Stamped

This is NOT a history book.

This is a book about the here and now.

A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.

A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with this book.  Based on the subject I expected to struggle with reading this book but kudos to Jason Reynolds as he has managed to take a tough subject and present it in an easy to read entertaining format. This book is a chronology of racism and the feeble “attempts” the American government has made to overcome racism.

The Vanishing Deep

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed. 

 

Ever wondered what the world would be like if there was a great flood?  This book gives a glimpse into what that world might look like.  The reader is propelled into a futuristic world of water and medical advancement allowing for bringing people back to life.  The book broaches the question of how far is too far when dealing with life and death and who has the right to make decisions about who lives and dies.  A good book with action and thought provoking ideas.

Verona Comics

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.

Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

 

This book deals with a few topics with the major one being mental illness and how it can affect all around the one who is suffering.  The bottom line is that it can be controlled with help and there is nothing to be ashamed of.  Don’t be afraid to accept help when it is offered. Aside from the mental illness focus this book is a modern day Romeo and Juliet with the coming together of teens from opposing families.  It was a good read where the “geeks” are the main characters. 

Tin Man

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between? 

Tin Man is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, and to loss and living. 

 

This book is written from the perspective of each of the main characters, first Ellis secondly Michael.  The narrative of Ellis each covers many years, jumping back and forth, I found this difficult to follow at times.  Michael’s narrative is taken from his journals and thus follows a more direct timeline.  This book deals with relationships, how they can be interpreted differently by the parties and how one decision can alter lives. Not sure how I feel about this book, it wasn’t my favorite but I get the point.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

 

Cute and enjoyable are the words that come to mind about this book.  It was a nice easy read dealing with the ackwardness of high school and how first impressions can be very wrong.  The main character learns, the hard way, how to fit in, how important it is to just be yourself and know what you really want.  Hard lessons for a teenager realized in a comedic way.

 

Sadie

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

 

The only thing that is disappointing about this book is that Sadie remained missing. It was a very interesting read to follow how she tracked Keith and to see how far she would go out of the love she had for her sister.  This book is very true to life (I believe) in that some of the worst people can appear so kind and unfortunately parents are often so overwhelmed by life that they don’t notice the small changes in their children. 

What They Don’t Know

Three secrets. One decision. A friendship that will change everything.

Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice―a choice she must face alone.

Lise stands up―and speaks out―for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her…all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.

Told through Mellie and Lise’s journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie’s struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.

 

This book is written in the form of journal entries by 2 characters.  It delves into the controversial topic of abortion and the varying emotions that a woman can experience while weighing the moral aspects of abortion.  The author does an excellent job of showing the internal struggle of making the decision to have an abortion. This is a very timely book with great insight into the matter.  It also deals with family relationships and friendships showing how family relationships can go awry and that friendships can last even if the parties are not close.

Moon of the Crusted Snow

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community loses communication. Days later, it goes dark. Cut off from the urban realm of the south, many of its people become passive and confused. They eventually descend into panic as the food supply dwindles, with few hunters left in the First Nation. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives from a city in the south to escape a crumbling society. Soon after, others follow. The community leadership is faced with the dilemma of allowing the urban refugees to live with them on their territory. Tensions rise, and as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again, while they grapple with a grave decision.

 

I did not know what this book was about when I started but it quickly became apparent.  How do people deal when the modern conveniences they have become accustomed to are suddenly removed from their lives?  This book chronicles how a town of indigenous people react which shows how bad things can get, which will definitely come as a shock to some.  I didn’t particularly like this book, it seemed that the events were too contrived, jumping to the worst case very quickly.

February Prize Draws

The first round of prize draws was held at a pizza lunch on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.  There were many prizes to be won with each participant receiving coupons for Taco Time and buy one get one 50% off Booster Juice as well as a few draws for a free Big Mac.  Draws were also made for some bigger prizes with Sierra Gold winning a $10 Burger King gift card and a Tigers team signed hockey stick, Meray Mayer won a $25 Mall gift card and Ashtyn Gold won a $25 Boston Pizza gift card, a Cineplex 2 for 1 and the Grand Prize of a Kindle e-reader.   The next prize draw will be held at the beginning of June so there is still time to read the books and get entered.

 

People Kill People

People kill people. Guns just make it easier.

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?

One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

 

Ellen Hopkins did not disappoint once again.  This is a great book detailing the emotions people can go through which push them toward violence, how easily they can snap but also how they can change after a bad event.  It also shows how easily innocent people can be killed by the wide spread easy access to guns in the USA.