Monday, September 25, 2017

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

I feel like I've been waiting forever for a new Jenny Han book. I love all her novels and was so happy to get the end of Lara Jean's saga. As always, Han's writing is beautifully descriptive and she has created a world that I want to stay in, eating Lara Jean's cookies and laughing at her irrepressible sister Kitty.

Lara Jean is having an incredible senior year: she is dating her first love, is awaiting admission to her dream college, and is eagerly planning her father's wedding. But life never goes according to plan, even when you are super organized.

The character of Lara Jean fascinates me, maybe because we are so different. She loves all the little details that make up a moment, the fashion extras like lace gloves and hair ribbons, the small variations from changing a recipe. I wanted to keep reading more and was sad when it was over. While Han said she won't write about Lara Jean again, I can hold out hope that she will write a book about Kitty someday!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Saving Red

I adore Sonya Sones and am always excited to read a new novel in verse by her. I hadn't heard about Saving Red when it came out last year, but was eager to find it when a Goodreads friend posted about it. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to my other favorite books by her.

While doing volunteer work, Molly meets a homeless girl named Red who is wild and spirited. Trying to make amends with a trauma in her past, Molly decides to get Red back home in time for the holidays. As she gets closer to Red, Molly realizes that she is mentally ill, not free-spirited. Undeterred, Molly learns a lot about Red, but even more about her own family.

I didn't connect with the characters in this novel the way I usually do with Sones' work. Still, I appreciated that the book shows the spectrum of mental illness and different ways that people cope with tragedy. I think it will be eye-opening for young readers who haven't read much about mental illness before. It's a soft introduction to a heavy topic.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Cod's Tale

I grew up in Massachusetts and spent many summers on Cape Cod, but never gave much thought to the name's provenance. It was only when I read Mark Kurlansky's World Without Fish that I realized the waters where I swam used to be filled with giant, ugly cod. I loved Kurlansky's deep dive into overfishing, so I checked out the audiobook version of his children's book, The Cod's Tale.

Who knew how important this fish was to the history of the world, the development of many countries, and the growth of various industries? I was fascinated by what I learned. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook, but I think the intended audience of young readers will want to have the book handy for the illustrations. This is a masterful piece of nonfiction writing that belongs in school libraries.