I just finished Rebecca Harrington's Penelope and want to tell everyone I know about it. The story of a Harvard freshman, it's pitch-perfect and laugh-out-loud funny. It instantly transports you back to the strange sociological splinter and stilted conversations of college.
I couldn't remember reading about the novel before I saw a copy, pink with a sweet H-crested waffle, in an airport bookstore Labor Day weekend. Which is unusual, considering the number of book reviews I scan. It was in PW, turns out...And then I discovered ex post facto Goodreads crowd-rates it at 3 stars. (And the reviews make me worry for humanity! Authors, stay away from there.) But I would argue it's a potential Alex title. I might suggest it.
All this goes to say that books remain highly individuated. I occasionally worry we are all whirling towards one Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fantastical vortex, but then something as quirky and charming as Penelope reminds me that realistic, deadpan voice still exists, even if not completely appreciated. And where were the recommender systems (or even standard review mechanisms) on this one?