Thursday, February 7, 2013

January Recap {I know it's February already}

Okay I know it is February 7th-my how time flies, right?  I read several good books during January and wanted to give them each a quick little shout-out.

 I am J by Cris Beam:  A truly amazing book that chronicles the life of a young boy trapped in a girl's body.  The struggled portrayed is heart-wrenching as Jeni tries desperately to shed any part of her person to be just "J".  He hates his thin frame and anything to do with becoming more female.  His best friend writes him off as gay and his parents are confused and angry.  Spending a few days on the streets, escaping from his parents, he discovers that there are others who feel like him and they are able to take testosterone to persuade the body to become more manly.  All J wants is for his body to match what is going on in his head.  This was so well-written by Bean that I can't imagine anyone reading it and not understanding the complexity of how a trans-gender child feels as they struggle against family and friends in order to feel right and happy.  (ARC-Little, Brown) Highly recommend.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: Can't believe I'd never read this through all my library classes, etc.  I did recommend it to my son a few years back and he read it, loved it and tossed it back to me with this to say "best book I ever read, to date, mom.  Thanks."  Well, okay then.  I promised myself I wouldn't go another year without reading it as next year he'll be off doing his own thing.  It read pretty quickly as it is a riveting tale of a future world.  Ender is ostracized, bullied, and confused at school and at home and then the government chooses him to be part of a special group of space warriors.  It reminded me a little of I am the cheese by Robert Cormier in that both have characters that are mentally  messed with by the government.  I was excited to see a movie is being made of this book, which will be fantastic if it is done well.  Highly recommend.

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamont:  One of the first adult books I read after finishing my master's program in L.S. was The Red Tent, which my mother-in-law gave me.  I still own the book and plan to go back and read it one of these days.  I picked up this title at a used book sale precisely because her name was on it.  This one was good and had a very interesting cast of characters, and it did keep me reading but it was not as amazing as The Red Tent.  Many of the Dogtown characters have stayed with me though and their resilience in the face of such odd diversity was wonderfully hopeful.  Recommend.

Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret:  Groovy Girl came home from school one day extremely excited about this book she was reading and when she finished it she said "I really loved this book and I think you will too.  Will you read it, Mom?"  How can one possibly say no to that?  I could  not.  I read it in a day.  It was not literary genius but on the other hand it didn't suck.  Now that I've read it I can recommend it to students here as well.  Groovy Girl is taking her own sweet path to reading and I'm always delighted when she reads a chapter book from start to finish.  Bravo!  Thank you Peg Kehret.

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings:  I loved, loved We Can't All be Rattlesnakes by Jennings but this one let me down in a droopy dog sort of way.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  I thought Rufus was a fine character with odd parents.  His mom substitutes a guinea pig when Rufus really, really wants a dog for a pet.  While Rattlesnakes was filled with magical realism in that the book is told from the animals point-of-view this one has just one element...the guinea pig (Fido) is the closest one can come to a dog without actually having a dog-he barks, he follows, he catches frisbees-that is one monster guinea pig!  Rufus's mom is never able to locate the mysterious pet shop where she purchases Fido in the first place. Kids wishing for their own pet might love it.

Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta: As I put books away in the library one day I noticed quite a few baseball fiction titles not getting checked out.  Baseball is not the cool thing it once was much to my dismay so I selected a few and plopped them up in a new location and hoped they  might get scooped up.  They did not but I took a chance and read this one.  The young narrator, Roy, has lived in Moundville all of his life and it's been raining that long as well.  The town is cursed  through a weird idea that a baseball game jinxed them years ago.  Out of the blue (literally) one day the rain just stops and Roy and his dad set out to re-build the old baseball field.  I love baseball but this one left me with a lot of questions unanswered which means it would be way confusing for my elementary students.

For me this was a great beginning to 2013.  I stuck with my own goals of reading one of my ARC's from L & B plus reading one off my pile-I read two off the pile and two Highland library books as well.  {pat on the back} Now I can breathe and move into February with ease.


Tina's Blog said...

I will admit that despite my disinterest in sci fi/fantasy, I read and really liked Ender's Game--I read it for YA Lit with Safford. And, I even picked up the next book in the series all on my own.

Peaceful Reader said...

I can't believe you read sci-fi and liked it! Wondering if the second one was good?