The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian
Book Review / September 24, 2016

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Author: Sherman Alexie Genre: Fiction Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Release Date: September 12th, 2007 Format: Hardback Pages: 230 Source: Library Illustrator: Ellen Forney Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book that is simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking. A powerful story told with a dry sense of…

The Shadow of the Wind
Book Review / September 22, 2016

Title: The Shadow of the Wind Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1 Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon Genre: Fiction Publisher: Penguin Books Release Date: January 25th, 2005 Format: Paperback Pages: 487 Source: Library First Published: 2001, in Spanish Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   If only I knew how to write this book review. The Shadow of the Wind enraptured me within paragraphs. I was immediately pulled into a beautiful world of well-woven words. Eventually, I even gave up writing down all my favorite quotes. There were so many great moments and sentences that I…

The Outsiders
Book Review / August 7, 2016

Title: The Outsiders Author: S. E. Hinton Genre: Fiction Publisher: Speak Release Date: September 1st, 1988 Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Source: Library First Published: 1967 According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I chose to read The Outsiders for a couple of reasons: 1. One of my good friends at work said, “Stay gold, Ponyboy.” to me and I was super confused.  Hence, a conversation around this book began. 2. The Outsiders is an integral part of character development in Fangirl. And we all know how much I…

Let’s Get Lost
Book Review / August 5, 2016

Title: Let's Get Lost Author: Adi Alsaid Genre: Young Adult Publisher: Harlequin Teen Release Date: July 29th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 304 Source: Library Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   One summer, a teenaged girl (known in the world of TV Troupes as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or MPDG) goes on a long-way-around road trip to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. On the way, she runs into four emotionally stunted teens and the MPDG helps them open up, experience antics, and truly experience life! Road trips, teenage epiphanies, and romance. Yup. Let’s Get Lost is definitely not my cuppa. It was time to let go of…

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Book Review / July 25, 2016

Title: Mr. Popper's Penguins Author: Richard and Florence Atwater Genre: Children's Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Release Date: November 2nd, 1992 Format: Audiobook Pages: 139 Source: Library Illustrator: Robert Lawson First Published: 1938 The Poppers unexpectedly come into possession of a penguin, then get a penguin from the zoo who mates with the first penguin to have 10 baby penguins. Before long, something must be done before they eat the Poppers out of house and home! A classic of American humor, this story of a gentle housepainter and his high stepping penguins has delighted children for generations. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I grew up in a home where we read a lot. Going to the library each weekend was my favorite activity. And, in Middle School, when I had downtime between school ending and my after school activities, I could often be found loitering in the stacks of our local public library. Yet with all the reading we did, I missed quite a few Newberry Honor books. After all, there are only so many hours in the day. Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a book I didn’t hear about until I was an adult, strangely. And the premise never grabbed me….

Americanah
Book Review / July 21, 2016

Title: Americanah Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Genre: Fiction Publisher: Knopf Release Date: May 14th, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 477 Source: Library From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they…

The Little Lady Agency
Book Review / May 24, 2016

Title: The Little Lady Agency Series: The Little Lady Agency, #1 Author: Hester Browne Genre: Chick Lit Publisher: Gallery Books Release Date: September 5th, 2006 Format: eBook Pages: 406 Source: Library Melissa Romney-Jones can bake a perfect sponge cake, type her little heart out, and plan a party blindfolded. But none of that has helped her get far in life or in love. When she gets fired — again — she decides to market her impeccable social skills to single men. To avoid embarrassing her father, a Member of Parliament, Melissa dons a blond wig and becomes Honey, a no-nonsense bombshell who helps clueless bachelors shop, entertain, and navigate social minefields. She even attends parties if a client needs a “date.” But when a dashing American starts to request Honey’s services on a regular basis, it’s only a matter of time before Honey’s and Melissa’s worlds collide…. GoodreadsAmazon I am not one to typically read Chick-Lit. I just can’t relate to much of it; I didn’t grow up with a lot of female friends, so I don’t understand a lot of the clichés personally. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, pop lit. Particularly when you are spending a…

Bridge to Terabithia
Book Review / May 14, 2016

Title: Bridge to Terabithia Author: Katherine Paterson Genre: Young Adult Fiction Publisher: Trumpet Club Special Edition Release Date: January 1st, 2996 Format: Paperback Pages: 143 Source: Library First Published: 1977 Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone. That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I read this for the first time in my 3rd grade accelerated English class. I was not prepared at the time for this book, but reading and discussing this set me up for a lifetime of book groups. This isn’t the book that really started my reading addiction, but it is a book that helped me realize you can learn a lot from literature, and discussing these ideas with others. The smarter…

Because of Winn-Dixie
Book Review / April 27, 2016

Title: Because of Winn-Dixie Author: Katye DiCamillo Genre: Fiction Publisher: Candlewick Release Date: August 6th, 2001 Format: eBook Pages: 182 Source: Library Kate DiCamillo’s first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper — a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale’s magic to an even wider circle of fans. The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket–and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con…

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Book Review / January 20, 2016

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Author: Jesse Andrews Genre: Fiction Publisher: Amulet Books Release Date: March 1st, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 295 pages; 6 hours 9 minutes Source: Library Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight. (via Goodreads)   If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you. – Greg Gaines Greg Gaines has an overbearing Jewish mother and an affinity for avoiding real friendships. He finds the lack of…

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