Happy New Year, Bookworms!
It’s 2017 now, y’all! Maybe this year will be better than the last. (If you don’t have Counting Crows in your head right now, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.) I sort of fell off the planet mid month because December turned into craziness and I just didn’t blog. I had holiday magic to make. But now it’s January, which is prime blogging time because there is NOTHING to do in January. So. Maybe I’ll catch up on my reviews and come up with brilliance. I’m feeling optimistic. Anyhow, I had a post draft sitting around that I meant to publish as a set of mini reviews in December, but since that didn’t happen, we’re going to play catch up now.
ONE: The Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore: Do y’all know Jenny from Reading the End? If you don’t, get to know her. Chat with her on twitter. Girl is a delight. Which is no surprise because her dad is basically the most whimsical man to have ever graced the planet. Case in point: he read this YA girl power fantasy series and was totally jazzed about it. Which is 100% why I decided to read it. Because if Jenny’s dad thinks it’s a good idea, it probably is. This is a three book series; Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue (though Fire was really more of a companion/prequel than a second installment, but I digress.) I thought Graceling was the best of the bunch, Fire was entertaining though a biiiiit of a slog, and Bitterblue rounded things out nicely. If you’re in the mood for a YA fantasy series, it’s a solid investment.
TWO: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez: Oh this one was a heartbreaker. The Rivera family leaves Mexico for the US after their daughter Maribel suffers a near fatal accident that leaves her with a traumatic brain injury. They arrive in Delaware hoping to enroll Maribel in a special education program to help her recover. Holy smokes, y’all. This is an eye opening view into the life of immigrants. Every resident of the Redwood Apartments has a different story, and they’re all beautifully woven together. Plus young love? Gracious. Read this one, okay?
THREE: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz: Since we’re on the topic of powerful immigration stories, it’s fitting that we follow up with the tale of Jasmine de los Santos. She’s a high school senior, straight A student, and captain of the cheerleading squad. Her future at the college of her choice is all but ensured until she receives the devastating news that her family is undocumented. Their visas expired years ago, and her Filipino family has been living in the US illegally. In the meantime, Jasmine falls for a boy- Royce, the wildly unsuitable son of a prominent politician who is vocally anti-immigration. I have read some criticisms of this particular storyline because some felt that their very chaste courtship wasn’t something that should have had Jasmine in such a tizzy, BUT. As a gal who didn’t date a whole heck of a lot, I fully relate to getting one’s emotions all a flutter over a couple of make out sessions.
FOUR: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova: This book was kind of amazing. If you dig books about magic, drop what you’re doing and pick this up. Latin American tradition infuses every inch of this highly inventive fantasy novel. Alex is a bruja at the cusp of her power. Only, she hates magic. In an attempt to rid herself of the pesky talent and live her life as a “normal” person, she accidentally banishes her family into another dimension. WOOPS! In order to save her family, Alex must venture into an in-between world known as Los Lagos accompanied by the enigmatic Nova, a handsome but untrustworthy brujo boy. There’s something of a love triangle going on when Alex is attracted to Nova while simultaneously being attracted to her best friend Rishi. Bisexual representation in a YA novel full of fantasy and folklore? It’s as awesome as it sounds. You should totally read it.
FIVE: Henna House by Nomi Eve: I’ve always associated the art of henna with India and Middle Eastern countries, but I never really thought of it as a Jewish custom. I don’t suppose the custom is necessarily Jewish per se, but it was definitely practiced by the Jewish folks living in Yemen in the mid 20th Century. Which is a thing I know now, thanks to reading this book. It’s similar in tone to The Red Tent (though I must admit I preferred Anita Diamant’s style). A fascinating book about a fascinating culture, the book tackles everything from arranged marriages to historical atrocities. Definitely worth a read.
Whew! What a start to the year! I’m not going to be making any resolutions, because I’m terrible at them, but I’m looking forward to a kicking year in reading and blogging. I’m ready for you, 2017. I’ll fight you if I have to. So. You’d best behave yourself.
Talk to me, Bookworms! Are you making resolutions this year?
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