Series Review: An Informative Jarring History in March, written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell

March: Book One (March, #1)

Page Count: 128 pages
Publication Date: Aug 13, 2013
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Age Range: Adult
Source: Library
content warning: police brutality

 

March: Book Two (March, #2)

 

Page Count: 192 pages
Publication Date: Jan 20, 2015
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Age Range: Adult
Source: Library
content warning: police brutality

 

March: Book Three (March, #3)

 

Page Count: 246 pages
Publication Date: Aug 2, 2016
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Age Range: Adult
Source: Library
content warning: police brutality

I’ve always felt like I had a pretty solid foundational knowledge of US History but WOW reading March was an incredibly humbling experience and basically I’m convinced that I basically don’t know anything!!

Some contextual evidence: I went to a public school in a pretty middle class/upper middle class, predominantly white, liberal suburb. In addition to taking AP US History in high school, I felt like my US History classes in middle school did pretty well with providing me with a good grasp on major events of US history. This was even further proved to me in college; there were multiple times where I had some background knowledge of events, eras, laws, etc that my friends or classmates didn’t.

However, there were so many people in March that I didn’t even know existed, and honestly I feel robbed.  Continue reading “Series Review: An Informative Jarring History in March, written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell”

Advertisements

Review: An Unconventional Holiday Rom-Com with The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

 

The Afterlife of Holly Chase
Page Count: 400 pages
Publication Date: Oct 24, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Library
Goodreads: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

 

I forced myself to read a Charles Dickens book before reading this (vom dot com). Was it worth it? Eh…

I really only like reading cheeseball romantic comedies in the summer when I’m lounging at the beach (which is like maybe once a year, sadly) or in the two week period right before Christmas.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase is honestly the perfect book to read right before the winter holidays. It’s very festive and heartwarming and just a really fun book.

Cynthia Hand wrote a retelling of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol which is a paranormal story disguised as a contemporary. It follows Holly Chase as she works for a company called Project Scrooge which employs staff to reenact A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve every year, trying to guarantee a change of heart for a different “Scrooge” every year. Holly has a lot of a experience with this because she was a failed Scrooge; instead of seeing the errors of her selfishness she ends up dying, just as she is warned. Continue reading “Review: An Unconventional Holiday Rom-Com with The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand”

Review: A Survivor’s Struggle and Strength in The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

 

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)
Page Count: 370 pages
Publication Date: Jan 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Goodreads: The Cruel Prince
cw: murder, physical and sexual abuse, suicide

 

I really forced myself to just to power through this one but dang am I glad I did.

When I was younger, my family would spend our entire summer at the town pool. My brothers would always rush right in, but I’d camp out in my mother’s favorite spot by the picnic tables in the shade. I’d put on my sunscreen, maybe read a little bit of my book (one summer I outlined my entire 40 chapter fanfiction in one afternoon at the pool) and then was I was ready I would get in line at the diving board and dive in literally head first.

That’s literally how I start reading hyped books.

I’m slow you guys. I don’t jump on the bandwagon right away. But eventually, when I get there, I’m obsessed. Continue reading “Review: A Survivor’s Struggle and Strength in The Cruel Prince by Holly Black”

Review: A Deserving Diverse Formulaic Fantasy in Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeymi

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)
Page Count: 525 pages
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Goodreads: Children of Blood and Bone review

me: i don’t read trilogies!!!!!!!
me: i don’t read fantasy!!!!!!!!

me: *takes two long months to read Children of Blood and Bone*

Here’s a brief overview of my history reading trilogies:

  • Book 1: read within the first year of it’s release, and/or immediately after the sequel is released
  • Book 2: read within the first weeks of it’s release
  • Book 3: ………………………………. 😐

I cannot even tell you how many trilogies I haven’t finished. I usually read the second book and then get distracted/bored/uninterested/etc by the time the third book comes out! The only way to I finish a series is if all the books are already published and I acquire them all in one giant sweep. (Guys I honestly think the last series I finished in real-time publication might have been Twilight.)

Anyway, the entire time reading Children of Blood and Bone, in the root of my gut I just feel that this series won’t be any different. Continue reading “Review: A Deserving Diverse Formulaic Fantasy in Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeymi”

Review: A Raw and Intimate Coming-of-Age Story in The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

general information

 

The Poet X
Page Count: 357 pages
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Audiobook
Goodreads: The Poet X review
CW: parental abuse, homophobia, body-shaming

 

review

Elizabeth Acevedo is one of the most talented creatives I’ve ever come across.

Her performance as the narrator of this audiobook is stunning. The Poet X is written in verse, much of them read as a slam poem. The amount of raw emotion that is delivered just with the language is incredible, so when you add that to a trembling and variable tone of voice it creates such a delicate atmosphere of finding yourself that so many teens can relate (even I related to it and I’m well out of high school). The audiobook had such a visceral experience with me that for the second half of the story I did not stop crying. Continue reading “Review: A Raw and Intimate Coming-of-Age Story in The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo”

Review: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak: An Intricately Intentional Novel about Relationships and the Lasting Effects of Genocide

general information

 

The Bastard of Istanbul

Page Count: 368 pages
Publication Date: January 18, 2007 (Viking)
Age Range: Adult
Source: Library
Goodreads: Bastard of Istanbul
TW: rape, genocide

 

 

review

This entire novel belongs in a museum.

