We are currently at the point with juvenile and young adult fiction where the lives of transgender characters are still almost exclusively showcased iWe are currently at the point with juvenile and young adult fiction where the lives of transgender characters are still almost exclusively showcased in issue stories. It's undeniable that these are badly needed, now especially, both for the benefit of kids who may be struggling and feeling alone, and for the benefit of cis kids who have little to no idea what their classmates might be going through. At the same time, you have to hope that eventually readers will be able to see transgender characters having the chance to be heroes and heroines in ways other than having to be their own activists who constantly have to defend themselves and their existence. All kids deserve that chance, and I hope we will eventually get there. In the meantime, George is a beautiful school story of a girl who knows without a doubt who she really is...she just needs the world to understand that too. It's an ultimately uplifting story about finding a way to make a stamp and making a stand, but as you might expect, the way there isn't easy. Neither her family nor closest friend is privy to her innermost thoughts so watching George live with the isolation that their ignorance imposes on her is difficult-by two chapters in you can feel her loneliness pouring off the page. While the book makes little stumbles here and there--sometimes the kids' dialogue may not feel a hundred percent natural and we never really get too much insight into the character who is George's best friend, who plays a pretty integral supporting role--I feel like the book is really successful in showing the resonance of George's story and really illustrating the hurtfulness of microaggressions and assumptions--that being unaware or unconcerned about another's struggle can cause its own kind of damage. Some of the more heartbreaking moments to me (particularly as someone who works with children for a living myself) were seeing a teacher George really respected, in the course of trying to be supportive, unknowingly drive home George's feelings of alienation. In that way too, I can see this book as also being really useful as a tool in a discussion about the importance of allies. When you know the statistics about what transgender boys and girls face and see a glimpse of the very small closed world that George is inhabiting throughout the book it's pretty clear how important it is to find ways to forge understanding and start conversations. Although this is some undeniable heavy material at times, there are still some really satisfying payoffs at the end for our protagonist, and just maybe, some readers may find themselves finding more understanding as well....more
Jacob and his very splintered group of Peculiars, armed with Jacob's developing abilities, are on the track of the birdnapped Ymbrynes and the rest ofJacob and his very splintered group of Peculiars, armed with Jacob's developing abilities, are on the track of the birdnapped Ymbrynes and the rest of their crew. In the meantime, Caul appears to be developing a scheme even more grandiose and threatening than even they suspected. The final battle awaits...and there will be casualties along the way.
Overall, I liked it slightly better than Hollow City mostly because with the group separated and the cast of characters cut to size the story felt a little more focused. Unfortunately, as with the other books, the eerie vintage photographs cast a spell and help set the tone but the story stumbles under the weight of the complex rules of the world, the rules of the creatures in it, and even Peculiar history itself. Although we get treated to some interesting--and downright creepy--settings and intriguing characters, which can be fun at first, too often the characters overstay their welcome. At points the pacing feels as stagnant as the water in the Devil's Acre loop they're visiting. The Jacob and Emma romance feels similarly stalled. There's too much to deal with to give it space to mature so all readers are left with are little throwaway nods to Jacob's hormones or very minor PDA to remind us this is supposed to be something at stake. The series closes with a bang, and yet, also a whimper....more
The most magical thing about Micah's life is the stories his beloved grandfather tells about a mysterious circus from his childhood. However, once EphThe most magical thing about Micah's life is the stories his beloved grandfather tells about a mysterious circus from his childhood. However, once Ephraim falls gravely ill and Micah's resentful Great Aunt is on the scene, all talk of the circus is immediately hushed up. Ephraim believes that the magic of the circus might hold some hope, but in order for Micah to find the magic again, he may find out more about his family's past than he bargained for.
It feels like quite a few circus-themed children's books have come out in the past few years, but so far this is the only one that I have read that casts the same sort of spell that The Midnight Circus does for so many adults. Beasley's book manages to be fantastical without being precious, and she's not afraid to get a little dark, but even if it gets a little sad at points, the payoff is satisfying....more