My Week in Books {1/15/20}

I’ve been quiet here; I’m not sure where my motivation is, but…

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In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

📱*** Such a Fun Age by: Kiley Reid (Putnam) – Pub Date: December 31, 2019

**Unpopular Opinion!** I may be the only person in the world that isn’t a fan of this book! While it was readable, the writing was juvenile at best. I honestly thought I was reading YA (and believe it would have been better within that genre). There were a lot of disjumbled plot points (the husband’s racist remark on air) that were never fully explored that left me frustrated. At times I felt like Reid was trying to solve too many issues, leaving most of them half-finished. I thought the characters were horrific with no redeemable qualities; Emira was my favorite character, but she was a little too naive for my total endearment. (I did love little Briar though!) Overall, I was extremely underwhelmed by this story and won’t find myself joining everyone else on the bandwagon. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖 The Library Book by: Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: October 16, 2018

This book has been on my Unread Shelf for awhile and as part of my committment to reading my Unread Shelf in 2020, I finally picked it up! I have heard high praise for this one, and while I mostly agree, I was a bit bored. There is  A LOT of research and information about libraries (specifically the Los Angeles Public Library), and after awhile, I found myself skimming parts of it. (It also talks about the fire of 1986 that decimated the LA Public Library which was absolutely fascinating!) This book truly is a love letter to libraries, librarians, and even LA itself. It’s worth the read, but also not as good as I was hoping! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Currently Reading:

📖 *** A Long Petal of the Sea by: Isabel Allende (Ballantine) – Pub Date: January 21, 2020

I know absolutely NOTHING about the Spanish Civil War, so this book has been blowing my mind! Just before WWII broke out across Europe, Spain found themselves in a battle for their own country. Admist talks about a giant war looming on the horizon, Spainards still fled to France as refugees. There, 2200 Spanish refugees were removed from the French internment camps by poet Pablo Neruda, put on the SS Winnipeg ship, and sent to Chile under President Pedro Auirre Cerda‘s endorsement. This story takes off from there, following one family through their experience. It’s a little heavy on the factual information and that is kind of detracting from the character development a little bit, but I’m really enjoying this historical fiction novel!

📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott ( Roberts Brothers) – Pub Date: September 30, 1868

Oh boy…I’m going to keep trying to push through this one for a little bit, but I’m starting to see why “classics” is not the genre for me. I really wanted to read this one before the movie is released on DVD in March, but I may have to DNF – and skip the movie?!?! 🤷🏼‍♀️

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

📖 The Garden of Small Beginnings by: Abbi Waxman (Berkley) – Pub Date: May 2, 2017

I DNFd The Bookish Life of Nina Hill earlier this year, and now I’m DNFing this one as well. I think Waxman’s writing is just to cutesy for me. I don’t know – but I was bored and I’m not going to force myself to read anything in 2020. #DNFingWithoutApologyin2020

My Week in Books {1/9/20}

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I’m a day behind already and it’s only January 9th!

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

Best of 2019 Posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📖 Me by: Elton John (Henry Holt ) – Pub Date: October 15, 2019

It’s January 3rd and I’ve already found my first ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read of the year!

I grew up listening to Elton John’s music in the background of my house on Sunday mornings. I can’t say I knew it was Elton John actually singing, it’s just a familiarity I had to his music when one of his songs played (let’s be honest, I still don’t know artists to some of my favorite songs 🤷🏼‍♀️). But who doesn’t know Tiny DancerBenny and the Jetts, Rocket Man…I could go on and on.

Anyway, my true love for Elton John came when he put on a concert in Laramie, Wyoming after the tragic death of Matthew Shepard. He played for hours in a tribute to Matthew Shepard and also in an effort to raise awareness to the inequality LGTBQ community experienced (and sadly, still does). He was incredible, playing for hours on end in the Arena Auditorium. I will never forget that night, not just for the concert he put on, but for the humbling experience that it was.

