Today is a holiday Monday in many parts of North America, here it is BC Day, a day to honour my province. I wish I felt free to travel and enjoy more of it this summer, but plans have been changing for most of us over the last five months.
We have had some super hot weather recently, and it has been almost too hot to enjoy the outdoors, for any length of time anyways, so enjoying some books and air conditioning has been the way to go.
Books I Enjoyed Over the Last Two Weeks
I really loved this YA novel, but to be honest I love all of the A.S. King books that I have read. This book wants to give you a jab in the face to wake you up and show you things about the world.
Paola Santiago is a science loving girl who lives near the Arizona desert with her Mom. She loves her Mom but not her Mom’s superstitious beliefs. The most common one is her Mom’s belief in La Llorona, the wailing woman who will pull kids into the Gila River. While Paola and her two best friends Emma and Dante are mostly rule followers, the banks of the Gila are the best place to stargaze with Emma’s telescope, so they meet there often. When Emma does not show up at their meeting time one night, Paola and Dante must investigate. They are pulled into a world that has too much in common with the stories of Paolo’s mother.
Dante and Paola have to work together and dig deeper to find Emma and save the day. This is complicated by systemic racism of local police, a lack of understanding of the world her mother explained to her, and the fact that they have a little bit of a crush on each other.
This story has action and humour. I enjoyed the way that Paola’s flaws and even her strengths can get in her way and how she has to learn and adapt to overcome these and other challenges. I have heard it said that visible minorities have to learn to live in multiple different worlds in order to thrive, and it seems the author knows this and is having her characters learn this, both in the sense of living as a POC and also in the fantasy book sense of adapting to monsters and magic. Thanks to NetGalley for the preview of this book which is out tomorrow.
This is a really interesting middle grade dystopian novel. I don’t want to give to much away but Miranda1 and William1 have only known their life in Oculum, but William1 finds a door to the outside that they have been told does not really exist. He wants to learn more. The story flips between a few different perspectives as events past and present are unravelled. Unlike some MG/YA dystopia this is a pretty short book, seems to be a stand alone and is not particularly violent. A good choice for younger readers of this genre.
A exciting story of a family living in the Ukraine during WWII. Krystia and her family are relieved when the Soviets occupation of the Ukraine ends. They feel hopeful that things will improve, but soon she learns that the Germans that have moved into the area are Nazi’s and her country is being occupied again, by a force that is even worse. As bad as things are for her family, they are even worse for Krystia’s Jewish friends. The story is full of heartbreak and determination. Like Oculum, it is a short book that packs a big punch.
Lance Cottonwood was good at a lot of things and that made it more challenging for him when he wasn’t good at something. That scared him. In this story, Lance, a leaf, excels at many things, but does not want to fall when everyone else is doing it. He worries about it. Eventually, he learns that it is okay to fall, and with the help of his teacher, he is able to overcome the challenge and his fear.
There are some great illustrations, facts about leaves and their life cycle and in the endpapers a great fake report card that details Lance’s progress. This is a cute picture book that has just recently been released August 1. I appreciated reading an e-ARC on NetGalley.
This is an own voices book about a girl with club foot. Author Michelle Kadarusman went through many procedures to correct one of her feet and used her experiences to help her create a character in Alba that has a lot that she is going through. She does not feel normal and really wants to. For her, the way that she can do that is to run in a cross country race. The good news for her is that her doctor is ready to take a cast off following her latest procedure and she may be able to walk an upcoming race. The bad news is that going through so many changes as an adolescent is really hard. Alba has trouble in her relationships with her family, friends and peers. Readers will enjoy Alba’s journey as she learns about herself, her friends and about relationships. This is a book that also packs a lot into a smaller package. You might wonder why I haven’t said anything about hummingbirds after reading the title, and you should know that the two main characters are very science oriented, love hummingbirds and there are a lot of facts in the book that they share.
I thought I would celebrate the BC Day long weekend by reading some books by BC authors. This was the first one I picked. Art is a twelve year old from BC who vacations in Birch Bay, Washington (not currently allowed, thanks covid) and he really enjoys time with his best friend there, full-time resident Lea. They are bullied by a guy named Zeke who is pretty much nasty to everyone, but no one will stand up to him. Art and Lea create a plan to challenge him to a paintball battle using strategies they develop through their love of Greek mythology, online games and even role playing board games. The battle tests their friendship and their spirit. A good book about standing up for yourself.
I am just starting a book by another BC author, Karen Rivers. I have read some of her YA and MG books before and I find her characters and plots to be creative and sometimes a little odd. I appreciate that, so I am looking forward to this book. It was recommended by a student who I introduced to an earlier book by Karen Rivers, The Girl in the Well is Me. My family is reading the first of Kevin Sands’ Blackthorn Adventures. I have read this whole series and love it. Historical fiction, with mystery and puzzles to solve, great friendships, humour and action. He is not from BC, but he has been to BC (to my school a few years ago).
On Deck Reads
I never really know for sure what I will read soon, but this section of my posts is my first attempt at planning. I have an ARC of Ikenga that I would like to read before it’s release, and Agency is the second in a far too true near future series by William Gibson. It would certainly be classified as an adult book, written by a resident of BC.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope to catch up with what the rest of the posters at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts are reading. Thanks again to all that post, and especially to the hosts of our link-up.