Last one for 2015!
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
One of the best things about Winter Break, of course, is more time to read, and I feel I have broken out of the slump that plagued me over the past few weeks.
Last Week’s Books:
Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost is a work of historical fiction, set in 1830 in the Choctaw Nation, Mississippi. The story is narrated by Isaac, a boy whose family is forced by the U.S. government to relocate and trek the Trail of Tears. From the beginning, readers know Isaac is to die, as he keeps referring to times both before and after he is a ghost. Tim Tingle is Choctaw, and so the narrative includes not only accurate yet fictionalized accounts of what life was like on the Trail of Tears, but also spiritual beliefs, particularly surrounding the ghosts of ancestors that assist Isaac and then welcome him into their ranks when it is his time. There are grand adventures in the book, too, especially when Isaac and his friend rescue a girl who was taken away from her family to serve as cook for the soldiers. It is obvious from the beautiful flow of the narrative that Tim Tingle is a great storyteller.
I listened to Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and enjoyed both the story and the production. Tana lives in a world where vampires and the “coldtowns” most of them live in are well known to humans. In fact, some vampires have reached celebrity status, with TV and web series broadcasting their fabled parties and terrible exploits. When someone leaves a window open at a friend’s graduation party, vampires get in and it’s almost a total massacre. Only Tana, her bitten and infected ex-boyfriend, Adrian, and a chained up vampire, Gavriel, are left “alive,” and they flee before the sun goes down and other vampires return. Black’s world building is exquisite–readers are naturally introduced to not only the history of the spread of vampirism and the biology of being infected vs. turned, but also to the place of coldtowns in society and the “rules” of living within them. The story is an intriguing one, too, as Tana is faced with uncertainties about whether she has become infected, her growing attraction to Gavriel, and a power struggle within the vampire hierarchy. Plenty of bloody scenes make this a creepy, frightening tale, too. Cool stuff for high school horror lovers. This books counts for my Horror Reading Challenge 2015.
I read Dawn Metcalf’s Luminous because it is the U.S. Travelling Book for the All About Fantasy Goodreads group. Moderator Brittany sent it to me, and I will now mail it on to the next person so they can enjoy it. The book starts out in a really freaky way…Consuela is trying on jeans at a store, and the mirror speaks to her, “Know thyself….” right before she faints. When she gets home, she notices a knot on the back of her neck, pushes her finger in, and completely removes all the skin and hair from her body like it’s a rubber suit. “Dressed” in just her skeleton or creating new skins out of air, water, fire, and more, Consuela is able to leave our world and enter “The Flow,” a place where others like her (but with different abilities) save humans when it is not yet their time to to die. But there is something terribly wrong in The Flow, as someone is murdering those helpers. This was a middle-of-the-road book for me, as Metcalf’s language was beautifully descriptive, but I also never quite fully understood the complicated world of The Flow.
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman is magical realism for middle graders at its finest. Twig and her mother have moved from Brooklyn to the small town and small house her mother grew up in. Twig’s mom insists on keeping to themselves because they have been hiding a secret from the world for years–Twig’s older brother, James, who has wings, like all the cursed men in the family before him. And then a family moves into the house next door, and Twig can’s help but break the rules, make a friend, and investigate not only the family curse, but some mysterious graffiti that has appeared all over town. I became absolutely enveloped in Hoffman’s warm, compelling tale, and even though I was able to predict some of the story’s events and elements, I enjoyed Hoffman’s wonderful words taking me there.