ME is the first and only autobiography available. In it, Elton John holds nothing back. He spills it all – from his horrifying parents to his drug use to juicy celebrity gossip to his beautiful family with David and their two sons. It is unflichingly honest, even when it makes himself look terrible. He was an addict and it made him treat some of the people closest to him poorly, but he checked himself into rehab and completely changed his life around, all while managing a career that has spanned over fifty years!

Also quite inspiring to me is Elton John’s work within the HIV/AIDS community. Since his nonprofit, Elton John AIDS Foundation, was started in the early 1990s, it has raised over $450 million dollars “to challenge discrimination against people affected by the epidemic, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS”.

He’s quite the individual and I will forever remain a loyal fan.

I also highly recommend the movie (which follows ME in the big areas), Rocket Man. It’s incredible in its own right as well!

📖 *** Dear Edward by: Ann Napolitano (The Dial Press) – Pub Date: January 6, 2019

This was my first selection of 2020 for #HWRbooks, my personal online book club I run through my Instagram page, @happiestwhenreading! The discussion post will go live on Saturday, January 25 and I’d love to have you join in the conversation!

The synopsis of this one pulled me in! It’s a coming-of-age story about a young boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. It examines the effects that accident and his grief then have on his teenage years.

For me, the book was too easy. I was looking for some serious examination of survior’s guilt and grief, but it lacked in these areas. I found many parts of the story unrealistic and I found myself continually hoping for more. One aspect I really liked was Edward’s relationship with Shay, a girl who lived next door from his aunt and uncle. She provided the grounding Edward needed to deal with his new circumstances.

The discussion post for Dear Edward will be up on January 25th, so I don’t want to go into too much more detail on my thoughts, so keep an eye out for it!

📖 *** Saint X by: Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon) – Pub Date: February 18, 2020

This one started off strong! I was really enjoying the island vibes and the mysterious disappearance that was reminiscent of Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old woman that was in Aruba with others from her high school graduating class who disappeared in 2005 and has never been seen or heard from again.

Around the last 50% mark, the book slowed way down – which I don’t mind at all! I enjoyed the writing and I was completely invested in how the story was going to play out. Then around the last 25% of the book, it took a very unrealistic turn and the climax that was building throughout the story was completely disappointing. Because of that ending, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the book overall…I’m going to have to let it be for awhile and see how it sticks with me over time.

(As a side note, I couldn’t help wondering how a book like this might make Holloway’s family feel. There are many similarities to her case and I think, as a mother, I wouldn’t enjoy this publication too much. Also, because this book really looks at the afterlives of a family after the disappearance of their loved one, this story would feel unsettling to me. If you’ve read it, what do you think about this aspect?)

Currently Reading:

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📱*** Such a Fun Age by: Kiley Reid (Putnam) – Pub Date: December 31, 2019

Just started this one but the buzz is everywhere!

The Most Important Book of 2019

E1454893-F875-46C2-A0FF-C4CA15007341All of my Top Lists of 2019 have already been published (The Best of the Best: My Top Fiction Book & Nonfiction Book of 2019Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2019Top 10 Backlist Books I Read in 2019Top 10 Audiobooks of 2019, and 2019 Honorable Mentions), but I saved the most important for last!

READ THIS BOOK ASAP!

In January 2015, Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, a student-athlete at Stanford University. For the duration of the trial, Miller was referred to as “Emily Doe”, but with the release of her memoir, Know My Name, earlier this year, she rightfully took back the narrative of her story.

Miller’s writing is brilliant and well thought out. She doesn’t come across as a whiny victim; she simply wants to be seen and known as something more than just “Brock’s victim”. She is anything but that. She is smart and funny and enjoys art. She is loved dearly by her mother, father, sister, and boyfriend.

I believe this book should be added to high school (and college) curriculums, and I believe every mama (of girls AND boys) needs to read it. Miller quite pointedly explains to us what sexual assault is and what it looks like. She teaches us how it penetrates all aspects of a survivor’s life, from her own personal demons to those of her loved ones. And she shows us how our society perpetuates and tolerates a pervasive rape culture.

