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I’ve Read All of TJR’s Books: Here’s What You Need to Know

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

By Heather McDonough

photo by @kyreeeeeeen

I’ve been a bookworm my entire life. I’d spend hours in bookstores and the library, always trying to convince the people in my life to read the books I had just finished. Obviously, nothing has changed, as my love for reading pushed me to create my bookstagram account, @booksbyheath. I review books to inspire non-readers to pick up a book, challenge those who have fallen out of reading to jump back in, and convince avid readers to pick up the books that I love so deeply. An author whose writing I have fallen head-over-heels for is Taylor Jenkins Reid (TJR), and my hope for you is that this round-up will give you the push you need to pick up one of her books!


“This heartrending debut novel weaves a beautiful and tragic love story with an homage to the redemptive power of female friendship.”

This is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut novel, but reading her newer releases before this one definitely affected my thoughts. I like the character development and seamless writing style in this one. We learn a lot about the main character in the twelve months that this story covers. I felt like I was right there beside her, both in love and in mourning. The writing adds tremendously to the story. The nonlinear timelines–only months apart but during two extremes in the main character’s life–are fantastically executed. Additionally, the way that we are brought back into the love story through the memories the main character experiences in her present-day grief is brilliant.

My primary qualm is that I wanted more: more from the plot and more from the characters. However, I don’t think that this was possible because giving more about the characters would have spoiled the simplicity of the story that I loved. But I wasn’t necessarily satisfied when I finished; I lacked that rich connection I typically feel towards the plot and characters. Regardless, this book tends to be a fan favorite and it is absolutely beautiful and devastating all wrapped up into one perfect story.


“A breathtaking novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.”

You can be certain that any Taylor Jenkins Reid book is going to be phenomenally written. TJR has this innate ability to create modern universes that immerse you into the story. With this one, not only do we see the development of our two main characters, but we really get to know Lauren’s family members, and they are what make this story so great. The ending is my favorite part of this book–and maybe of any book! The closure and full-circle feelings that happen in the last 50 pages made this an automatic 5-star read. I will say that for about 25%-65% I did not know how I felt about this book due to the gripping hold that it had on my emotions. I was so invested emotionally that it was nerve-wracking. It ended up paying off in the end and brought the whole story together in such a special way that made the anxiety throughout the book worth it.


“A surprising and unpredictable novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold – with stunningly different results.”

I love the concept of this book and TJR absolutely nails the plot. It is super original and one that really makes you think as you turn the pages. The writing is fantastic, per usual, and once I started reading this one, I genuinely could not stop. I read most of it in one sitting! In my opinion, this one could’ve gone deeper. The relationships between the characters seem a little surface-level to me, and I don’t feel that we know the characters all that well, especially in comparison to the rich character development we see in her other books. I finished and wasn’t completely satisfied, but all in all, I did really enjoy it. The unique and thought-provoking story is fun, quick, and right on the mark for TJR.


“The touching story of a woman forced to choose between the husband she long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.”

This book is simply amazing. I’m never not blown away by TJR books, but this one hit differently for me. I absolutely love the writing style (per usual), and reading her books feels like I am watching a movie. The witty dialogue and perfect balance of description really add to the story. The characters are all extremely likable; I was rooting for all of them. The love stories are beautiful and equally gut-wrenching. TJR puts the main character in an impossible situation that really has you experiencing it alongside her. The buildup of the relationships we see in this book is perfect, just enough and not too much. The ending could not be better–TJR is the queen of closure. I could not recommend this book more!


“An unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top – the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid truly outdid herself with this book. This is our introduction to the old-Hollywood universe that TJR has created, from which she pulls minor characters from previous books to build an entire fictional world for them in subsequent novels. This book is really something special. It is a powerhouse of rich character development, love and betrayal, secrecy and intimacy, and the effects of fame and wealth. The writing is perfect; it is one of those books where you feel as though you are watching a movie as you read it. Every character plays such an integral role in the story as a whole, and they are so beautifully created. This emotional story will bring all the tears, so get your tissues ready.


“A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.”

This book is SUCH an interesting concept. It’s written as an oral history, and this is arguably my favorite part of the book. It is so unique, and I had never read anything like it before. It makes the story feel so raw and real, and the story itself is fascinating. Loosely based on Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, we follow Daisy Jones & The Six, an iconic rock band, as they navigate the 1970s and all that comes with the rock and roll era. This book was jam-packed full of emotions that take you on quite a rollercoaster from the first page until the last. If you’re reading this book for the first time, give the audiobook a shot! It is narrated by a full cast and really helps this story come to life.


“Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.”

For me, this was THE book of summer 2021. It wrapped me up in a big, warm hug and held me close as I shared such special moments with all four of the Riva siblings. A character-driven novel, the Riva siblings navigate the same 24-hour period as we also learn about what makes each of them who they are. The concept of this party in the 80s is so fun and clever. The themes woven through the novel are powerful, and the ending truly gives us all the closure needed to feel completely satisfied. This book is a work of art and one that will hold such a special place in my heart for years to come.


“In this powerful novel about the cost of greatness, a legendary athlete attempts a comeback when the world considers her past her prime.”

Last but far from least: CARRIE SOTO IS BACK. This book is absolutely everything. It is a powerhouse novel that really showcases what Taylor Jenkins Reid is capable of as an author and storyteller. The plot is fairly simple, but this book certainly is not. Our main character is strong and stubborn, but she’s vulnerable and loving, passionate and loyal, and she has the determination to do record-breaking things. This story is about tennis, but it is also about family, love, forgiveness, talent, determination, vulnerability, and so much more. This book contains, hands-down, the best character arc to ever be written (subjectively). It didn’t take long after page one for Carrie Soto to quickly become my all-time favorite character. This book is fierce. It’s powerful and will stay with you for a long, long time after you read it.


Heather McDonough is a graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst. She works at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, as she just recently graduated with her Masters degree in occupational therapy. Heather’s favorite thing to do is read books on the beach. She lives in Boston, and you can find her at @booksbyheath for book recommendations and reviews.