Hunter: Review

Hunter: Review

Oh, Hunter. You had so much potential. A book in which all of the monsters of our nightmares, myths, and legends are real and a teenage girl has the magic to fight them? I’m in. A book that’s a sort of post-apocalyptic, futuristic dystopian, fantasy mash up.  How could I resist being immediately drawn in by a premise that promises battle with dragons, vampires, Fae, and all manner of legendary creatures all in one book? Yes, please. Sign me up. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea left much to be desired. In Joy’s world, it has been 200 some years since the Diseray, an apocalyptic event that unleashed the monsters of myth into our world. Society has had some time to recover and rebuild, and there is at least one major city, though if there are more I have no idea. World building isn’t really a strength here. Joy is… Read more »

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Classic MG Discussion: The Girl with the Silver Eyes

Classic MG Discussion: The Girl with the Silver Eyes

Layla: So glad we read The Girl with the Silver Eyes together! This was one of my favorites as a kid – my memory of finding it in a used bookstore and looking at the cover is very, very strong, because it was an instant hit with me. (Old cover was awesome, you all! Katie looked like such a badass!) I wanted silver eyes and telekinesis as a kid and I think tried to move some books with my mind like Matilda a few times but to no avail. Wendy: One of my enduring favorites, too! I was so sure that if I just concentrated hard enough, maybe I’d find my untapped powers. Alas. Kim: I was totally new to this book! This is very much something I would have loved as a kid. I adored the TV show The Secret World of Alex Mack and this is sort of related in that a… Read more »

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Middle Grade Round Up: Mini Reviews

Middle Grade Round Up: Mini Reviews

I don’t get around to reading as much middle grade as I’d wish to, but I’ve really lucked out so far this year. Every middle grade I’ve read has been so charming and heartwarming. A real highlight has been Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger, but today I’m bringing you two other 2015 MG’s I’ve really enjoyed.     Title: Echo Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan Rating: 3.5 A lovely story and beautifully told, this book tells the tales of 3 different children in different times and place in the world all connected by one magical harmonica. Friedrich in pre-WWII Germany is first hand witness to the slow motion horror of Hitler’s rise to power and gradual degradations to his family.  Mike in a Depression era orphanage fights to keep his little brother from being adopted without him. Ivy in WWII era California comes up against the harsh racism of segregated education and the horror of… Read more »

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Top Ten Tuesday (12): Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught “YA and the Western Canon 101”

Top Ten Tuesday (12): Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught “YA and the Western Canon 101”

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101” and we’re happy to be participating!     I would like to make about a million of these (social justice & YA! LGBTQI literature!) but eventually settled on this topic, which is basically … novels from the Western literary canon and YA books that I think it’d be cool to teach with them and vice versa. Some of these are adaptations of canonical lit, others are loosely inspired by it, and others are just paired together because I want them to be. The sort of guiding question that I had in mind for these pairings – because there are approximately a million adaptations in the world! – was how do these novels explore what it means to be human? (With secondary… Read more »

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Mechanica: Review

Mechanica: Review

There is something so frustrating about a story that is so close to being satisfactory but doesn’t quite make it. Mechanica is a perfectly serviceable retelling, I imagine, but doesn’t have the emotional substance to make an impact. When I read a book I want to be swept away to another world, brought far from my own experiences, and caught up in the emotions of the characters. I don’t want “serviceable.” Now, I haven’t read Cinder, but from what I could tell this really isn’t very similar. Whereas Cinder is a futuristic dystopian-ish (I think?), Mechanica has much more of a traditional fairy tale feel. Think: 18th century but with magic, fae, and some adorable steampunk creatures. Also, that book has a significant focus on the romance aspect of the story. This one…doesn’t (but more on that later). I actually really enjoyed the first 20% or so of the book… Read more »

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What We Saw: Review

What We Saw: Review

If What We Saw isn’t already on your radar for September 2015 releases, it should be. I can’t say that I enjoyed it – the book, for the most part, centers on the rape of a high school student by a group of her peers and its effect on her community – but it’s a good book and an important one, and you should read it. If you’ve ever wanted a book that unpacks and critiques rape culture, What We Saw is here and it’s a good start. Here’s the premise of What We Saw: high school junior Kate Weston wakes up the morning after a party with little memory of what happened the night before. While Kate’s concerns are initially about herself (did she drive herself home? Is her car across town? Does Ben Cody, longtime good friend and fellow scholar-athlete, like her?), her focus quickly shifts. The next day at… Read more »

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DUMPLIN’: Willowdean’s First Peachbutt Texts + Super Cute ARC Box Giveaway

DUMPLIN’: Willowdean’s First Peachbutt Texts + Super Cute ARC Box Giveaway

When I finished Dumplin‘, I jotted this down at 3 in the morning: If this book were a movie, we’d all be at Julie Murphy’s slumber party piled in front of the TV in our jammies, both screaming with laughter and clutching each other the minute someone leaned in for a kiss. Everyone in the free world is about to find out how fun that imaginary party would be, because the book comes out next month and it’s been optioned for a movie! Party at Julie’s house, guys! This book is so funny and poignant and fiercely positive, most especially about body image and self-love. If you love your contemporary YAs filled with an adorable romance, family relationships, and great friends, don’t miss this one! Willdowdean Dickson will totally win you over with her sassy Texas attitude, and you’ll love her for being so whole-heartedly determined to be the person… Read more »

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