I went in completely blind, and I was shocked to find that this wasn’tThis review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction
I went in completely blind, and I was shocked to find that this wasn’t exactly the STEM contemporary I was expecting, but something along the lines of science fiction (or contemporary sci-fi? Is that a thing? It should be a thing).
Ellie’s grandfather has discovered the key to immortality, utilizing the famed immortal jellyfish (a real thing, in case you haven’t heard of it—it’s a type of jellyfish that can basically revert back to its infant state and start life over again)—and he’s turned himself into a jellyfish. That’s really the extent of the “science fiction” to the book, though—the rest of it is just a contemporary about a girl trying to figure out how to navigate middle school and failing friendships (and a brilliant, opinionated grandpa who now attends her school). To me, the absolute best parts of this book were the ways the grandpa was a sort-of teenager/sort-of old man. This dichotomy was highly entertaining.
I did think the way the family responded to good old grandpa was a little weird—like, the mom basically actually treated him like a teenager instead of her dad a lot of the time, and I wasn’t sure why. And there were some definite lapses in logic. (How would she have signed him up for school with NO paperwork or parental permission? Why couldn’t they have just said he was being homeschooled?—but that would have ruined the premise of the book.) And a few other similar issues that bugged me. But I tried hard just to suspend disbelief and go with it. Once I did that, I found the book to be quirky and heartwarming and filled with fun science facts. Overall a fun and unique story!...more
This middle grade novel in verse chronicles a seventh grade boyThis review and many more will be found on my blog on 1/15: Feed Your Fiction Addiction
This middle grade novel in verse chronicles a seventh grade boy’s struggle with his weight, but it also goes much deeper than that. While, on the surface, Ari’s issues stem from his weight and the bullying that comes with it, the underlying issues that have led to his unhealthy eating are at this story’s forefront. Ari sees his family breaking apart, he has trouble adjusting after a move and he feels like an outsider in almost every area of his life (even in his religion—he’s trying to prepare for his bar mitzvah, but he’s already a year late, and he has no real support from his family).
Baron’s verse is used beautifully to describe Ari’s uncomfortableness in his own skin: the way his clothes feel because they don’t fit him right, but also the way his self doesn’t seem to fit the image everyone has molded of him. After a particularly nasty bullying incident, Ari is put on a strict diet and he loses weight—but it’s not until he takes control of his own life and his own destiny that he starts to feel true change. I will say that part of Ari’s transformation is physical, so if you’re sensitive about the concept that weight loss is helpful and/or necessary, this book might not be for you. And I’ll confess that there were moments in the book where I worried that too much emphasis was being put on his strict diet. But Ari’s real growth comes from his realization that his outer self doesn’t define who he is as a person and the book shows his journey toward self-love, whatever the number on the scale might say....more
Fukusha Model Eight is the third installment in Pajonas's unique sci-fiThis review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Fukusha Model Eight is the third installment in Pajonas's unique sci-fi adventure series. Once again, Pajonas explores what a world completely run by corporations would be like---it isn't pretty. One of the things I love most about these books is the way that the main character's vulnerabilities are explored without making her seem weak. She's put in circumstances that would make anyone start to doubt themselves (and others around her). This book kept me guessing, with several twists I wasn't expecting as Yumi learns more about what she's up against. And, as always, the world building is exquisite---I feel like I know these alien planets so well! If you're a fan of adult sci-fi, I highly recommend this series. You will not be disappointed!...more
This book starts out with Mei and her mother suffering the consequencesThis review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction
This book starts out with Mei and her mother suffering the consequences of everything that happened at the end of book one (which I won’t spoil here—I’ll just say that it didn’t go well for poor Mei and some of her worst fears were dragged to the surface). They’re trying to get their lives back together, but the loss of their barn and farming equipment has put them in a very tight spot. Mei’s mother does not want to bring dishonor to her family, so she refuses to ask for help, and Mei does not want to disrespect her mother by bringing attention to their problems against her mother’s wishes. These concepts of honor and respect are more important in Japan than they are in the US, so they play into the story relatively heavily—Mei and her mother deal with having little food and no heat for far longer than the reader might think they should!
When Mei’s friend Etsuko ends up dead, Mei feels compelled to try and find the killer without dragging Etsuko’s name through the mud. But the more she learns about Etsuko’s tangled relationships, the more complicated that becomes. It seems that Etsuko had some unsavory ties and got herself involved with dangerous people. Mei just needs to figure out which people might have gone so far as to murder Etsuko—there are quite a few possibilities.
If I have one criticism, it’s that Mei held on to her insecurities about her relatively new relationship with Yasahiro a little too tightly for mu liking. I understood why she didn’t quite feel like she could measure up, but it seemed like too much of a focus (and why everyone else seemed so surprised that she was dating him was beyond me). I just got tired of Mei’s insecurities before she did.
The mystery in this book was compelling and kept me guessing, and I liked seeing Mei at her sleuthing best! This was a highly enjoyable addition to the series and I give it 4/5 Stars....more