Cheng's book is another one that will likely receive recognition and starred reviews but I am sometimes puzzled by who the intended audience is. LikeCheng's book is another one that will likely receive recognition and starred reviews but I am sometimes puzzled by who the intended audience is. Like many of my favorites from last year that win honors and awards, they seem to be middle grade or YA for an adult audience. Though I also understand that middle schoolers can enjoy the stories and appreciate the characters, setting, and situations, it's sometimes a shallow read when there are so many layers hidden underneath.
This is again one of those stories that I appreciate for its originality and creativity and for all of those story elements that bring a vivid portrait of a boy in crisis (though he doesn't really know it) using his own story as an eleven year old boy going on twenty because he's had to parent himself and has had to mature to survive. There are also elements where you must suspend disbelief and as an adult, you cringe at what he's attempting or is doing, yet there's a sweetness to Alex that makes readers cheer for him.
The story includes science and rockets and following your dreams. Sometimes you can figure things out as you go along, the big picture isn't always necessary AND a dog is man's best friend. ...more
This book grew on me because I was ready to put it down-- annoyed with Ingrid's whiny voice as she begins her "journal" to her mother after being sentThis book grew on me because I was ready to put it down-- annoyed with Ingrid's whiny voice as she begins her "journal" to her mother after being sent to Peak Wilderness. But, then you realize it's a non-linear tale where you meet Ingrid and her mother, an opera singer, and find out about what has led to Ingrid's visit to Peak Wilderness.
While I think that parts were a bit drawn out, the characters were well-drawn themselves. The books beauty comes from the interwoven stories and the slow unravel of Ingrid's life as she tells it and sees it.
The only thing I could have absolutely done without SPOILER: ....more
I'm on a roll with continually enjoying social psychology books and books that provide an element of reflection about why I do the things I do and whyI'm on a roll with continually enjoying social psychology books and books that provide an element of reflection about why I do the things I do and why others do the things they do and how it all connects. While I don't adopt a new lifestyle or completely throw out how I do things, it's the ability to think about things that provides the most enjoyment.
Rubin organizes the book in the way I enjoy most of these types of books which are in setting up listicles (I just learned this word in a blogging challenge I was doing) and also because I'm a listicle person. Rubin explains people as being one of four tendencies for habits (upholders, questioners, rebels, and obligers) and then through this lens explains habits and uses one to two examples that demonstrates her point. I like that it wasn't overly complicated, overly explained, or heavy handed and while she tended to use a lot of examples from her own life and relationships, it didn't get to the point that I was annoyed with her which I have with other authors around similar topics.
I kept a list (yes, I get it) of things I wanted to go back to and think more on, which is why I know it was a book I can get behind. If I can take away something, then I've enjoyed the book. ...more
The storyline seemed a bit scattered but the overall message was a positive one that shown through by the end, which was that Vita was trying to do soThe storyline seemed a bit scattered but the overall message was a positive one that shown through by the end, which was that Vita was trying to do some good in the world. She wanted to start a band and then she decided that the money they raised from a concert would go to buying a machine to help further research on cancers, specifically because she realized that her new friend (who seemed to want to be a part of their group) wouldn't attend their meetings regularly until it was discovered that she was getting treatment for leukemia. This brought back memories from Vita's own mother who died from cancer.
It's generally a positive and happy story, but as I mentioned, there wasn't a straight line connecting A to B. It was either trying to be quirky for the sake of middle grade or to show the spontaneity of Vita's character, but if the graphic novel was any longer, I might have lost a little patience. I did however enjoy the illustrations and humorous secondary characters. ...more
A perfect moody and magical story that switches seamlessly between the past and present and weaves together various people from these time periods toA perfect moody and magical story that switches seamlessly between the past and present and weaves together various people from these time periods to explain the sleepers, the history, the interconnectedness between the present day, recent traumatic events, and the past with beautiful storytelling and an atmosphere that pulls off the darkness of what happens to with what someone like Alice did to contain and help "fix" it. ...more
It's so disappointing to know what America's track record was and still is with Native Americans and while Sheinkin explains in the first few chaptersIt's so disappointing to know what America's track record was and still is with Native Americans and while Sheinkin explains in the first few chapters that this is not a book about the treatment of Native Americans, it is an integral element of understanding the Carlisle Indian School and their football team. This includes references in newspapers whether they were winning and losing, how they were always a traveling team without the resources to have a real home field though they built their own field for practices, and even the treatment from within the school that they had no choice in attending, but was forced to as a re-education.
I actually liked the story of the entire Carlisle Indian School and it's many people rather than the football story. I found myself in the later chapters after Jim Thorpe became a member of its team being less interested in the new plays being created and the new rules being enforced, but instead interested in the school's own treatment of the team and the other school children who attended, the politics of the time period, the financial commitment, the coaching and sportsmanship, and all of those other elements that Sheinkin is always good for in his well-research narrative nonfiction publications. This one didn't fail, though not as enthralling as his first few, because his focus is about telling the stories that don't get told as much. The inclusion of picture of Native American children when they arrived at the school and days later when their hair was cut and they were put into "more appropriate" clothing is as depressing as it gets as an American. But Sheinkin really tells about the time period including Thorpe's trip to the Olympics and how that worked out, about how many died in that time, how football got its roots, and many other elements to build the story. ...more
**spoiler alert** The second book of the three that I've read in the series that focus on character-driven stories that are hi/low and usually feature**spoiler alert** The second book of the three that I've read in the series that focus on character-driven stories that are hi/low and usually feature sports. This one is about Frank, with his Catholic Latinx family where he sleeps in the same bed as his younger brother, has gotten into trouble, meets with a police officer for mentorship, and plays basketball. His mother is an artist and his father is always putting the moves on his mother.
It's family-oriented with minimal conflict other when a coming-of-age story where ultimately (only in the last few chapters), Frank most make a decision to stand up against authority and possibly be punished or take the fall.
Luckily, he chooses to not give in to the officer and has to take consequences that would have been easier if he threw the game, but instead he realized that his friendships and relationships were stronger by standing up. ...more
Her adult-focused novel makes the adult readers of her YA appreciate all of the same qualities we love in her YA in an adult novelShe does it again!
Her adult-focused novel makes the adult readers of her YA appreciate all of the same qualities we love in her YA in an adult novel reminiscent of another read recently published: The Wonder. A mystery surrounds a young girl, Janie, who needs evaluation because for the last few years of her life (she's only seven) she has explained to varying degrees that she wants to return "home" a home where she as Violet Sunday has drowned and is afraid of the number 8. Cue a self-assured woman in the late 1920 who is "living in a man's world" fighting for her ability to get a degree in psychology who now travels around the country to evaluate school children as a school psychologist. She has been called to Gordon Bay and the deeper purpose is revealed, Janie's parents, who have separated, want an evaluation of Janie. And the work begins and Winters sets up a beautiful backdrop and realized characters and this mystery.
While I was perturbed at the sporadic mentions of Alice's own past, it all connected back by the end of the story and left an awesomely shocking (I wouldn't call it a plot twist) but a "here we go again!" feeling that made me smile and love Winters all the more. The way she creates atmosphere just makes me appreciate her skills. ...more