A Seamless Transition: How Life Plan Communities Cater to Your Evolving Needs

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. As we navigate this unpredictable course, each phase brings new challenges and experiences that shape our needs and desires. Although your senior years present a unique set of aspirations and requirements than your youth, here at Westminster Woods on Julington Creek, we seek an environment that can keep up with your changing circumstances. We aren’t just another senior living community. We champion the philosophy of a Life Plan Community. This approach caters to your every need. Our residents are assured that your transition through the stages of senior living is filled with warmth and understanding.

Comprehensive Care Under One Roof

Life Plan Communities or Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), like Westminster Woods, provide a continuum of care. We offer different levels of care from independent living to skilled nursing. Residents don’t need to worry about relocating or the logistics of finding a new facility if your needs change. A Life Plan Community offers the luxury of having diverse levels of care all within one single community – which means a familiar environment, known faces, and a consistent quality of service to ensure peace of mind for both residents and their loved ones.

A Financially Sound Decision

We all know that planning for the future can be a daunting task, especially when you’re considering the unpredictable nature of possible healthcare costs. Westminster Woods provides a simple solution to this by offering monthly fees that cover a range of services and care levels. This forward-thinking financial structure shields residents from fluctuating market rates and makes the future more manageable and less stress-inducing.

A Community That Celebrates Life

This is more than just a place to live – it’s a way of life. Westminster Woods is a community that fosters connections, nurtures hobbies, and encourages personal growth. With an extensive calendar of events and a plethora of amenities, our residents can really dive into their passions. Whether it’s art, fitness, or gardening, Westminster Woods offers it all! It’s a place where neighbors become close friends, and friends turn into an extended family – family that shares laughter, offers support, and celebrates every milestone, big or small.

Wellbeing is a Priority

Although physical health is a large benefit of joining a Life Plan Community, it extends beyond that as well. Westminster Woods is committed to ensuring the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our residents. We have programs that focus on lifelong learning, spiritual nourishment, and emotional health. We strive to enable our residents to lead a balanced and enriched life.

Simplifying the Lives of Family Members

Making the decision to transition a loved one to a senior living facility can weigh heavily on families. The goal of Life Plan Communities is to alleviate these concerns. Family members can have peace of mind knowing that Westminster Woods provides comprehensive care that has a future-focused financial structure and also emphasizes our residents’ well-being. Rest assured that your loved ones are in a nurturing environment and are equipped to meet their evolving needs.

You deserve your golden years of life to be filled with an enriching and supportive environment. A Life Plan Community like Westminster Woods on Julington Creek is a place that adapts as seamlessly as possible while the different chapters of your life unfold. We anticipate the ever-evolving needs of seniors and craft solutions that cater to these changes. We stand as a testament of what senior living can, and should, aspire to be. Join us, and witness how we’re redefining senior living, one resident at a time.

‘God put us here for a reason’: Serving the residents during Hurricane Idalia is part of our Mission

When a hurricane or tropical storm threatens Florida, like Hurricane Idalia this week, team members at Westminster Communities of Florida have a top priority: Ensuring the safety and well-being of the residents we serve. Our Mission is to serve from the heart and inspire older adults to enjoy happy, healthy and purposeful lives.

What impact has Hurricane Idalia had? Some of our dedicated team members are living out our Mission, today, by evacuating with residents or sheltering at their communities through the storm. Regardless of their normal jobs, their principal responsibility right now is to provide for the residents’ needs.

Today we caught up with five of these team members to learn about their experiences, why they chose to stay at their community or evacuate with residents, and what is inspiring them to stay hard at work during a storm.

Jackie Walker Ellison, Cook, Westminster Shores, temporarily at Westminster Winter Park

In St. Petersburg, Westminster Shores was forced to relocate residents out of the path of the storm. Jackie Walker Ellison always knew she would be with the residents, from the moment she first heard. “The residents said to me, ‘Jackie, are you coming with us? I know we’ll be OK if you come with us.’ So I had no doubt,” Ellison said. “I knew for sure I would be evacuating, I called my husband and my mother and I told them, ‘I’m going with my residents, I’ll see you whenever.’ ”

The group of 24 residents was accompanied by Ellison to Westminster Winter Park, where they’re enjoying the hospitality of the residents and team members there. The Westminster Shores team is occupied with providing for the needs of the residents during Hurricane Idalia. “I think it brings everyone together as a team,” she said.

