Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reviews from Saleena, 2/14/17

Otis and Meg used to live next door to each other and were deeply in love.  Then came the horrible summer that Otis' brother died and everything changed.  Meg and her family moved away, Otis lost himself in grief and then found swimming and Dara (his coach & friend).  It's been more than 3 years, and suddenly Meg emails him that she is coming into town.  Otis is overwhelmed in a plethora of emotions; as are his parents. 
This is such a lovely multi-layered story...and the phantom limbs not only refers to Dara's lost arm; but also the loss of his little brother and the effects of that loss (and his phantom presence) on all of both families.  Really good but bring a box of tissues.

Marlow Green stumbles onto a truth about Hellish demons that wander the earth; and also a mysterious force that allows you to literally make a deal with the devil; while fighting to keep the world free from demons.  This story was interesting but not my cup of tea.

Stewart & Ashley are brought together by virtue of their parents' decision to move in together.  It's hard on Stewart, because his mother died of a long illness and now he has also lost his home, his school and his safety net.  Ashley is still struggling to accept that her parents are divorced, and has absolutely not accepted that her father is gay (the realization of which was the cause of the divorce).  Stewart is very high on the intellectual scale but lacking in social skills, not autistic; but perhaps Asperberg-like?  (not definted but definitely hinted upon)....Ashley struggles in scholastic pursuits, but rules the school as the chief Mean Girl.  What brings them together, ironically, is a boy.....a nasty, terribly cute boy who befriends Stewart in the hopes of dating Ashley; and as the nastiness surfaces, forces both of them out of their comfort zones.   I really, heavily identified with Stewart, he is a likable and sweet boy who is REALLY trying to logically map out his life, while also acknowledging that life is terribly illogical.  I had a hard time with Ashley, but she IS pretty terrible....and it gets better.   Perhaps the book is a bit "rose colored glasses" but I enjoyed it and the idea of growth & redemption that Nielsen puts forward for all of the characters. 

Wendy Project is a new version of the old Neverland tale, in graphic novel format and with a few minor changes.  It is interesting but not amazing.

All American Boys is a hard book to read, but an important one.  Two boys, one black and one white are at a corner store.  The one is accused of stealing (but is innocent), and because of the accusation (and the aura of suspicion based on his skin color & clothes)...is badly beaten, and almost dies.  The other sees the beating, recognizes that it is overboard but is uncomfortable acknowledging that people he knows (because he knows the police officer, brother of a friend) can be racist & violent.  The incident leads to unrest at the school and the neighborhood as people take sides and each boy struggles with what happened that night, and where to go from here. 
This book tore out my heart, and I knew it would ......a must read for everyone.

Trashed is a weird combo of fact & fiction.  Backderf based the book on his experiences as a trashman, but it is fictionalized so he can take licenses with the characters and make them even MORE out there.  I can almost see this as a Parks & Rec episode, but grosser (because maggots & smell).....but it is nonetheless a look at the job of taking in trash along with an examination of how much trash we create.  Definitely an interesting graphic novel.

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