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review 2020-04-28 03:53
A Young Barbara Gordon's First Case
The Oracle Code - Marieke Nijkamp,Manuel Preitano

Dad once told me that even a hopeless situation doesn't always stop him. Not because he believes there'll be a miracle, but because giving up feels too final.


And pretending is a form of grieving, too.

This is a YA graphic novel from DC—I'm not sure that the medium needs YA-focused work, but hey, if it brings readers to the medium in a less-intimidating way, sure, why not. I've read a handful of DC's YA stuff and have enjoyed it all, so what do I know? <b>The Oracle Code</b> is another proof that DC has made a smart move with these.


This is an alternative take on the Barbara Gordon-Oracle origin story. Now, I honestly have no idea what the current DC continuity take on Barbara is, I don't know if she's the ex-Batgirl, etc. This, however, is not that version. Barbara is a computer enthusiast/would-be hacker who is hanging out with a friend one fateful night and sees her father respond to a police call. She listens to the police radio and realizes it's nearby and decides to go take a peak. Which results in her being shot and paralyzed.


Six weeks later, her father takes her to The Arkham Center for Independence for physical and emotional rehab. Slowly, she sheds some of her anger at her situation and makes a friend or two (while trying to get her best friend to communicate). At some point, she thinks she stumbles on to some disappearances at the Center, but her concerns are explained away or dismissed.


Barbara won't take this at face value and begins to look into things on her own—and you can guess how things go from there.


It's a fun story and I like the way Nijkamp deals with Barbara's anger, grief, and future.

Preitano's art fit the story well—I particularly liked the way he showed her thinking things through (depicted by puzzle pieces). There are also some "bedtime stories" being told with art appropriate art—a little creepier than the main art, honestly.


Ultimately, this could have been any driven daughter of a police officer/detective/commissioner, there's nothing that's inherently Barbara Gordon-esque about the character. And really, ridding her of the Batgirl past, really takes away a lot of what makes me like Oracle—but this particular Barbara struggling to discover a new way of being herself in her circumstances shares enough to not truly annoy me. But it does rob the story of something, I think.


That said, this is a pretty fun graphic novel and I gladly recommend it to you.


<a href="http://angelsguiltypleasures.com/2019/11/sign-up-2020-library-love-challenge/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img class="aligncenter" src="http://www.hcnewton.com/irrreader/2020LibraryLoveChallenge.jpg" alt="2020 Library Love Challenge" /></a>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/04/27/the-oracle-code-by-marieke-nijkamp-manuel-preitano-illustrator-a-young-barbara-gordons-first-case
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review 2019-02-22 19:55
This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
This Is Where It Ends - Marieke Nijkamp

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

I hate the fact that we live in a world where school shootings happen. I have mixed feelings about the fact that a book like this even exists because I don't want to use a tragedy as entertainment. I have had a review copy of this book for years but never got around to it. My daughter actually encouraged me to read this book because she thought it was well done. I didn't grow up in a world where school shootings happened with alarming regularity but my daughter has and it is something that she thinks about. I found this to be an engaging story and a really quick read.

This book is told from multiple points of view while a school shooting is taking place. We see what is going on in the locked auditorium and outside of it as well. This is a tragic story filled with needless death but there is also a bit of hope and a few individuals that prove to be heroes. This book doesn't really get too deep into why the shooting happened but I can't think of a good reason or one that would make sense so I am okay with the decision to focus on the students fighting to survive.

The story did have a few problems. Students do call 911 as things start and the police in this little town must have been out having a few doughnuts because it takes them forever to actually get to the school. I had some pretty big issues with that delayed response and I think it made the story very unrealistic. I also never felt like we got to know any of the characters very well. I didn't want any of them to die but I wasn't particularly emotional when it happened either. 

