“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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Book blogger survey conclusions

Hey hey hey! I’m alive!

But I totally just failed my 4-post-a-month goal. F-you, May.

I just started summer classes like 3 weeks ago (with literally no break between the end of spring semester), and the workload took some adjusting to. Then I took a brief little trip. So no blog action except for the 17 drafts I keep working on without actually posting. But I’m back with something cool!

So remember that time when I conducted a book blogger survey for one of my grad school classes? A HUGE thank-you to those who participated; I’m really proud of how my project and paper turned out, and I literally could not have done it without you!

I stated on the survey post that I would not be using the data for anything other than my project and that my professor, TA, and I would be the only ones looking at it. But I did get a lot of interest from people wanting to know what I found, so I decided to write up an overview of my observations from the survey without using any specific response information. I came up with a list of conclusions I made from the data and am happy to share them with you! I’ll go ahead and list my conclusions and then do a bit of musing about what these responses implicate.

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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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Intensive VS extensive reading: what’s the difference… and which is better?

Ohemgee, a new discussion post! Yaaaaaaaay!

So I just finished up what is now one of my favorite classes I’ve taken in my educational career: Literacy, Reading, and Readers. It is exactly what is sounds like. We discussed a wide range of topics about literacy, including the history of reading, cultural and socioeconomic aspects of reading, reading technologies, etc., etc., you name it. As you may know, I did my final project on book blogging (thanks to all who participated in my survey and helped me out with that!). One of the concepts that struck me that came up across several of our course readings was the idea of intensive vs. extensive reading. First, a few very fancy and scientific definitions I made up:

Intensive reading: reading a small number of books, but deeply

Extensive reading: reading a f— ton of books.

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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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