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BOOK BITES | Femi Fadugba, Annie Ward, Chris Pavone

17 July 2022 - 00:00 By Tiah Beautement, Gabriella Bekes and William Saunderson-Meyer

This week we feature a witty story about maths, physics, friendship and survival; a soccer mom yarn; and spy thriller set in Portugal.

by Femi Fadugba.
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba.
Image: Supplied

The Upper World ★★★★
Femi Fadugba
Penguin Books

Make physics and maths cool, they said. And Femi Fadugba did, with a hip and intellectual time-travelling puzzle. Set in the gang zones of London, there are two teenagers. Esso is the first, an intelligent young man living in the now, about to ruin his life. Rhia is the second, a foster child living 15 years in the future who is brilliant on the football pitch and is on the brink of discovering the power of Einstein. This witty tale is a story about friendship, survival, Plato and Pythagoras. It makes you laugh before punching you in the gut. — Tiah Beautement 





Click here to buy The Upper World

by Annie Ward.
The Lying Club by Annie Ward.
Image: Supplied

The Lying Club ★★★
Annie Ward

Natalie, an aimless young woman, gets a job as an administrator at a posh school in Colorado where she dreams of having a life like the moms who drive SUVs and spoil their kids. She befriends Asha, the mother of talented teenage soccer star, Mia. Both mother and daughter have a competitive love-hate relationship with one of the other moms, the glamorous Brooke and her daughter, Sloane, also an aspiring soccer star. The centre of their attention is soccer coach Nicholas, an ageing but attractive hunk. Divorced Brooke is lusting after him while Asha wants more of his time to train Mia to be better than Sloane. Natalie, whose previous relationship ended in failure, is surprised at attracting Nicholas’s interest and they start seeing one another on the sly. The novel moves at a dizzying pace, starting at the end, where Natalie is a suspect in a murder. She’s confused and is not sure what happened, partly because she’s been popping her brother’s Vicodin. But there’s another sinister reason she’s disoriented ... The plot is exciting and racy, with a surprise at every turn. — Gabriella Bekes

Click here to buy The Lying Club

by Chris Pavone.
Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone.
Image: Supplied

Two Nights in Lisbon ★★★★
Chris Pavone
Head of Zeus

Just when it seemed impossible to develop the spy thriller genre any further, along came Chris Pavone. His debut novel, The Expats, was a sensation and heralded two further titles that explored what happens in a marriage when one or both partners has a secret life. Two Nights is a riff on the same theme and consequently suffers from some predictability. Ariel Price wakes up in a Lisbon holiday hotel. Her new husband has disappeared without explanation and is not answering his phone. Stranded in Portugal, her efforts to find him involve the local police and eventually US law enforcement agencies. As questions about the past of both spouses mount, shattering events in Ariel’s earlier life as a New York trophy wife threaten to swamp her once again. While the novel’s denouement is not as unexpected as Pavone’s intricate build-up presumably intended, there’s enough here to keep the fans wanting more. — William Saunderson-Meyer

Click here to buy Two Nights in Lisbon