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Search tags: Growing-Up
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review 2017-11-06 03:03
I'll Give You the Sun - review
I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson


Noah and Jude are twins, and both very artistically inclined. This book follows the twins through some difficult times. It jumps back and forth between years and alternates between Noah and Jude's viewpoints.


This book deals with a lot of issues that teens might face, including questioning their sexuality, sex, death, divorce, mental health, and more. I didn't love the book, maybe because I don't usually enjoy realistic fiction. I read it for my Young Adult Literature class, and I probably wouldn't have picked it myself. But I am trying to branch out a bit.


Anyway, the book is well written and I can see the appeal it has for young adults. They can easily identify with the characters even if their own situation is a bit different. What bothers me about some of these stories is the romantic relationships. Books like this promote unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. Most of us don't find our "soulmate" (if one even exists), and we don't often experience a love that was "meant to be." Sad I know, but it seems worse to make teens think that this is how love works. 

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review 2017-11-06 02:30
Wintergirls - review
Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson


Wow. This book is relentless, intense, and depressing...

That being said, it also seems realistic. It chronicles Lia's descent into anorexia and self-harm. Her best friend was bulemic and has died at the beginning of the book. She tried to call Lia multiple times on the night she died, but Lia didn't answer. The guilt Lia feels contributes to her decline. She has been in and out of treatment and knows how to fool the system. Her mother, father, and stepfather don't know how to reach her or what to do to help her anymore. How do you help someone who is determined to hurt themselves?


This book is a difficult read and not for the faint of heart. I didn't enjoy it at all, but I did learn from it and I do see the value in it. Thus my 3 star review. Anderson describes what Lia looks like and what she does to her body in graphic detail. So, beware.


I think this could be a good book for teens or their parents to read. Teens may see themselves and see hope or realize what could happen to them. Adults can see the pressures that today's teens face on a daily basis. I think books about these issues are important when they show the whole situation in a realistic light. Anderson does an amazing job of getting inside Lia's head and showing us her thought process.

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review 2017-11-02 14:41
Short stories about growing up in the South
Growing Up in the South (Signet Classics) - Suzanne Jones

Meh. A hit-or-miss collection of short stories, mostly taking place between the 1920's and 1970's, about different authors' personal experiences and reflections about identity, regionalism, class, race, and the South. I don't doubt the authenticity or sincerity of these, but some of them seem almost too stereotypical.  


The best one, for me, was more like an essay than a story, by Randal Kenan: "Where Am I Black?" In which the author's experience with anonymity on the early (1993) internet  clarified his ideas about race. He was initially excited that everybody could be "colorless" or racially undefined on the net, and that held a promise of realizing MLK's dream of a community that truly did see only the content of one's character; not the color of their skin, etc. A series of experiences led him to realize that he didn't want that; he wanted to be black on the internet, but wrestled with what that exactly meant and how he could achieve it.

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review 2017-08-07 21:27
Must Have For PNW Gardeners
Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: The Complete Homeowner's Guide - Paul Bonine

An excellent reference for any gardeners in the Pacific Northwest. The first part of the book is about understanding the climate differences in the PNW, and how one area just a few miles away from another can have a radically different climate. It provides a much more in-depth explanation that I have found anywhere else. The book then dives into soil types in the PNW, how they differ, and how to use what you have effectively.
The next section is about plant diseases and bugs in the area.
Followed by a very, very extensive discussion of the plants that you can grow in the PNW, and where they do the best.
And finally, a section on design tips for you own garden.
The book is very thorough, easy to read, and easily understandable. The photography is awesome! You could buy this book just for the photos, and would not be disappointed.
I have already put into effect several of the ideas from this book in my own garden outside of Seattle. And will be referring to it for many years.

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review 2017-05-04 18:42
Art brings hope, even in war...
Amina: Through My Eyes - Lyn White,J.L. Powers


The debris was her canvas, the detritus of war her personal collection of art materials. And the itch in her fingertips drove her to keep creating, no matter how dangerous it was to do it.

- Chapter 1


She wanted both freedom and safety but she knew that was impossible.

- Chapter 1


Sometimes she forgot the fear, but when she remembered, it was worse than if she'd never forgotten. Because what kind of person could forget that you were living in the middle of a warzone?

- Chapter 8


Amina is 14-years old and she lives in Mogadishu. Her home has been damaged in the war. When her father is arrested and her brother is kidnapped by rebel forces, she is left to provide for her pregnant mother and ailing grandmother.


Amina is a brave girl who feels vulnerable and abandoned. She creates street art to help deal with her feelings and also to encourage people to feel hopeful. I liked Amina's character a lot. She tries her best to be strong, but she is also vulnerable. The story ends on a note of hope even though there is also sadness.


This book is part of the Through My Eyes series that chronicles the lives of children caught up in contemporary conflicts. The themes of courage, determination, and perseverance appear throughout the series. I think young people will enjoy this series and it could help promote empathy and cross-cultural understanding.


Amina isn't preachy, and it gave me an understanding of the conflict in Somalia that I never had before. 

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