I'm not sure how I would have felt about this book when I was an actual young adult, but I feel like it is a decent if flawed novel.
Things I loved - tI'm not sure how I would have felt about this book when I was an actual young adult, but I feel like it is a decent if flawed novel.
Things I loved - the Mexican-American element and how the parents seemed more aware of the stereotypes than the kids (hope for the future?), the friendship between Ari and Dante, two awkward boys who come of age in the novel, and the young "late" kid.
A few things were stretching my suspension of disbelief that led me not to enjoy the novel as much. (view spoiler)[ First of all, it seemed like every time the author needed someone to realize something, he had them almost die. This is a telenovela/soap opera technique that gets old fast, and twice in one novel really was at least one too many. The brother Bernardo is a mystery, and not just because Ari's family never talks about him - he was originally arrested at age 15? For killing a prostitute? Why was he with one so young? He seemed like an exaggerated character to allow for drama to happen rather than an authentic character developed well.
Dante seems to be a well-developed gay teen although I was disappointed that his knack for words didn't really matter except that he wrote more letters in the end. THe author spends SO much time pointing out how each boy is unique and then kind of drops those important elements midway through. His coming out journey made sense and I felt like Ari's acceptance of him despite not feeling the same way was the more authentic feeling love story in the novel. I was very bothered by Ari's "coming out" - as others have said, he really didn't. His best friend wishes desperately he was gay because he loves him, and his parental figures tell him he is, but in the context of how the author has developed the characters, this makes no sense. Yes he has an anger problem, and I think the author wants us to equate this with suppressing his sexuality but his older brother has an even bigger anger problem. Is this because he is repressed or because his father was away at war and suffers from PTSD, making him physically and emotionally absent to boys who need him? This seemed like the story that could have had more focus.
I mean, I like happy endings and all, but I felt like Ari would end up resenting everyone in his life for pushing him into a situation that wasn't really what he wanted. You can't be gay because people want you to be! It seemed like a people pleasing move. (hide spoiler)]
So I had a mixed experience. I see this is book 1, and I wonder if there will be more. I'm not sure I would read them but I'm not the right age bracket....more
My book club chose this book back in the summer for this year's season, not even knowing how important it would become. Deepa Iyer looks at the plightMy book club chose this book back in the summer for this year's season, not even knowing how important it would become. Deepa Iyer looks at the plight of a certain sub-segment of immigrants in America post-9/11, but also steps back and looks at Hispanic and Black Americans as well. I should say that this book covers up to 2015 bordering on 2016, and reading it in the context of 2017 made me want to evaluate each statement and policy, wondering how much has already changed.
Sections focus on subjects such as living in an increased state of surveillance, and how specific groups are targeted (this intersects nicely with the reading I did of Angela Davis!), looks closely at Islamophobia and then even more closely at how bad it is in Tennessee (phew, very hard to read), undocumented youth, and the impact of Ferguson and the militarized police (oh hi Angela Davis again!)
Although she examines the almost current state of America, she also shows and suggests how people can work together through religious differences and from different marginalized groups, how to build bridges between us, and how to stand up to the authorities.
I finished this book the same day I attended a solidarity rally opposed to the ban of refugees and immigrants from any specific place, run by students. It was nice to hear their stories and ideas. ...more
Perfect for fans of Lindy West, Roxane Gay, and Jenny Lawson. With the added commentary on skin color in India vs. Canada, I felt like I was gaining oPerfect for fans of Lindy West, Roxane Gay, and Jenny Lawson. With the added commentary on skin color in India vs. Canada, I felt like I was gaining one more perspective on what it means to have brown skin and how that changes based on where you are (and her surprising excursions into privilege.) The parenting emails made me laugh, her compassion towards her parents was impressive in that she could see the humor while also being annoyed. I will definitely be recommending this to other readers when it comes out.
Thanks to the publisher who gave me early access via Edelweiss....more
This is the third book I have read by Nalo Hopkinson, still until Veronica chose it for the Sword and Laser pick, it was unknown to me. There is a lotThis is the third book I have read by Nalo Hopkinson, still until Veronica chose it for the Sword and Laser pick, it was unknown to me. There is a lot going on here - African mythology, ancient ritual, an international cast of women spanning different time periods, magic or voodoo, slave revolutions, slavery, freedom, etc., etc. In fact I am feeling I should not have read it the way I did, all but 50 pages in one sitting. I feel like all of it is still swirling around in my head.
One thing I know is that I appreciate that the author lets the reader do the work to fit the pieces together and fill in the gaps. She is not overly directive in saying "And now the goddess is doing this" but lets her words narrate some of the shifts in time and place.
What baffles me after reading it, in a good way, is to realize how many of the characters in this novel (who feel elevated and perhaps unreal) actually lived and are on record. Even Saint Mary the Dusky (and I loved the author's version presented as what might be true if it weren't filtered by a man seeking attention.)
If you are easily offended, stay away. There are likely too many strong women deciding who they want to have sex with for your tastes, also death, torture, and the difficulty of births without medical care. But if you want to spin together historical people and places with ancient goddess religion and strong women, this is the place....more
Can you ever go home again? Binti returns to her home planet and is faced with navigating a complex political landscape with the Meduse, Okwu, as wellCan you ever go home again? Binti returns to her home planet and is faced with navigating a complex political landscape with the Meduse, Okwu, as well as her own transformation. Family expectations have her preparing for a pilgrimage, but the people in the desert may have their own plans (or it is her destiny.) As always I very much enjoy the unique ways Okorafor blends various African folklores and mythologies with magic, outer space, aliens, and this time, with math! to create a vibrant and imaginative landscape. The pregnant ship was so interesting! The ending felt rushed and I wish all of Binti was a longer story. There are so many rich and unique elements, that I wanted to spend more time with more instances of them.
I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley....more