“What we needed to raise in others was this instinct. The ability to recognize, in an instant, right from wrong. The clarity of mind to face it rather than ignore it. I learned that before they had chased Brock, they had checked on me. Masculinity is often defined by physicality, but that initial kneeling is as powerful as the leg sweep, the tackling. Masculinity is found in the vulnerability, the crying.” (pg 123, acknowledging how the two Swedes, Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonnson, reacted when they witnessed Miller’s assault.

December Discussion #HWRbooks: The Stationery Shop

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Roya’s mother had always said that our fate is written on our foreheads when we’re born. It can’t be seen, can’t be read, but it’s there in invisible ink all right, and life follows that fate. No matter what.” (pg 4)

Have you ever wondered what life would have been like had one tiny little thing played out differently? Would if you wouldn’t have made the train that day where you ended up meeting your future spouse? Or would if you wouldn’t have gone on that blind date where you totally hit it off with that special person? Or would if your country wouldn’t have experienced a coup the day you were supposed to meet your beloved at the town square?

The Stationery Shop is a book that inadvertently explores that idea. Roya is supposed to meet her boyfriend, Bahman, in the town square at a particular time, but on that same day, there is a staged coup to overthrow the Iranian leader. They never end up meeting and, as a result, both of their lives drastically change direction.

Roya moves to the United States with her sister to pursue an education. Bahman ends up marrying a woman of his mother’s choosing. Through a mutual friend, Roya and Bahman keep track of each other’s lives. When that friend dies, their “connection” to each other is lost. Life goes on (as it does) until Roya encounters a man that strangely reminds her of her long lost love. Will she finally find out what happened that day, sixty years ago, that changed the direction of her life forever?

“We do not always get what we want, Roya Khanom. Things do not always work out the way we planned. Those who are young tend to think that life’s tragedies and miseries and its bullets will somehow miss them. That they can buoy themselves with naīve hope and energy. They think, wrongly, that shomehow youth or desire or even love can outmatch the hand of fate. The truth is, my young lady, that fate has written the script for your destiny on your forehead from the very beginning. We can’t see it. But it’s there. And the young, who love so passionately, have no idea how ugly this world is. This world is without compassion.” (pg 127)

What worked for me:

  • I loved the theme of fate woven throughout the entire story. I’m very much intrigued by the whole “sliding doors” concept (remember that movie?!?!)…I’m always wondering, “what if this had happened instead, how would that have affected this…”
  • The characters! I loved them all in their own way (well, except Mrs. Aslan. I don’t see any redeeming qualities in her.)
    • Roya and her independance and strength to pick herself back up after all her heartbreak.
    • Bahman for his activism and for standing up so strongly for his beliefs. And for continuing to love Roya through the years in a way that inspired him to create a bookshop reminiscent of where they met.
    • Zari for her foresight and endless amounts of warnings.
    • Walter for his patience, support, and acceptance of Roya and her past
    • Fakhri for his bookshop and his small hand in Roya and Bahman’s budding romance.
    • Roya’s parents for their modern thinking – for accepting their two daughters (in a society that values a son more than a daughter) and for wanting them to be educated and independent!
    • Jahangir and his dedication to his friendship with Roya and Bahman.
  • The political information throughout the novel. I went down a rabbit hole on Google to read a little more about the coup mentioned in the book and I was fascinated by what I learned!
  • Learning even just a little bit about Iran and its complicated history. I would love to learn more! A glimpse into the Iranian culture was fascinating!

What didn’t work for me:

  • Simplistic in its delivery…from the overall story to the language and syntax used. It just felt a little shallow to me, and maybe I noticed it more because it had such potential to have a lot more depth.
  • For me, the pacing fell apart towards the end. It took awhile for the story to build up and then it speeds through the last 25% of the book. I missed the depth the first half of the book possessed and wish it would have carried through to the end.
  • Mrs. Aslan – I understand that she had a mental illness and that was the driving force behind her dispicable character, but for me, she wasn’t convincing. Instead of feeling that sympathy, I questioned her diagnosis of mental illness and wondered if she really just suffered from narcissistic and manipulative behavior.

