July 1, 2020

June 2020 Wrap Up

Firstly, I'm setting myself a reminder to do a mid-month wrap up. In the middle of June I didn't think I had read enough to bother with it, but here we are now and this is going to be loooong. But hey. Let's stop procrastinating.

Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario - I read this for my award reading. It follows two sisters on the day one of them disappears. Their mom died a few years ago and their dad and step-mom don't notice she's missing. The other sister is really upset about the disappearance because she felt this sister kept her together. Both of them are falling apart at the seams which the reader learns throughout the book. It has a happy ending and a good message, but it wasn't my favorite thing ever.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi - Reynolds basically took Kendi's book for adults (Stamped From the Beginning) and made it palatable for teens. This is happening more and more these days with adult non-fiction, but not usually so well done as this one. The tone is light and friendly, even if the subject matter is difficult. It was easy to read and understand. This just adds fuel to the fire of my undying love for Jason Reynolds.

The Librarian's Guide to Homelessness by Ryan J. Dowd - I finally got this thing read! I started it months ago and didn't get very far before I had to return it. I read it to give a presentation at work, but now that won't be necessary. It was still good information to have, so it was worth it.

Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew - When all the mess went down with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction, it was also the anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. I just happened to have this book hanging around, so I picked it up. It is a fictional retelling of events from the massacre. It was weird to know where all those places talked about in the book are now. The white neighborhood is still fancy. The black neighborhood is not as nice as it was then. Greenwood is being rebuilt now, a hundred years later. The events in the story are horrifying and brutal. It was a tough read.

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge - The author of this one is a British citizen, so I didn't understand all the legal stuff she said. But I did understand her point about white people not understanding the point when black people talk about race. For example, a real estate agency in Texas has resolved to no longer call the master bedroom of a house the "master" bedroom. Well, okay, but how about showing black buyers ALL the available houses to buy instead of just the ones in the black neighborhoods. Missing the point.

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook - This is a YA graphic novel about the author's experience in South Korea in college when some books were censored by the government and the students were protesting almost daily. It was a little scary, but made some important points about things that are happening in the U.S. today around human rights and censorship.

Talking Back Talking Black by John McWhorter - This was fascinating! It looks at racism from a linguistic angle. The author points out that most black people speak two language: standard English and Black English. And they are proficient in both. He makes the point that Black English is a legitimate form of English and referring to it as otherwise is racism.

Komi Can't Communicate by Tomohito Oda - I sped through this manga about a high school girl who can't talk. Everyone thinks she is a beautiful, stuck up, princess and they put her on a pedestal. The new boy decides to talk to her, and she eventually writes him messages and they become friends. Her goal is to make 100 friends. I don't know if she is autistic or just has major social anxiety, but it's pretty debilitating. It's a cute story.

Harley In the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman - This had a lot against it from the start. It's about a girl whose parents own a circus in Las Vegas. They want her to go to college, but she wants to be a trapeze artist. Eventually she runs away and joins a rival circus. Throughout the book you learn that she probably has undiagnosed bipolar disorder. She goes through life making snap decisions and hurting people over and over again. Then she beats herself up about it and feels awful. Until she gets a new idea in her head and she's off to do that. The thing that really made this book rank low for me was the fact that at no time does she get help. Her parents don't get her help. They don't get help for their own issues. They just decide to go along and get making all the same mistakes over and over. Um, no. Just no.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender - Felix is a trans boy who has worked really hard to get into this art camp for the summer. Toward the beginning of the course, someone hacks his instagram account and blew up pictures of him from before his transition and hung them all over the lobby of the school along with his deadname, or name he was given at birth. He is devastated and vows to find out and punish whoever did it. He gets help from various quarters and finds out some of his friends are transphobic. It's a pretty good story.

Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat - In this graphic novel, our main character is trying to get to the top of the fencing world champions, but the guy at the top keeps beating him. They end up at the same boarding school for fencing. I didn't really like the main character. He was kind of a jerk. I mean, so was the other guy. It wasn't much fun overall.

The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson - This is a graphic memoir by the woman who does the Lumberjanes comics that I love. She was the youngest person to win several awards for her art and often felt like an imposter. She's still not very old. Not yet 30. I'll be interested to see what she has to say in 10 more years.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett - This fantasy/steampunk novel was a nice break from all the contemporary books I had been reading. Our main character, Sancia, pulls off an amazing heist, but then everything goes wrong. The thing she stole is a key with a human personality that can talk to her because she has a metal plate in her head that gives her the ability to hear inanimate objects. The plot is very detailed and intense and lots of people are involved to varying degrees. There is only the barest hint of a romance, so that was refreshing as well.

Midnight At the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan - Going into this, I thought it was another light and fluffy book about romance at a book store. I was very wrong. It turns out to be a mystery. Like and actual real mystery. The main character was spending the night with a friend when someone broke into the friend's house and killed her whole family. MC hid under the kitchen sink and therfore lived. Now, pieces are coming together in such a way that she needs to find out who did it. There are many twists and turns, but I guessed who did it pretty early on in the book.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - This was way bigger than I expected. Bigger than the first two in the series. But I managed to get it read! This book takes Celaena in a whole new direction, gives her new powers, and introduces new characters. It was pretty fabulous.

I guess that's only 15 books in June, but it seems like a lot!