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review 2020-05-23 19:14
Peanut by Ayun Halliday
Peanut - Paul Hoppe,Ayun Halliday

Audience: Grades 6 & up

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy


No one at my old school knew about my peanut allergy...

- first line


Sadie is moving to a new high school. This is a chance to reinvent herself, and perhaps even be popular.  So she decides to pretend to have a peanut allergy, but she doesn't realize how hard it will be to keep up the pretense. By the time Sadie realizes that the popular girls are annoying and shallow, her lie is part of who she is at this school. She wants to tell her friends the truth, but she is scared of losing them.


This is a great graphic novel. I love Sadie's story and how things get away from her because she didn't really think about the consequences of one "little" lie. The drawings are mostly blue/black/gray but Sadie's shirt is a reddish/pink color. This makes Sadie stand out in every frame.


I highly recommend this book to fans of Raina Telgemeier though this book is written for a slightly older audience.


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review 2020-05-20 22:45
Podcast #184 is up!
The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement - Paul Matzko

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview Paul Matzko about his book examining the emergence of right-wing radio in the 1950s and the federal government's response to it. Enjoy!

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review 2020-05-17 04:43
Some Adventure and A Lot of Science
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Walter James Miller (Translator), Frederick Paul Walter (Translator),Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues is science fiction in the sense that it is a work of fiction that is loaded with scientific details. Verne must have done a tremendous amount of research to prepare for this novel. He supplies so many classification details about sea life and underwater plant life and so many technical details about the oceans, seas, and currents that sometimes it starts to bog down the narrative. Verne was a great author of adventure stories, but if you want to read Twenty Thousand Leagues as an adventure you can read the first quarter of the novel and then skip to the last quarter. The middle section is a long scientific expedition, but when the action starts up again it is exciting.


The edition I read is an interesting one. Published in 1993 by the Naval Institute Press, the translator states that he restored a quarter of the 1870 French text that had been omitted from previous English translations. He says older editions emphasized the adventure aspects of the novel and edited out a lot of the scientific detail. As stated above, I have mixed feelings about the restoration. Rather than a hack translation, it may have represented some judicious editing of a text that kind of drags in the middle.

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review 2020-05-07 13:58
Book #889 - 357,515 Pages Read
Lords of the Sith: Star Wars - Paul S. Kemp
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review 2020-05-01 12:14
Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel - Steven Levenson,Justin Paul,Benj Pasek,Val Emmich

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I didn't love this one like I had hoped I would. To be fair, I am not the target audience for this book. I have never seen the musical or heard any of its songs so I was pretty clueless going in. I can't tell you how this book compares to the musical but this story does stand on its own. Maybe a younger audience will enjoy this one more than I did but I spent a large part of the book wanted to pull these kids to the side and give them a mom talk. It was a pretty easy read and I am glad I gave it a try.

It all starts with a letter. Evan doesn't have really any friends and has a hard time getting through each day. As a part of therapy, he writes letters to himself to put things in a positive outlook. Connor picks up the letter and takes it from Evan. He dies with that letter in his pocket and suddenly everyone thinks that Connor and Evan were great friends and everything grows from there.

One of my biggest pet peeves is lying of any kind. Unfortunately, this book is packed with lies. Instead of letting Connor's parents know the truth behind the letter he lets them think that he was really friends with Connor. He then proceeds to expand on that lie and becomes a big part of Connor's family's life. He even starts dating Connor's sister who he has had a crush on for a very long time. Almost everything that Evan does in this book is a lie or is tied to a lie and I have to tell you that I had some issues with it. I just felt like Connor's family had enough to deal with without being manipulated by Evan.

There were some things that I did like in this book. I liked that the story is told from two different points of view. I expected Evan's point of view but the second one was a bit of a surprise. The point of view that I didn't expect was really my favorite part of the book. I thought that those sections of the book were very well done.

I listened to this book and I thought that the narrators did a good job with it. The female narrator listed did a couple of song segments worked into the story and the males handled the two points of view. I thought that they both did a great job representing their character. Their voices were very pleasant to listen to for long periods of time. I think that I liked the story a bit more because I decided to listen to the audiobook.

I think that a lot of readers are going to like this book a lot more than I did. The book does touch on a lot of important issues but I couldn't get past all of the deceptions.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive.

Initial Thoughts
This was probably a 2.5 star read for me. To be fair, I am really not the target audience for this book but I thought I would take a chance on it. I have never really seen anything about the show or soundtrack but I hoped that the book would stand on its own. It fell a bit flat for me. This was always a book that I found easy to set aside and I really couldn't connect with any of the characters. Evan is lying to pretty much everyone for most of the book which kind of made me cringe. I listened to the audio and thought that they did a great job with their performance.

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