I did really like the fact that this audiobook was narrated by a full cast. Each point of view had its own narrator which made it very easy to keep track of who the focus was on. I thought that each narrator did a fantastic job with the story. I know that I liked this book a lot more because I decided to listen to the audiobook.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought it was a well-told story despite having a few issues. I wouldn't hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Initial Thoughts
So, I have had this book for a long time and am just now getting around to reading it. I think that I did start to read it a while ago and it didn't grab me in the first few pages so I moved on to something else. This subject matter is hard to read about but my high school age daughter encouraged me to give this book another try since she thought it was well done. I listened to the audiobook which I thought was very well done. The cast of narrators did a great job of bringing the characters to life. This isn't a story that dives deep into reasons behind the shooting or how it could have been stopped. It is just a play by play of what happened from several points of view and I think it captured the fear and bravery of the students. It makes me sad that we live in a world where this kind of thing ever happens.

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review 2018-12-10 15:46
Before I Let Go
Before I Let Go - Marieke Nijkamp
I felt for Kyra as I read this novel. Kyra was shunned from her community because she was different. When she was finally diagnosed, the community still rejected her. Kyra just wanted to find someone that she could call a friend. One day, she found Corey and they were the best of friends until Corey moved away from Lost Creek. Corey said that she would come back and visit and Kyra tried to hold onto that dream but the walls kept closing in on her. Pushing her and pushing her until Kyra couldn’t take it anymore.
Corey didn’t believe the news when her mother received the call. Kyra had drowned. Corey couldn’t make sense of this news; how could Kyra drown in the frozen lakes in Alaska? All the lakes were frozen this time of year. Immediately, Corey catches a plane to Lost Creek, her emotions were stretched.
Corey notices that her hometown looks a bit different than when she left and she’s surprised when they tell her why. Corey knows that Kyra was depressed and lonely but she doesn’t feel that she’d kill herself. Corey wants to know more about Kyra’s last days and she plans to talk to people and see what they know about them. Corey is treated like an outsider by the individuals she grew up with, a reaction she doesn’t take lightly.
Curious about the town and meeting up with an old friend, Corey begins to see how things have changed since she left. Using flashbacks, we see Lost Creek many years ago and all the changes that have occurred over time. There have been drastic changes since Corey left, changes that have affected Kyra.
Kyra held-on to the notion that Corey would return. Kyra had written countless letters to Corey, some that Corey had received and now, it seems some that Corey never received. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Corey’s shoes during this novel as it felt to me to be a heavy burden to carry.
There was this mysterious element as Corey investigates Kyra’s death. The novel had plenty of emotions threaded through it, as Kyra was on a roller-coaster as people accepted her and then cast her off. The ending was different. I guess in the long run it worked out and everyone was content. 3.5 stars
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.


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text 2018-07-30 18:36
Time to vote: next Big Library Read
Death by Dinosaur - Jacqueline Guest
Away Running - David Wright,Luc Bouchard
Lumberjanes - Noelle Stevenson,Shannon Watters,Grace Ellis
Down by Law - Ni-Ni Simone
Mask of Shadows - Linsey Miller
before I let go - Marieke Nijkamp
King Geordi the Great - Gene Gant
The Jumbies - Tracey Baptiste
IA: Initiate - John Darryl Winston,Valerie Winston,Video Explainers,Deon Mixon Jr.,Jones Heraux,Bobbi-Lee Hunt

Please do reblog to spread the word.  If unfamiliar with the Big Library Read, it's a global book discussion with the chosen book 100% freely available in ebook form via overdrive (no waiting, no quantity limit).  This time the theme is Young Adult; not all nominees pictured.


Source: biglibraryread.com
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text 2018-03-01 19:30
Controversial Reads
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
Love, Hate and Other Filters - Samira Ahmed
This Is Where It Ends - Marieke Nijkamp

I love books that make me feel something. Whether it is loss, pain, regret, happiness or love. The fact that the book has an effect emotionally to a reader means it has a very legitimate tie to the real world. This is the exact reason I wanted to read these three books. I knew it would provoke something in me and create discussion. I'm all for discussion, as long as its an adult and mature one. I know that my views are not shared by everyone and this is why I have held off on reviewing these books. But I feel we sometimes hide too much because of the fear. The fear that we will be yelled at, blamed, called names. So while I debate on whether to review these and other controversial books, Id like to know how you guys feel. 


Maybe not about the books above, but regarding books that hit a nerve. I'm interested to hear what you think

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