Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three on a Theme: 3 Series to Binge - Adult Edition


I haven't done a Three on a Theme in a while so I will just jump right in!

3 SERIES WORTH BINGE- READING 

********
The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - This series of books have been turned into a cable series with a hot guy who gets nekkid. Just to let you know, the book's sex scenes rely much more on the reader's imagination than the show seems to. I have watched several of the show's Youtube clips over and over and over and over for research purposes. It looks pretty good. I might break my "no watching" rule for this one, y'all.
 

I think that the first season of the show follows the first book of the series, which is pretty massive, let me tell you. The story is about Claire, a combat nurse in the 1940's who is transported back in time to 1743's, where guys are WAY hotter and she has to marry the first sexiest guy she sees. She also keeps running into men that look like and are related to the husband she left behind. Various awesome and terrible things happen to her as you can imagine as well as to the people who are quickly becoming her family. Because of her "I'm from the future" thing, she knows things and some of the story is focused on what she is going to do about that. Should she try to change the outcome of historical events? ::shrug:: I have completed the second book of this, to wit, 8 book series. There are also at least two books that are between the books, like Book 8.5, or whatever that madness is, as well as a confirmed 9th book in the works! The first two books were very interesting, especially given the setting (Scotland, France, Ireland, London) and there is a lot of action. There are, however, spots that drag a little and sometimes the level of historical detail requires me to go into brief dissociative episodes. This series is a COMMITMENT due to it's length as well as the books' lengths (around 800+ pages). I'm definitely interested in sticking with both Claires (from both time periods) but will probably do so gradually over time. I also might decide to abandon the books and watch the show (No, I CANNOT DO BOTH). Either way, I'll likely review a few more Youtube clips. For a friend. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I saw the author Of The Fifth Season at Book Riot Live last year on a panel talking about world- building. The panel was called "writing what you don't know" and Ms. Jemisin shared the stage with Margaret Atwood. My reading this novel was the result of having attended that panel and being thoroughly enthralled with what Ms. Jemisin had to say about authenticity, researching the real world even if you're making things up, and her own experience reading characters that influenced the way she wrote when she was starting out.

First off, the dedication in this book is lovely. It reads: “For all those that have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.” BOOM! You know there's going to be some heavy moral/ political/ humanity shit happening in this book. And, yes, there is.

"Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bookish- Blogger Blog Post Topics: Gimme Ideas!

I'm still working this whole blogger thing out. I love reading books and posting book reviews. But I also enjoy posting about other things... though, everything tends to be book related. It seems like blogging only reviews would also be boring for people who read blogs regularly, too.

What's my point? My point is, I sometimes have a hard time coming up with post ideas separate from book reviews... I actually think about ideas I really like when I'm doing something else (e.g., driving a car, falling to sleep, taking a shower) and then totally lose the thread when it's time to post! I know other's experience this. I'm not just OLD!

So, this post is really a place for me to put ideas for topics. It will be updated as I think of other things. 
  1. Three blogs I follow/ love
  2. What are important things to consider when reviewing a book
  3. Book club structure and book picking procedure (I'm into Book Clubs!)
  4. Updates on current reading challenges
  5. Recaps or summaries of completed reading challenges
  6. How much do The Feels matter in my book rating
  7. Favorite book- related device apps
  8. Response to an interesting blog post someone else posted
  9. What characters do I really connect with in books?
  10. What tropes do I love/ hate? For example, I both love and hate the "hot broken boy next door."
  11. What's a popular reader opinion I agree/ disagree with?
  12. How do I think that book to movie adaptation is?
  13. Recommend some books to specific people (who ask, or who don't!)
  14. Review bookish- activities/ events?
  15. Talk about how to share a love of books locally
  16. What it's like to reread a book at a different point in my life (BACK FIRE WARNING)
  17. Top 5 books/ characters/ settings of all time
  18. What have been my favorite posts that I've written?
  19. Do a book picture challenge on Tumblr
  20. Thoughts about local library tour


Please feel free to add your ideas in the comments... and also: where do you get your non- book review blog post ideas from?




Monday, January 18, 2016

Outbox: January 17ish - In which I Basically Love Everything

It's always weird to look at the summary picture I include on these outbox posts. It always makes me second- guess my rating. I mean, could I really have liked everything I've read over the last week and a half so much... but, yes. Yes I did. 

The "Week's" Mini-Reviews:
UnSouled by Neal Shusterman: I continue to be WOWed and floored and gaga, googoo over the Unwind series. The end of book three got me looking out the side- eye wondering where they are going with a weird turn, but the story stays strong, the characters stay awesome, and the content continues to deal with serious shit.

