Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Review: This Was Our Pact

This Was Our Pact This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Join Ben and Nathaniel on a whimsical and dreamlike adventure as they set out to follow the lamps that are sent downriver each year at the town's Autumn Equinox festival. Their journey is magical and bumpy, but the big question is, will they make it to their destination?

I'm still a beginner when it comes to reading graphic novels (especially fictional stories), but is a great story that is easy to read and wonderfully illustrated.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Review: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brown's graphic novel tells of the plight of Syrian refugees as they flee their war torn homeland in search of safety and stability. Rather than focusing on politics or cultural/religious status, the focus is on humanity; on the waves of nameless refugees and the horrors they face within the Syrian borders as well as the dangers associated with escape. Though unwanted by most other countries, the resilience and hopefulness that allow these individuals to push on in seeking refuge is powerful!

This modern refugee story is one that has been repeated far too many times throughout history, prompting readers to look beyond these stories and into the roots of oppression and conflict that continue to persist across the globe.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review: They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems by David Bowles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book of poems is amazingly easy to get lost in. As Güero enters seventh grade, he chronicles his day-to-day life through a series of poems. What stands out most is that his life is fairly ordinary - for a border kid living in a border town. He shares stories of friends, girls, teachers, pets, family, cars, music...life. Though each poem stands alone, they flow from one to the next creating a vibrant snapshot of youthfulness and cultural awareness.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Review: Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice

Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful and disturbing book that everyone should read! This YA adaptation does a great job of engaging readers with the realities of America's justice system along the Equal Justice Initiative.

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Review: Look Both Ways

Look Both Ways Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jason Reynolds has crafted a unique tale with ten different stories that are independent but interconnected, just like the characters within them. When school lets out for the day, kids disperse, and through ten different lenses, readers are carried along with the flow of students rushing from the building and heading to their respective destinations. Each tale is distinctive in its voice and experiences, much like each person/student. Filled with humor, emotion, and reality - readers are in for a treat!

*Personal note - I almost didn't make it through the first story! I have a strong aversion to boogers (talking about them, seeing them, etc.) - and after a few gags (even while writing this review), I thankfully managed to make it through. 😆

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Review: The Testaments

The Testaments The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Re-enter Gilead 15 years after Offred's mysterious disappearance. The Testament's follow three interwoven narratives that slowly tell the story of Gilead's ultimate downfall.

Through three very different lenses, readers are exposed to the harsh realities of life in Gilead and the dreams of those who want to destroy it. Agnes Jemimah and Nicole's eyewitness testimonies provide glimpses into the naive yet uncertain world of young girls who've been brainwashed to believe in things that don't ring true in their hearts, while Aunt Lydia's first-person tales of survival, cruelty, and corruption reveal the true inner-workings of Gilead.

Though the story wrapped up a bit too neatly for my taste, it does bring some closure for readers who wanted to know more (and also for those who've watched the Hulu mini-series).



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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Review: Butterfly Yellow

Butterfly Yellow Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this book, and the second half was much more engaging for me, but overall it seems like it will be a tough sell for most teens who aren't in love with historical fiction or character driven stories.

Six years after Hang is left in a war-torn Viet Nam while her little brother is sent to the U.S., she finally arrives in Texas on a mission to find her lost brother. With the grudging help of LeeRoy, a wanna be cowboy, Hang locates her brother only to realize that he no longer remembers her. As she fights to help her brother remember, readers gradually learn about the tragedy and trauma Hang has endured over the last six years.

This is a story of family, of history, and of hope.

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