Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Review: Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Fruit of the Drunken Tree Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The history of Pablo Escobar's Columbia serves as the backdrop for this coming of age story told from two distinct voices. Chula and her older sister Cassandra live fairly privileged lives within the gated walls of their Bogota community. Ever-observant Chula is carefree, precocious, and wise beyond her 7 years. When the Santiago family hires a maid from a nearby slum, Chula becomes infatuated with the secrets that 13-year-old Petrona tries to keep hidden.

The vastly different voices of these two young narrators spin parallel narratives built upon family, difficult choices, violence, and hope.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Review: Words We Don't Say

Words We Don't Say Words We Don't Say by K.J. Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joel is getting by. He's attending school, doing his volunteer work, fantasizing about Eli - the girl he knows is out of his league, and he's even mastering drivers' training. Oh, and he's also writing hundreds of text message drafts that will never be sent - call it his virtual journal.

At times hilarious, at times heartbreaking, Joel's attempts at dealing with a tragic loss don't always make sense, but with a little help from his family and band of misfit friends, he's got more than a chance!

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just peek at my reading history and you'll know I'm a sucker for Holocaust literature. The Tattooist of Auschwitz didn't disappoint! When Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, arrives in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, little does he know what is in store. The brutality and near-death experiences he survives are tragic, but he manages to remain hopeful. When he is "luckily" tasked with the job of T├Ątowierer who marks his fellow prisoners, he learns that he is in a position to help those who are not so fortunate.

Lale uses his privileged position to provide food to help others survive. As he marks a young woman with number 34902 Lale instantly decides that he will survive to marry this woman - Gita. What unfolds is a tale that is tragic, romantic, heartbreaking, and heartwarming.

Based on Lale Sokolov's experiences, The Tattooist of Auschwitz provides the world with yet another unbelievable account of humanity at its best and worst.

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Review: Odd One Out

Odd One Out Odd One Out by Nic Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book as much as Stone's debut - Dear Martin, but I just couldn't do it. Odd One Out is a story about finding oneself, being a good friend, first love (and lust), and so much more. It's messy, raw, and life for many teens (and even adults). But there were just too many things about Jupiter [Jupe], Courtney [Coop], and Rae that just didn't ring true for me. Teens will likely love this book, but aside from these characters internal struggles, life just seemed too easy for them as a whole.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez is an out and proud lesbian, a feminist to the core, and is crushing on her two best friends (Rae-girl & Coop-boy?????).

Courtney Aloysius Cooper IV has it all - mad sports skills, girls falling at his feet, and a best friend who he's head-over-heels in love with. One big problem - she's a lesbian.

Rae Chin is the "new girl" at school, but as luck would have it, she's been befriended by the dynamic duo of Jupiter and Cooper, so she's got it made. Instant friends, widespread acceptance, and a confusing attraction to both of them (whaaat?).

Through each of their unique voices, Stone spins a tale of a friendship/love triangle that goes beyond your basic teen romance. Through Jupiter, Cooper, and Rae, readers dive into some very confused teen minds as they try to sort out sexuality, emotions, physical attraction, friendship, and all of the other chaos that is reality for many teens.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

TECH Note of This 12/04/2018

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Review: Ghost Boys

Ghost Boys Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When 12-year old Jerome, a black boy, is shot and killed by a white police officer who mistakes a toy gun for the real thing, his Chicago neighborhood is outraged. How can this keep happening?

Jerome goes on to tell his story, as a ghost, who sees the aftermath the tragedy and how it impacts his family and the officer's family. In his ghostly world, Jerome also meets another young black boy who was murdered in 1955, Emmett Till. Through Emmett's story, Jerome learns of the hundreds of other Ghost Boys who, like him, now bear the burden of trying to stop the cycle of violence that stems from racism and fear.

Jerome's mission becomes one of healing instead of hatred. Ultimately, this is a story of hope and compassion that is sadly built upon anger and grief.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: King's Cage

King's Cage King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This third installment in the epic Red Queen series continues the struggle of power between the corrupt monarchy led by Maven Calore and the rebellion fueled by Newbloods and Reds. As Mare is held captive by Maven, she uses her time to gather details of the cunning King's plans for Norte. For about 2/3 of the book, the story primarily drags through Mare's day to day turmoils in captivity, but once the plan to rescue her launches, the action picks up and races to the cliffhanger ending.



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