. It’s about America’s first all-black high school rowing team. As someone who rowed/coxed through high school and college, the sport still means a lot to me. Even if you’re not into crew, this is such an important read still. It’s a bit of a memoir, but it also highlights the importance of mentorship, sports for youth, inclusion, and advocacy. EVERY high school teacher and coach should read this.

28 SUMMERS: 4.5/5 Stars

You know I’m Elin Hilderbrand’s biggest fan! She is one of my favorite authors and I love her depictions of Nantucket and summer. This was a fantastic read, but it’s not your typical “Elin Hilderbrand” book so that caught me off guard a bit. In fact, it was quite emotional to read… I love that she tried something different and I still think she knocked it out of the park!! It’s about a couple who meets every year, just once a year over Labor Day weekend. They each have their own lives and relationships (in one case… marriage) but they have a special relationship for one weekend a year. This is a romantic rollercoaster. (And for my Georgetown people– lots of Georgetown + The Tombs references, which, of course, I loved.)


I have mixed feelings on this book. I thought it was a great examination of female friendships, but I had never listened to the two author’s podcast so a lot of the inside/personal anecdotes were lost on me. I almost wish the book had been purely research based (something like Quiet or a Brene Brown book) and less personal. I wanted more meat!!! I still walked away with plenty of tidbits and new information about friendships though. The section about interracial friendships was the most interesting to me by far followed by the section about friendship breakups. The second half of the book resonated a lot more with me, so don’t give up on it if the first bit doesn’t do it for you.

HOMEGOING: 4.75/5 Stars

So many people recommended this book and… I’m very glad I read it and would highly recommend it, but it wasn’t an easy book to read at all. Homegoing is written beautifully. So beautifully. It’s genius really. It starts with two half sisters from Africa– one who stays and another who is sold into slavery. The book follows each subsequent generation with each chapter like its own short story. (Though they’re all, naturally, interconnected.) The book covers race, racial injustice, family, trauma…. and how your family’s history is passed through to each generation. This would be a perfect choice for a college or even high school literature course– or if you’re in a very literary-minded book club. I definitely need to sit down with someone and deep dive this.

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I read Homegoing a few weeks ago and I am in for a deep dive! I’m not sure I *loved* it, but I definitely think about it more often than I thought I would.


You should try “Call me when you get home” for a great research based book on female friendships!! Always love your recommendations!

Julianne Buonocore

28 Summers was one of my favorites of 2020! I am a HUGE Elin fan as well. I read this a few months back in quarantine as I am a book blogger and felt it was the best escape for the time. I thought she handled the infidelity well and LOVED all the yearly pop culture references. One of her best for sure!!


I’ve seen a lot of people posting about Homegoing but wasn’t sure what it was actually about. This definitely makes me want to read it now!


It might not be exactly the book on friendship you’re looking for, but check out Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer. It’s definitely research-based and a great read!

Grace Atwood

Two things:

1 – Homegoing WRECKED ME. I was in such a dark hole reading it and every chapter broke my heart again and again! It was one of the hardest books to read for me.

2 – Funny you felt that way about Big Friendship! Since I am an avid listener of their podcast, I loved how personal it was. But can totally see why you felt the way you did.