Love for The Hate U Give

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Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

My Thoughts:

    I don’t even know where to begin with THUG.

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I read THUG late last year, I believe in early November. I was already excited for it after hearing author, Angie Thomas, read from is at Mississippi Book Festival in August. I was sold and knew this was a book that I wanted to read.

Boy, was I….RIGHT.

I was completely blown away  by Starr and her situation. The writing was real and I could easily (I say easily lightly, because painfully is a better word.) see the story play out. I couldn’t quit reading because I had to know what was going to happen next in Starr’s world.

More importantly, sure, the book is great and  teens (EVERYONE) will love it for what it is, but it is so TIMELY and important with the message it sends out.

The biggest part is that it helped me further understand the kids that I work with everyday. I’m in a small town, yet urban setting with lots of low income families. I graduated 10 years ago from a high school about 30 minutes where I’m now a high school librarian, but 2017 in my school’s community is a whole other world from 2007 in the school and world I graduated in. It honestly helped me “get” where some of these kids are coming from and to understand some of their actions that I see on a daily basis.

That’s because of just how real the writing it. It’s also why I feel like young adult literature NEEDS more own voices books. Kids need to be able to see themselves and their communities. I didn’t intend to write this review on the day that I did, but the need for diverse and own voice books has especially hit me today because a Hispanic girl came to return a book today RAVING about how much she adored what she’d read because “It was so different. So many books are about pretty, white girls- and that’s okay too, Ms. Hays, don’t get me wrong!- but it was neat to have something different even if it wasn’t a Hispanic girl in this book.”

That kid struck a chord with me like she wouldn’t know because the importance of DIFFERENCES is one thing I try hard to push for the kids in my library so often. Sure, read the stuff that’s popular. That’s awesome, but read diverse books and see yourself, your peers, and other aspects that you don’t typically see.


This ended up going on way longer than I intended, but, honestly, I cannot speak highly enough over this book at all. I can’t wait until I’m able to order more books for my library next school year so that I’m able to share Starr with the kids in my school. They’ll love knowing that Starr was living in a neighborhood based on one not too far from where they live.

February 28…GO GET IT. You will not be disappointed in the slightest!

-M

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By Your Side- a dream in theory…

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Summary:

An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

My Thoughts:

PS I Like You was my first Kasie West book early last year as an ARC. I immediately fell in love with that book and was ready to read my next book from her. I have her back list, but then I heard about this one and got an ARC.

First things first…the concept of getting locked in a library. SIGN. ME. UP.

That idea sounded perfect to me from the beginning, but I immediately felt bad for Autumn because where were her friends? Why didn’t anyone come for her? (Spoiler: We learn that later.) I think I maybe even spent too much time wondering where the heck her friends were and why they didn’t come back for her.

I do think I enjoyed the library parts more than the middle of the book just because some of the middle was lots of back and forth and got frustrating at times.

I will admit, that there were parts that dragged for me, but for the most part, I zoomed through the book. There was lots of back and forth with Dax, yet it also was understandable for his character and situation.

Overall, this is still a classic Kasie West book. It isn’t my favorite, but it is still a cute, fast read if you’re looking for a contemporary romance. By Your Side releases next week, January 31, so be sure to pick it up if this is what you’re looking for!

-M

A Hilarious Shapeshifter adventure…

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Book Info:

The New York Times bestselling graphic novel sensation from Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic. Kirkus says, “If you’re going to read one graphic novel this year, make it this one.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel has been hailed by critics and fans alike as the arrival of a “superstar” talent (NPR.org).

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


My Thoughts:

I’d already heard tons of great things about Nimona, but I was still pleasantly surprised about it.

Nimona was a hilarious character, but one with a huge heart. I found that she actually reminded me of a student at work. In fact, that student read the book after me and said, “oh my goodness, this is me!” She was right though 🙂

Nimona is a quick read and a great choice for someone looking for a graphic novel. It’s especially a strong choice for someone looking specifically for a female protagonist.

I can’t help but hope that there might be more stories about Nimona in the future because she was such a wonderful character. I’m picky about graphic novels as far as recommendations go because I know that  people like certain things, but I would easily suggest this to anyone.

-Melanie

 

That time Nicola Yoon became an insta-buy for me…

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My Thoughts:

For anyone who doesn’t know, an insta-buy is just what it seems like. For me, it’s an author that I’ve decided I love and will buy any book without needing to wait to hear how it is or even needing to know what the book is about.

