Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reviews from Saleena 12/29/16

I hate to admit it, but I've been struggling to write these blogs, and to focus on reading.....I think it's just the huge amount sitting in front of me that is making me not want to.....or perhaps I'm just having a phase I'm going through.

Anyway, here is the last of this year; hopefully the new year will bring new inspiration and good books (I seem to find lots of not so great books that I don't finish, and if I don't finish, I don't write about them).

I never would have read this book on my own, but it was recommended; so I thought I'd try it.  Boy, am I glad I did.  Two girls, with nothing in common but an obsession for their favorite show and their fangirl blogging about it.  They start talking, one in her 20s, one graduating high school; and slowly their lives begin to intertwine.  I love their bonding over the show and the fact that it's not JUST about that, there are levels to this story which make it really compelling. 

Blumenthal has written a comprehensive and yet interesting story of the Tommy Gun, where it came from, why and what happened...but in a way that isn't unapproachable, but might be read out of interest.  Very informative with lots of pictures and facts, a well done book indeed.

Gemina begins (in a time line anyway) before and during the events that occur during the Illuminae story.  This one takes place at the space station, with events happening there that influence and affect what happens to the Illuminae, and when they come together it is literally explosive.   The authors did a great job of pulling all the varying facts, time lines and interconnected stories into one.  Just like Illuminae, it has lots of text, photos, misc ways of communicating rather than a straight text based story.  I loved it, and can't wait for more people to read it so we can get all crazed/excited chatting about it.

Listen, Slowly takes place mostly in Vietnam where Mai (or Mia) goes with her grandmother when a private detective comes across information about her grandfather who died (maybe) during the Vietnam War.  Mai begins by being very resentful of giving up her summer to go to a country she doesn't know, meeting relatives she's sure she won't like....but things progress and she finds much she never knew about her family, her origins and her history.  This is a bit of a younger book, so might not appeal to older students; but it really depends on your interests.  It was a sweet story.

After the Ashes takes place in the 1800s, on the island of Java.  The volcano Krakatau is about to erupt after being "dead" for many years, and this story centers on a young lady and what happens to her.  I found the story hard to read, granted it takes place a long time ago, and the main character is Dutch; and the attitudes towards native populations were not great, but it just felt a bit awkward and wooden.  The main character is portrayed as a bit of a tomboy who is now being asked to no longer be friends with her native best friend; but somehow she is oblivious to all of the issues of Dutch rule and hardships her friend faces?  The native issues aren't explored at all, just some vague "we hate you" from scary men ......who of course, refuse to help in the crisis.  And the main character, for all of her "boy-ish-ness" is really kind of whiny and don't see a lot of redeeming qualities for her aside from her knowledge of the flora and fauna, which helps but she isn't a survivalist, only a 13 year old girl.     So, not a bad story, but off-putting and not great.

This Snow White is a graphic novel with a 1930s setting....and I loved it.  The artwork was beautiful, the story nicely adapted and changed for the history and the modern framework....but still retaining the essentials of a Snow White story.  Really nicely done.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Book Review- Girl, Stolen By:Aleena Khan

Book Review- Girl, Stolen
By:Aleena Khan

Imagine if you were blind. It would be hard to maneuver and sense your surroundings. Now, imagine if you were blind AND kidnapped, and did not have the slightest idea as to where you were going. Girl, Stolen by April Henry is a suspenseful and quick-paced novel about a 16-year-old girl named Cheyenne who is accidentally kidnapped as she is sleeping in the back of her stepmother's car. Her stepmother was just supposed to fill a prescription and come back; however, while sleeping, Cheyenne sensed that someone different entered the car. Cheyenne couldn’t see, but she could sense that this was not her stepmother. The smell of cigarettes and the car door slamming loudly immediately gave her the sense that she was being kidnapped. This novel gives you a new perspective on the difficult world of a blind, and  it definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things that I didn’t know about blind people. I really like the symbolism of the little girl covering her eyes, most of us do it when afraid, but for the heroine of the story it is something she must live with every day as a blind person.

In addition, this novel makes one honor a girl who has to think of various ways to escape her problematic situation. Everyone should read this novel because of its unique plot and entertaining read.

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...