My Great Harry Potter reread continues. There are parts of this book that seem completely new to me, which is not surprising, considering I read it when it was released over 10 years ago. I had a whole different brain back then. 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: I read this via audiobook through Overdrive. Worth it. There's a little bit of magic, a little bit of a fairytale retelling vibe. 

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. The Feels!! I can't! In this book, two scientists create a device (The Firebird) that allows you to cross dimensions and visit worlds that are just like ours, but slightly different due to random tiny weeny differences in events. But, we can't have nice things without someone who wants to take them or destroy them, amirite? So, who are the bad guys? And why does everyone else forget who they are when they use the Firebird except our main girl, Marguerite? And, just as importantly when you're a teenager: when people love you, do they love you across dimensions? Is loving someone here the same as loving them there?

Dumplin by Julie Murphy: This is basically set to be the fat girl book of the year, which basically made me not want to read it. I hate reading things that I think are going to be used as represent The Voice. But, the fact that there aren't enough large-bodied main characters out there to keep each fat- girl main character from being THE CHOSEN ONE isn't this book's fault. I'm glad I got over myself. The struggles and the feels are real. We've all got our own shit to deal with.


***Reviews Pending***
The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely


Related Posts:
 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

The authors of this book were at Book Riot Live last year participating in a panel about writing with a co-author, or something like that. Jason Reynolds was already one of my Secret Author Boyfriends ever since he was at the Rochester Teen Book Festival last year, but shhhh, as the name suggests, it's a secret.

If you get the chance to see either of these men on tour, do it. If they are together, it's worth camping out to get in. Top quotes from this Book Riot Live panel:

"We want this book to create a safe space to not call people out but to call people in."

"You can't deny the injustices that are happening if you humanize everyone."

"Making someone a hashtag dehumanizes them, even if it's with good intention."
The summary of the book tells you what the book is about. The experience of reading the book is more about joining with the emotional roller-coaster of the characters than it is about figuring out the "truth," which we hear from Rashad's POV right up front. [click for the Goodreads Summary]

This is the story of two people who experience police brutality. The book is told from the perspective of two young men, same grade, same school, one Black, one White. Mr. Reynolds gives us the voice of Rashad, a young Black man with popular friends, mad art skills, and who is on the uncertain track towards law enforcement. His father was a cop. Mr. Kiely gives us Quinn, Rashad's White classmate who's excited about the college basketball scouts who will be seeing his team play in the upcoming championship. And then, Rashad is beaten by a police officer. And Quinn sees.

In light of the social media activism around police brutality that has rocked out Twitter faces, this book brings a human perspective to a movement in which it's easy to forget about humanity.


You might expect that Rashad's struggle will be the most important, the most poignant in this book. And it is important and gut wrenching. He will never be the same. But Quinn, too, struggles with understanding his own place in a system that he could choose to leave as it is. Both boys are pressured from multiple sides about how to move themselves, and their systems, forward.

In the end, this book reminds us that Our County has a long way to go and racism isn't a problem that is mine or yours. Police brutality isn't black or white. And making the choice to fight for what's right is rarely easy.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I have only read one of Patrick Ness's books before and while I liked it, I wasn't GaGa over it... though the ending redeemed itself. I'm speaking of A Monster Calls but don't get distracted by my rambling.
Goodreads Summary
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.


The premise of The Rest of Us Just Live Here is really intriguing. The idea is that in each of the stories where there is a Chosen One to save the world there is a school filled with regular kids who know something is weird, don't really have anything to do with "situation," but are effected by things anyway. I mean, they are The World in need of saving. Ness is not the only one to think of the "other side" of such stories in this way. There are memes all over the internet pointing out that for every story there is a different perspective.

http://weneeddiversebooks.org/The Rest of Us Just Live Here is part Chosen One YA parody, part coming-of-age- Heartfelt Angsty Teen-life Falling Apart all I Need is Love parody, and part awesome... maybe it's all awesome. Each chapter begins with a blip summary of what's happening to the Indie kids (the magical, glowing, spell casting, vampire, ghost kids) and their quest to save the world before following our group of protagonists as they deal with their lives, which are not all going so great, as most YA main characters' aren't. Our primary male and his sister each suffer from [too much info here, you need to read the book] ISSUES. The whole group is a rag tag, diverse group of young people (their diverse youngness being pointed out by the newest member of the Scooby gang in case you missed the subtle references to everyone's uniqueness). The relationships are rich and real. The main dude is obtuse and self- focused and hits his epiphany moment with a shattering force. I'm also old enough to appreciate that the adults in Mikey's life also grow up a little and I'm a shrink enough to love the scene with Mikey and his therapist.