Ellison has worked at Westminster Shores for 29 years, and “I love my residents. I wouldn’t have been here so long if I didn’t love this place and my residents. God put us here for a reason,” she said. “Right now, the residents are happy, we’ve been watching movies and playing games, and everything is going smoothly.”

Michele McCann, Assisted Living Activities Coordinator, Westminster Palms, sheltering in place

“I choose to be with the residents during the most emotional time, like a hurricane, because that’s my quality as a caregiver,” said Michele McCann, Assisted Living Activities Coordinator at Westminster Palms. “Challenging times like this bring out the best in people, and I get to see it and share it.”

McCann was sheltering in place at the community in St. Petersburg, along with residents from Westminster Palms and residents from Westminster Point Pleasant in Bradenton. She has lived in Florida for more than 7 years, and has experienced three hurricanes in St. Petersburg so far. McCann said she feels that the way the team bonds, whether through an evacuation or sheltering in place, makes the team stronger. “We are going to come out better on the other side of this! We always do. We are so lucky that we are here, in our home, together, instead of relocating like so many had to. I have come to feel like this is my home, too.”

Carlos Santiago, Maintenance Engineer, Westminster Point Pleasant and Tiffany Mestre, Administrative Assistant, Community Support Services, temporarily at Legacy Pointe at UCF

A group of residents from Westminster Point Pleasant were also with Maintenance Engineer Carlos Santiago and Tiffany Mestre, an administrative assistant at our Community Support Services office in Orlando. The residents had evacuated from Bradenton due to the risk of storm surge and flooding, and were enjoying the hospitality of Legacy Pointe at UCF.

Santiago, the maintenance engineer, said that he had been through the worst in 2017 when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. “We were there with no power for 60 days, and we weren’t able to do anything,” he said. By comparison, he felt that everything was under control and being well maintained for the residents through both of his hurricane experiences as a Westminster team member.

“This job is personal for me,” Santiago said. “The residents are my family and I want to make sure that they are well taken care of.” In 2022, Santiago was recognized as Westminster Point Pleasant’s Team Member of the Year for his dedicated service to the residents. He said it was his honor to serve the residents.

Evacuating with the residents is just another extension of his commitment to the community, Santiago said. “This is my second time evacuating with the residents, and it doesn’t matter how many more. I will always volunteer to be there for them. We are here for each other and for the residents.”

Countless storms had also affected Mestre, a Florida native. But she had never had an experience like today’s. “It’s wonderful to help the residents and hear about their interests and stories. This is a great way to see how the residents live,” Mestre said. “I am getting to know what a day in the life of a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and an ADON (Assistant Director of Nursing) are like. It has opened my eyes. Bless their souls for doing all of this.”

The effects of the storm had been mild in Orlando, but Mestre said that nevertheless, she and the residents felt more secure and had been brought closer together by the experience – and the residents were thankful for the security. “This has really brought our Mission to life for me in a way I had not experienced it,” said Mestre.

For Santiago, part of living in a hurricane zone meant more practice – and that he had found that the team is getting stronger through the experience. “The more we do this together, the more we become comfortable with each other, and the better organized we become. When you send a group of people together for one purpose and for our Mission, we get the opportunity to grow together and learn from each other,” said Santiago.

Beth Szabo, Services Coordinator, Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, sheltering in place

Another part of the Westminster Mission is to serve residents with low to moderate incomes, in our affordable Rental Retirement Communities. Beth Szabo, services coordinator at Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, was sheltering in place at the community to ensure that the residents were well cared for throughout the potential effects of the storm in Jacksonville.

“I’ve lived in Jacksonville since 1976, so I have lost count of how many hurricanes I’ve been through now. In 2004 they were coming so frequently we all said, ‘I’m over it, just let it go,’ ” said Szabo. “We have had to evacuate a few times over the years, like for Hurricane Matthew in 2016. But we did not have to this time.”