Overall, this was a great book and I would recommend it to others. The few things I didn’t like about it weren’t deal breakers. Thoughout the story, I had hope for Roya and Bahman ending up together, but even when they didn’t, it was satisfying to know that they both had happy and fulfilling lives. The story came full circle by the end and it was the perfect feel good story admist the craziness of the holiday season!

Discussion time:

Below, you’ll find some discussion questions. Please reply and discuss at your leisure. Beware…there could be spoilers!

  1. Fate is a huge theme throughout the book. What are your thoughts on fate and how it related to Roya’s life? Did it seem like her life was mostly guided by fate, by her own personal decisions, or by entirely other influences?
  2. Mrs. Aslan had a huge influence on Roya and Bahman’s relationship. Do you respect Bahman for standing by his mother, or do you think he should have stopped letting her manipulate him and lived his own life?
  3. How do you feel about Fakhri’s role in breaking up Roya and Bahman? Do you think he owed Mrs. Aslan or do you think he should have stayed out of it?
  4. Going back to the idea of fate…do you believe in fate? Do you think there’s only one path written for us or multiple options that will be just as good? Do you think Roya would have had a better life with Bahman?
  5. What frustrated you about the book, the characters, or the choices made? How would you have changed it? What would you have liked to see happen?
  6. What are your overall thoughts on the book? What would you rate it? Would you recommend it to a friend?

Stay tuned for the January selection which I’ll be announcing on January 2, 2020! I hope you’ll join me for the buddy read and the discussion to follow!

My Week in Books {12/26/19}

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We took a helicopter ride when we were in Phoenix and this is just some of the beautiful scenery we saw on the flight!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones yesterday. I hope Santa was good to you and you found lots of bookish goodness under the tree! We flew home from Arizona (yuck, I know…dealing with an airport on Christmas Day?!?!) and now my brother and nephew are visiting from Los Angeles.

It’s been busy, busy, busy this holiday season and I miss being able to curl up by a warm fire with a good book! Things will slow down around this time next week though…and I am already gearing up to make that vision my reality!

In case you missed them, here are some links to my recent posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📖 The Stationery Shop by: Marjan Kamali (Gallery) Pub Date: June 18, 2019

This was a beautiful story that quite literally came full circle. Roya and Bahman met in Iran when they were only seventeen years old. They quickly fell in love and had plans of marrying, but a political coup in the area changed their plans. Instead, they lost touch when Roya moved to the United States with her sister to attend collge. There she met her husband, Walter, and lived a happy enough life. But Bahman was never far from her mind and when a chance encounter with his son brings them back together, the real story behind that fateful day is revealed.

I loved the simplistic nature of this deep and layered story. Kamali weaves a beautiful and lyrical story that completely captured me and took me by surprise. I’ve seen a lot of people that have named this book in their Top 10 Books of 2019 and it totally deserves that recognition. The characters were nuanced, as were their stories. It did feel a little slow in the beginning and quickly picked up speed as it neared the finish; I would have preferred a more even pace. Ultimately though, this was the perfect read with all the hustle and bustle of the current season.

Currently Reading:Screen Shot 2019-12-24 at 3.55.41 PM📖 Me by: Elton John (Henry Holt ) – Pub Date: October 15, 2019

Just starting this one but how could it be anything but good?

📱 The Song of Achilles by: Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: September 20, 2011

I’ve been waiting for this library hold to come in FOREVER, so I will be diving in shortly. I’ve read the first chapter just to get a feel for the story and I think it’s going to be a winner. If it’s anything like Circe, I’m in for a treat!

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

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*** 📖 Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by: Nefertiti Austin (Sourcebooks) – Pub Date: September 20, 2019

The part of the book I read was interesting, but I’m just not motivated to pick it up and read it anymore. I’m 33% in and she still hasn’t adopted her son and I’m just kind of over it. It feels more like an agenda than it does an adoption story at this point.

