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review 2017-04-22 05:12
Two teenage boys figuring out their identity and their friendship...
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

 

This is an amazing book that seems to truly understand the minds of teenage boys trying to navigate life. It appeals to both boys and girls who are trying to figure out their identity and their lives. Dante seems to know who he is from the beginning, but Aristotle (Ari) is constantly worrying about the fact that he doesn't know who he is or what he wants.

 

Some of the students in my class found Ari's angst to be more than a bit annoying, but I really enjoyed this book. I felt for Ari, even though, at times, I didn't really understand why he was so angry. Dante didn't always understand it either. However, I am certain I was just as confused and confusing as a teenager (especially to my mom). And now, I have my own teenage daughter. Her moods are more than a bit unpredictable and confusing; so now I know what my mother felt like.

 

I think teens, especially those questioning their sexuality, will enjoy this book.

 

Recommended to:

Grades 9-12, both boys and girls. 

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review 2017-04-20 19:12
*pleased sigh*
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly

How could I have neglected this book so long! I have found me a new all time favourite. You have no idea how lucky you are that most of the time I was too entertained to post. I have saved quotes at the rate of one-a-chapter, and I was trying to be conservative.

 

I read, and I kept researching things mentioned, from taxonomy to music or history, and having a blast through-out. I couldn't stop laughing, even during the turkey debacle (there was something inherently funny in that tragedy of childhood).

 

“Why do you want a donkey?” said Harry.
“Because I don’t think people eat donkeys. Do they?”

 

The thought that I have to get my mom to read this poped continously too. Mom is a school librarian, and has a project going where she narrates to the kids in a bi-weekly basis. Lending is at an all-time hight since it started. They discuss a lot of what she reads them in a free way, and they come up with the most interesting questions and observations. They also end up researching a lot on their own, (or plain finish the book in a weekend) since there's no obligation *snickers*. Now imagine what this book could spawn. I pestered her on the phone the whole morning (whenever I surfaced from the pages, that is).

 

There are some narrow anachronisms in general, and I reckon there must be more in particular for the region, since the author apologises in the note at the end. But really? Like one can place every bit acuratedly on ones own timeline. And no child is that aware of herself and her place in the world (hell, most adults aren't that awere of themselves), but while many observations might be too clearly worded, they still ring true to some memories of childhood impressions. Children instincts are an uncanny thing.

 

So, is it imperfect? I really couldn't tell you, since after reading six glorious months on the life of this child, my only true complain is that I wanted more when I got to the end. More pages, more time with her, more of and for her future.

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review 2017-04-15 00:25
Suffers in comparison
Under the Lilacs - Louisa May Alcott

I was sweet, but didn't come even close to knocking Little Women or Eight Cousins as my Alcott's favourites.

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review 2017-04-13 17:21
Friday On My Mind - Nicci French 
Friday On My Mind - Nicci French

All of the Nicci French books, standalones and series work very well for me. There's that depressing tone you expect in a story about people who do horrible things, but there is also a strong sense of moral justice, kindness to the outcasts of society which is Christlike without being Christian (immigrants, the homeless, women, the mentally ill standing in for slaves, women, lepers, and the possessed) the importance of intervention, and so much about accepting the kindness of others. Everyone who knows Klein is devoted to her or in opposition to her, but there is no question that she deserves the devotion. Fortunately, she doesn't walk on water, only near it, so much walking, and such happy descriptions of what her little home means to her, and cats, and baths, and wines and tasty food. It's the same sort of mood that made the Richard Jury series a favorite. Because mysteries are involved with the restoration of order they often are very conservative. Not this series, though; Klein is a bomb-thrower at heart.

 

Klein is surrounded by people in harrowing circumstances and she does her best for others and herself. So the books are quite soothing, despite the dramatic tension.

 

Can't wait to have a go at the Saturday book.

 

Library copy

 

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review 2017-04-12 19:10
The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan  
The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan

Lots of people avoid Romance as a genre because
1) they don't care about women in ballgowns
2) everything they know about Romance novels is 40 years out of date
3) they assume Romance is a genre for lonely women with too many cats
4) they buy into the idea that a genre by and about women must be inferior
5) they have no idea where to start.

Let me address those concerns.
1) The ballgown on the cover is just to let you know that this is an Historical Romance, an it is available; no actual ball gowns are worn during the story
2) Although there are still stories being written about nurses falling for doctors and innocent young girls being married off to blackguards, those are by no means the most popular themes these days. This book, for instance, is first wave feminism in all its activist glory
3) And I suppose you believe that the average gamer these days is a teenage boy in his parent's basement* killing something in a first person shooter
4) Honestly I can't imagine that anyone professes this belief, even if they have it
5) Courtney Milan, but also Jezebel.com has been covering the topic with lots of good suggestions

This book is pure enjoyment, but it's the end of the series, so if this really is your first Romance in a while (or ever), go check out The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister short 0.5)at Amazon for 99 cents. Selling shorter interstitial works in the series between novels is a genius move, by the way. You don't have to read the series strictly in order, they aren't that closely tied, but they do share some characters.

Personal copy

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