Overall, this book is a Must Read for anyone who loves Young Adult. It smushes it's main genres in a way that is compelling and wonderful. It is touching and wonderful. And Wonderful. 4.5 Stars because I believe is having a margin for growth.
 *****
Related Posts
http://bookedupandbossy.blogspot.com/search/label/Book%20Review   http://bookedupandbossy.blogspot.com/2015/12/YA-must-reads-2015.html

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Question for Readers: What Makes it a #Diverse Book?

Diversity matters. It does. Well, to be fair: diversity matters if you are interested in higher achievement scores, thinking processes, decision making, interpersonal relationships, enjoyment, and developmental outcomes for those involved. I guess if you don't care about any of those things, you might disagree that diversity matters and might argue that it's not important. 
http://blog.firstbook.org/2013/07/09/the-lack-of-diversity-in-childrens-books-charmingly-illustrated/
This post isn't about talking anyone into believing that or about spouting off facts that make it true. I'm going to assume that we are all on the same page about that or that you don't need that underlying assumption to engage in a meaningful conversation about diversity in books. 

There's been a shift that I have noticed in the focus on making sure that there are diverse characters in books and other media. It may be that this shift happened 100 years ago and I've just opened my eyes to it. But I don't think so. At the very least, there seems to be a renewed interest in expanding what we think of as diverse characters (to include not just race and gender but also religion, class, sexual orientation, nationality) and to encourage and support authors who are from diverse backgrounds. Just go check out the #RepresentationMatters hashtag on twitter if you don't believe me. This is a THING. Writers who rely solely on homogenous, non-realistic/ representative characters are being called out for their ignorance and their seemingly purposeful attempts to thwart the benefits to all readers of seeing different points of view in their books and media. Interestingly, this shift is also happening in the job market, education, teaching, and training in higher education.


http://bookedupandbossy.blogspot.com/search/label/We%20Need%20Diverse%20BooksSo, here's my diversity problem of the month. I've decided to add a little WNDB sticker to my book reviews for books that count as having characters or author's from an "underrepresented" backgrounds. But, what counts as diversity? I'm still working on this for myself.

Is it enough that a character is not explicitly described as being a middle aged, white, cis-male, heterosexual with a job? Does it count if a "minority" character is described and is the secretary or running a shop that is visited several times in the story but has no development of their own? How important is diversity and the descriptions of diversity if they characters are elves and trolls? I mean, can it be considered representation if the characters are all mythical but have different skin tones and same- sex partnerships? Does an author count as diverse if they are white- appearing but from Spain? What if! What if, there are characters who are described as diverse but the fact that they come from different backgrounds plays no role in the story, at all? If you can remove a person's diversity and it doesn't change the story, does it matter? You see what I'm saying?
http://blog.firstbook.org/2013/07/09/the-lack-of-diversity-in-childrens-books-charmingly-illustrated/
So, without considering these things, we really are left with very superficially diverse stories and characters. I'm still working on my criteria, so right now it's really like the difference between porn and art: I know it when I see it. And some things are much more obvious than others.

What's your minimum criteria to consider a book a #diverse book?


Related post on this blog: Diversity and My Little Free Library
http://bookedupandbossy.blogspot.com/2015/12/LFLDiversity.html

Related posts elsewhere on the interwebs:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Just from reading the description of this book you know that it is going to do things to your heart. Plus, it was on a list this week of "YA relationships that left us weak" or some such nonsense. So, before I started reading it, I got some nice cookies and milk and made sure my tissues were ready. 

Here's the Goodreads Description:
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

RIGHT!? So, like, you KNOW it's going to stab you in the heart. Even though you also know that this is yet another young girl (just post- 18th birthday) who is going to fall for the first damn boy she's ever spoken to and you suspect that someone is going to die or disappear and there goes your soul right with them. The writing is great. There were three spots where I actually closed the book and held it to my chest before I could go on. Literally. Granted, I may have worked myself up a bit.

Madeline has been home- bound since she was an infant.
She never knew her father or older brother, who were killed in a car accident. She reads, and blogs, and spends a very routinized life with her mother and her nurse. She's rarely considered what her life would be like if she weren't sick, and then Olly shows up and her nurse tells her that love won't kill her... 

