Posts Tagged: Layla

Front Lines: Review

Front Lines: Review

What if the draft had been extended to young women in WWII as well as men? That’s the premise of Michael Grant’s new book, Front Lines, and that’s pretty much all I needed to know before making grabby hands at it at NCTE this year. I saw the cover, saw the tagline – “she’s fighting for her country” – and was like, oh yes, I shall be reading you, book. I mean, I will read alternate histories any day of the week and if they’re alternate histories that focus on women’s experiences, then hell yes, I’m there. And as far as that goes, Front Lines did not disappoint! So Front Lines follows three young women – Rio, Frangie, and Rainy – as they enlist in the army and are shipped overseas. They have different motivations: Rio, a white girl from California, wants to do her part (but is also talked into it… Read more »

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The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

You get two for the price of one today–Layla has a review of The Scorpion Rules for you, and Wendy has a giveaway + recap of the Erin Bow event she attended awhile back! Review: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I have been in the middle of a fairly severe reading slump (and am also reading nonstop for my dissertation, so you know, take that into account, too) and The Scorpion Rules is one of the few books that have successfully broken through the haze of grumpiness I’ve been in for the last few months. But The Scorpion Rules really worked for me. From what I can tell, though, it seems like it’s been a fairly divisive read – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Luckily for me, I am firmly on Team Scorpion Rules (and Team Talis!). If you like dark humor, morally ambiguous AIs,… Read more »

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What We Left Behind: Review

What We Left Behind: Review

What We Left Behind was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. Ever since I heard more about Robin Talley’s latest book back at BEA in May, I’d been incredibly excited to get my hands on it. I thought Talley’s debut novel – about an interracial teen couple during the Civil Rights Movement – was beautifully written, even if I had some issues with the way the relationship between the two women played out. What We Left Behind – about how the relationship between a self-identified lesbian and her genderqueer partner changes once they both make the shift from high school to college – sounded great to me. Books with queer characters! Relationship feels! A protagonist who IDs as genderqueer! I love all of it; bring it on. But … now that I’ve finished? If there were more novels (young adult and adult alike) that dealt amazingly with non-binary gender identities, I think I’d… Read more »

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These Shallow Graves: Review

These Shallow Graves: Review

If you enjoy historical fiction with a spunky female lead, some romance, and a murder mystery thrown in for good measure, you might want to pick up Jennifer Donnelly’s latest book, These Shallow Graves. I admit, I was lured in by the promise of a spunky female lead in this case – a girl who secretly dreams of being a writer and defying societal expectations! – ’cause that’s my jam all the time. In turn-of-the-century America, no less! (An aside: my love for American history has been totally revitalized by the release of the soundtrack for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, by the way. And this is … a century later! Where’s my Revolutionary War YA when I need it?) Anyway. Ahem. Back to business! Despite the spunky female lead, while I liked many aspects of These Shallow Graves, I didn’t connect with it emotionally in the way that I wanted… Read more »

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A Thousand Nights: Review + Giveaway

A Thousand Nights: Review + Giveaway

A Thousand Nights is the Arabian Nights retelling I have been waiting for. I know there have been a few to come out this year, but A Thousand Nights has been my favorite of them all. If I could imagine an Arabian Nights retelling that would make my heart sing, it’d be this book. Go read this book when it comes out. It’s awesome. Probably you are already familiar with the story on which this novel is based. If not, let me give you a brief synopsis. There’s a king. He takes a new bride every day and kills her each night. One woman, Scheherazade, becomes his queen and delays her execution by telling a series of interlocking stories with cliffhangers for 1001 nights. What I liked about A Thousand Nights is that it takes this frame narrative but transforms it – the novel stays faithful to the spirit rather than the letter of its… Read more »

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Lizard Radio: Review

Lizard Radio: Review

Do you want to read a dystopian novel with a genderqueer protagonist who may or may not be part lizard? If this sounds like something you didn’t know you wanted, Lizard Radio is the book for you. It’s a hard book to describe. Our protagonist, Kivali – familiarly known as Lizard, was abandoned as a baby  (wrapped in a lizard t-shirt!). Lizard is adopted by Sheila, a human woman who becomes her foster mom and sends her, at the opening of the novel, to CropCamp. The novel takes off from there – CropCamp is all about teaching teenagers how to be good citizens of an oppressive totalitarian government; teens have to attend CropCamp or one of the many other strictly regimented government-run camps and, if they fail, risk being sent to Blight. At CropCamp, a camp focused on developing agricultural workers, group conformity is prized; state-sanctioned heterosexual relationships are supposed to emerge… 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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