I realized as I’m typing this that it’s going to be physically painful for me to format this like I would for a typical review. This book is too gorgeous and is unworthy for any type of garbage that I’m going to just spurt out of my brain. I also am struggling to stay focused on what are actually important in reviews, like do I really need to summarize this???? Nothing I write will compare!!

The Bastard of Istanbul is a story about women. The numerous types of women is this book is absolutely incredible and I loved how women are depicted as strong, varied, independent, interesting, intelligent, etc. Honestly, this would’ve been the perfect book to write a college paper on; there is just so much rich material. Continue reading “Review: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak: An Intricately Intentional Novel about Relationships and the Lasting Effects of Genocide”

Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

 

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake, #1)
Page Count: 285 pages
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Age Range: Middle Grade
Source: Library
Goodreads: City of Ghosts

 

 

Edinburgh is the perfect backdrop to for a twelve-year-old who can see ghosts. Utterly atmospheric and a little creepy, Schwab created the perfect little spooky coming-of-age story, one that just happens to be about a girl who can see ghosts.

Cass grew up with ghost-hunting parents but she’s the one who can actually see ghosts, a secret she kept since she was almost drowned. When her parents drag her to Edinburgh to film their new tv, her ghost best friend Jacob tags along. Surrounded by some of the most popular ghost stories, Cass can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble. Continue reading “Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab”

Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonPage Count: 337 pages
Publication Date: August 28, 2014
Age Range: Middle Grade
Source: Audiobook
Goodreads: Brown Girl Dreaming review

 

 

Brown Girl Dreaming is Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir encapsulating her girlhood growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Lyrical and moving, this memoir is required reading for young readers. Continue reading “Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson”

Review: Nothing Happened by Molly Booth

Nothing HappenedPage Count: 329 pages
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Goodreads: Nothing Happened review
CW: depression

Rep: bi/pan main characters and secondary characters (disclosed as “still figuring it out”), adopted main character, black main character, secondary/tertiary POC characters and LGBTQ+ characters

Based off of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, sisters Bee and Hana are more than ready to begin working at their parents summer camp. Hana has eyes for her camp friend Claudia, while Bee and Ben having lingering animosity since a drunken night the summer before. While friends try to push Bee and Ben together (or back together?), trouble-makers try to force Hana and Claudia apart. Complete with typical Shakespeare misunderstandings and staple camp gossip, Nothing Happens marries messy relationships and lots of drama. Shakespeare would be nothing but proud.

I don’t know how I didn’t realize it earlier that summer camp is the perfect setting for Shakespeare retelling, but now I am determined to write my own.

Nothing Happened was insanely fun and dramatic. There is ample amount of gossip and misunderstandings mixed in with typical Shakespeare tropes and summer camp slang. The plot was entirely realistic and believable, which a lot of it is owed to the culture surrounding camp.  Continue reading “Review: Nothing Happened by Molly Booth”

Review: Breakout! by Stacy Davidowitz

Picture

Page Count: 240 pages
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Age Range: Middle Grade
Source: Purchased
Series: Camp Rolling Hills #3
Goodreads: Camp Rolling Hills Breakout!
CW: fat shaming

 

“Summer’s almost over, which means one thing and one thing only: It’s Color War time! Color War is the event of the summer, a massive camp-wide competition that divides the campers into two teams: Blue and White. All of the upper campers are hoping they’ll be selected as Lieutenant, a team leader position and a huge honor. Jenny’s convinced she’s got Lieutenant in the bag, being a “Popular Girl” and all. And Play Dough sure hopes he does, too—members of his family have been White team Lieutenants for generations, and he doesn’t want to disappoint them. But when assignments are announced, both Jenny and Play Dough are in for a big surprise.

With the entire camp now amping up for an all-out war, can they overcome crushing expectations and lead their team . . . to victory?” (Source)

Every time I come home from camp in September I toss around camp lingo to my friends who look at me like I have three heads. Reading this series is like coming home.

Color Wars at camp is ultimately like a national holiday. It’s intense. You get messy. It’s honestly a little terrifying at times. It’s what I imagine sky-diving would be like: exhilarating but also this deep-seeded fear you might not make it out alive.

I was so excited to read this book solely for the Color Wars lingo and activities. Throw in Play Dough, my bb and favorite character and I was PSYCHED.

Jenny quickly became one of my favorite characters too. Honestly, if she was my camper in real-life, I would have a soft spot for. I’m very on brand with my “favorite” campers (even though I know we’re not really supposed to have favorites) but like I can’t help but feel sympathetic for the campers who are like the borderline trouble-makers. Those campers are the kids who typically talk back but also listen when you ask them to do something (they might not listen the first time but they’ll eventually do it!!). In my experience, those campers have some underlying motives to act they way they do.

Davidowitz described Jenny’s character perfectly. She wasn’t my favorite character in the previous two books but I quickly started to root for her in this one when we were privy to her point of view.

Play Dough on the other hand as always been one of my favorite characters (and favorite campers to be honest). But his characterization through the series (and this particular novel in extremity) is thoroughly problematic and forced me to drop my rating down. Play Dough’s weight is often described far more than any other physical appearance of any other character throughout the novel. There was so much unnecessary and harmful focus on Play Dough’s weight in the narration, not just in characters’ speech or thoughts, but in the actual description of scenes as well.

This was ultimately a 5-star read for me but I can’t in good conscious give this the rating I feel like it should be because of the horrendous descriptions of Play Dough throughout the novel (even his name insinuates a negative connotation to his weight ugh). I did really enjoy reading this, but I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend this to anyone outside of the camp world.