I thought George was a gentle introduction to what life might be like for someone who identifies as the opposite gender as the one the rest of the worI thought George was a gentle introduction to what life might be like for someone who identifies as the opposite gender as the one the rest of the world sees them as being.
I thought Alex Gino did a nice job of balancing the smaller story of George wanting to play the female role of Charlotte in the school's production of Charlotte's Web with the larger story of George wanting to be a female in real life.
George is aimed at a middle grade audience, and as such, the story does not go into the detail about the physical or sexual aspects of being transgender, but instead focuses on the emotional. While not every reader may relate to George's particular struggle in this book, I think feeling different is something many people can understand.
I struggled, however, with how one-dimensional the characters felt in George. The supportive best friend, the school bully, all of the characters felt like archetypes rather than individual people. The one character I enjoyed, though, was George's brother and his "whatever" attitude to finding out that George identifies and wants to be seen as a girl.
Overall, I thought George was an alright read that encourages tolerance, understanding, and being who you are. ...more
I loved this book. I thought the set up was fantastic, and wow, does Pam Munoz Ryan know how to tell a story. In Echo, she takes three children, all oI loved this book. I thought the set up was fantastic, and wow, does Pam Munoz Ryan know how to tell a story. In Echo, she takes three children, all of whom deserve their own books, and condenses their stories into one volume. Yet, as the reader, you don't feel shortchanged. Munoz Ryan manages to create complete worlds, with characters who have depth and heart and easily imagined histories. Nothing feels rushed, and each story feels well balanced within itself and with the others. I cried while reading each section, so I knew that I had become equally invested in each character.
I struggled a bit with the magical aspect of Echo. I thought that the harmonica passing through the hands of each of the children and raising their spirits in the darkest of times was powerful enough -- I didn't need a fantastical story to help me feel the magic because I felt that it was already there. But, if the magic had to be there, I thought Munoz Ryan wove it in well.
Overall, a truly remarkable read, and one that I am looking forward to suggesting to readers ages 11+. I think it could appeal to music lovers, as it speaks to the power of music to uplift and inspire. It could also appeal to historical fiction fans, as it takes place during World War 2, in the years leading up to World War 2, and the Great Depression. And it could appeal to both readers who enjoy realistic stories and to those who enjoy fantasy, as it is mostly realistic, yet has those touches of magic throughout. ...more
This book was so confusing, but in a good way... I think. I took notes while reading, but even so, I had to take some time upon finishing and write aThis book was so confusing, but in a good way... I think. I took notes while reading, but even so, I had to take some time upon finishing and write a timeline, trying to figure out how everyone's paths connected through time.
I thought the story was great. Heilig blends history and fantasy well, and her world is this interesting mix of a place that is at once familiar and completely foreign. I loved the visuals - the pirate ship looming out of the fog, the clay soldiers, the sky herring - it was all great.
I thought the writing was fantastic. If I hadn't known this was a debut novel, I wouldn't have guessed that it was. Heilig's writing feels very confident.
Where I stumbled, though, was with Nix's relationship with her father. Her chemistry with Kashmir - by far my favorite character in the book - was great, but with her father... I thought a more loving relationship between them would have made for more intrigue towards the end, but I don't think I can say more about that without giving away some plot points.
Overall, I was impressed. I don't feel like, "Wow, I can't wait to read the next book!", but I'm looking forward to reading it and finding out what happens. ...more