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Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 10

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

It’s the tenth day of Diversity and today it’s about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I don’t want to give too much away but OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK AND THERE’S GONNA BE A SEQUEL!!!! Just read the book. Good for teens.

Just read it. You will fall in love too.

I love that the diversity in this book is Latino characters plus homosexuality. We need more of both. Together and separately.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays: Dumplin!

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

3-books-of-diversity

Welcome back to  our #diversity countdown to Christmas. Our third book is Dumplin by Julie Murphy.

dumplin

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

You might not classify this book as diversity but I do. Although Will is white, she is a large girl. A fat girl, in her own words. And we all know how teens can suffer if they are deemed fat. What I love about Will is that she doesn’t hate her body like many fat girls, but she also has an edge to her; in a I’m going to reject you before you reject me sort of way. And also, she becomes sort of a hero to the other misfit girls at the school. A reluctant hero to a group of misfits who have bad attitudes.  Also? Texas!

I know I’m tired of the fat best friend trope, aren’t you? Here’s one that breaks that.

Also? It’s a Netflix movie! Have you seen it?

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Oh my oh my I can’t believe how much I loved When She Woke by Hillary Jordan!

whenshewoke2 Collage

When She Woke is a modern day retelling of The Scarlet Letter, only BETTER! Think of what life could be like maybe 10 or 20 years in the future.  Some of the references to electronics and politics make you stop and think “hey wait, IS this a real office?”.

Yeah, it’s THAT good.

Plus, there’s controversy and controversy makes you feel passionate about something.  One way or another you’re going to have an opinion about our protagonist and her plight.

Here’s the lowdown: Hannah has an affair with the married very charismatic pastor of a very large and influential church in Texas.  She gets pregnant and has an abortion, all to protect Pastor Famous. Are you hooked yet?

While in jail, Hannah’s skin color is turned red, for murder.  Other criminals can be melachromed different colors: yellow, blue, green but red is the most heinous color of all.

Interwoven within the story are religious zealots, right wing pro choice zealots, racial and socio economic disparity issues and political views. Jordan blues the line so well I never quite knew whether I was watching CNN or reading a book or remembering my life in Texas.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

I’m giving it 4 paws because she includes all facets of diversity within the story.

Unconventional Librarian 4paws

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 10 – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 10

It’s the tenth day of Diversity and today it’s about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I don’t want to give too much away but OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK AND THERE’S GONNA BE A SEQUEL!!!! Just read the book. Good for teens.

Just read it. You will fall in love too.

I love that the diversity in this book is Latino characters plus homosexuality. We need more of both. Together and separately.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 3: Dumplin by Julie Murphy

The 12 Books of #Diversity
for the Holidays
Day Three

3-books-of-diversity

Welcome back to  our #diversity countdown to Christmas. Our third book is Dumplin by Julie Murphy.

dumplin

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

You might not classify this book as diversity but I do. Although Wil is white, she is a large girl. A fat girl, in her own words. And we all know how teens can suffer if they are deemed fat. What I love about Wil is that she doesn’t hate her body like many fat girls, but she also has an edge to her; in a I’m going to reject you before you reject me sort of way. And also, she becomes sort of a hero to the other misfit girls at the school. A reluctant hero to a group of misfits who have bad attitudes.  Also? Texas!

I know I’m tired of the fat best friend trope, aren’t you? Here’s one that breaks that.

Categories
Books Reviews

The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry is a book I love to think about over and over.

When I think about coming of age books, I love to think about The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry (or as I call her, MPL) because the girl in the book is so kickass and you know how I feel about PowerGirls!

Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, screenwriter, open water lifeguard, construction worker, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. Due to no fault of her sweet parents, at 15 she ran away from home and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. She believes girls should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.

Earthquake Machine

The Earthquake Machine is the kind of coming of age book I wanted to read when I was a teenager:   Adventure.  Love. Hate. Desire.  Travel. Knives. Crime.  Did I mention Knives? Our protagonist Rhonda has a difficult life and decides to go on an adventure deep within Mexico to find an old family friend.  This story is girl power to the max.  You won’t believe the strength that Rhonda discovers within herself during her adventure.

You are transported to Mexico within the pages of this book:  to the land of Indians and Spaniards and Mexicans and mole and Spanish.  Lowry gets it right:  the bright colors of the sunset and the paint; the smell of the food cooking; the depth of the passion that the Mexicans feel for each other and for their religion.  You forget you are reading a book in English and you become a friend walking along the streets of a small Mexican town next to Rhonda turned Angel, speaking in Spanish and following her story.

Rhonda/Angel’s search leads her to experiences that will shock, horrify, and make you laugh.  To be sure, there are sexual situations within the story that are not for everyone but reflect a teenager’s interests and curiosities.  Lowry’s coming of age story will make you yearn to be go on an adventure and force you to question your beliefs.

This is the best coming of age story I’ve read in a very long time and a perfect blend of multicultural richness.

 

Did I mention that both Mary and I lived in Austin for a time?

