This book by Jennifer Latham caught my eye when I was wandering through the YA section of my library a few months ago, so I grabbed it. I happened to be intrigued by several YA books that month, so I just barely managed to finish it before it was due back.
This book is the reason I read Heart-Shaped Box. I started reading this comic, which is written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, realized Joe Hill was Stephen King’s son, and was intrigued enough to read some of Hill’s prose.
This comic is so good!
It starts just after the brutal murder of Rendell Locke, a school counselor who is also a husband and father of three children. After his funeral, his widow and children move into the house in which Rendell grew up, which is all the way across the country in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. Rendell had told his wife that, if anything happened to him, they would be safe in that old house.
This is one that happened to catch my eye when I was wandering through the YA section of my library. I hadn’t heard anything about it, so I didn’t have much in the way of expectations.
It’s about a teenaged girl named Fabiola trying to move from Haiti to America with her mother and is apparently based on the real-life experiences of the author, Ibi Zoboi (though Zoboi was much younger when she immigrated).
Fabiola was born in America the last time her mother visited, so when they land in New York, Fabiola gets to keep going on to Detroit, where her aunt and three cousins live. But her mother overstayed her visa in order to make sure Fabiola was born on American soil, and because of that, she gets detained and sent back to Haiti.
I thoroughly enjoyed Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe, so when I saw Benjamin Alire Sáenz was coming out with a new book, I lost no time in asking my local library to lend me a copy.
This book follows Sal, a pretty chill high school senior who suddenly finds himself swinging punches at everyone who looks at him the wrong way. It’s not how his adopted father has raised him, so Sal has to wonder, is this something he inherited from his biological father?
This is the book I was looking for when I ended up listening to Dreams From My Father, which is also by Barack Obama. But at the time, this one had a list of people waiting for it and Dreams From My Father was readily available, so I listened to it while waiting for this one. I’m glad I did. Not that it’s necessary to have read it in order to understand The Audacity of Hope, but I do think it helps because Obama’s first book gives more of a sense of where he’s coming from, especially since the title of his second book comes from a painting that got mentioned in his first book.
This one gets more political. Obama does talk some about meeting Michelle and the struggles they encountered in starting a family together, but most of the focus of this book is on politics. It was fascinating for a lot of reasons, not least of which was the fact that he was writing while Bush Jr. was president and SO MUCH has happened between then and now.
I’m a huge fan of The Phantom of the Opera. It was the first musical my parents ever took me to see when I was six years old and it’s been something I’ve bonded over with them ever since (especially my dad, who listens to the soundtrack with me at least once a year). I also read the book several years ago, so of course the cover of this book by A. G. Howard caught my eye when I happened past the YA section of my local library a few months ago.
The cover claims it’s a re-telling of TPOTO, but it’s more of a sequel. It takes place in modern day and focuses on a girl named Rune who has a spectacular soprano voice, but she can’t control it. Sometimes, when she hears an operatic aria, the song kind of embeds itself in her and she becomes obsessed with it until she finally gives in and sings it all the way through, but that leaves her so exhausted she usually collapses when she’s done. Despite her determination to avoid this mysterious power of song, Rune’s mother enrolls her in a music school (RoseBlood) in the French countryside.
I read this book by Angie Thomas almost as soon as it came out. At one point my mom asked how I had heard about it and I couldn’t remember. I think Goodreads. I seem to remember it was getting some buzz there shortly before it was released, some of my friends had already added it to their “to-read” shelves, and I thought the concept was interesting.
FYI: the title is taken from Tupac, who said “Thug Life” stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.”
The book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s about a 16-year-old black girl, Starr Carter, who lives in a poor, inner city neighborhood, but attends a white prep school in the suburbs, roughly a 45-minute drive away. It’s hard enough to balance her two lives (at home she’s not “black” enough and at school she’s not “white” enough), but it gets even harder when she witnesses her best friend, Khalil, get shot to death by a cop. Khalil and Starr were both unarmed, but the cop (she refers to him as One-Fifteen because that was his badge number) still holds his gun on Starr between killing her friend and the arrival of the ambulance.
Ugh, I hated this book so much!
I don’t feel like that’s fair to the book, though, because I don’t think it was really that bad. It’s just that it wasn’t very good. My book club voted to read it, and if it hadn’t been for that fact, I never would have finished listening to this audiobook. As it was I seriously considered bailing on it anyway and just not going to that particular meeting. I think forcing myself to finish it left me hating it more than I would have otherwise because I became bitter about spending 15 hours of my life listening to something I didn’t care about.
At the end of the day, that was my biggest complaint about this book by Tara Conklin: I just did not care about any of the characters.
The book goes back and forth in time between Josephine Bell, a slave in 1852 Virginia, and Carolina “Lina” Sparrow, a Manhattan attorney in 2004. As you might have guessed from the title, Josephine is a house girl working on a run-down plantation that has seen better days, but they still own her and all her friends so, you know, things could be worse for the Bell family.
Josephine’s mistress, Lu Anne Bell, is sickly and has never succeeded in giving her husband an heir. The poor woman has had 17 miscarriages and stillbirths and now she’s dying of cancer. Josephine is her caretaker, but when Lu Anne’s husband hits Josephine without warning or provocation, that’s the last straw for Josephine. She decides to run away. Apparently she had already decided to run away four years earlier, but was very much pregnant at the time (with her master’s baby) and the family working the nearest stop on the Underground Railroad refused to help her because it was too dangerous.
Without getting overtly political, this book by Shelly Laurenston is one my mom and I both read because of the current state of affairs in our country. She was listening to a podcast that spent an episode recommending books about kickass women for people to read as therapy to help get us through these hard times. My mom ended up listening to the audiobook, but she also had a paperback when I once again found myself at her house without a book to read. Having heard her rave about how much fun the audiobook was, I picked up the paperback when I saw it lying around and then I couldn’t put it down.