Posts Categorized: Review

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Poignant Novel That Deals With Immigration: The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

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A Poignant Novel That Deals With Immigration: The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
The Lines We Cross
Randa Abdel-Fattah
Genre: Contemporary, Social Issues, YA
Publication date: May 9th, 2016
by Scholastic
A remarkable story about the power of choosing tolerance from one of the most important voices in contemporary Muslim literature, critically acclaimed author Randa Abdel-Fattah.

Michael usually concerns himself with basketball and hanging out with his friends, but every once in a while, his parents drag him to meetings and rallies with their anti-immigrant group. And it all makes sense to Michael. Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart -- and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents' politics seem much more complicated. Mina has already had a long and arduous journey leaving behind her besieged home in Afghanistan, and the frigid welcome at her new school is daunting. She just wants to settle in and help her parents get their restaurant up and running. But nothing about her new community will be that easy.

As tensions increase, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.

 
-A copy was provided by Scholastic for review-

Maybe you know or maybe you have no idea who I even am or how you ended up on this site but Randa Abdel-Fattah changed my life when I was a kid. On more than one occasion, I’ve talked about how Does My Head Look Big In This is one of the three most important books in my life that helped redefine how I felt about my identity and about myself as a human being. So, when I heard that she had a new book coming out, I was over the moon. Of course, this was ages ago and this was when the book was coming out in Australia and I was all the way here, sad because I didn’t think I’d get to read the book. Then I found out it was in fact going to be published in the US and got real excited once again.

Lengthy & awkward tangent aside, The Lines We Cross is incredibly well-written and exactly what I would expect from Randa Abdel-Fattah. It the kind of book that would challenge everyone to consider what it is that you stand for.

I, for one, struggled with Michael because I didn’t know if it was even possible for me to forgive him for all that he had said and done but Fattah does an AMAZING job developing his character and little by little, I was able to warm up to him. For one, Fattah always writes great characters but also, it was evident that there was a point she was trying to make and I think she really does accomplish that with Michael.

While many seem to believe we live in some post-racial/colonial what-have-you world, it simply isn’t true and Fattah’s novel is a painfully accurate reminder of that. Experiences will ring true for many readers.

BUT, the book is more than just an ode to the suckiness of the world, it is also an ode to families, friendships and the beauty of different cultural experiences. I love the tight-knit communities we get to see within this novel. I love that even though Mina is the ‘new’ kid at a preppy school, she gets to make friends who aren’t assholes and who she doesn’t need to explain herself to.

This heartwarming story about grief, families, refugee, immigrant experiences is especially relevant today and a must read for everyone. ADD IT TO YOUR TBRS and READ IT.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

For the summer feel-good vibes: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

For the summer feel-good vibes: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Posted by on 06/15/2017 • 1 Comment

I honestly cannot believe I haven’t seen more hype for I Believe in A Thing Called Love because it is one of my favorite books of the year (out of the 100 I’ve read so far.) It’s charming, a little unrealistic but PACKED with fun, joy, and general happiness.

Those are very general, descriptive terms that could describe any fluffy book that some people might write off all together but you know what? They would be missing out. For one, ‘fluff’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Charles Dickens wrote commercial fiction (and while it wasn’t fluff, he was getting paid by the sentence so those painfully boring pages weren’t because he was being ~literary~), Shakespeare’s works were definitely mean for entertainment, etc etc.

On the surface, I Believe in a Thing Called…

Explores the bizarre & complex social environment of high school: Say No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson

Explores the bizarre & complex social environment of high school: Say No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson

Posted by on 05/18/2017 • 2 Comments

Doesn’t this book have the best title ever? If a title alone had the capacity to sell a book to anyone, it was be the title to this book. I was certainly sold before I even saw the cover or read the blurb for the book because who can resist a book titled Say No to the Bro?

Does the book actually live up to its amazing title? I don’t really know how to answer that question and should probably not start all my paragraphs in this review with a question because I am told that is bad writing. Say No to the Bro was not at all what I expected and I don’t know if I mean that in a good or bad way. It is somewhere in the middle to be…

Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

Review: The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

Posted by on 05/17/2017 • 2 Comments

The Go-Between is part fluff and part social commentary. It is this incredible feel good book about a girl has to leave her home country behind to move to America because her mom has landed a roll in American TV. What The Go-Between really tries to break down intersectionality and explore various privileged and oppressed identities.

How does Cammi’s life change when she moves from Mexico City to LA? Her family still has enormous socio-economic privilege but her life does change. The way her classmates interact with her changes and the way she is perceived and stereotyped by her classmates completely changed. Without even getting the chance to introduce herself, her new rich, white classmates craft an identity for her based on racist stereotypes.

And yet even though for the first time…

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Posted by on 05/12/2017 • 1 Comment

Sometimes there are books you read and you love and then sometimes there are books you read and FUCKING LOVE. As you might be able to gather given my subtle opening line, That Thing We Call a Heart falls into the latter category for me.

I honestly don’t even know how to express all the love I feel for the book into this review because I doubt that is even possible. Perhaps I might use this gif:

Or I could use words but as I told my prof the other day when he suggested I do a creative writing project, I am not a writer so if this review is completely incoherent, know that I honestly tried.

That Thing We Call a Heart is a book that needs to be in…

An Adventurous Middle Grade Novel: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

An Adventurous Middle Grade Novel: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Posted by on 05/10/2017 • 1 Comment

5 Things You Need To Know About The Gauntlet

1. It is a great book for kids who love games and kids who love RP games. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were made a character in your fav game? WELL THIS BOOK ANSWERS all those questions and more.

2. Friendships are a huge deal in this book. Farah and her friends grew apart when she moved and as they are forced into The Gauntlet, they reconnect and work together to rescue Farah’s brothers. Lots of cutes to go around.

3. It is fast paced. While I do enjoy a fast paced book, I did feel like it was a little rushed in terms of development and transitions from challenge to challenge.

4. FOOD PORN. Lots and lots of…

Blog Tour: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

Blog Tour: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

Posted by on 05/09/2017 • 1 Comment

This was a creepy, weird book, interesting graphic novel.  I don’t tend to read a lot of them, but I do enjoy them on occasion. This one has beautiful artwork and a pretty crazy storyline. I thought that the illustrations really brought the story to life and added a creepy factor to it.  The characters were great too and though we don’t learn too much about them yet, it really makes the anticipation for a sequel almost unbearable.

Addie is the main character. She takes care of her little sister now that her parents are dead. Thanks to The Spill. No one is allowed in the Spill Zone, but Addie sneaks in and takes gorgeous, haunting, and chilling photos of it. It’s super dangerous, but that is the only way…

Needs More Diversity: Queer, There and Everywhere by Sarah Prager

Needs More Diversity: Queer, There and Everywhere by Sarah Prager

Posted by on 05/02/2017 • 0 Comments

I feel like somewhat of a black sheep because I didn’t absolutely love this book but *insert shrug emoji*. I love that we get to learn about so many amazing individuals, I love the detail each section goes into and how easy it is to read and yet, when I look back at the people who are represented in this book, it seems like there isn’t as much rep as their could be. Queer, There and Everywhere is essentially trying to present readers with the stories of amazing queer people across time and remind people that queer people have always been here. For a book trying to achieve that though, it primarily draws on queer people from the western world and those closely tied with the historical movements in the western world….