The Good:
The writing: the prose, the metaphors, the way the teen characters talk to each other. 
The story and its pace, the quotables. 
The MC is a person of biracial color, half Japanese/ half African American.
The MC freaks out when there are risks.
The MC boy is not a jerk even though he's a wee broken.
The addition of the graphics and visuals. EXCELLENT. Some of them are so cute/ clever you can barely handle it. 
The Less Good:
Some of the same old girl meets boy tropey stuff.
I saw the ending coming. My 15 year old self feels differently about the end than my fhafbl-year old self.  

Nevermind. I love it all. My recommendation: start it when you have time to just read the whole thing. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Outbox: Recap for December and the whole damn year (2015)

OK. This is my last post specifically about 2015. I had a couple of different "2015 summary" posts in mind but I've decided this is just going to be it. Last one. I'm done with 2015; It's the 10th for sobbing out loud. So this one's is really two posts in one: the December Outbox (which includes four weeks of reading) and 2015 reflection crap. Enjoy. Or whatever.


THE WHOLE DAMN YEAR -
RECAP AND SELF -PATS ON THE BACK

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Outbox: January 7, 2016: Ghosts, Gardens, and Street Riots

Yay! My first real Outbox post of 2016! I did draft one earlier this week to wrap up December, but that hardly counts. In case you don't know and it's not obvious, my Outbox posts are basically summaries of books I have recently finished. You might guess that I tend to do Outbox posts instead of full reviews. If you guessed that, you are right, Dearie. However, I do plan to keep reviewing on a more regular basis.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:
 

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY BOOKWEEK:
Jackaby by William Ritter (whose clever twitter name makes him a hard to find tweeter) was a surprise delight. I have never really gotten into the mystery genre, mostly because I'm too thick to pick up on any clues left behind. So, that this is a mystery and likened to Sherlocke Holmes probably set my REJECTION - mood on high alert. As such, it took me a bit to get into this story. But once I stopped being an asshat, I really liked this book. Jackaby is not Sherlocke, or an occultist, as he'll tell you. The addition of the supernatural beings (really much more my thing) is a plus. I will definitely be picking up the next one and will try to not let the fact there there is a "Mr. Wiggles" in it ruin the fun.

Spook Lights by Eden Royce is a collection of short Southern Gothic Horror stories. Did I mention that I am thick? I really liked some of these stories very much and some of them I just did not get. I was all: WHHATT?! This is why I don't read short stories as a general. I really need more words, which I'm looking forward to from Ms. Royce because I loved her style. I will be reading her Bearing Up story next. Still short, but longer. I expect that it will either make disappointed in or terrified of my own teddy bears. 

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson: Have you seen 50 First Dates? This story is kind of like that. Or at least, that's what you think until you read it. This is now or will be a movie that I won't be seeing. That's not because I didn't like the book but because I cannot tolerate movies based on books I have read. Percy Jackson was the last straw. THE LAST STRAW!! NEVER AGAIN!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

This book was published in 2012 but it kind of feels like one of those "classic" books, already. Why, though? I think that it's because it has been on so many different must read lists and it gives you them sense that everyone has read this already. Maybe it's just my own fear of missing out... but, anywhooo...  
The Goodreads Summary:
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

My Thoughts:

I guess my first thought was about how fricking big this beast of a book is. But I got over that because of how annoying the main character is. Evie is a flapper in the 20's. She's a member of the primary counter- culture for young women in her time and she faces it head on, drinking, smoking, showing a little too much leg, and basically sassing every adult who's responsible for her.

I'm all for that but she's inconsiderate of her friends and puts people in danger too often. I'm too old to think that's cool, I think. Her friends know she's selfish but also know that she's got a heart of gold, or she thinks she does, anyway. We know pretty quickly that Evie is able to read people's secrets from their regular every day objects. She's too reckless to learn from her mistakes and keep her trap shut about this superpower, like other people are able to.


Many of the other characters have some kind of supernatural ability and almost all of them have gotten into some kind of trouble as a result. This is a world where magic exists, but people really don't talk about it. Something big is brewing that is pulling "magical" people to New York. Or maybe it's not. Maybe it's a coincidence that all these people end up in the same city and begin to cross paths. This book is obviously the setup for a much bigger story. There are more characters than you need, more repetition than is necessary, and really about 300 pages too many for this not to be leading somewhere. There's really A LOT going on in this book: religious cults, murder, cyborgs, occultism, grave robbery, and speakeasies. There's a mystical murder mystery happening while we are introduced to and have flashbacks for almost completely unrelated characters. For example, if you take out all scenes with Theta and Memphis (and fam) who seem like main characters, you wouldn't miss any of the main story line. While my favorite characters in the story so far really have very little to do with this book, I'm looking forward to spending more time with them in the novels to come. The Diviners must be getting together for something, right? Maybe the murder mystery thing was just the "monster of the episode." 


