It is April 1. That means two things – people on the Internet crying about April Fools Day and my review of the books I read last month.
- Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang – I love Yang’s work and this one is just as good as his other books. Yang taught at Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland. The basketball team has gone to the state championship game multiple times and lost. In 2015 they had their best shot yet of winning. Yang decides to travel with the team and write a graphic novel about the season. I am a big basketball fan, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it and I did. I think people who aren’t basketball fans will also enjoy it. He tells the story of the team, but also includes a lot of historical details about the game.
2. We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry – Set in the late 80’s, we follow a field hockey team in Danvers, Massachusetts who discover that the witchcraft of their ancestors might be the key to a winning season. They have never had a winning record until they start to sign onto a pact at summer camp. Suddenly, they start winning on the field and off. We follow them through their senior season and finish with a reunion 30 years later. It took me a bit to read the book. I liked it, but it isn’t one you can breeze through. I enjoyed the story and it was well written. I was happy to have the reunion at the end to see what happened to each girl after high school. I can see why it was on an award list.
3. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh – This is a collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays. It has stories from her childhood, stories about her pets, and other parts of her life. It was OK, but by the end I was reading to finish more than I was reading for enjoyment. It all started to sound the same. It was a quick read, though.
4. Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth – There were two different stories here. 1902 at The Brookhants School for Girls where two girls have died and current day where they are making a movie about Brookhants and the possible curse/haunting. I feel like there was potential for a good book here. I enjoyed the current day story more than the 1902 story. I usually am OK with flipping back and forth between time periods, but this one always took me out of the story when there was a switch. It was too long. The author seemed to think she was more clever than she really was. It was disjointed and the story switched at terrible times. I think she was going for cliffhanger anticipation with some of the cuts, but I just found it annoying.
5. Smoke by Joe Ide – this is the 5th book in the IQ series. IQ has left the city to escape a gang that wants him dead. He settles in a small town in the hope of leaving all the bad that comes with his detective work. That is short lived when a young man who has escaped from a psychiatric facility breaks into his house and says a serial killer is coming to town. There are also side stories in the city with regular characters Dodson, Deronda and Grace, In this case I think I enjoyed their stories more than the main one. I love this series and all of the characters. I think it would make a good TV show. I recommend starting with the first book, IQ.
6. The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune – Linus Baker works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is sent to investigate a house where six highly classified, possibly dangerous magical youth live. He learns there is more to the children and the man who runs the house than can be learned in a file. This is a great book about prejudice, belonging and finding your place in the world. I highly recommend it.
7. Game Changer by Neal Shusterman – Ash is a high school football player living a good life. God friends, popularity and a chance at a football scholarship. In the first game of the new season after a hard hit on the quarterback he feels weird and then realizes the world has changed. It starts small. Stop signs are now blue. The next game the hit changes things a little more. As each hit changes the world and Ash more Ash begins to see things through different eyes. Can he figure out how to get his world back? My daughter read this one first and immediately said I should read it. It is very good. Suspenseful, interesting way to show how your view of the world change when you see it through someone else’s eyes. Highly recommend.
8. Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman – A would be bank robber flees and takes a group of people hostage at an apartment open house. A father/son duo of police officers investigate as the bank robber has disappeared after the hostages are released. The story goes back and forth between the investigation, the events during the hostage situation, and things in the past that connect some of the characters. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I liked it nearly as much as the people who recommended I read it, I think Bachman has voice that appeals to some more than others. I am on the outer edge of those to whom it appeals. I would recommend it, but I can’t say for sure that you will like it.
I started and gave up on Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler. It got great reviews. It just didn’t click with me.