New Year, same books

I have neglected my reading blog for too long! A lot has happened as you can tell by my ‘Dear Diary’ entries but the good news is that I now have a job where I get to read more than ever. I love it!!!! I have tbh never been a receptionist before but I realized it is like a vacation for me. I get to read in between when I have to work. It is simply the best and I am getting through (and adding) to my book list every day.

This is a batch of books I read during winter break/around the New Year. Don’t they have beautiful covers?? Sunny by Jason Reynolds is a hit like all of his books in the Track series, and lbr, all of his books. A reader on Goodreads said that this is like the ‘Louise Fitzhugh tribute’ of Jason Reynolds and I can see it. It is written in Dear Diary format and Sunny has an older, strange and magical lady for a mentor. I love you Sunny! Thanks for being weird and let’s keep being weird.

I loooved The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. It was so painful, beautiful, and truthful, which is what the best memoirs are. It must’ve been hard giving birth to a book like this, and I imagine the writing and illustrating is hardly the most difficult part. It takes years to be able to face your family’s demons and get into ugly truths about your parents and your origin. Thi Bui did just that and the result is a book that shows how depths of an ordinary person’s life.

Every Shiny Thing was a joy to read. I can’t believe there aren’t more books about shoplifting. I really like the verse/prose and dual perspectives here, and this book was indeed written by two authors! It was a nice look into privilege and what it looks like between two white suburban kids who nonetheless live very differently and with different stakes. More books about shoplifting, please.

I DNF Teacher Man or I’ll Give You the Sun. I guess I really am done being a teacher because I can’t even read a book about a man who was a teacher, ha. I’ll Give You the Sun is a very stylish book but it is not my style.

Happy reading! I love you all.

 

 

Summer reads

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I am so behind on this! I read these in July and now I am writing about them. Well, this is another great collection! I really love my journey as a reader. I love the number of diverse books we have today. George is the sweetest book. I loved it! Thanks Alex Gino for giving us a glimpse into George becoming Melissa. I’m so glad this book got the attention it did because it is worth it.

I am also glad for Jason Reynold’s books–all of them. All American Boys did not disappoint. (Hey, I am also reading a lot of dual perspective books lately!) It’s a timely book and for me, I don’t normally get into the mind of a male teenager in America. (Basically, I never.) So to be able to see into the lives of *two* teenage boys is really eye-opening. Thank you for showing us that people are people. We aren’t heroes because we mean to be, but because other people make us out to be. Thank you for this book, Jason Reynolds and Brenda Kiely!

Meanwhile, I am also reading The Silver Moon of Summer. It’s wonderful and I loooooove Leila Howland! I love this whole series because of summer and sisterhood, and ocean and beach hijinks. It’s just the best getaway and the story is so engaging. There is a lot of action between 3 sisters and the plot clips right along. More, please!

I read Kimchi & Calamari and Looking for Alaska on a bus on a trip with my friend Sheryl. I loved both but Looking for Alaska made me upset. Sorry, but I would not like people like that in my life. My friend Britney would say They are not meant to be likeable! John Green is undeniably good at capturing teenage lives. To be a teenager again! What torture, drama, and angst.

Kimchi & Calamari, on the other hand, was sweet and a lovely book. I loved the adoption story and what it means to find your own roots. Thank you Rose Kent for showing us what it means to be a part of an Italian family! And what it might feel like to be a Korean kid in New Jersey. This is what I love about middle grade novels.

Summer is coming!

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I loved all 5 of these books!!!!! I’m super behind on my book reviews, as I read these a month ago at the beginning of summer. (today = 7/12/18) Hello, Universe was an easy read that reminded me of The Wild Robot, it reads kind of fable-like. I loved the characters and how quirky the fortune teller was. I read a ton of middle grade novels and sometimes I think we are all just 6th graders in different bodies – still vulnerable, confused, and wanting to fit in and gain the approval of our peers. I will read all of your books, Erin Entrada Kelly!

The book that kicked off my days off would be Leila Howland’s The Forget-Me-Not Summer. A reviewer  described it has “beach read for kids” which is accurate and has me wanting to read all genre fics for tweens. (True crime for tweens! Mysteries for tweens! Chick lit for tweens!) I loved the three sisters and their summer adventures with Aunt Sunny. It is so cozy and summery and fun.

Two reliable authors whose whole middle grade bibliography I plan to read: Jason Reynolds and Carl Hiaasen. They are amazing writers who have really got the young teens world down. They do a great job of capturing how young adults in challenging situations think, what they go through, and why they take the actions they take. I can’t say that I relate to or even know any kids in real life who are like these characters , but I like to think that reading about their point of view helps me broaden my perspectives. I highly recommend Patina and Flush!

Lastly, Polly Horvath. I’ve read a lot of her books and I think her most recent ones, meaning the ones written after 2010, are better. Some of her previous books are just too bizarre, but I liked The Night Garden because it has her quirky nonsense but also some fantasy/historical elements. I enjoyed all of these books!

Venture out

Many Waters – The fourth book in the quintet fell short. While I like that this book is about the twins, it didn’t feel like a strong story. I like that it transported Sandy and Dennys to the biblical times, and made the characters real rather than just names in the Bible. However, it felt like things just happened to Sandy and Dennys, and they were not active. It didn’t feel like the characters had a lot of agency in this story.

First Light – I enjoyed reading this book! It’s different from Rebecca Stead’s other young adult mysteries. It describes a world underground (under ice?) called Gracehope. She is really an excellent writer and her stories are very tightly knit.

As Brave as You – Jason Reynolds is such a good storyteller too! I added this one to my favorites. I loved Little Wood and his brother Ernie. I loved the themes of forgiveness, redemption, and how real they felt in this book. It’s not always a dramatic story with someone dying or moving far away. Regret and mistakes can manifest themselves in small ways like a broken toy fire truck or drinking late at night. 😥 I really loved this story.