This book about a boy raised in a correctional facility is a moving tale about prejudices, good intentions gone astray, and the human capacity to adapThis book about a boy raised in a correctional facility is a moving tale about prejudices, good intentions gone astray, and the human capacity to adapt and change. Perry knows that his life isn't typical, but he loves his mother and the rest of his extended family of inmates. He knows which people to avoid and which to trust. He has an innate ability to read people and know what they need. Perry's presence cheers most of the prisoners and inspires them to be their best selves. When a new DA hears about his arrangement though he takes Perry out of the only home he's known and goes after the Warden that allowed it, and Perry's mother who was finally up for parole. The DA takes Perry into his own home and while Perry knows he has the best intentions, he misses his mom and his unconventional home life.
This book contains so much wisdom and heart. Perry interviews several of the prisoners for a school project and gets to hear their stories. They are frank about the fact that they've made mistakes, but it's clear that they've learned from them. The characters have flaws, but nobody is painted as evil or unable to change for the better.
I'd readily recommend this to students looking for a heartfelt story....more
This book was very well written and absorbing. The setting was obviously meticulously researched and I felt transported back in time during the partsThis book was very well written and absorbing. The setting was obviously meticulously researched and I felt transported back in time during the parts of the novel about the Dutch Resistance. I became so attached to the characters who risked their lives in big and small ways and felt their anxiety and pain as they experienced it. It was an intense reading experience. The novel really delves into their psychology and what that kind of constant pressure can do to a person. Many of the scenes were absolutely heart-breaking.
I did not enjoy the modern story as much. It skipped chunks of time and didn't have anywhere near the sense of urgency that the story set in WWII did. I always read it begrudgingly as I waited to return to the resistance. The modern story also had a hastily thrown in romance that seemed out of place. Lastly, the first bit of the modern plot made the conclusion of the WWII plot really obvious to me from the beginning. I don't think I would have realized what was coming from the very start if the whole book was set in the past.
Still, I did enjoy this novel and I'd highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in historical fiction set during the Dutch Resistance. ...more
I'm not going to lie: I read this book because I enjoyed the recent mini series based on it starring Aidan Turner. I found that the book was just as dI'm not going to lie: I read this book because I enjoyed the recent mini series based on it starring Aidan Turner. I found that the book was just as delightful and the mini series was pretty faithful to it. Normally I don't like having actors in my mind when I read a book but in this case I felt that they captured the characters so well I really didn't mind. In fact I felt like it added to my reading experience. Sometimes the pacing of the books felt a bit off to my modern sensibilities. For example it would end one section on a cliff hanger with some climactic scene involving a character. Then some time has passed when the next section starts and it begins with a description of the mines and other business affairs before it finally updates the reader on what happened to the characters in the interim. It was a bit infuriating at times because I really cared about the characters but my interest in mining is minimal at best. Still I'd strongly recommend this to fans of the series or family epics/historical fiction in general....more
Even after finishing this book, I'm still not entirely sure what it was about. The book ended on a cliff hanger so there wasn't any resolution to be fEven after finishing this book, I'm still not entirely sure what it was about. The book ended on a cliff hanger so there wasn't any resolution to be found there. Despite this fact I really enjoyed the novel. The plot involves multiple timelines, most in a distant future that is very different and hard to grasp. The main timeline takes place in a small town in our time and follows a preacher's son as his life is disrupted by discs that are portals to other times and places. Despite the incredible and sometimes confusing paradoxes this presents the characters are all very well thought out and their reactions to these events are believable and easy to relate to. That's what kept me turning the pages as I tried to figure out what the heck was going on. If you like high concept sci-fi I'd recommend it....more
This is the Victorian lesbian vampire novel that I didn't know I wanted but was delighted to discover. Fans of Gothic fiction in general and particulaThis is the Victorian lesbian vampire novel that I didn't know I wanted but was delighted to discover. Fans of Gothic fiction in general and particularly vampires will find this precursor to Dracula fascinating. It's a nice, quick read full of tons to unpack and ponder about Victorian mores and sexuality. If that's your thing I'd definitely recommend it....more
This book has an interesting premise. I like the idea of a rogue god capturing other gods so that his followers can use them to power ships that can cThis book has an interesting premise. I like the idea of a rogue god capturing other gods so that his followers can use them to power ships that can cross galaxies. The religion and society that has been formed around this arrangement is fascinating and clearly well-thought out. Unfortunately because this book is so short, once the world building is done it's pretty much over. The plot is skimpy at best and resolved by a literal Deus-ex-machina. I would have liked to see this world explored as part of a longer series but as is the story felt lacking....more
Lukewarm world building and problematic gender roles left me unsatisfied. There were some aspects that I liked, including the way the main character iLukewarm world building and problematic gender roles left me unsatisfied. There were some aspects that I liked, including the way the main character is literally empowered so she can take care of herself. Still, it doesn't make up for the power imbalance based on their respective places in society or the fact that the love interest is a creepy, much older stalker who spends the entire book manipulating and lying to get his way. Even after learning of her power he has no faith in her and feels the need to protect her from herself. Combined with the sloppy world building and plot holes not to mention the characters that conveniently appear when needed and are never mentioned again and I won't be continuing this series....more
This twist on the super hero origin story is wonderfully dark and engaging. The characters at the heart of the novel are so well drawn that I feel asThis twist on the super hero origin story is wonderfully dark and engaging. The characters at the heart of the novel are so well drawn that I feel as if I actually met them, although I'm not sure I'd like to in real life. The moral ambiguity of what they're doing and their downfall at the hands of academic hubris make for complex characterizations. Even minor characters are believably portrayed and the pacing combined with the jumps in time that provided background only when it was needed kept me guessing and turning pages. ...more
This parody of detective novels had me laughing throughout. The characters are all pretty thin, but that's to be expected in parody. The principal isThis parody of detective novels had me laughing throughout. The characters are all pretty thin, but that's to be expected in parody. The principal is outrageously incompetent, her academic parents are too wrapped up in themselves to to notice her, and her fellow students obligingly supply mysteries which they are happy to let Friday investigate. It's full of a dry humor and all the hallmarks of the genre. I particularly enjoyed the gentle ribbing of Academics and Friday's partiality to her brown cardigan collection and green felt pork pie hat (because all detectives should have funny hats.) I'd give this to students 3rd and up looking for a funny mystery novel....more
This account of the life of the founder of the ASPCA should be an interesting read for young animal lovers. The biography briefly describes his earlyThis account of the life of the founder of the ASPCA should be an interesting read for young animal lovers. The biography briefly describes his early life and focuses mainly on his work founding and leading the ASPCA. It was interesting to read about how this society came to be and at times horrifying to hear about the atrocious condition animals lived in the Victorian Era. The information is presented in a series of anecdotes about specific conditions and how Henry worked to change them. The narrative isn't particularly skillful and there's no real sense of an overall arc or progression but the episodes it describes contain a lot of information that was new to me and I know a lot of my students would really enjoy it. One aspect that I found a bit discordant was the illustrations. There were many full page, full-color illustrations of blood sports and the like. This seemed odd when the text was decrying people enjoying watching these spectacles. It had a weirdly voyeuristic flare in my eyes that didn't really match with the text. There were also many artifacts from the time such as political cartoons but they were all clustered in the back. I would have preferred if these were illustrating the text throughout instead....more
This book has everything I loved about the first book of the series and now it also has pirates and the magic Olympics. Highly recommended for fans ofThis book has everything I loved about the first book of the series and now it also has pirates and the magic Olympics. Highly recommended for fans of the first, book but be warned--it ends on a total cliffhanger!...more