Circling the Sun by Paula McLain: Beryl Markham, a horse trainer and aviator, is raised by her father and the native Africans that live on their land in Kenya during the 1920's. She has difficult love affairs and struggles with life after her father's horse farm fails. The imagery of Africa that McLain paints is beautiful. I like historical fiction and this was well-written. My mother-in-law gave me The Paris Wife a few years ago and I feel inspired to read it after finishing this one for our February book club discussion.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett: Bennett tells a captivating story of Nadia Turner; a young high school senior ready to move on with her dreams of going East for college. The summer before her senior year though she is battling loneliness after her mother's recent suicide and she takes comfort in Luke, a damaged former high school football star. An unplanned pregnancy changes how they both move forward into the world. This was very good and I look forward to Bennett's next book.
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas: I loved this one also. Angie Thomas writes a wonderful and timely story of Starr Carter, a basketball-loving, smart young girl attending an expensive prep school outside of her neighborhood. Through Starr we are shown first hand how difficult it is to remain true to yourself as you juggle friends and ideas from both lives. When Starr's childhood best friend is killed by a police officer her two worlds begin to collide. The conversations between Starr, her parents, and extended family remind me of Ta-Nehisi Coates' letter to his son (and to us the white audience) on how hard it is to raise kids knowing their lives don't matter to some. Reviewed here by me.
How the Garcia Girls lost their accents by Julia Alvarez: I wanted to like this but ultimately it didn't hold my complete attention. Like the struggles in The Hate You Give, this one shows how hard it was for the Garcia sisters to be both old world for their parents yet navigate in the modern NYC they are raised in. While the four sisters love their Dominican family it is not easy being raised in the mostly sexist/patriarchal society when they have their own ideas of what their lives should look like. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer: I read this for my 6th grade book club and was not that impressed. It had mixed reviews from the 6 kids in the club. One of the students loved it, finished two more in the series by the time the rest of us finished just the one. This is why I love book club; it pushes you to read what you might not otherwise have picked up. This student even admitted "I don't think I would have picked this off the library shelf!"
Now that I've read it I know I have other students that I can recommend it to but I know I don't need to read beyond this first one. Maybe it's the political arena right now that made me shudder with many of Artemis' villainous ideas.
My March reading greatly improved from February where I got bogged down with that one book, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.