Sunday, May 12, 2019

Book Reviews - Four Early Looks!

While I read on my Kindle Paperwhite a fair amount, it's rare I read four in a row. However, it looks like I plowed through some advanced copies in the last week, so here those are!

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister is actually a book that I'll be spotlighting next Monday, so come back for that! I promise y'all that it's one you're going to need to check out. I cannot wait to tell y'all more about it!

Read this book if - Come back next Monday, and I'll seriously tell you why - so many reasons why y'all.

47 People You Meet in Middle School by Kristin Mahoney is just a sweet little read about what to expect in middle school. It's told as a letter from an older sister (August or Gus) to her younger sister Louie. As she goes through the experience, she realizes that she can help her sister know more than she did when she began the overwhelming experience that is middle school. As the title indicates, the story is told through those that Gus encounters.  I'm more than a few years removed from middle school, so I'm far from the target demographic. However, I could see how this was carefully structured so that it really has some great advice to those who are about to be there. I really dug how the advice was helpful, but not in a way that made it seem like an after school special. Side Note - Kids today will have no idea what that reference means. Anyway, in addition to navigating middle school, including making friends, dealing with problematic folks, and working with teachers, the book is about Gus and Louie navigating their parents' divorce. This layers on complications, and as she writes, Gus also realizes how much this has impacted the sisters, and how much they need each other. This was just one of those books that had a heaping helping of heart. Even with all the characters and layers of the middle school story, there is Gus in the middle committed to figuring it all out, doing what's right, and meeting some neat people along the way. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to check this gem out.

Read this book if - You want an "insider's look" at how to prepare for middle school.

Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale by Lauren Myracle was an intriguing piece. I had not read any origin stories around Catwoman prior to this, so I can't speak to how in line/different this is from  previous iterations. However, I can speak to how this does a good job of exploring the "Why?" of a villain. This comic focuses on Catwoman's teen years. Said simply, she has to navigate a lot of "stuff" during this time and make some decisions on what she's going to do to help herself - and others, as well as where she's going to fight back. For a comic, this is heavy content. The obstacles and issues she encounters are a lot to process in this form - any form really. Plot aside, the illustrations are outstanding. They are so, so well done, and they perfectly give vision to the story. Overall, I wanted more. This is a quick read, but I wanted more depth and dissection to Selina's tale! There have been so many iterations of Catwoman, and it was so intriguing to read a spin on where her story (literally) began! Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to check out this origin story early!

Read this book if - You want to see where it all began for Catwoman. Just be ready that it's not such a happy tale. . . 

Someday, Maybe by Elise Faber was YA focused on what happens as Brianna (the main character) starts to navigate her new normal. At the start of her senior year, Brianna's dad lets her know she is trans and will be transitioning. Brianna heads to school still processing the information, and she is asked to Homecoming by Jason, a popular soccer player at school. She is a bit surprised by the unexpected ask, but accepts. In the next months, Brianna navigates a lot. Her mother is not coping well, and there is a part in the story where Brianna is straight up abandoned and having to navigate life on her own. Brianna initially tries to keep her dad's transitioning a secret, however she tells one person, and somehow the news spreads. Y'all, this part was a reminder of how absolutely cruel and terrible kids can be. At times, this was hard to read, but that's because it was so true to the reality of these situations. There is an author's note at the end where she shares this was inspired in part by her story, so that might explain why there was so much real, real emotion pulsing through the story. Brianna is also navigating her budding relationship with Jason as they grow closer and closer. Overall, I appreciated that this was on that gave voice to a different story. Brianna is a high school senior navigating all the things, and the book does a great job of exploring these multilayered and intersecting challenges. Also, I have to say I especially loved the ending of these. So often YA leaves you with a "I wonder what happened to. . . " moment, and this ties up the loose ends via a fast forward that is a great ending. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this important story that needed to be told.

Read this book if - You want a YA novel that tells a story that's not often told.