I’ve been enjoying a variety of new books lately covering everything from children’s picture books to teen and YA to Catholic apologetics. I spent most of August checking out new releases in the YA genre. Some were hits, others were misses. But overall, summer YA releases were strong in my opinion. I loved Parachutes by Kelly Yang. It’s Ms. Yang’s debut YA novel, and I only hope she writes more. On the other hand, My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong fell way short for me. I couldn’t connect with the main character or get into the story. It actually ended up being the rare DNF (did not finish) for me.
Fortunately, I finished the month strong with Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti. This was my first read from Caletti, but I’m excited to see that she has many more books available. Girl, Unframed was a typical yet unique YA novel. All the elements were there – teens, first loves, relationships, drama. But the setting and the dynamic of the parent/ child relationship is different from most, which created an intriguing background for the story.
Real life scandals can provide some of the best inspiration for novels. Admission by Julie Buxbaum draws from the real-life college admissions scandal in which several wealthy celebrities paid to have their kids’ SAT scores changed and fabricated a web of lies to gain entry into top colleges. Admission was intriguing because we’ve all heard about this scandal and can’t help wondering, “What were they thinking?” Well, Buxbaum attempts to reveal what they might have been thinking as she takes a peek behind the curtain of privilege to examine the lives of the rich and famous.
The last couple of weeks have held a lot of uncertainty and I, like everyone, have been adjusting to this new normal. Since I work from home all the time, my day-to-day Monday through Friday routine wasn’t interrupted too much. I do miss going to the gym though as it provides not only a physical outlet for my stress but also gets me out of the house. Social distancing is getting to me, like it is for many, and I’m just so thankful that I have my hubby home with me. I can’t imagine how difficult this time is for those who live alone. One suggestion I can offer for anyone who is struggling with staying in and staying alone is to read.
As Mason Cooley once so wisely said, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” I’ve never felt the truth of this sentence more deeply than during this time of quarantine, isolation, and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of us in the bookish community have taken Mr. Cooley’s words to heart these last couple of weeks and have engaged in binge reading. I read two celebrity memoirs last weekend (see my Instagram for details and mini-reviews!) and read two YA novels last week by Katey Taylor, Inebriated and Neon Nights. These two books were great examples of why I love YA, and I’m excited to share my reviews with you!
Over the last year or so I’ve really developed an appreciation of graphic novels. To be completely honest, I didn’t really “get” graphic novels when I initially discovered them a few years ago. They looked more like comic books than novels and they were packed with illustrations and very little text compared to other middle grade and YA novels. But I’ve come to discover the value of graphic novels on multiple levels.
The fact that graphic novels have less text doesn’t make them any less of a book. In fact, some reluctant or struggling readers who might not pick up a traditional middle grade or YA novel might opt for a graphic novel instead. This is wonderful because rather than missing out on the book altogether, these reluctant or struggling readers can still follow the plot, utilizing the images where the text proves challenging. This is huge because the graphics allow these readers to absorb and learn from the stories and engage in active discussion with friends, classmates, and teachers. Graphic novels also offer the added bonus of visual storytelling. You know that saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, with a graphic novel, the pictures are many and the words are few because the images so beautifully illustrate the characters’ emotions, motives, struggles, and victories.
My 2020 reading challenge is to read 50 books, and I plan to add more graphic novels to my reading list. I can’t wait to discover more new graphic novel authors and illustrators!
Today, I’ll be reviewing a very timely new graphic novel, Go With The Flow by Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann.
Thanksgiving week is always a favorite of mine. My hubby and I are hosting dinner on Thursday for the family, and it’s a real blessing to be able to provide a nice meal and family time for everyone. I look forward to the family gathering on Thursday, and I also look forward to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, a glorious long weekend with nothing to do but – you guessed it – read! (and eat leftovers of course!)
But before I get cooking, I have a new review to share. Today I’ll be reviewing Legendary, the sequel to Caraval, which propelled me into an unputdownable magical adventure, just what I needed!
Each year on Veteran’s Day I find myself reflecting on my freedom and how grateful I am to the many men and women who have dedicated and given their lives to defending that freedom. I am so grateful that I can walk into a bookstore or library and pick up a book on just about any topic I please and educate myself. I can learn, read, and write what I please without fear of persecution or harm. It’s not lost on me how many other people, especially women, are not so fortunate in many parts of the world. So I would like to dedicate today’s post to Veterans, particularly my brother who is currently serving. Never forget.
I’ve been on a real thriller/ mystery kick lately, so I was thrilled (see what I did there?) 😉 when I received an early copy of What You Hide, a new YA mystery from Sourcebooks Fire. This was a very fast-paced, suspenseful novel.
Recently, Goodreads dedicated an entire week to the young adult genre. I learned about it through their emails and social media posts, and I thought it was a great idea. One post in particular really grabbed my attention:
The post declared “Be proud of what you read” and featured a photo taken of a sign at a library granting adult readers “permission” to browse, read, and enjoy books from the teen section.
I loved this post because so much of what it highlighted is what I love about young adult/ teen books. So I decided to follow in Goodreads’ footsteps and dedicate a blog post to the young adult genre.
“The idea was ridiculous and at the same time…tantalizing. Until now I’d only ever visited the world of stories, that world that held such fascination for me, in my imagination. But if there was a way of entering it for real…”- The Book Jumper
July was a great month. Not only has summer been in full swing with hot temps and blue skies, but I got to take a week-long summer vacay to visit some family in the scorching southwest. Vacation time for me usually equals reading time, so I was thrilled to catch up on some reads that I’ve been meaning to get to for some time. One of those reads was The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser.
I’ll be honest, I totally judged this book by its cover! I first saw this book in a bookstagram post. In case you’re not familiar with bookstagram, it’s a popular hashtag used on Instagram for book-related posts. I follow hundreds of bookstagram accounts, and I love checking out what others are reading. So when I saw a book titled The Book Jumper with cover art of a young woman standing on an open book and what appeared to be a book character rising out of the pages, I knew I had to check it out!
I’m not sure why but I tend to gravitate toward middle grade and young adult reads during the summer. Maybe it’s because summer will forever remind me of summer vacation and feeling young and free for two and half months. Maybe my adult self is subconsciously trying to recapture that feeling. Whatever the reason, I love diving into MG and YA books during summer, especially ones with a beach or vacation theme.
July might as well be Leila Howland month on my blog. I reviewed her book Hello, Sunshinein July 2017 and just reviewed her first two Tanglednovels a couple of weeks ago. Howland writes for young readers extremely well. She doesn’t try to make her writing sound like it’s for young readers. Instead, she writes with an authentic voice, usually in first person, putting the reader right into the shoes of a seventeen or eighteen year old and all the butterflies, hormones, questions, and excitement that come with being young.
I decided to try another round of Howland’s books, this time a young adult novel, Nantucket Blue, about a teenage girl who spends the summer working on Nantucket Island, followed by the sequel Nantucket Red.