Y’all.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Stop what you’re doing and read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, NOW

Aristotle and Dante Discover
the Secrets of the Universe

AristotleandDante

Aristotle and Dante has been on my TBR for a short time and I’m so DING DANG happy that I finally got to read it. My advice to you? Stop and read it NOW. Go straight to your local independent bookstore and snag a copy of this gem now. You won’t be sorry.

You know I love opening lines, right?

ONE SUMMER NIGHT I FELL ASLEEP, HOPING THE WORLD would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was the same. I threw off the sheets and lay there as the heat poured in through my open window.

You can just feel the eye crust in your eyes, right?  There’s so much more of this and it just keeps getting better. Ari and Dante are young Mexican American teens in El Paso Texas in the mid 80s. If you’ve ever been to El Paso you’ll understand how empty you can feel as a young gay teen boy in the 80s in El Paso. It’s practically a social death sentence. Fortunately Ari and Dante meet and form a friendship that will make you yearn for a close friend. You’ll cry ugly tears like a big baby and you’ll cheer oh so loudly at their triumphs.

Being a gay teen is tough enough. Add in Texas and the 80s and you’ve got a setting that that will stay with you forever. Also? Lin Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton)  reads the Audible.com book. SWOOOOOOOON!!!!  Here’s a good addition to your Diversity Reading Challenge list.

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information

Stop All the Clocks…W.H. Auden’s Funeral Poem

Friends, Pammy Pam had a busy weekend. A beloved relative died and I traveled to my second hometown of Austin, Texas to celebrate her homegoing and her life. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, funerals can either be sad or happy.  My initial reaction upon hearing of my dear cousin’s passing was one of sadness.  I found this poem by W.H. Auden to describe my feelings well.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

 

You might be familiar with this poem from Four Weddings and a Funeral.  After the funeral services, however,  we participated in a balloon release to signify releasing our grief.

balloon release.jpg

 

It was a beautiful and moving end to an emotional weekend. What unique ways have you said goodbye to loved ones?

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Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books Children

Q is for…Football? #AtoZ Challenge

 

 

It’s Q day! It’s Q day!

I bet you think you’ve got me stumped?

But you DON’T.

I have a book for Q!!

QB1

QB1 by Mike Lupica

 

I love author Mike Lupica because for sporty guys who want something to read, they are never without a title. Lupica covers most of the sports and once the tweens are too old for middle grade reads, Lupica offers them something more with his YA titles.  Here’s a bit about QB1:

Jake Cullen is a freshman quarterback playing high school football in the high-pressure land of Friday Night Lights (Texas). He is also the brother of Wyatt Cullen, who quarterbacked his team to the Texas State Championship last season–not to mention the son of former NFL quarterback and local legend, Troy Cullen. To be a Cullen in Texas is to be royalty . . . and a quarterback. All of which leaves 14-year-old Jake in a Texas-sized shadow, a tall order for any boy, especially one who’s merely a freshman.

While his teammates assume the starting job will be handed to Jake on a silver platter, the truth is that he has to fight for every snap and every ounce of respect. Jake may be a Cullen and he may play quarterback, but he is not his brother or his father. Being a good teammate comes naturally to Jake; being a winner and a celebrity does not. He’s just like every other boy–awkward around a pretty girl, in awe of his famous family, and desperate to simultaneously blend in and cast his own shadow.

The story is loosely based on the Manning brothers and the wildly famous Friday Night Lights family drama. Having lived in Texas for 10 years, I can remember how obsessively people cared about football.  Me? I was at the snack bar. But whatever.

Grab this book for your fave tween guy!

Have you ever read anything by Lupica? Do you have a Q book?

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

One Towne, One Book: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Oh my oh my I can’t believe how much I loved When She Woke by Hillary Jordan!

whenshewoke2 Collage

When She Woke is a modern day retelling of The Scarlet Letter, only BETTER! Think of what life could be like maybe 10 or 20 years in the future.  Some of the references to electronics and politics make you stop and think “hey wait, IS this a real office?”.

Yeah, it’s THAT good.

Plus, there’s controversy and controversy makes you feel passionate about something.  One way or another you’re going to have an opinion about our protagonist and her plight.

Here’s the lowdown: Hannah has an affair with the married very charismatic pastor of a very large and influential church in Texas.  She gets pregnant and has an abortion, all to protect Pastor Famous. Are you hooked yet?

While in jail, Hannah’s skin color is turned red, for murder.  Other criminals can be melachromed different colors: yellow, blue, green but red is the most heinous color of all.

Interwoven within the story are religious zealots, right wing pro choice zealots, racial and socio economic disparity issues and political views. Jordan blues the line so well I never quite knew whether I was watching CNN or reading a book or remembering my life in Texas.

Our book store, Towne Book Center and Cafe will discuss the book tonight at 7pm; I expect the discussion to be heated, rowdy, and maybe even a little fighty. I think I’ll wear a helmet just in case some chairs get thrown.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

I’m giving it 4 paws because she includes all facets of diversity within the story.

Unconventional Librarian 4paws