Read with Jenna Book List: The Best Books Ranked

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Looking for all the books on the Read with Jenna Book List ranked? You’ve come to the correct place!

Jenna Bush Hager didn’t start her book club until early 2019, so it’s not nearly as long as Reese’s. (You can find the Reese list ranked here).

While her list is shorter in number, the vast majority of the books we’ve read from her list have been exemplary. Think 5, 4.5, and 4 star reads!

Jackie is a HUGE fan of Jenna’s picks for that reason. Even the books we haven’t read yet are still scattered across our homes waiting for their moment to shine.

So check out the ranked list below and come back monthly to see the newest picks and the updated rankings!

5 Star Picks From The Jenna Bush Hager Book Club

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Thanks to HMH Books and for my review copy. Black Buck was everything I thought it would be and more! At times this book reminded me of the subtle racism in Such a Fun Age but it was also reminiscent of the systemic racism in The Nickel Boys. And then there was the whole Wolf of Wall Street portion that literally had me picturing Leo screaming on the trading room floor.⁣ It was both entertaining and thought-provoking. 5 stars.

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

I don’t want to say I loved this book, because the subject matter is gritty and dark, and yet I found myself enjoying it deeply.⁣ I loved the unconventional friendships and the stark look at racist double standards in equal measure.⁣

When 14-year-old, Hispanic, Gloria is raped by an older white man, the town of Odessa reacts strongly. Many people take one side, few take the other. ⁣ This story is dark but filled with hope. I connected to many of the characters and their struggles. It’s set in 1976, but quite honestly it reads very true today.⁣

This book was a halfway top 20 pick of 2020 for Kirsten, even though it eventually was left off the best of the year list.

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

The abuse suffered by the women in the book was heartwrenching.  It looks at three generations of Palestinian-American women and their struggles to bloom and become independent. 

I am shocked at the treatment of these women.  Isra is a 17-year-old girl in Palestine entertaining suitors.  She finds herself betrothed and off to live in the United States with a new husband that she has met only a few times. 

In New York, 17-year-old Deya wants to go to college before she is married,  Her grandmother Fareeda is insistent that she be married first. Rum does an unbelievable job telling this story. 

Dear Edward by Anne Napolitano

The minute I read the first page, I was immediately captured. I love the way this book was written. 

It is about one boy who survives a plane crash and that crash happens within the first few pages of the book  But the book moves back and forth between the plane flight and the aftermath so that you get to know the people on the flight and their stories.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

There is so much that I loved about this book.  It is such a feel-good book that is more than what it seems.  It is well-written and funny and made our top books of 2019 list.

The story is about a woman who becomes a nanny for two children who start on fire when they get mad.  There is wonderful humor in this book that is centered around strong and beautiful relationships.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.⁣

4.5 Star Picks From The Read with Jenna Book List

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Covering drug addiction, immigration, racism, and more, this story is as entertaining as it is stimulating. Its discussion of drug addiction’s impact on the larger family unit was reminiscent of Long Bright River.

I also kept having to remind myself that it was a fictional story and not a memoir because the emotion and knowledge expressed in the book were so believable.⁣

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett has done it again with this tale of sibling devotion. Danny and Maeve are victims of an abandoned mother and father who all but ignores them.

Danny narrates the story of their lives as it ties into The Dutch House – a storied mansion that their father purchased in Elkins Park. This home is the blessing and curse of their lives.

The sign of their father’s success and what ultimately breaks up their family. Emotional and complex, this book will be on our best of 2019 list for sure.

A Burning by Megha Majumbar

After a terrorist attack at a train station in India leaves a woman wrongfully accused of being a Muslim extremist, her world is turned upside down.

Two other characters’ stories intersect with hers to offer us a searing look at modern India. I’ll be thinking about this debut for a while.

4 Star Picks From The Read with Jenna Book List

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

There is something about this book that makes it so easy to read and easy to love.  Every character in this book is perfectly flawed.  They are funny and relatable. When Astrid Strick witnesses an accident,  her life gets turned upsidedown.  She starts to think about her life, her children, and her parenting.  She questions if she has inadvertently ruined the life of her three grown children who all have issues in their own ways.  This book is not all light and funny- it deals with some heavier topics.  But, it is the perfect mix of life that makes it so easy to read.

3.5 Star Picks From The Read with Jenna Book List

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

I just adored this book.  It was such a sweet and light romance.  When Evvie’s husband dies unexpectedly in a car crash, she is still staying in her house a year later.  Everyone in her small town thinks that she is overcome with grief but in actuality, it is guilt.  Dean is a retired major league baseball pitcher who woke up one day and was unable to throw the ball over the plate.   When he moves into the apartment in the back of Evvie’s house the two become friends and agree to never talk about baseball or the dead husband.  This book was an easy and enjoyable read.

3 Star Picks From The Read with Jenna Book List

White Ivy by Susie Yang

Ivy is a Chinese American who from a very young age learns to steal and take what she wants.  She grew up in a poor family who sent her to a fancy private school where she met Gideon, the boy who would forever represent the epitome of perfection and success. 

And while the writing is good and there is an element of thrill to the book, the characters fell flat for me and there was never an element of surprise.  ⁣

There was nothing about Ivy that I could relate to which would have worked for me if there were surprising elements to her character. I felt like the characters we stereotypes of characters rather than characters with depth.  It affected the way I felt about the book and for me, it missed the mark.⁣

2 Star Picks From The Read with Jenna Book List

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

I had high hopes for this book because I loved Euphoria.  Although this was well written, I found it slow-moving and I had little emotional connection to the characters. 

I thought I would love a book about writers but I just could not get into the story.

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

I waited a while to listen to this story because I had heard so many mixed reviews. The set-up of a famous poet in her 100s finally revealing the story of who Luna was extraneous to the book, but the story of a girl, her family, and her life was moderately compelling.

If this doesn’t sound like a resoundingly positive review it’s because it wasn’t. The story was enjoyable but forgettable all in one. It was fine. The writing was nice but it just never really got my attention

Books on The Read with Jenna Book Club List We Still Need to Read

What is your favorite novel from the Jenna Bush Hager book club? Which of Jenna’s books are you adding to your TBR?

The post Read with Jenna Book List: The Best Books Ranked appeared first on Beyond the Bookends.

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