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Search tags: 2018-diversity-on-the-shelf
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review 2018-09-08 19:36
Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Another from NPR's Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf.


This definitely felt like a message book. The author wanted to make the point that bullying is bad so she wrote this book with the point that bullying is bad.


I don't think it was as terrible as some other reviewers (e.g. the fact that Auggie wins an award for being born the way he is is lampshaded in the book which makes the scene slightly more palatable than if it hadn't been). But it's not great.


I thought the writing was inconsistent. Or maybe it was too consistent? Every character sounds the same, and every character sounds older than they're supposed to be. If Auggie and Via had been aged up, their voices would have made more sense (with the exception of all the use of Mommy/Daddy... what was up with that?).


I'm not mad I read it, but if I weren't aiming to check it off my list I wouldn't have finished it.

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review 2018-09-01 19:21
The House of the Scorpion
The House of the Scorpion - Nancy Farmer

Another one from NPR's Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf.


I've owned this book forever. My grandma gave it to me, and I just never got around to reading it. It would not have appealed to me as a kid, and I had to resort to skimming several times because the story was too graphic.


The writing felt inconsistent. Sometimes it was great and I was really immersed in the story. Other times it was so boring it felt like a slog to finish. The pacing was equally inconsistent. There are so many interesting ideas in the book that went nowhere.


If I hadn't challenged myself to complete it, I would have quit reading about 100 pages in. I'm not mad that I've read it. I guess I'm just confused why it keeps ending up on best of lists. Has no one written a better kids cloning book since 2002? Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of sci-fi. Maybe I'm just not getting it.

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review 2018-07-08 07:31
The 57 Bus
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives - Dashka Slater

WOW. I live in the Bay Area, and I had never heard this story. The book was recommended to me by a classmate and I started reading it today a little skeptically. It ended up being so good though.


The book tackles some really big topics (including gender identity, hate crimes, racial bias in the judicial system), and it easily could have become a huge mess. But Slater handles the story well. Occasionally bits are overwritten, but the book never becomes salacious or feels exploitative.

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review 2018-03-05 20:28
Goodbye, Vitamin
Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel - Rachel Khong

This is a SVR 2018 book. A copy was available on Overdrive, and I needed a desk book. 


I kept getting pulled out of the story at the beginning because I kept having to Google things. Can people who are allergic to NSAIDs take aspirin? What is the difference between lo mein and chow mein? 


But once I settled into the story, the book read very quickly. It might have read a little too quickly? At the end I didn't feel like a year had passed. The book also ended quite abruptly. I would have liked a little more resolution. 


ETA: There were times where I was reading, and it was like seeing my family on the page. That doesn't happen too often, and I like when it does.

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review 2018-03-02 16:53
The Prince and the Dressmaker
The Prince and the Dressmaker - Jen Wang

This book is very white. Way way whiter than I was expecting. Also, what was with the "flower of the orient" part at the beginning? I almost stopped reading there, but luckily the book gets better as it goes along. I don't think it lived up to the hype though. 

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