For Szabo, serving during a hurricane is a natural extension of her choice to work at the community, because the residents are like her extended family. “I have a heart for seniors, and the residents here mean a lot to me,” she said. “If something happens then I want to be here to help them.”

Szabo added that she feels safer riding out a storm at Riverside Presbyterian Apartments than at home. “Here at the community, I know that we have a great team looking out for everyone. We’re very small but we support each other.”

A facet of our Mission

While a hurricane is unexpected, serving the residents and supporting their fellow team members wherever we are and however we can is just another facet of the Mission of Westminster Communities of Florida: We serve from the heart and inspire older adults to enjoy happy, healthy and purposeful lives.

Be sure to learn all about how you can make a Westminster community your home to live or to work – find a community near you or follow us on Facebook and on LinkedIn!

How you can stay in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community

Are you considering a move to a senior living community but worried about how you’ll keep in touch with family and friends? You’re not alone. Many future residents have the same concerns.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep in touch with the people you care about. From FaceTime to card nights to private dining parties, residents have plenty of options to stay connected with their loved ones.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to keep in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community.

Enjoy a video call to have a virtual visit with family or friends whenever you like

A virtual visit can help maintain ties even when residents and their friends are separated by thousands of miles. Modern technology for video calling like FaceTime makes visiting easier than ever. Video calls allow residents to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with family or friends anywhere in the world, from the comfort of their living room. No expensive travel required!

Residents can use FaceTime or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom to stay in touch with those who matter most. Grandparents can share stories with grandchildren who live far away or have regular catch-ups with distant relatives. Video calling also makes it possible for to host a virtual event, like a game night or movie watch party.

Enjoy a card or board game night and mix the “old” and “new” friends

With many social connections in their current neighborhoods, the prospect of moving to a senior living community can be daunting for many older adults. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-person social opportunities at senior living communities — some of them more informal than others.
Many senior living communities have groups of residents who enjoy a night of card games or board games. Play poker, Clue, Settlers of Catan or whatever you prefer, and enjoy having social opportunities and good friends at your fingertips.

These social events offer a reason for residents to invite their friends and family members over for a night of fun and laughter. It also provides an informal setting for guests to meet other residents and engage in meaningful conversations.

For older adults who want to make sure they stay connected to their friends, one surefire way to make things more fun is to invite their “old” friends to meet the “new” at a game night. It can make for a memorable evening filled with laughter and good company — all while bonding deeper relationships with fellow residents at the same time.

Host a dinner party and let someone else do all the work

Dining is an important part of life at a senior living community. But a special event may call for having a few friends over for dinner, and who wants to do all the cooking and dishes?

That’s why many senior living communities offer residents a variety of catered dining options, to invite guests over for a special dinner party. A special menu developed with the Dining department makes it simple and convenient to plan an event. Enjoy a luxurious meal without lifting a finger!

Inviting friends and family over to experience their community is also great to help those who may be considering making the move themselves. Guests get an up-close look at the lifestyle offered at their friend’s new home. Private dining options allow potential new residents to get an idea of what life would be like for them.

From poker nights to private dinners, there are plenty of ways for residents of senior living communities to keep in touch with family and friends. To learn all about how additional socialization opportunities abound at a Westminster community, find the community that suits you today on our Web site!

How to Keep Children Connected to Relatives in Assisted Living

It can be tough for kids when their loved one moves into Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living. This is a transition that takes time to get used to. However, there are plenty of ways to keep children in touch with their senior relatives. 

Follow this guide to keep the kids in the family in the loop with their loved ones in assisted living facilities in Jacksonville. 

Frequent Video Chats

Children love hearing their loved ones’ voices and seeing their faces. One of the best ways to keep in touch on a regular basis is to video chat. Many children have tablets and smartphones of their own, but they can also use their parents’. 

Video chat is beneficial for seniors in assisted living facilities. They may not get to visit their relatives often, but they can see them and hear them in real-time through video calls. 

Plan a time for your children to video chat with their loved ones each week. This will give both the kids and the seniors in your life something to look forward to on a weekly basis. 

Making Crafts and Other Gifts

Kids love to use their creativity to show their love. Set aside a few hours for your children to make special gifts for their senior relatives in assisted living. This will produce plenty of smiles all around. 

