“This One Summer” review: singing the song of purple summer

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. First Second: 2014.

This One Summer book coverHello, blog! I miss you a lot. *hugs* Let’s start catching up on reviews, shall we? I read This One Summer this summer because I had heard wonderful things about out it, and a YA graphic novel was quick enough to fit in among all of the school reading I’m doing. Altogether, the book did not live up to the lofty expectations I set for it, but it was still a refreshing summer read.

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“Mirror in the Sky” Review: or, what happens when you force something into YA

Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana. Razorbill: 2016.

Mirror in the Sky book coverI read a book! It’s called Mirror in the Sky, and it was written by Aditi Khorana. (I couldn’t figure out an intro to this post – could you tell??)

I heard about his book from Kristina Horner, a YouTuber who does a lot of BookTube stuff. She read it as part of her book club a while back, and I decided to read it, too, but didn’t get to it till now. I’m just gonna be upfront: it was not great.

The book takes place in contemporary times, and it has a science fiction-y twist: the basic premise is that a mirror version of Earth is discovered by scientists which is pretty much an exact copy of our Earth, except with small differences. For example, an image is transmitted from the mirror Earth (called Terra Nova) of a woman standing in a marketplace wearing a red coat. The same exact photo from Earth is identical in every way, except the woman is wearing a blue coat. It is assumed that there are mirror versions of every person on Earth, but the Terra Nova versions are alternate versions of us – versions that may have made different life decisions, from small things like buying a different color coat, to big things like, highlight for spoiler, their version of Virginia Woolf deciding not to commit suicide. This makes the people on Earth go a little bit crazy.

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“Difficult Women” Review: not what I expected

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. Grove Press, 2017.

Difficult WomenLook at me cranking out blog posts! It’s time for another review of a book I read for the Resist Readathon I’m running as part of an online book club I co-manage. This was our feminist pick. Difficult Women is a collection of short stories by Roxane Gay, a well-known author whose work I had never read before. We decided to go with this book because it’s a different genre than the others in the readathon, and I knew Gay was a feminist writer who is well-respected.

Cutting to the chase here, this book was not what I expected. It was simply way more literary than I thought it was going to be. I feel a bit foolish and embarrassed for not knowing this beforehand. I guess I thought it was going to be lighter than it was, in more ways than one. But looking back, I have no idea why I expected lighter fare from a book of short stories called Difficult Women by a literary author…

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“In the Country We Love” Review: It’s about the journey, not the writing

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. Henry Holt and Co: 2016.

In the Country We LoveI read In the Country We Love for the online book club I run through the Harry Potter Alliance as part of our Resist Readathon. We chose four books on various topics relevant to the resistance, and this was our choice for immigration.

Diane Guerrero is an actress from Orange is the New Black (which I haven’t watched but plan to) and Jane the Virgin (which I have watched and it’s fantastic). Her parents came to the United States from Colombia before she was born and struggled for years to gain citizenship. Diane’s parents were deported when she was 14 years old, coming home from school one day to find an empty home. No one from the government contacted her or checked in on her; it was like she didn’t even exist.

The book is a memoir about her struggles through adolescence and early adulthood without her parents, staying at various friends’ homes and going to a high school for the arts in Boston, occasionally visiting her parents in Colombia but feeling their relationships deteriorating with space and lost time. She then recounts her college days and beyond, her struggles with depression and self-harm, and finally, her decision to pursue acting that led to her great success. It was a captivating read with a lot of emotional punch.

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“The Hate U Give” Review: What is there to say, really?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Balzer + Bray: 2017.

The Hate U GiveOk. I honestly don’t know how to even write this review.

Usually I have at least a little bit of insight to share during a book review, and if I don’t, I don’t write a review. So. Why am I reviewing this book, then? TBH, because everyone else is, and I want to make sure people know that I’m in the know. Peer pressure at its finest.

I read this as part of a book club that I run on Goodreads – the Apparating Library Book Club, part of the Harry Potter Alliance. We are in the midst of a readathon right now called the Resist Readathon, and this was our first book. I knew before it came out that this would be the book to choose, and no surprises, I was right.

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Review: Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015.

milk and honeyI picked up Milk and Honey because I kept seeing it everywhere and didn’t know much about it. I didn’t even know it was a book of poetry, so that was a nice surprise which led me to actually read it right away instead of putting it on my endless TBR. I would like to read more poetry in general, so I’m glad I picked this up. Ultimately though, I have mixed feelings about this collection, and I was largely unimpressed.

Milk and Honey is split into different themed sections as the poems progress through the life of a writer dealing with sexual abuse, love, relationships, and healing. Many of the poems are accompanied by illustrations that add to the poems’ meanings. The illustrations are styled in a black-and-white, scribble-y way that mimics the rawness of the poems themselves. These additions were well-placed and gave the collection a distinct and unified tone throughout.

As a collection, the book is best read from front to back in order. You certainly can pick it up, turn to any page, and read the poem there, but the biggest impact comes from seeing the progression of poems as they are ordered. The design of the book is extremely well done, and as a physical object, I can see how it appeals to people in the age when having a distinct look/brand makes a difference in sales. This book has an effective brand with it’s raw, simple, black-and-white, minimalist layout.

But the poems kinda sucked.

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Review: Their Fractured Light

Their Fractured Light by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Disney-Hyperion, 2015.

their fractured lightI finally finished the Starbound Trilogy! And what a trilogy it was!

I thoroughly enjoyed this entire series and recommend you check out my reviews of the first and second books if you are interested. Many of you know Aimee Kaufman from the popular Illuminae Files, and I daresay I prefer these books to the Illuminae series (though I’m probably in the minority in that opinion). The world was rich, the characters engaging, and the plot well-crafted. Let’s talk about book 3.

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