*** 🎧 Ordinary Girls by: Jaquira Díaz (Algonquin) – Pub Date: October 29, 2019

Skipping for now…I really liked it and I am interested in picking it up again, but with the holidays, the audiobook was too hard to follow.

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2019

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The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by: Garrett M. Graff (Avid Reader Press) – Pub Date: September 10, 2019

This is one of the most powerful books I read this year. I loved it (if “love” is even the right word to use), and I think it should be required reading for all Americans. It’s the day that changed the world and we’re now in a time where many young people weren’t even alive on the day this happened. It’s important to remember this day and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. (I also mentioned this book in my Nonfiction Favorites and My Year in Nonfiction posts.)

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by: Lori Gottlieb (Houghlin Mifflin Harcourt) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

I remember this book was full of advice and I underlined so many things. I may pick it up soon and thumb through it again and refresh my memory of its goodness. 

In the Dream House by: Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press) – Pub Date: November 5, 2019

I may sound like a broken record, but this was a powerful read. Machado opened up a world that hasn’t really been talked about and her honesty and vulnerabilty make this book unforgettable.

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia (Putnam) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019

Books can give you empathy and help you understand something you may not have personal experience with. Tobia does such a beautiful job of writing their story. I loved this book and felt like I came away with a lot more understanding.

I Miss You When I Blink by: Mary Laura Philpott (Atria) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

Honestly, this book made me laugh so hard. There aren’t a lot of books I’ve read that talk about motherhood in the later stages. I felt heard as I read some of these essays!

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by: Dani Shapiro (Knopf) – Pub Date: January 15, 2019

I put this one off forever because I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype but it did! As DNA testing kits gain popularity, I think these types of stories are going to become a lot more common.

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by: Elaine Welteroth (Viking) – June 11, 2019

This book was empowering and as a mom of a preteen daughter, I’m so happy I came across it. Welteroth is ambitious and I could only hope my own girl has an ounce of her passion.

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulour Serial Killer of the 21st Century by: Maureen Callahan (Viking) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

While I feel a little weird about this book being in my Top 10 of the year, it was so well done! I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was the more popular choice in the true crime genre this year, but I preferred this one!

Life Will Be the Death of Me…And You Too! by: Chelsea Handler (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019

I didn’t expect to like this one as much as I did. While we all know Handler as a comedian, she is very vulnerable and raw as she talks about her recent journey. I recommend this one on audiobook as Handler gets emotional at times and it really adds so much to the story!

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by: Melina Gates (Flatiron) – Pub Date: April 23, 2019

Bill and Melinda Gates are generous people and I liked hearing this perspective from Melinda. She believes (and I do too!) that as we empower women, the world begins to change in a more positive direction.

I absolutely love nonfiction and I’m always looking for recommendations. Feel free to leave me a comment of your favor nonfiction reads!

Top 10 Audiobooks of 2019

Screen Shot 2019-12-15 at 8.26.09 PM(Be sure to check out the promotional link I have at the bottom of this post! #partner Libro.fm)

Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • I read this book twice this year – one in print format and once on audio. Both formats were equally fantastic; you can’t go wrong with this one. TJR proves her writing giftedness by crafting a story with snippets of various people’s points of view in a unique and intriguing style. The last 50 pages were so brilliant and beautiful to me; I didn’t see the twist coming. I felt all the feels and I took a sigh when I finished. It’s just one of those books. No doubt about it: this is one of my favorite books of the year!

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by: Cheryl Strayed

  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves) recommended TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS to me and said it’s one of her favorites…and I’d have to agree! Within a few minutes of listening to this book, I ordered the hard copy where it will live on my favorites shelf forever (if that’s not a testament to how good it is, than what is?!!?). Strayd’s advice is relevant to all and I think everyone can find nuggets of truth relative to their own situations in each of the letters Strayd answers. I’m sure my copy will be highlighted and underlined and perused many times for years to come!

