Wow! It’s hard to believe that it has been five weeks already. I’ve made excellent progress this week, reading three more books and listening to another. I also read from two more lists, leaving just one to go. If I count the books from the Nonfiction and Morris Challenges, I have already completed my 25 books for this challenge. Limiting myself to just those titles finished since the beginning of February, I am at 19.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
This book had been sitting on my shelf for longer than I care to admit. The description sounded interesting and I had liked the little bit I read. But I always seemed to get sidetracked by something else. This is a moving story about family, love, misunderstanding and jealousy. For me, it seemed to get off for a slow start. I just didn’t connect with June at first. But I’m glad I stuck with it. This was the first of this year’s Alex Award winners that I have read, and it was an excellent place to start.
Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis
This was a good book, but I felt myself wanting a bit more from it. Or maybe a bit more of it. The best part, for me, was the descriptions of what it was like to have a traumatic brain injury. The sandstorm analogy was excellent. I liked that the book balanced Ben’s struggles with those of his family and friends. I’ve seen people comment that they don’t believe someone like Ben would enlist. But I have no trouble believing it. I’ve seen teens who feel strongly about serving. And I’ve seen how much of a struggle they face with adults who don’t understand, are frightened by the idea, or who view military service as something you do only if you can’t do something else, something better. I actually wish the book had touched more on this. Also Ben’s flashback in the supermarket really came out of the blue and raised many more questions. It was a convenient plot device for him to start getting memories back, but doesn’t do justice to the complex issue of PTSD. I’m really not complaining. This book was excellent for what it was. I just see potential for it to have been something more. But then it would be appropriate for me and not for its intended audience.
Protector of the Small Quartet: First Test by Tamora Pierce
What can I say? It was on my shelf, so I couldn’t resist the temptation. While I enjoy the books about Alanna the Lioness for their fantasy and magical elements and, of course, the strong female protagonist, I think I like the Protector of the Small quartet even more. The magic is still there, but Keladry herself is an ordinary girl. She has to prove herself and earn her place on her own merits. Despite the fact that she has to consistently perform better than her male peers just to keep her place, she refuses to give up her dream. But she also refuses to give up being a girl. She is a powerful role model! We like to think that such difficulties are a thing of the past in our culture. But they are not. My own daughter works in a very male-dominated field. She had professors who routinely told her that girls didn’t belong and who did what they could to get rid of their female students. It’s out there. And it takes a strong young woman to stay the course. Clearly there’s a lot to talk about here. I sense a full review coming after I’ve finished re-reading all the four books.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney, read by Ramón de Ocampo
This series doesn’t really hold much appeal for me. But I do understand its popularity with its target audience. I definitely found the audio book more engaging than the print version. De Ocampo really captures the tone and manner of Greg Heffley, allowing me to connect more with the character than I have in the past.
I’m quite pleased with my progress so far. The only list from which I still need to read is the Top Ten Popular Paperbacks. But before I get to that, I have two books on my shelf that I won’t be able to renew. So this week I need to read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Girlchild. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the audio of either The Diviners or Code Name Verity will arrive soon. I don’t know what I’d do without audio books for my commute!
- Top 5 Female Heroes in YA Novels (girlsincapes.com)
- The Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #5 (yalsa.ala.org/thehub)