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text 2018-03-18 19:05
Fan Cast: Leaving Home by Francine Pascal

Elizabeth/Jessica Wakefield: Lili Reinhart
Jeffrey French: Keiynan Lonsdale
Enid Rollins: Ciara Bravo
Winston Egbert: Tyler Alvarez
Maria Santelli: Francesca Reale
Bruce Patman: Richard Harmon
Regina Morrow: Vanessa Marano


Alice Wakefield: Laura Dern
Ned Wakefield: Robert Downey Jr.
Lila Fowler: Laura Harrier
Kirk Anderson: Dylan Minnette
Neil Freemount: Tye Sheridan
Tom McKay: Dylan Everett
Penny Ayala: Gracie Dzienny
Lynne Henry: Glennellen Anderson
Olivia Davidson: Liza Koshy

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review 2018-03-18 18:51
Leaving Home by Francine Pascal


Series: #38 in Sweet Valley High


Elizabeth has decided that she wants to go to boarding school in Switzerland more than she's ever wanted anything. Her entire family is upset, but she goes ahead with her plans for a scholarship. Can Jessica, Stephen and the whole gang pursuade her that she'd be much happier at home? (from Goodreads)


Leaving Home is set around Elizabeth Wakefield’s desperation to get a scholarship to a Switzerland boarding school for a creative writing course that starts the summer after her junior year and ends at graduation her senior year. It’s all she can talk about and eventually everyone and their mother (including the Wakefield’s mother, Alice) are sick of it, her twin sister Jessica especially. And to be honest, there were a few times I wanted to slap Elizabeth. For example, her thought process at one point was basically, “Jeffrey’s and my relationship will work out. It will be nothing like Todd and me, who just moved across the country whereas I want to move across the world” or “When I get to Switzerland I want to meet a cute boy, but I also want Jeffrey to stay devoted to me and only me.” Stuff like that. It was just really out of character for her. But as much as Liz bothered me, Jessica and Steven really took the cake with their charade. It was too cruel. But then if the Sweet Valley High books have taught me anything, it’s that Jessica will stop at nothing to get her own, stopping nothing short of murder.


The subplot featured Winston Egbert, my favourite character. Winston lost his jacket and accidentally took home a poor (literally poor, not just sad) man’s jacket. And in the pocket he finds a lottery ticket (which he had one in his pocket as well). Anyway, this is a winning lottery ticket and Winston spends the rest of the book at war with himself about whether to give the ticket to the man or keep the money for himself.


The set up for the next book features an idea by Lynne Henry for a personals column in the newspaper, The Oracle. What will happen? What chaos could this cause? Find out in the next book, Secret Admirers.

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review 2018-02-06 07:58
All She Ever Wanted
All She Ever Wanted - Lynn Austin

I didn´t get a change to review this when I finished it.  I think the site was down for maintenance or something.  


This book was so good that I have been feeling out of sorts since finishing it.  I miss it.  It is a Christian Fiction that wasn´t a flimsy romance story.  It wasn´t even just ONE story.  It started with one story and then gradually unfolded into several stories that intertwined and slowly revealed a total picture of one family.  No one knew all of the story but when they got together the pieces all fit.  


The story starts out with a mother who is having a very bad day.  She argued with her boss and walked out and now thinks she may be fired for it.  She was sitting in her car when she got the call that her teen daughter had been caught shoplifting at the mall.  Her husband decided to send her daughter to a counselor to see if they can help.  The counselor discovers that the daughter is acting out because she wants a closer relationship with her mother.   She said her mother never talks to her and she knows nothing of her mother´s family.  She wishes she knew her grandparents and aunts and uncles but her mom won´t speak of them.  One day in therapy the counselor wants her mother to join in on the session and the daughter pulls out a birthday invitation that had been crumpled up and tossed in the trash.  It was a party her aunt Annie was throwing for her grandfather.  She asked her mother why she doesn´t know her aunt or her grandfather and why she won´t go.  Finally, in an effort to repair her relationship with her daughter she decides to go.  She and her daughter go on a road trip and as they drive she tells her story, the story of her childhood.  


That is just the beginning though and as they arrive and meet more people they hear more stories and slowly begin to understand why people behaved the way they did.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-17 18:59
So, I Finally Read Binti by Nnedi Okorafor and Here's What I Thought...
Binti - Nnedi Okorafor


The cover was perfect.

On a related note, look at what the author had to say about the whitewashing of her covers.


I loved how the acknowledgments described UAE as "futuristic ancient".

It is such a perfect description because you get this old feel when you visit the place and then there are those skyscrapers that add a futuristic shade to things. Mostly unrelated but reminded me of how a Pakistani artist imagined our country would like in SF mode! Check it out:






See more of his art here. Anyway, back to the review:


This is how YAs should go!

I mean there's this teenager who is running away from home, readying herself to face all kinds of racism, just so she can attend a university. I loved that.


Some thoughts were expressed so beautifully...





I might have been reading too much into it but I could see some parallels.

While talking about cooking fish, Binti mentioned:


they lulled the fish into a sleep that the fish never woke from

It reminded me of two things:

a) The Himba are an animist people, which is why they would be gentle towards any organisms they consumed.

b) How as Muslims we have rules upon rules that minimize the pain of an animal prior to being slaughtered for food.



I loved how Binti's love and respect for her family would shine through her thoughts. For instance, look at this quote:


Would my family even comprehend it all when I explained it to them?


And then, she followed it with another thought that I wasn't expecting. She didn't think they weren't smart enough to understand why she did what she did. Instead, she said:


Or would they just fixate on the fact that I'd almost died...


I kept imagining the Meduse as the love-child of jellyfishes and Cthulhu though I dunno why! While researching that unholy union, I came across this instead:



To summarize, YA done well, in terms of strong, sensible female lead, making it a must-read for all YA lovers out there.

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text 2014-08-03 22:06
Book a Day #3: Favorite Book of Short Stories
Leaving Home: Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories - Garrison Keillor
The Nine Billion Names of God (Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke 1951-56) - Arthur C. Clarke,Maxwell Caulfield,Emily Woof

There is never anything better than a trip to Lake Woebegon, I found this collection at a used book sale. It contains several favorites including Homecoming, a story of a septic tank, a parade, a man and his daughter, the Homecoming Queen.


Nine Billion Names of God contains two of my favorite Clarke stories, Who's There? and A Walk in the Dark. If you like sci-fi this is an excellent collection.


Tales from the Bark Side is a wonderful collection of mainly dog stories, the one about the young Australian Shepherd at the dog show is hysterical.




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