Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Amada is new to school and quite beautiful, so she catches the eyes of the boys and the popular girls. She's used to blending in and trying to stay under the radar, because she has a big secret.  She's transgender, and usually when people find out they react poorly.

Books about secrets are hard for me to read. I spend so much time waiting for the big reveal that it is hard for me to enjoy the plot. When the tension starts right at the beginning and does't let up, I tend to spend more time worrying about what will happen then getting the nuances of the characters. That said, this was an interesting book. I've read memoirs before, but this is the first factionalized account I've read from a transgender person's point of view. I was pleased to have the author's note, because I did have some issues with how streamlined Amanda's transition seemed to go. Ms. Russo's explanation helped with that.

I've put this in the romance section of my library because of the cover, and love story between Amanda and Grant.

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Review: Beast

Beast Beast by Brie Spangler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went into this book fairly blind. I saw that it was listed a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I clicked on it. It's set in modern day, and there is no magic aspect only wishful thinking. So when Jamie, our Beauty, reveals she is transgender, I was a floored as Dylan. I felt like I had stumbled onto another VIB (Very Important Book) like If I Was Your Girl. Only Beast is from the other side of the relationship.

Dylan is called Beast by his classmates because he is huge, hairy, and ugly. He's a six foot fifteen year old. He's super smart, doesn't play football even though he secretly loves it, and is the enforcer for his friend JP's loan business. Although the enforcing is getting old and Dylan wants no part if it anymore. After he "falls" off of the roof of his house, he meets Jamie at therapy for self harmers. They spend the afternoon after therapy talking and he is smitten. When JP meets Jamie, he recognizes that she is different and sees this information as the perfect vehicle to get Dylan back in line.

Dylan's growth, both physically and emotionally make it easy to recommend this one to those looking to expand their world view.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: The Girl I Used to Be

The Girl I Used to Be The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olivia returns to her former home after the police inform her that they found her father's jawbone in the woods, near where her mother's body had been found. For years people had presumed he'd been the one to kill her mother. But now that with everything called into question, and the investigation was being reopened. Hiding her true identity, Olivia hopes to find out about the parents she can't remember and who really happened that day in the woods.

This was a quick read, easy to follow and the reveal works well. Fans of Ms. Henry will want to read this one also.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review: American Ace

American Ace American Ace by Marilyn Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine finding out that your dad is not who raised you. Imagine finding this out after your mother dies, in a letter she left you. All you have is the letter, a ring, and a pin that looks like wings, and no one left to ask questions. That’s what has happened to Conner’s dad. At first dad is depressed and withdraws, but then he and Conner decide to see what they can find out. Using the ring as a starting point, they go to the library to begin their research. The inscription leads them to information about the Tuskegee Airmen. As Conner and his dad deal with this new information they grow closer. This super short read brings up some interesting family dynamics and reactions to what it would be like to have your whole world turned upside down.

I think I would have liked it better if it had been a bit longer. The poems are only on the right side of the book, so it was a really short read. I think it took me no longer than 30 minutes.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: Afterward

Afterward Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caroline's brother, Dylan, was taken. When Dylan was found, so was Ethan, who'd been taken four years ago. Dylan is autistic and can't talk about hat happened to him, so Caroline goes to Ethan to try to get information to help her brother. When Ethan can't really answer her, because his memory is blank in spots, she feels guilty for asking. But she can't stay away, and they end up playing music together, forging an unlikely friendship.

I really like this one. I think I say that about all of Ms. Mathieu's books. Her topics are timely, well researched, sympathetic, and cleverly told. Ethan and Caroline's lives are so different, but linked by tragedy, they are heartrendingly similar. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

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