I absolutely loved Everything, Everything last year. I’m excited for the movie next year and I’m hoping that they capture the magic of the book.

That said, I was greatly anticipating The Sun is Also a Star. I vaguely knew what it was about, but I didn’t search for much in the way of summaries and went into it quite blind.

I was not disappointed and I think it’s safe to say that Nicola Yoon is now an insta-buy author for me after knocking it out of the park with these first two books. Even further, I hope that this one also gets on the way to becoming a movie because I can  just imagine how perfect it will be.

It was interesting to see so many different aspects of the one day in the book- even from people who at the time didn’t seem to be that major. Another highlight was that I always enjoy alternating points of view in books. It seems to give books more depth and is just right to hold my attention span.

In closing, I can’t recommend either of Nicola’s books enough. Both blew me away and so important for showing DIVERSITY in YA literature. All readers need to be able to find themselves in some way and Nicola’s books have been an excellent example of holding diverse characters.

Go pick up one or both books today!

-Melanie

 

7 thoughts on A Week of Mondays…

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Summary:

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true… 

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.


 

  1. Don’t we all wish we could get a re-do and make Monday awesome from time to time? OF COURSE this bad day was on a Monday! I love Groundhog Day type stories that give do-overs.
  2. I really liked Ellie…granted, she SHOULD have followed her friend to book club ages ago, but I like her.
  3. The book is drags in spots. The first 3 or so Mondays before she finally catches on seem to be almost identical and got boring in spots. Granted, it wasn’t enough to give up, but it was enough to where I started hoping progress would be made.
  4. The last couple “days” moved fast and are where most of the development is. Those days ended up being my favorites for that reason.
  5. I loved Owen, but…I wish there’d been more to him. I knew what would happen with him from the get go, but I wish there’d been more development and getting to know him.
  6. I kind of found Tristan annoying. Not in a way that hurt the book, but in a way that made me hurt for Ellie because…girl, you could do better than this silly guy.
  7. The book is long. It over 450 pages and was way longer than I thought it needed to be, but it was good over all despite the length. It wasn’t too long that I lost interest, and  do still suggest it, but…it’s LONG. Maybe that’s just me and my short attention span though?

Overall? I liked it and definitely give it a try if you want something fun or if you like Groundhog Day type situations.

A Week of Mondays is out TODAY!

-Melanie

Finally found a cure…

So I finally finished a book.

It took me longer than I would normally liked, but I finally got engrossed in a story enough to finish.

It’s felt like this has been my longest reading slump in awhile and I hate to be wasting valuable reading time in the summer, but it is what it is.

With that said….I finally read A Darker Shade of Magic.

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Summary:

STEP INTO A UNIVERSE OF DARING ADVENTURE, THRILLING POWER, AND MULTIPLE LONDONS.

Kell is one of the last Travelers-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

My Thoughts:

I was hooked. That’s all I can really say.

In the beginning, I wasn’t really sure where the book was going, but once it got started then I was completely IN.

I loved the writing style and the world was unique.

I’d easily suggest ADSOM to other adults who loved Harry Potter growing up and need a dose of magic in their reading lives.

However, the interesting thing to me about the book is that although it is going to be a trilogy (book 2 is already out and #3 is out next year), the book wraps itself up. Sure, there is still open ended things, but it could have stood alone if it needed. Granted, I’m sure the next book will have a cliffhanger, but I loved how this book wrapped the story up enough to not have a huge cliffhanger.

I’ve already started A Gathering of Shadows and look forward to more from Kell and Lila.

Funny story, I bought AGoS in HC earlier this week while on vacation in Pigeon Forge. Yesterday I realized I’d bought a signed copy even though the book did not have an “autographed” sticker on it. Little “win” of the week, I suppose.

Get to Know “You Know Me Well”

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Summary:

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

A book told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

My Thoughts:

Okay yes I’ve been MIA. I’ve been on vacation and the school year just ended…oops!

But…I’m back..hopefully full speed!

Either way, I’m here to talk You Know Me Well.

I’m a huge David Leviathan fan, so I was excited to be offered this book.

If you’ve read his former books, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one!

As for Nina Lacour, I hadn’t read any of her books prior to this one and now I want to read more!

You Know Me Well just released this Tuesday, so go pick it up ASAP!

I don’t want to say too much about it in fear of ruining it, but I loved it, so please go check it out!

-Melanie