I have been very slack at posting (I really need to work on it more). Instead of trying recall details of some of the books I’ve recently read, I thought I would list them here and add some thoughts.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston: A modern take on the Cinderella fairy tale involving a movie, a fan convention, and a food truck. Told by both the hero and heroine of the story, it shows how they connect and fall for each other without meeting or knowing who each other is. I enjoyed the plot device and what happens when they finally meet. The stepmother was a tad too mean for my liking; she was truly an awful woman who was horrible to Ellie. It’s sad to think that people like her exist.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: What can I possibly say about this amazing book? Eliza has a hidden life, one on two others know about. She likes it that way. She doesn’t have many friends, but then Wallace enters her life. I love Wallace more than I can say. They slowly stumble into a relationship. When her secret is finally revealed, she is devastated and lost. It takes Wallace to bring her back and begin to accept both sides of herself. Francesca is somehow able to encompass every emotion in her books which leaving you feeling emotionally drained after reading, but so glad you did.
When We Collided by Emery Lord: Jonah is struggling. His Dad died and his mom has holed herself up in her room. He has so much on his shoulders; working at the restaurant his father owned, worrying is the restaurant will stay open, and taking care of his many siblings. He barely has any time to process his grief. Vivi is only there for the summer. She is a total free spirit who cannot cope with a recent diagnosis. She blows into Jonah’s life and upends it for the better. He, in turn, stabilizes her and helps her realize she needs help. Theirs is a fleeting romance, but so well told. Two broken people finding comfort and happiness with each other for a summer. Who could ask for anything more?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: This was my classic read for the summer. It’s a wonderful story of a young girl growing up in poverty in Brooklyn. Her father is an alcoholic and her Mother works herself to the bone to feed them and get them heat. In fact, Francie and her younger brother get jobs as soon as they are able to help the family out. There is a lot of casual racism in this book that took me aback, but it makes sense due to the time period it was written in.
Lazarus Volume 1 by Greg Rucka: I have read Rucka’s version of Wonder Woman and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for this graphic novel. I was not disappointed. This first volume introduces Forever Carlyle, the Lazarus of her family. Basically, she can’t die. There is a secret about her that she is unaware of, so I am hoping that comes out in later volumes to see how she deals with it. The setting is a very bleak dystopian world and there is a lot of violence in this particular story. Her family, save for her father, are horrible people. I can’t wait to read more.
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp: This tale of a school shooting told by different points of view is haunting and gripping. I saw a few reviews that they didn’t like that they made the shooter so one-dimensional. I disagree. This isn’t his story. It’s the story of the students who have to experience it and try to survive. Each character is fully fleshed out and enough background of each is given that I connected to them right away. There are some happy endings and some not-so happy endings for each character.
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel: Steve is an ordinary boy with a very sick brother. When he is visited by what he thinks is an angel who offers to fix him, Steve says yes. What he doesn’t realize at first is that saying yes was the worst possible thing he could do. The angel isn’t an angel. It’s a special wasp who plans horrible things for Steve’s baby brother. How Steve deals with this fear and his worry about his brother is very believable. Steve comes into his own during this short novel. While it wasn’t very spooky for me, I could see how middle grade students might find it so.
It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas: Cindy is an immigrant from Iran in 1970’s America. Just newly moved to a new neighborhood, Cindy struggles to find friends and fit in. She’s frustrated by her mother’s lack of interest in learning to speak English and is annoyed she always has to play translator. After one failed attempt, Cindy meets a great group of friends that make her feel welcome. Then the Iran Hostage crisis begins. Notes are left on their doorstep, her father loses his job, and they live in constant worry for their family in Iran. This is a great book to hand a child to help them understand that time period from a different point of view. Cindy is a typical girl, all she wants to do is fit in. How she goes about it is a wonderful story.
Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey: This is a great read about family and its bonds. Eldest daughter Caroline’s husband has recently left her. Instead of having to face her fellow Manhattanites, she takes her oldest daughter back to Georgia to live with her mother to give birth. Her two sisters decide to join her. The mother, Ansley, suddenly has to cope with a full house and the return of a lost love. The chapters are told from Caroline and Ansley’s point of view. Caroline is hysterical. She loves her husband, but she definitely planned to marry someone with money. She enjoys spending her days eating, shopping, and going to the spa. Having to slow down and do nothing has her re-evaluating her life and what she wants from it. Ansley lost her husband years ago and raised her children by opening her own store. It wasn’t always easy, but she learned how to make it. When the love from her past returns, Ansley doesn’t know what to do. It’s easier for her to be alone than to let someone else in. I loved both their stories and I cannot wait to read the novels about the other two sisters.