It took me the longest time to finish these 5 books but I loved every single one of them. I think my favorite here are Save Me a Seat and Lucky Broken Girl. Beautiful covers! I loved the dual perspectives in Save Me a Seat. Both authors captured what it is like to be struggling in school for different reasons– because you are embarassed your mom is the noon duty supervisor, or because you are the new Indian kid with the strangest lunch and you can’t eat meat. You can struggle because you are average, or struggle because you stand out. There really is no winning in middle school! This is what I love about middle grade novels. They capture a weird time in your life, and if we are being honest we are all just bigger middle schoolers!
I loved Lucky Broken Girl because it is a beautiful book about immigrants, and it captures how a girl feels when she is stuck in a cast and can’t live her life. (You’ll notice I use the word “capture” a lot because that is what I think books do. They capture a slice of life or even better, inner thoughts, on paper.) It’s a really inspring book! I love the description of New York too.
Becoming Madeleine was a biography I’d been looking forward to reading because I recently got into A Wrinkle Time quintet. Despite who she may have been, I really admire Madeleine L’Engle for her imagination and strong will. It couldn’t have been easy to be different and to have such a strong conviction on life as a woman back then, and now. I’ll continue reading Madeleine’s work.
I just realized that You Go First also has dual perspectives, like Save Me a Seat! Can I just say I love Isabel Roxas’s covers? When I get rich I’m buying prints of my fav book covers and putting them all over my place. I love the nerdy boy and nerdy girls’ online friendship. I didn’t relate to it quite so much as Kelly’s other books, but as a 12-year-old this would’ve been like my diary.
Last but not least, I finally read All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook! It was amazing/a slow burn/special. It’s one of a kind! I loved all the characters in it-the inmates, Perry, the adoptive family, Perry’s mom. There is so much strength in this book. 💪🏼
From these 5 books I’ve learned to honor each person’s struggles and to believe in our own inner strength. Because we are all much stronger than we appear to be.
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.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet – I loved this book! I think it might be my favorite one in the series. The time travel took us to many places and I think the theme here was “history repeats itself.” Mom O’Keefe’s story made me very sad 😥
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone – Miri was stuck in a hard place because she had to be loyal to her friend and princess Britta, but she also wanted to be fair and she understood the voice of the poor. I need to stay calm and be able to negotiate like Miri!
The Amazing Crafty Cat – A cute comic about a crafty girl. It fell a little short of expectations as the story felt under developed. However it made me want to read more of the author’s work.
The Princess in Black – So glad I finally read this! I read it to my nephew Oliver and he loved it too. Twinkle twinkle little smash! 😡
A Wind in the Door – I loved this book because Charles Wallace is so brave. He takes every risk and travels to the tiniest space possible. It is a wonderful sequel to A Wrinkle in Time but I think I need to re-read it to get more sense out of it.
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng is such a good writer!! One reviewer on Goodreads said “she knows so much about each of us.” The book is very intimate and a slow burn to a devastating end 😦 Sadly, it is the lives of ordinary people. I think that’s what makes it so depressing.
The Color of Earth – This is a manhwa about a young girl becoming a woman. It’s the first in a trilogy that (Spoiler Alert: ends in her getting married.) The scenery and symbolism is beautiful! It cannot have been easy becoming a woman in any era. It’s a clumsy process but also so relatable.
Breadcrumbs – This is a fairy tale that turns some stereotypes on its head. It’s like the Snow Queen, but the girl saves the boy and she is an adopted Indian American. This book is kind of a slow burn too and depressing because the adults don’t seem very supportive of the children at all! 😦
Wonderstruck – I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! It’s about Ben and Rose, who are both deaf and their stories . It’s like watching a movie on a paper. It is such a awesome, sad, and wonderful story. It takes us to the 1920s and 1970s and museums in New York. I want to see my life depicted in this format although it might be kind of boring 😛
Time travel is such an interesting concept. What do you mean time is not linear? Is there a way to come back from time travel 5 minutes before you left? If you did, wouldn’t you see yourself coming back?
This was a quick read that brought as many questions as it did answers. There are Christian and science ideas in here that will give the reader a lot to think about. Basically, IT controls your thoughts and once you’re taken by IT in Camazotz, it’s like you don’t have free will anymore. It reminds me a little bit of The Giver, where society is perfect, everyone is the same, and nothing ever goes wrong. It it did, it would be fixed right away. But it is not the world that we want to live in.
It reminds me of this other book that I’m reading now called Pachinko. In it, the pastor Isak Baek once explained that a God who does everything we thought was good, would not be a God. He would be a puppet. There are things that we will never understand and that will never make sense to us and that’s okay.
The other thing that I thought was interesting is when Meg realizes that adults are not perfect. Meg’s dad is fallible just like everyone else, but that does not mean he doesn’t love his kids. Meg has to save her brother Charles by herself. There is no other way, and no one else can do it. Despite being scared, sometimes you just have to go straight ahead and do the thing that scares you. In my case it could be going on a roller coaster, facing a group of kids who don’t like you, needle pricks, and a lot more. I’m not a brave person but sometimes it’s not about being brave. You have no choice but to do it. I am super grateful that I got to read this book after so long.