If you are able to visit the assisted living facility that your loved one resides in, have your children bring crafting materials there. This way, they can make crafts with their senior relative and enjoy quality time with them. 

Plan Meals Together

One of the ways people connect to one another as a society is through eating. Shared meals keep people close and give them the chance to socialize while enjoying good food. 

Children will love the opportunity to visit their loved one’s community and dine with them. Most assisted living communities have high-quality dining options that everyone can enjoy. Plan shared meals with your children and the seniors in your life to keep them connected over time. 

Visiting Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living with Children

Most assisted living communities allow visitors at almost all times. Children are welcome to visit their relatives, explore their residences, and enjoy quality time with their loved ones. 

Read the facility’s visitation policy to make sure you can bring your children at the times you plan to visit. Your loved one will be overjoyed to see them!

Commonly Asked Questions About Assisted Living Answered

If you’re approaching your golden years or have a family member of retirement age, you’ve probably heard about assisted living or looked into it yourself. As you’re researching assisted living facilities near you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available.

What You Should Know About Assisted Living Facilities in Jacksonville, Florida

If you’re on the lookout for great assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida, here are the answers to some of your most pressing questions. Having useful answers will help you to make an informed decision for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living in Jacksonville

One of the first questions that most people looking into assisted living ask is about the difference between assisted and independent living.

Assisted living involves 24/7 care and support to the degree that it is needed based on the resident’s current health and mobility status. Independent living embraces a more hands-off approach to elder care while still providing support when needed. 

Most assisted living facilities also offer independent living options for residents, and independent living residents can always transition to an assisted lifestyle when needed.

Who Is Assisted Living Right For?

Assisted living provides an elevated lifestyle for seniors that could benefit from some assistance with daily tasks such as taking medications, getting around the house, cleaning, cooking, and other responsibilities. 

At assisted living facilities, seniors can get the help they need while also joining a community of people enjoying their golden years together. 

Many seniors who need help with daily tasks don’t want to rely on family members for assistance or don’t have family nearby. This is where a great assisted living facility can provide immeasurable value. 

Additionally, many residents move to assisted and independent living facilities primarily because they want a sense of community and kinship with other residents.

Why Are Seniors in Assisted Living Often Happier and Healthier?

There are many reasons why seniors living in assisted or independent living communities tend to be healthier and happier. One obvious reason is the fact that any medical needs they might have can be tended to by professionals on-site right away, keeping seniors safe and in optimal health. 

Additionally, assisted living facilities feature a wide variety of activities, clubs, and enriching experiences for residents to enjoy. Seniors who maintain an active social life while continuing to do things they enjoy on a regular basis are much more likely to be happier and healthier into their golden years.

Exploring the Classics: 5 Books to Read This Winter

Getting lost in a great book is one of the best ways to pass the time during the winter months in a Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living community. Not only does it provide an escape from reality, but it also engages and stimulates your mind to help keep you sharp. 

But which book should you reach for? Rest assured, you can never go wrong with these five classics. 

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The Great Gatsby does a great job of transporting you back in time to the unique atmosphere of the roaring ‘20s. The titular Gatsby is a tragic hero and is widely regarded as a metaphor for the American dream. Full of romance, adventure, style, and wealth to spare, this book is the perfect escape during winter. 

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

Little Women is a coming-of-age story with a little something for everyone. Despite taking place in the reconstruction era following the Civil War, many of the characters are still highly relatable to this day. 

3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

Great Expectations follows an orphan named Pip throughout his life in the United Kingdom. His constant desire to ascend the social ladder leads him to learn some tough life lessons that are still just as poignant today. 

4. The Fellowship of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein 

If fantasy is more your style, it’s hard to beat The Fellowship of The Ring. From the Shire to the volcanoes of Mordor, it’s easy to get lost in the fantastical and immersive world Tolkein creates. But don’t let that distract you from the great character development along the way. 

5. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Who says you can’t enjoy a good modern classic? Mexican Gothic is a thrilling horror novel that will keep you guessing at every turn. When a young woman is invited to an isolated castle by her newlywed, ill cousin, it’s a race against time to find out what’s really going on in this modern page-turner. 

