I guess my Saturdays off will start next week. It’s the first day of the month so that means it is time for my review of what I read last month. But first, I had something published over on Spillwords. Check it out – I Learned to Knock That Day
Now on to the books
1. Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh – a novel in verse that tells the story of Ada – the daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother – and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and her family. We bounce back and forth between Ada’s current struggle to adapt to college life and her struggles to fit in in elementary and high school. Her mother is an addict. Her dad is overprotective and religious. Ada finds herself when she finds a dance class that is much more compelling than the accounting class she is struggling to pass. It is a nice quick read. I enjoyed it, but it felt a little undone.
2. The Project by Courtney Summers – Lo Denham is seriously injured in the car accident that kills her parents. While she is in the hospital her older sister joins The Unity Project, a secretive religious community, leaving Lo to live with an aunt she hardly knows. Years later, Lo has the opportunity to gain access to the Project and does so in hopes of reconnecting with Bea. This is a story in two parts. We follow Lo in current day trying to find her sister and getting closer to the Project and we follow Bea from her decision to join the Project up until the story joins Lo’s. Is the Project a dangerous cult or a misunderstood community that only wants to do good in the world? Where is Bea and why does she not want to see Lo? Who keeps calling Lo without speaking? This is a compelling read that I highly recommend. You should also read Sadie by the same author.
3. The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony – Thomas and Savannah are twins who live with their grandmother after their mother’s death. They don’t know who their father is. They do a podcast where they record the dinner conversation when their grandmother has guests. One guest gives the the idea to look for their father and they decide to do it on the podcast. The podcast leads to publicity, protests and mayhem. A lot of the book seemed a little farfetched, but it was an enjoyable read. I would still recommend it.
4. Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez – Camila Hassan has a secret. Her family doesn’t know that she is playing soccer. Not only is she playing, but she is a star on a girl’s soccer team in her hometown of Rosario, Argentina and they have qualified for the South American tournament. Her parents don’t think a girl should pay soccer, but she will need their permission to go to the tournament. Her dad is abusive and controlling, so this is not an easy thing. She is also dealing with the return of the boy she loves who is now an international soccer star. I really liked this book. I really got immersed and invested in Camila’s story. One of the better books I’ve read this year.
5. If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley – Leighton is a senior in high school. She lives with her mom, two younger sisters, and an abusive father in a house that repairs itself after her father damages it in a rage. As the story starts, thousands of crows have descended on the town, one of which visits the girls and leaves gifts for the youngest. The town is aware of the abuse, but turns a blind eye to it. As Leighton deals with the family problems, she worries about going to college and abandoning her sisters. She also falls in love with Liam, the star football player. Most of the book works really well. I was completely invested in Leighton’s story and her attempts to get her mom to press charges against their dad. The love story was done well. I didn’t really see the point of the self repairing house or the crows. They didn’t add much to the story and the house part was just distracting. I would still recommend it.
6. The Ginger Kid: True Tales from a Former Nerd by Steve Hofstetter – Comedian Steve Hofstetter writes about his time at Hunter College High School in NYC. It is in the form of personal essays in which he talks about bullying, dating, and trying to fit in. I think I enjoyed this one because I related to it so much. He was an awkward nerd. His family struggled financially. He was awkward when it came to dating. It was like a NYC version of me, but funnier. I would highly recommend.
I did start and give up on another book in April but I won’t list it here. Out of these, I would most recommend Furia and The Project.