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.
To celebrate 2016, I am finally switching over to the new IMWAYR graphic developed by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers last year. Of course, they might change it again for this year, so we’ll see if I can keep up 😉
Last Week’s Books:
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai is about a 12-year-old girl named Mai/Mia who is accompanying her grandmother to Vietnam for the summer. Although she is proud of her heritage, she has zero interest in leaving the California beaches she has been looking forward to all school year. The two are travelling to get information about Mai’s grandfather, who died in the Vietnam War, but whose body was never found. Mai’s grandmother needs closure and has been in touch with a detective who might know something about Ong’s last days. Through meeting extended family and friends, Mai gains an appreciation and even love for the country of her heritage. Beautiful writing from Lai, as usual, accompanying a story that will stay in readers’ hearts.
The Unstable Earth series is one that I have reviewed for School Library Connection. I am not allowed to publish my review here, but I will say that this is not a series I would purchase for my middle school collection. And I will add that I am starting to become more and more disenchanted with series nonfiction because there is not the same attention to providing evidence of sources and citations as what I see in most non-series titles.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness is the book I honored by making it my first read of 2016. Imagine watching a remake of The Avengers movie, without the point of view of any of the superheroes, but told through the eyes of some teens who just happened to live in New York at the time. That’s what this book is like, although the heroes, setting, and circumstances are unique. The format is interesting, as each chapter is headed by a brief description of what’s going on with the heroes (called indie kids) and villains, and then the “action” shifts to the everyday life of Mikey, his sister, Mel, his best friend, Jared, and Henna, the good friend he has been pining after for years. What’s going on is not only prom, graduation, heading to different colleges, mom’s run for political office, and dad’s alcoholism, but also Mikey’s anxiety that manifests itself in compulsive behaviors and the time that’s running out for him to declare his love for Henna. And did I mention that all sorts of new weird shit is happening in the small New England town that, throughout its history, has already survived a zombie invasion, soul-eating ghosts, and a plague of vampires? The brilliance of Ness is that he makes readers feel that Mikey’s real world problems are much more important than all of the strange and possibly world-ending events–because they are, to Mikey. I love Ness’ writing because it is genre-busting and filled with opportunities to ponder universal truths. This book counts for my Read Harder Challenge 2016–a book with a main character that has a mental illness
Joshua Dread by Lee Bacon is a fun story about Josh Dread, son of notorious supervillains Dr. Dread and The Botanist. His identity is a secret, of course, and things start to get wild when he begins sixth grade; his Gyft starts to manifest; Sophie “Smith,” the daughter of his parents’ arch enemy Captain Justice, moves in; his parents are kidnapped; and giant smoke monsters (and more) begin to terrorize his town. Can Josh, Sophie, and best-friend-with-no-superpowers Milton save the day? Read this first book in a series to find out! This book counts for my Read Harder Challenge 2016–a middle grade novel
Currently Reading/Listening To: