Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Reviews - Read in (Almost) One Sitting!

Here we go with another round! These were books that were so good I read them in one sitting - or close to one. They're the kind of books you cannot read fast enough, but also you're bummed when they're over and want them to keep going!

Three Keys by Kelly Yang is the sequel to Front Desk, and it picks right up where the first book left off. The good news for me is I read the first book not so long ago, so I was also fresh on the details. In this one, Mia and her parents are running the Calivista Motel. With this, they are continuing to do all they can to help other immigrants. This group is particularly impacted when Proposition 187 is an upcoming election issue. This is a policy that specifically impacts undocumented immigrants, and it specifically impacts people Mia knows. Things are further complicated when Mia's new teacher critiques her writing, and Mia feels she's promoting anti-immigrant views. Said simply, it's a lot for one girl to navigate, but Mia does. Y'all, these books are so good. This takes place in the nineties, but it is so very relevant for today, and I love how these stories put these issues front and center for kids. Mia is such an incredible character as she fights for what she believes in, and she doesn't give up. I am in love with this author's work!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a book I've finally found my way to. I mean, y'all, I have checked this out from the library so many times, and so many people I've raved about it. This is the selection for my online book club's monthly read, so I finally read this. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?!? The story focuses on Kya, otherwise known as The Marsh Girl. It is both the story of her past and a murder that has happened in the present day of 1969. There are intersections of the stories, and you start to wonder who might be involved. This was such an interesting exploration of love and family and growing up and nature, and it was also a thriller of sorts. It took me a moment to get into it, but once it sucked me in, I couldn't read fast enough. This is such a beautiful read. Don't be like me, and wait - Read this one soon!

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner focused on a girl with a sensory processing disorder that had such heart and so many feels. Lou is a girl who is doing so much. Her mom is convinced she's going to be the next big country star and pushes her to go to gigs. With this, Lou doesn't really go to school, and she also drives her mom's truck. The latter becomes an issue when Lou (who is TWELVE) crashes the truck. Child Protective Services gets involved, and after the investigation, she is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Nashville. Here she goes to school where she falls in with the theatre crowd, and she starts to find stable friends for the first time. However, she's still navigating her SPD - although she finally starts to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. She also is trying to figure out what her relationship with her mom looks like. This is one that dealt with some deep issues, but as I do with so many middle grade reads, I love how it made this accessible for kids. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Children's for the look at this recent release!

Together, Apart edited by Erin A. Craig was a delightful collection of YA short stories set in the time of COVID. It was a new and interesting experience to read a collection set in "real time," and I so appreciated these stories. I've read a few other books set in 2020 (obviously written before 2020 was a thing), and they obviously just don't work. It was an odd comfort to then read these stories that authentically considered how love happens right now. Each story was unique - in its plot, in its characters, and in the relationship that developed. These each showcased the challenges of relationships in the time of COVID, AND they showed how the characters found opportunity and connection in their situations. This was something different and light, and I needed that. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this recent release!

Onto the next ones!