Friday, March 02, 2018

3/2/18 reviews from Saleena

Mayday is a heartwarming, sad but sweet story of a boy who has lost so much that he has lost himself.  After actually losing his voice, he finds all the things he wish he could say; to the girl he likes, to his deadbeat dad, to his mom and her new boyfriend, to his friends, and to himself most of all.  The author brings all the characters to life, and adds humor into very dark spaces; just like life does.  It's not often you see a novel that is equally good for 12 year olds and 18 year olds and adults....this is one of those. A really well done novel, definitely need some tissues though.

As Brave As You looks like a little kids book, but it really works for older teens as well; it examines what a life of bravery really is and what family really means.  Reynolds takes us into the country as these two boys spend the summer with their grandparents, which is completely different from the inner city life they are used to.  Reynolds tells such a beautiful story with an ease that makes this a quick read, but very deep.

I read this AFTER reading the second book, but it didn't matter, such a great tale set in a fairy tale setting but taken in a whole new direction.  Hatke does a fabulous job and I will continue to read these as long as they are printed.  The themes of bravery and difference and caring and family are poignant and the art work is fun and exciting.   Plus, you can't lose basing a tale on Jack and the Beanstalk!

We Are Okay is the 2018 Printz winner, so I wanted to read it; and once again...I love's weird....
Anyway this examination of grief and family and the lies we tell each other is excruciating and beautiful and so engaging; all in a short number of pages.  You will cry, it is a story of loss after all; but it is also a story of acceptance and love, which makes this title ring true; because in the end...we are okay.

Bring tissues though, you will need them!

I am trying to also read tween & younger teen books, so this looked interesting.  Sadly, it is a little too cutesy and not substantive enough to make me happy.  The idea is that a scientist has invented a box that will bring to life anything you imagine; and of course a young man imagines some bad things (he was having a nightmare); and things get weird.  There is also random government conspiracies and betrayals mixed into the crazy chase of is an alright book, but not great.

This quick story has a heart of gold that will really make you think (and maybe well up a bit).  The two sisters are from the Philippines but are now in Louisiana, living with their step-mother because their dad left them behind when he returned to the Philippines.  The girls and their step-mother do not get along, in fact, she is pretty abusive; but she is all they have besides each other.  Ultimately this is the story of one girl finding her strength to stand up for herself and her sister; but also the strength to face telling her sister the truth about life, their family and their history.  I really enjoyed this book, though as an adult, I wanted someone to step in and help the girls, I do like that the author provided community support for them to run to.

This book was weird.  Not in a cool way, just weird & even now; I'm not sure what the truth of the book was.  A young man insists that he is interacting with aliens, who will destroy the universe unless he stops them.  He is unsure if he should, given the family abuse, extreme bullying and horrible life he is in.  In the end, he is shown getting help at a facility but it is never really explained; was it all a delusion; or is he unhealthy AND visited by aliens?  The ending was just very unsatisfying & left too many threads hanging...and some of the problems just magically fixed themselves (such as an abusive older brother who suddenly becomes a caring nurturer because he has a child on the way).   All in all, not a recommended read.

Anderson is kind of a hit or miss author for me.  The other YA librarian absolutely loved this book, while I really despised it.  It is true SF Dystopia with a fictional look at what happens when a new culture comes in & destroys the existing one (like the English did in India for instance).  I just found it disheartening & with the end message of "just give up & stop hoping for a better life and you'll be happy"....just reinforced why I don't like dystopic books.  However, others have maintained the sarcastic tone makes all the difference, which this reader missed, it's one that you will have to read and decide for yourself.

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...