Pick Up a Great Book in Your Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Community

If you live in one of the many assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida, there’s a good chance you already have access to many of these books at your fingertips. All you have to do is explore your community’s library to find your next literary adventure.

Passing Down Traditions: How to Make Thanksgiving Memorable in Your Senior Years

As you reach your golden years, you’ve earned the right not to have to plan Thanksgiving dinner! Still, you can enjoy the holidays with some wonderful new traditions that won’t take as much time and energy as planning an entire get-together. 

Whether you’re sticking to your Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living community or heading out to see family, you can take these ideas with you!

Be a Helper

Maybe you’ve never been the type that can sit around and watch others do work. If that’s the case, offer to help to the best of your abilities. If you’re still physically fit enough to do some cooking, go for it! If setting the table is more your speed, that’s okay, too. The point is to be involved with your loved ones and friends.

Be a Storyteller

Whether it’s your children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren or others living in assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, you can entertain and connect through stories. 

For the kids, this might be acting out a book or moments from your own life. For adults and seniors, this could be more about sharing what you’re thankful for in your own life. This will form that sense of bonding that is so important.


Take part in the spirit of Thanksgiving through the act of giving. This can mean donating to a charity, but it’s more than that. It can be giving a loved one a special object that connects you to them, such as an old photograph or piece of jewelry. It can also mean giving wisdom or sharing a skill. 

Perhaps you have a grandchild who wants to know how you did woodworking crafts, sewed quilts, or played a musical instrument. You have the experience they crave.


Get out the board games, cards, and even video games if you’re into them! Watching the football game on TV is great, but participating in a game is even better. Find some games you know everyone will love and break them out to enjoy.

Celebrate New Thanksgiving Traditions in Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Facilities

As you age, you’ll have to work at keeping your mind fresh and young, and that means starting to let go of your past routines. Maybe you’ve slowed down, and your home isn’t the de facto Thanksgiving gathering place anymore, and you may even be in assisted living now. 

Wherever you find yourself on Thanksgiving, make sure you engage in some meaningful traditions for yourself and those you love.

The Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression in Seniors

Chronic pain and depression are two of the most common problems reported by people over the age of 65. Unsurprisingly, many people suffer from both conditions at the same time. Often, the development of chronic pain can actually lead to depression — and vice versa.

Chronic Pain

The likelihood of persistent pain increases with age. This is due to all manner of different causes, including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Injury
  • Neuropathic pain

Importantly, the experience of persistent pain is a general mental health stressor. It taxes the mind to constantly be experiencing pain, which can lead to other mental health concerns. It can also interfere with practices that are mentally beneficial, such as sleep and exercise.


Depression is an increasing problem among people over the age of 65. Again, there are several different factors that can lead to depression, including:

  • Social isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Physical illness

Depression has several consequences of its own and can cause people to pull away from others and experience chronic fatigue and feelings of hopelessness.

How Pain and Depression Are Interconnected

Pain and depression can both lead to older adults feeling as though they don’t have the capacity to participate in everyday life and activities, which can cause them to develop symptoms of the other condition.

For example, a person with chronic knee pain may turn down the opportunity to go on a walk with their friends or family. By missing this activity, they can begin to feel sad, isolated, and alone. These feelings, if they persist for a significant amount of time, can contribute to a diagnosis of depression in the future.

Similarly, a person who is depressed may turn down the walk with their friends and family. By doing so, they miss the chance to exercise and strengthen their body. They may eventually be more vulnerable to injuries and illnesses that can lead to chronic pain.

Treating Pain and Depression at a Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Facility

One way to ensure that chronic pain and depression are dealt with is to join a Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living facility

Assisted living facilities in Jacksonville help older adults stay active both physically and mentally and can provide additional support when seniors need it most. In this way, the symptoms of both chronic pain and depression can be minimized, and seniors can live long and fulfilling lives.

What Is Sundowning?

Sundowning is a common behavior among people with dementia. It refers to a phenomenon that can begin in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other forms of cognitive impairment. Sundowning behaviors include wandering, agitation, confusion, and even aggression or violence.

