Librarian's Choice yellow ribbon illustration featuring a stack of books, overlaid on a blue background with "Librarian's Choice" in white text, and a row of books at the bottom.

What If… 3 Books About Decisions

By Lisa Navidi, Davis Library

Three women make life changing decisions. Was it worth it?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab  

Addie LaRue, born in a village in France, was 23 years old in 1714 and was determined to live a free life. But her parents were more determined to marry her to a widower. She prayed to the dark gods at night (she was never supposed to do that) and finally one, who she would later name Luke, answered her. But nothing comes without a price: she could live forever, but no one would remember who she was, not even her family or closest friends.  

For the next 300 years she lived a very independent life. But since she could never have a job or any way of writing or even saying her name, she became adept at living in the shadows.  Luke would appear occasionally, offering her a quiet death, but she always refused. Her life was not necessarily moral but she managed just fine, finding her way to NYC in the 21th century. It was 2014 when she met Henry, the first person in 300 years to remember her. And there begins the next part of her life.  

Part fantasy, part romance, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab would make a great movie with Addie, Henry and the ever, mysterious Luke in a never-ending triangle.  Take it to the beach or your porch. Yes it is long, perhaps a little more editing might have been prudent, but it’s worth the read. 

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 

Nora Seed has come to a dead end in her life and then, to make matters worse, her cat died. All her dreams have been dashed. She could have been an Olympic swimmer, a glaciologist, a singer in a band and now she was fired from her job in a music store. She sees no future and decides to end it all. But at midnight, she is transported to a library where all the books are about the many alternatives of her life. Nora can “try out” these different lives but must eventually decide on the right one for her. Her favorite librarian, Mrs. Elm is there to guide her through this process. If you have ever wondered what your life would be like if you’ve turned right instead of left, this is the perfect book for you. It’s a quick read and a good book to discuss.

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman 

One of my favorite books by Hoffman was Practical Magic published in 1995 (and of course the movie in 1998) about Gillian and Sally Owens, part of a family of witches trying to cope with life in modern day Salem, Massachusetts. Many readers want to know the back story of Maria Owens, the matriarch of the Owens family, tried for witchcraft in the 1600s. Although Maria never meant to fall in love, indeed, she even cast a spell to prevent herself from it, she met and had a baby with the wrong man, John Hathorne who later becomes one of the leading judges in the Salem witch trials. Her life and that of her daughter provide the framework for future generations of Owens women. Hoffman’s writing is a combination of love, witchcraft, with lots of practical witchy kind of tips including real history, especially about women and the suffering that they endured. I loved it and if you love it there are several more novels in the Owens family saga.