THIS IS BRALL is a taut, compelling read. Like the best science-fiction, this novel presents us with a world that twists familiar elements of our ownTHIS IS BRALL is a taut, compelling read. Like the best science-fiction, this novel presents us with a world that twists familiar elements of our own world, in this case our cultural fascination with violence and the commodification of athletes, and asks what price we are willing to pay to entertain (and be entertained). In this near-future world, Lukas Tranic is less than two years away from finishing out a contract in the brutal world of brawl ball (aka brall)--a no-holds barred competition like rugby on steroids. All he has to do is survive--something that becomes increasingly difficult when a new drug changes the landscape of the game. Lukas is a wry, likeable narrator who manages to humanize an otherwise brutal sport. Perez's novel will appeal to fans of sports fiction and science fiction alike, particularly fans of John Scalzi, who like their science fiction whip-smart and grounded in important ethical questions....more
After seeing a couple of friends raving about this new middle grade novel, I snatched it up at my library. I'm glad I did. Cassie Beasley's debut, CirAfter seeing a couple of friends raving about this new middle grade novel, I snatched it up at my library. I'm glad I did. Cassie Beasley's debut, Circus Mirandus, is a charming, magical story about a boy and his grandfather--and a magical circus.
Micah Tuttle has believed in magic his whole life, thanks to his grandfather Ephraim's stories about the Circus Mirandus. But now his grandfather is dying, Micah's life is being overrun by his horrible aunt Gertrudis, and a miracle from the Lightbearer (a Circus magician) may be the only thing that can save his grandfather. With the help of his friend Jenny Mendez and a few unexpected visitors, Micah sets off to find a miracle.
I thought the story was delightful--just the right amount of magic and heart. Now I'm trying to get my kids to read it. ...more
I picked up CONVICTION after it was short-listed for the 2016 Morris award, so my expectations going into Kelly Loy Gilbert's debut novel were alreadyI picked up CONVICTION after it was short-listed for the 2016 Morris award, so my expectations going into Kelly Loy Gilbert's debut novel were already pretty high. And this book still blew me away.
First, there was Gilbert's prose--clear, deft, and powerful. The way Gilbert writes about baseball made even me interested in it. Braden felt like such a real character, trying to live up to the rules of honor expected both on the playing field and in the church. The plot, of course, was wrenching, as Braden struggles through the aftermath of his father's being accused of murdering a local cop. But that wasn't what kept me reading so compulsively. The heart of the book was the relationships: Braden's relationship with his father, with his friends, with his half-brother Trey--and with God.
What stands out to me the most about this book is its sensitive, true depiction of teen faith. Without ever seeming condescending, Gilbert present's Braden's evolving faith as a real thing. When so many YA books don't even touch on the issue of faith (unless it's to gloss over it), I thought Gilbert's book was brave and much-needed.
Did I enjoy this book? I don't know--what I felt (continue to feel) about it isn't easily summed up in enjoy. It moved me profoundly. It made me hurt, it made me angry, it made me hopeful. I'm still mulling over the ending. A powerful book by a powerful new writer. ...more