Sundowning is not caused by medications or any other medical condition. Instead, this condition is often related to stress and anxiety about the coming nightfall and all that it represents for someone living with dementia. The term “sundowning” comes from the fact that these behaviors often occur around sunset.

Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Experts Weigh in: Why Do People Experience Sundowning? 

Even though there are no definitive answers about what causes sundowning symptoms, there are a few theories about why it occurs. 

When people with dementia become anxious or stressed, they may exhibit signs of sundowning. This could be because when it gets dark outside, they become confused about where they are and what time it is.

Some experts believe that sundowning is related to circadian rhythm disorders. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia tend to have disrupted sleep patterns, which can contribute to sundowning behaviors.

Symptoms of Sundowning

People with sundowning may:

  • Become agitated or anxious at night
  • Have hallucinations or delusions
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Fail to recognize family members or caregivers
  • Wander or sleepwalk
  • Feel depressed or irritable
  • Cry or exhibit mood changes

People with dementia may show these symptoms during the day, but with Sundowning, this behavior often worsens at night. This can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. And if they’re unable to sleep well, it can cause even more confusion and agitation the next morning.

Coping with Sundowning — Tips from a Leading CCRC in Jacksonville, Florida

Sundowning can be very difficult for both the person suffering from it and their family. However, there are some things you can do as a caregiver to help make this process easier.

Help your loved one manage a daily routine. A healthy routine can help individuals with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease feel less stressed daily. Moving to a Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living community can help, as trained staff members help residents confidently navigate their daily routine.

Try not to ask your loved one too many questions at once; it may overwhelm or confuse them. Instead, ask one question at a time and wait until they’ve answered before asking another.

Don’t force your loved ones to do anything they don’t want to do. Instead, try suggesting fun activities that won’t make them feel stressed or anxious.

If your loved one becomes agitated, stay calm and try not to argue. If you lose your temper, it could make matters worse and lead to an escalation of aggressive behavior.

If possible, plan your outings to avoid late-afternoon hours, and try to keep your loved one inside during these hours. This prevents them from getting lost or wandering away from home. If you must go outside during this time of day, make sure someone is always with your loved one.

Top Books for Independent Living in Jacksonville, Florida, This Summer

With plenty of time to enjoy leisure activities, part of the enjoyment of independent living in Jacksonville is the ability to grab a good book and enjoy it without interruption or responsibilities. Here are some excellent reads you should put on your list this summer:

The Hotel Nantucket

New York Magazine calls Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Hotel Nantucket, the “queen of beach reads.” If you’re a fan of fast-paced stories full of drama between gossipy characters, this book is for you. 

The Hotel Nantucket is written from the perspective of the ghost of a teenage chambermaid who died in a suspicious hotel fire in 1922. The book is as intriguing as it sounds, and the reviews are glowing.

City of Orange

Author David Yoon might be more familiar to young-adult readers, but he’s transitioned into an excellent writer of adult stories. 

City of Orange takes place in a postapocalyptic setting and centers on a man coming to grips with how to survive in this newly destroyed world. If you like your stories a bit darker, the LA Times raves about this novel of “humor and dread.”


Perhaps you want to get away from darker subjects and instead delve into an exciting caper. 

Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit focuses on a Chinese-American lawyer who accidentally gets embroiled in a scheme importing counterfeit handbags. It’s a fun story that works to buck stereotypes and builds up to a compelling twist ending. Make sure you only check out reviews that won’t spoil the end for you.

Normal People

If you’ve heard about the BBC/Hulu adaptation, read Normal People before you watch it! This novel by Sally Rooney is all about the relationship between two teenagers in Ireland during the 2008 economic downturn. As they grow up, their relationship dynamic changes, matures, and intensifies. 

One incredible quality of this book is that it seems to grip readers of every age. Yes, even if you’re retired and enjoying independent living in Jacksonville, Florida!

Remarkably Bright Creatures

If you enjoy stories told from the perspective of animals, Shelby Van Pelt’s Remarkably Bright Creatures may be up your alley. The book centers on Marcellus McSquiddles, an octopus who escapes his aquarium captivity and becomes, to quote the Washington Post, “the town’s secret matchmaker.” It’s funny, engaging, and touching. 

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