Childhood Ruined Again.

So am I sad that I never got my Ilvermorny letter?

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I asked my boyfriend if he thought the word sounded as contrived as “No-Maj” and he said, “Oh much worse.” I think I agree.

Yes, I know that JK Rowling made up everything in the Harry Potter universe and a lot of HP words sound a little ridiculous… but “Ilvermorny” looks like the word your drunk friend tried to get away with playing at the end of your Scrabble game. “It could be a word! Ju…jus look it up. It’s like a town in New England. Swear to God yo…”

I so envy my 14-year-old self’s ignorance of the extended Harry Potter universe. Maybe this is just a sign that I’m getting too old for change… but I still think JK Rowling is getting lazy.

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Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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DNF at 55%

I haven’t abandoned a book in so long… I felt bad about breaking such a long streak of powering through shitty books. But I really didn’t want to suffer through this one any longer. I’m an adult, damnit. I have the right to stop reading something that’s boring my face off.

I was trying to find a picture or gif to describe I’ll Give You the Sun, and this is the best I could come up with:

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Like Prince, this book is so purple. And also like Prince, this book thinks it’s a lot more important than it actually is. (Sorry, Prince fans.)

I think my dislike for poetic prose is a personal taste thing. I still can’t understand why anyone would be moved by a sentence like: “The world is a wrong-sized shoe.” But whatever, to each their own. The writing style isn’t why I stopped reading this book. I stopped reading because the plot is thin and the characters are unbelievable and annoying.

The thin plot: 13-year-old fraternal twins, a guy and a girl, are both trying to get into a pretigious, fine arts high school. They’re also both crushing on boys. And then something goes down and the twins stop speaking to each other. Then there’s a tragedy. Jump forward 3 years and they’re still not really speaking to each other. Even though they live in the same house, which is totally how it would go down IRL. Neither one of them would try to make things right, nuh-uh… And yah, after about 100 pages you know exactly where the story’s going and you don’t care.

The unbelievable and annoying characters: I kind of liked Noah, even though I’m not sure if I buy that real artists think like he does. He was a little whiny, but so are all 13-year-olds. He interested me at least. I found Jude to be obnoxious. Yah, she’s been through a lot, but she’s so “I’m not like other girls” I just feel like I’ve come across her character in so many other books and I’m tired of it. No, I don’t believe that she has no friends. And no, I don’t believe that she became an entirely different person after the tragedy. Yah, that shit’s gonna change you, but not that much. And her crush on Oscar? Give me a fucking break. Borderline-statutory-rape vibes aside, the guy is so stereotypical British it’s almost offensive, and he’s a stock character damaged bad boy that is evidence of (again) lazy writing. These two are really just Edward and Bella with better vocabulary. And from what I understand [spoiler here: they get together in the end.] Which is total bullshit and should not be encouraged. I thought YA was past this crap but I guess not.

I feel bad, because a co-worker recommended this book to me as part of a “readers advisory” exercise that was supposed to help us librarians make better recommendations to our patrons. I told her that I don’t like purple writing or unrealistic romances, but I guess I didn’t explain myself well enough… I hope I enjoy her other recommendations.

2016, you better step it up. No more pretentious novels with characters named “Jude.” Please. (My angry review of A Little Life: coming soon!)

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda: Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee Review

 

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This book is as cute as everyone says it is. It’s also funny, clever, and not the least bit sappy or emotionally manipulative. The love story between Simon and his anonymous internet friend is believable from beginning to end. Simon’s other friends and family members are also round characters, and are all likable despite their flaws.

Simon does a good job showing that coming out is scary, even for people with accepting families. Simon explains that he’s been coming out his whole life—like every time he has to remind his parents that he likes coffee, for example. And he’s tired of coming out. He’s tired of being vulnerable. I think all of us, LGBT or not, can sympathize with this feeling. But what I probably loved the most about this book were all the clever pop culture references. Simon’s sister has a dog named Bieber, who’s so named because he’s a golden retriever who always looks doped out. And Simon goes into a bit of detail about how and why his first male crush was on Daniel Radcliffe, which I easily relate to… But yah, if you’re over 40, you might not be able to appreciate the book/music/TV jokes and might not enjoy this as much as I did.

Congrats on a great first book, Ms. Albertalli. I’m looking forward to your next one.

My 10 Reading Resolutions for 2016

Here they are…

1.  Read some bigger books
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Yah, I read 60 books in 2015, but a lot of them were less than 300 pages. This is mostly the product of me working as a children’s librarian. This year, I was more in the mood for… I also had an appetite for thrillers, which tend to be on the shorter side. In 2016, I want to read more emotionally and physically heavy adult books, like A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and The Goldfinch by Donna Tart.

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The Top 10 Books I Read in 2015

I put together a list of 10 of the best books that I read in 2015. It took me forever. For some reason, it’s much easier for me to write about books I hate than it is to write about books I like… never mind books I love. But I tried.

Not all of these were published in 2015, although a surprising number of them were… I didn’t realize that I’d read so many new books this year until I made this list. Choosing only 10 was tough. Some of my honorable mentions include Dark Places and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, The Long Walk by Stephen King, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, and The Diviners by Libba Bray.

10. George by Alex Gino (2015), read in December

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George is a sweet, middle grade tale written by first time author and trans* rights activist Alex Gino. George knows she’s a girl, and feels like it might be time to tell everyone, by auditioning to play Charlotte in her 4th grade play. This novel is simple and straightforward. It’s not too sentimental, nor too depressing. Children will be able to relate to George, even if they’re not transgender, and adults will both feel George’s pain and admire her spirit.

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December 2015 Reading Wrap-Up

I didn’t read as much as I did in November, due to Christmas and all… but I still had a pretty damn good reading month. I read 1 YA novel, an adult non-fiction book, 2 adult novels, and 5 middle grade novels, because I had a goal to read 60 books this year and in order to reach that goal I needed to find quick, easy stuff to read. (Plus, I’m always surrounded by middle grade books at my job. It’s hard not to read them.) So here we go… 

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