With the Fire on High by: Elizabeth Acevedo

  • I loved this book about a teenage mom trying to finish high school and raise her daughter alongside her grandma. The food descriptions had me salivating and also made me wish I understood food combinations so I could make meals like the ones described. Though it’s a little idealistic at times, I still found myself so connected to the characters and the story. And as a grown adult I felt admiration for the way Emoni conducted herself and for her determination to put her daughter first.

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by: Elaine Welteroth

  • This book is a gem. Welteroth narrarates her own story (with cameos from her mom and dad, too) and I think that added to the overall impact for me. I could only hope to raise my own daughter with half the grit and determination that Welteroth has. She is fire and I’m inspired! Welteroth’s passionate drive make me jealous. When she was met with roadblocks she barreled through them and tried even harder just to be able to prove others wrong. She has a backbone and stood up to racist comments, and also offered incredible insight to those experiences. (Don’t miss the end of the audiobook where Welteroth has a conversation with her parents; it is PURE GOLD! I just love this little family and I can fully understand how Welteroth became the amazing individual she is!)

Ordinary Girls by: Jaquira Díaz

  • While I technically haven’t finished this audiobook by the time of this writing, it has made an immediate impact on me. Díaz’ writing is incredible and I have had several moments where her words have stopped me in my tracks. If you’re looking for a memoir that will give you all the feels, this is it!

How We Fight For Our Lives by: Saeed Jones

  • As a poet, Jones has a way with words that are powerful, eloquent, and impactful. Jones’ essays are an examination of what it means to be a young gay Black man living in the South. Not only does he ruminate on national headline stories, he also dissects his difficult relationships with his mother and grandmother. I loved Jones’ honesty and vulnerability; Jones gives his readers his heart and soul and I literally cried tears several times. Once again, books prove to be a window into another’s world – a place to learn empathy and compassion. I’m so grateful to be able to gain that understanding and I’m so appreciative of authors that open up their lives to help us become better humans. (Listen to Jones’ interviewed on the KERA Think podcast.)

The Girl He Used to Know by: Tracy Garvis Graves

  • After a chance encounter many years after their relationship ended, Anika and Jonathan meet again and rekindle their romance. Alternating between present day and 10 years prior, we discover what led to their demise the first time around. This is a sweet romance and I found myself rooting for Jonathan and Anika from the beginning. While I sort of found Jonathan’s character a little “too good to be true”, I was also hopeful that there really are men out there with his character given the circumstances of the relationship (#nospoilers). Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Light We Lost will love this one!

Frankly in Love by: David Yoon

  • In all honesty, this one is a toss up for me. It started off strong, but quickly fizzled as I kept going. At first, I loved the dialog amongst the characters, but after awhile it just felt cheesy and repetitive. However, I loved the deeper dive into racism and how Frank and his friends addressed it and acknowledged that their own parents harbored some deep-seated racist attitudes towards others. For this reason alone, I can’t totally write off this book.

Red at the Bone by: Jaqueline Woodson

  • I switched between reading this one and listening to it. As Melody’s family prepares for her coming-of-age celebration, they reminisce on the decisions and events that got them to the present day. We hear from Melody’s grandma, grandpa, mother, and father, and through their own voices, we learn a lot more about each of them, individually and collectively. I loved Woodson’s writing and and I loved the individual voices that contributed to the whole picture. It’s a short audiobook (just under four hours), but the amount of ground Woodson covers is astounding.

The Grace Year by: Kim Liggett

  • Holy wowzers…I love dystopian books and this made my head spin! When young girls reach the age of sixteen, they are shunned for a year from their patriarchal community in hopes that they will lose their “power”. This year is referred to as The Grace Year and none of them have any idea what happens during their seclusion because it’s not something that’s ever talked about. Parts of this book really stood out to me. For example, it reminded me of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Power all combined together. It’s just futuristic enough that I’m not nervous about it actually happening in real life (yet).

 

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