Don't get my wrong. I enjoyed this book. It's nestled firmly between a 3.75 and a 4.25 stars out of the usual 5 point scale. The characters are diverse with interesting back-stories. I like the tone of the book and the fun '20s lingo. The pace was good, even when tangential. The emotional experience of the book is spot on and you definitely get the heebie jeebies at all the right spots. There are two potential love triangles that have utter disdain and complete anticipation for, not to mention the inter-racial relationship that is sure to cause more tension. The whole political (with both racial and sexual bits), religious, sexual, and roaring 1920's backdrop is actually a strong point of the book. Importantly, these elements are part of the story and don't feel contrived as book-selling fodder. 


The sequel, Lair of Dreams, dropped in August 2015 so I'll probably read that soon. Goodreads ratings suggest the story continues strong. But I've kind of had enough of Evie for right this minute.
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Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

This was one of those Barnes and Noble Buy 2 get one free books. Is anyone else completely roped in by this BN ploy? Even if I have ZERO interest in every single book on the table, there is an almost 90% chance I am walking out with 3 - 6 books when they have this "sale" going on. I am such a sucker. There is really no reason for them to be my favorite major chain bookseller. But, alas, they are.

Here's the modified Goodreads summary:

"An immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can't remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has already happened. "We Are Called to Rise" is a boomtown tale, in which the lives of people from different backgrounds and experiences collide in a stunning coincidence. When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves. Emotionally powerful yet tender and intimate, "We Are Called to Rise "is a novel of redemption and unexpected love."
We are Called to Rise is a book told from the perspective of three people. The first is an 8- year- old boy you will fall in love with. He's Albanian- born and is walking that hard line - living with immigrant parents who are set in their ways and trying to seem like a regular American child. What struck me with his story was the realistic way that his American adults (teachers, principals, etc) are really trying to be helpful and support the family but keep missing the mark. Reminds me of Scout Finch's teacher trying to understand and relate to the poor families. Remember her? Classic poor cultural - relatedness. But DO NOT get me started on that.

The second voice is a man recovering in a hospital after a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq. He's trying to figure out how he got there, what happened to his army buddy, and what the hell he's going to do with his life. I love the relationship with his grandmother here and the relationship that he develops with his therapist.


The third voice is a stay- at- home mom who is questioning the choices she has made when her family starts to fall apart. After living her life for her family, she is struggling to figure out what is important in her life now. What has mattered? And that line when your children are "Adults" now but you still want to take care of things, still feel responsible, still remember them as children is another kind of tightrope balancing act.

A common thread between the characters is that each has been touched by war and trauma. Each is sharing their own experience that seems so different from the view point of those around them. Each is trying to figure out how to survive in their own head and do what needs to be done. Each has been feeling more and more out of control for a while and then regaining some footing.

This book is great for those who like when separate characters' live converge after a tragedy, for those who want a glimpse into some reality- based effects of traumatic experiences, for those who like horrible things with almost happy endings... almost happy, but definitely hopeful. It is beautifully written and the characters are well developed. It's touching and wonderful. You're sucked into the stories of the characters. Sometimes, when I know SOMETHING is going to happen, the initial chapters are just boring as I wait for the SOMETHING to happen. I didn't have that experience with this book. The pre- SOMETHING chapters were just as good as the after- SOMETHING chapters

Following the next picture (below) there's a spoiler. Scroll at your own risk.

I'm cynical. Yes. True. I work with children in the foster care and adoption system and I HATE when a plan is made for a child and he/she is not told about it until it happens. Sometimes, it's what needs to/ has to happen but I HATE it. I was pissed off on Bashkim's behalf that he walked into court and walked out with the expectation to live with a fricking stranger (who he is basically afraid of) and some random old lady. I do understand that there were many good things about the plan: siblings staying together, father living close and having parenting time, etc. I can only hope that there was a better transition plan in the works than was indicated in the story. And I must have a mental block about Mr. ShootemUp Avis's kid?! Did that wrap up and I forgot? His trauma was real, but I hate that guy. I'm glad the ruling about the death went the way it did, otherwise the "real" of the story would have been lost.