Mini Reviews (13): What I have Been Reading This Year

Obviously my blogging has lacked the last few months. But now that school is over, I am going to try and get on a semi-regular schedule.

In the mean time, it has been a while since I have talked about book on the blog. So I want to talk about some of the books, audiobooks, and graphic novels I have read over the last couple of months that I haven’t had a chance to talk about or share with you. So here we go! (P.S. This will be quite long!)

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 El DeafoEl Deafo by Cece Bell

Amulet Books, 233 pages

Mini Review: I love graphic memoirs, and Cece Bell’s is right at the top! El Deafo has everything–packed with real life, with real emotion, and with real humor. This is the story of Cece growing up not being able to hear, and her experiences with communicating with others, watching tv, and trying to learn in school. The illustrations are adorable and really capture the emotion behind this story. Definitely deserving of the honor.

This is a great book for all ages, specifically upper elementary and middle school. Young Cece Bell is a character that many kids will relate to on different levels. This is an important story for all students to read and experience.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Top Shelf Book! (5 out of 5 Stars) (Elementary and Middle School)

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I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios I'll Meet You There

Henry Holt & Co, 379 pages

Mini Review: Going into this book, I knew that people were raving hard about it. But I wasn’t really expecting to fall in love with everything about this book, but I did. I was sucked into the story and the characters’ lives immediately.I was present with them.I felt their joy, their pain, their heartache, their fear, their laughter, their comfort, their disappointment, their love…I felt at home with them. This is a story that touches on many things that aren’t touched upon in YA fiction often. Rural poverty, PTSD, surviving life….this is a story that feels close to home. It’s personal, it’s real, and it’s beautiful. A top read for this year for sure.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Top Shelf Book! (5 out of 5 Stars) (High School)

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Tell Me Again How a Crush Should FeelTell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Algonquin Young Readers, 325 minutes

Mini Review: This was a fabulous second novel by Sara Farizan. I really enjoyed reading a story about a gay teenager who knew she was gay and was confident in her identity, but she still goes through all the ups and downs of a first crush. Leila’s voice was so sincere, so relatable, and so funny. I really loved the style of story-telling and the character writing. And once again, Negin Farsad does a spectacular performance. She voiced each character beautifully. Definitely an audiobook to check out!

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book (4 out of 5 Stars) (High School)

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I Was Here by Gayle Forman I Was Here

Viking Juvenile, 270 pages

Mini Review: Yeah, not really worth the finish for me. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there was just something about the story-telling that just seemed off. I appreciated the sensitivity to Meg’s life, but to me this story was more about solving the mystery of Meg’s death instead of it being about Cody dealing with grief. There was just a disconnect with me between the two parts. Also, the romance element of this book was completely unnecessary. It just further ruined this book for me. Everything about this book felt more forced than genuine. I should have DNFed it at page 100. I just wasn’t satisfied. Oh well, live, learn, and move to the next read.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Second Shelf Book (2 out of 5 Stars) (High School)

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Glory O'Brien's History of the FutureGlory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 425 minutes

Mini Review: This is one of those stories that I am really glad that I listened to. This bizarre yet completely realistic (once you accept the magic) story of what happens when you drink a bat. I loved Glory’s development and introspective on the world and her life and herself. This is such an unusual story, but it was so believeable and easy to connect with. And the audiobook brings the whole story to life in a way that I don’t think would have translated as well had I read it. Wonderful story, beautiful performance. Well done, A.S. King!

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book (4 out of 5 Stars) (High School)

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We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg We Can Work It Out (The Lonely Hearts Club, #2)

Point, 320 pages

Mini Review: This is a sequel to Eulberg’s first novel, The Lonely Hearts Club, which is one of my favorite realistic contemporary YAs. This follow-up couldn’t have been more perfect. Penny finds herself trying to balance her time between her boyfriend and her friends, and that creates problems on both sides. I found this book to be extremely realistic, as who didn’t struggle with balance during high school? This is a funny, heart-warming novel about friendship and treasuring those around you. A worthy sequel, for sure!

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book (4.5 out of 5 Stars) (Middle School and High School)

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The CrossoverThe Crossover by Alexander Kwame

HMH Books for Young Readers, 237 pages

Mini Review: This novel in verse is the perfect blend of wit, humor, and heart. A very real story that readers will connect with. Josh’s voice is genuine and true–I believed his story. His words were 100% realistic, telling his story through his eyes and perceptions. How he understands the world come through in a beautiful and thought-provoking way. Plus, this is the first time I have read rap poetry in a novel, and it’s AWESOME! Perfect book for Middle School.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Top Shelf Book! (5 out of 5 Stars) (Elementary and Middle School)

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Lost & Found by Brooke Davis Lost & Found

Hachette, 272 pages

Mini Review: This book was completely unexpected. I found this story to be endearing, heartfelt, and true. It alternates between a 7-year old girl who was left in a mall, an 82-year old woman who hasn’t left her house in years, and an 87-year old man who types his thoughts constantly. Their lives integrate together in ways that are unexpected but beautiful. There is something about a story involving the very young and the very old and the bond that they form, completely honest and completely genuine. This story will just bring a smile to your face.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book (3.5 out of 5 Stars)

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The BooksellerThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Harper, 338 pages

Mini Review: The Bookseller is such a unique story: one part mystery, one part speculation, and one part magical realism. This is such an interesting way to tell such a heart-felt story. This story is beautiful and poignant and truthful. I cannot say anything else about the book, but I will say that it is a beautiful book that is worth investing your time into.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book! (4.5 out of 5 Stars)

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Through the Woods by Emily Carroll Through the Woods

Margaret K. McElderry Books, 208 pages

Mini Review: This is the first graphic novel of the horror variety that I have read that has truly creeped me out. Each of the five stories build horrific suspense in a way that will seriously creepy you out. The art is beautiful and just adds so much depth to the stories. Such a great read, perfect for middle and high school libraries.

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book! (4 out of 5 Stars) (Middle and High School)

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Big Hero 6, Vol. 1Big Hero 6 Volume 1 by Haruki Ueno

Yen Press, 192 pages

Mini Review: I am OBSESSED with this movie, so OF COURSE I would pick up the manga! This first volume features a slightly different story from the movie, but the big points are still pretty much the same. But I didn’t care, because it is still SO AWESOME! Definitely something to read if you or someone you know LOVES the movie!

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book! (4 out of 5 Stars) (Elementary and Middle School)

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler Yes Please

Dey St., 451 minutes

Mini Review: I love listening to autobiographies and memoirs when they are read by the author. Amy Poehler brings her comedic charm to very real discussions about life, love, sex, family, parenthood, womanhood, career, and more. It is such a joy to listen to, so LISTEN to it!

My Bookshelf Rating: A Fourth Shelf Book! (4 out of 5 Stars) 

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So yes, that was a big list, but these are the books that I have read recently that I wanted to share my short thoughts with you. And I realize that most of these are highly rated, but what can I say? The few books I have read over the last couple of months have been pretty darn good!

Have you read any of these? Did you feel the same way? Comment and let’s chat!

Love and Margaritas,
Jennifer

 

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