Friday, March 24, 2017

Arthurian Myth Meets World War II: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

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Arthurian Myth Meets World War II: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman
The Metropolitans
Carol Goodman
Genre: Middle-Grade, Mythology, World War II
Publication date: March 14th, 2017
by Viking Books for Young Readers

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets The Apothecary in this time-bending mystery from bestselling author Carol Goodman!

The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four thirteen-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum's collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil.

When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love...and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that's already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?"
-A copy was provided by Viking Books for Young Readers for review-

If you’ve been following along with discussions surrounding World War II books in the community, you will already know this but there aren’t many World War II books out there with Jewish main characters. Not only does The Metropolitans have a (German-American) Jewish main character, it also has Japanese-American, first nations & Irish-American main characters. The page space is split up b/w the four characters and while I cannot accurately speak for any of the rep since I am not from any of those groups, I did feel that it was done pretty well. (If you are from any of those groups and feel differently, I’d be eternally grateful if you choose to let me know so I may edit this review to reflect that!)

One of my favorite childhood books focused on the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and I love that The Metropolitans actually discusses this mistreatment, making it clear that the American government also hurt people during the World War.

It is so ridiculously important that this book has a Jewish main character because even though there is so much literature out there about World War II, very rarely do we actually get to see and hear from Jewish characters. Walt’s voice was fleshed out and his feelings very real. I love that we got to spend so much page time with him. I love that he spoke up about how painful this was for him given that his parents were in France (where Jewish people were also being forced into camps). He spoke up about his experience in Germany during the uprise of Hitler and seeing his neighbors be taken away, about having to leave his parents behind as he travelled to America for shelter.

Through Joe the author also addresses the way America was treating (and continues to treat) Native Americans as they attempted to strip them of their cultures and languages.

The diversity in this book, in my opinion at least, does not exist for brownie points and the author really fleshes the characters out so they jump of the pages. Their stories are real because people experienced these horrible things IRL (no matter what some dumbasses say.)

The Arthurian myth element is beautifully incorporated into the book and actually made sense. It doesn’t attempt to fictionalize horrific realities, it instead works with them to create a powerful story. I loved how things came together and I love how roles weren’t genderized but rather contingent on the character’s personality traits.

I JUST REALLY LOVE THIS book and I wish I had been able to read it as a little middle schooler because it would have hands down been a favorite and revolutionized my life. Hopefully though, little middle schoolers today will be able to read and love it.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Posted by on 03/23/2017 • 2 Comments

It’s in the title of this review post but I am going to repeat it anyway: Amina’s Voice is one of the most important books published this year and has clearly not gotten the hype it deserves. It’s a middle grade book and I know a lot of people shy away from reading those because reading tastes vary but please don’t overlook this book. Amina’s Voice is such a wonderful, heartfelt book and deserves and infinite amount of love from everybody.

I should take a moment to say I am neither Muslim-American or Pakistani-American but Amina’s Voice still resonated with and I found myself nodding along and feeling Amina’s struggle with her cultural identity on a spiritual level. I grew up feeling similar struggles and even though it wasn’t ~my story~, it felt really…

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…

Fresh Batch (March 19th-25th)

Fresh Batch (March 19th-25th)

Posted by on 03/18/2017 • 0 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Shadow Run AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller Series: Kaitan Chronicles #1 Publication date: March 21st 2017by Delacorte Press

Goodreads Purchase

“Firefly” meets DUNE in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s…

Fresh Batch (March 12th-18th)

Fresh Batch (March 12th-18th)

Posted by on 03/11/2017 • 2 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Hunted Meagan Spooner Publication date: March 14th 2017by HarperTeen

Goodreads Purchase

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman….

Fresh Batch (March 5th-11th)

Fresh Batch (March 5th-11th)

Posted by on 03/04/2017 • 3 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

You’re Welcome, Universe Whitney Gardner Publication date: March 7th 2017by Knopf

Goodreads Purchase

A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast…

Diverse Books Out February 2017

Diverse Books Out February 2017

Posted by on 03/02/2017 • 6 Comments

Hello and welcome to the February round up of diverse releases! Let me know if any of these have bad rep or if there are any books that I missed. We want this list to be as complete and accurate as possible while also making sure it doesn’t feature any books with bad rep. We will also be pointing out the books we know for sure are #ownvoices.

 

1. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstorm

Release Date: February 7th

Goodreads | Buy

Interracial romance + deals with mental health.

 

2. Wintersong by S.Jae Jones

Release Date: Feb 7th

Goodreads | Buy

Korean-American author

 

3. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Release Date: Feb 7th

Goodreads | Buy

Filipino-American author + not-white main characters as cannon

READ THIS BOOK!!!: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

READ THIS BOOK!!!: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Posted by on 02/28/2017 • 5 Comments

I don’t know how to start this review, guysssssss. Empress of a Thousand Skies WAS AMAZING. LIKE I ACTUALLY CANNOT even formulate words even though its been almost a week since I read it. ITS GOT EVERYTHING. People on the run, royalty, secrets, betrayal and hints of romances. YES, MULTIPLE ROMANCES I THINK. I could be wrong.

Did you really like Illuminae? Read this fucking book and love it even more. Seriously. ITS THAT GOOD.

Reasons to Read Empress of a Thousand Skies

1. The world building. I love the complexity of the world. I love that the racial struggles IRL are addressed through racial struggles within the novel and I love the commentary that is made through these struggles. Empress of a Thousand Skies is and tries to reflect on our society…