The Gauntlet is Karuna Riazi’s debut middle-grade novel from the Salaam Reads imprint of Simon and Schuster. I won an autographed (!!!) copy of this book from a giveaway earlier this summer by the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, and it’s one of the loveliest middle grade stories I’ve read this year.
It’s Farah Mirza’s twelfth birthday, and in addition to celebrating with her friends Essie and Alex, she must also watch over her hyperactive younger brother Ahmad. Her visiting aunt, Zohra, mysteriously promises to give her a present after the party, but Ahmad can’t wait.
Before the kids can stop him, Ahmad helps himself to a package in the Mirza’s guest room where Auntie Zohra is staying, which contains a peculiar game called the Gauntlet, which turns out to be extremely captivating … literally. Continue reading “The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (2017, Middle Grade)”
Scythe follows two teenagers, Citra and Rowan, through their apprenticeship to the Honorable Scythe Faraday. (All Scythes take on new names, after “Patron Historics,” aka historical personalities, when ordained.) Neither want to join the next generation of population-controlling killers, which is why they are deemed perfect to be trained; however, only one year of training one can continue their apprenticeship. Continue reading “Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman”
Like a River Glorious is the sequel to Walk on Earth a Stranger in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson. In my review for the first book, I was raving about just how well Carson’s writing holds my attention. While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the last one, Like a River Glorious held my attention just as much; I finished it in approximately one sitting. Continue reading “Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson [Gold Seer Trilogy #2]”
Gathering Blue is one of four sci-fi / utopian stories by Lois Lowry, known informally as The Giver Quartet. The Giver, I’d say, is the most well-known of these books, and for me, it was a mixture of disturbing, fascinating, and thought-provoking content. The way it handled human emotions, even the beginnings of puberty, was delicate and unoffensive. Whether you’re reading Number the Stars or The Giver Quartet, I feel like the most important message that Ms. Lowry conveys here is that progress and modernity do not necessarily equal the extinguishing of evil from the world.
The world of Gathering Blue is far more rural and (dare I say) backwards than the world of The Giver, but many of the social problems are the same. The village people practice euthanasia, albeit a more “natural” type, where disabled or sickly people are usually cast out into the Field for “the Beasts” to devour, or to simply die of neglect and starvation. Speaking of disabled people, ableism (discrimination in favor of “able-bodied” people) is a very big theme in this book. Continue reading “Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]”
I was too lazy to jot down my thoughts in full, so I decided to record them instead. Yay, now you get to hear what I sound like when I’m not acting. (Truth be told, I’m not the most polished speech-giver/speaker, so this is actually a good exercise in skill and confidence for me. It’s scary enough sharing my voice with the world when I’m reading other people’s words.)
For context, I marked various points of interest with paperclips as I was reading this section, and flipped through the pages to find them as I was recording. (I’ve done my best to edit out all the page-flipping noises.) Plus, because my hands were full with the book, I couldn’t hold the pop filter over my mic, so #nofilter! 😛
Also, before we begin – this portion of the book deals with a lot of romance and briefly mentions a character’s past affair and the possibility of this character’s illegitimate offspring. This book, while not vulgar, is not for six-year-olds.
For those of you who are worried about how fast I talk without pausing to take a breath, yes, it’s true, I talk pretty fast, but I also edited most of the particularly long, awkward pauses between my sentences.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommended for: Paraholics ages 14+
Caveats: Mild language in 2/12 songs, depressing themes throughout
Continue reading “Album Review: After Laughter by Paramore”
I recently joined NetGalley, a website which provides professional readers (I guess I’m one now) and bookish bloggers (I guess that’s more like it) with advance reader copies of upcoming releases. By the time I got my Jelly Bean Summer ARC, it was already a few days after the book was released (May 2nd, 2017), but I suppose reviewing it can’t hurt. 🙂 (In case it wasn’t obvious, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (May 2, 2017)
Description: Set in 1968 during the height of Vietnam War, Jelly Bean Summer is the story of the unlikely friendship that forms between two lonely tweens during an unforgettable summer of camping on rooftops.
Joyce has had it with her family (especially with UFO-sighting Elaine who loves her guinea pig more than her own sister). Her solution? Move out of the house and pitch a tent on the roof for the summer. But when she spots a boy watching her from a neighboring roof she’s stunned—and intrigued.
Brian recently lost his brother, and the two instantly bond over their messed-up families. To help Brian repair his brother’s truck, they concoct a scheme to build and sell tickets to a UFO display. Even Elaine agrees to help…until unexpected events test the limits of Joyce’s family ties.
Reader’s Score: 3.75 / 5 stars
Continue reading “Review: Jelly Bean Summer by Joyce Magnin (courtesy of NetGalley)”