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review 2018-01-20 03:31
The Power (to put me to sleep) DNF at 70 pages
The Power - Naomi Alderman

This is just not entertaining to me. I have been trying so hard to enjoy this, but it's mediocre at best. I must have much different taste than most of America. 

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text 2017-09-13 21:31
Not feeling it...
Goddess of Light - P.C. Cast

I've been reading this for over a month, and I just cannot find momentum. So I'm just moving on. It's not a terrible story, but it isn't holding my attention. I'm feeling forced to read this, and nothing turns me off more than forcing me to do anything.

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review 2017-08-12 19:39
It Ain't So Awful Falafel
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel - Firoozeh Dumas

 

To all the kids who don't belong, for whatever reason.

This one's for you.

- Dedication

 

My dad says that the dogs and cats in America are luckier than most people in the world.

- page 34

 

My dad always says that kindness is our religion and if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.

- page 40

 

... only bookworms get excited over other bookworms

- page 69

 

"Who would ever have thought that a person could be so powerful, then so completely powerless, all in the same lifetime?"

- page 219 (referring to the downfall of the shah)

 

... even though we belong to three different religions. We are alike in so many more ways than we are different.

- page 299

 

It was only when I stopped pretending to be someone else that I found my real friends.

- page 360

 

 

This was a good read. Zomorod (who changes her name to Cindy) is from Iran. Her father is an engineer who works with American companies building oil refineries in Iran, so they moved back and forth a couple of times.  Now she is starting junior high (which nowadays is called middle school) and doesn't know anyone. She wants to fit in, but she focuses on how different she is from all the other kids. The first friend she makes (in the summer before school) decides she doesn't want to be friends when school starts. Poor "Cindy" is lost and worried and tired of having to explain to everyone where Iran is and how to pronounce her last name.

 

Cindy finds friends and seems to be settling in and basically happy. Then Iran has a revolution, the shah is kicked out of the country, and Ayatollah Khomeini takes over. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students, angry that President Carter allowed the shah to come to the United States, take a group of Americans hostage. This changes Cindy's family's life and her father loses his job.

 

I was in junior high during the Iran Hostage Crisis. I remember feeling vaguely angry at the hostage takers and worried about the hostages. My mom wasn't huge on watching the news with us or anything, but I knew what was happening (at least generally).  

 

It was interesting reading this story told from the point of view of an Iranian girl in America at the time. It was so hard for Cindy's family, and many Americans were so hostile towards Iranians, even though those living in America weren't responsible for the situation and didn't necessarily approve of it. Cindy and her parents were so appalled that a religious leader could be responsible for such behavior. But that didn't save them from hate and discrimination.

 

This is a nominee for the Florida Sunshine State award grades 3-5. I really liked the book and will highly recommend it to our students when school starts. 

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review 2017-05-17 21:51
The Unexpected Everything (makes me sleepy)
The Unexpected Everything - Morgan Matson

I'm DNFing this at 200 pages because it's boring me so badly I want to go to sleep. There is nothing creative or compelling that's hooking me. I hate feeling forced to read something. Plus, Andie is just another typical teen with "tight lip" syndrome. She just refuses to speak about anything deep or meaningful and then is utterly baffled when relationships fizzle. All the characters are flat and bland. No depth. No dimension. It's like the author watched a bunch of CW and Freeform dramas and thought that's what teenagers are really like. Not for me.

 

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review 2017-05-07 22:39
Gem and Dixie
Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

edit: After I wrote this review I realized there was a simple part of the story I felt like touching on: how to pronounce "Gem". She corrects 2 different people that "...it's Gem, not Jim." Okay, this is petty and I know that, but what is the difference? I seriously cannot tell. Was that really what you needed to write? Because I cannot tell a phonetic difference in those two words.

 

original:

This was nothing original. Nothing new. It was a short read, and the premise was simple. Gem and Dixie live with their selfish, druggie mom in a piss-poor tenement block with no food. Their dad is gone, and their mom cares more about being their buddy than an adult. Gem is the mature one. Dixie is still starry eyed and refuses to believe their parents are bad, no matter how many times her heart gets broken. 

 

It's full of typical young adult tropes. You just want to slap the shit out of Dixie the entire book. No matter the nasty words, the loud shouting or the fact their mother doesn't feed them, she just can't swallow the fact mom is a neglectful addict. "Maybe she has reasons..." No honey. No. You have to stop being stupid. It's getting very old.

 

The dad is your typical "I wish I was a rock star" asshole. He only loves himself. He does not even acknowledge Gem as his daughter. It's always "Dixie and her sister". "You know how your sister is." He's a douche bag.

 

I didn't learn much from this, except that I get tired of wading through the young adult muck to find the gold.

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