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Reviews
The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Trouble by Ben Bocquelet
The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene
Demon Book 1 by Jason Shiga
The Dragon That Lived Under Manhattan by E.W. Hildick
The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Ghostbusters International by Erik Burnham
Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman
Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 by Ed Piskor
How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves
It's a Tiger by David La Rochelle
Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross
The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell
Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
The Soprano's Last Song by Irene Adler
Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
The Underdogs by Sara Hammel

Miscellaneous
November reading and looking towards the last month
Reading goals for 2017

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Just Like Me: 11/28/16

Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh is set at a religious summer camp where three adopted girls have a falling out when put into a cabin with a very competitive girl. Julia, the narrator, has been brought together with Avery and Becca, two other girls who were adopted from the same orphanage in China that she was.

Avery and Becca are more connected with their Chinese heritage, though they have turned it into a uniquely American experience — much as eating Cheetos with chopsticks. Julia, meanwhile, feels no connection to her past except for an old photograph she has of herself sitting on the steps of the orphanage — a photo that every child adopted from there has a version of.

Mostly though the book is about the girls being stuck in a horrible cabin and being forced to compete against other cabins for prizes. I've seen this plot before so it must be a thing somewhere. The only summer camp I went to was a Girl Scout Camp where the idea is togetherness, not competition.

It's hard for the three Chinese "sisters" to come together as friends while being in a summer camp competition. It's made worse by a very high strung girl who I kept picturing as Paris Geller from The Gilmore Girls.

The set up reminds me of a pair of coworkers who were hired at the same time. Both were from the midwest and both were adopted from a Vietnamese orphanage — though not the same one. The adoption story, here, is based on the author's experience as a mother of an adopted child which she explains in an afterword.

As the inspiration for the story is so personal, I wanted to know more of the back story of how Julia came to meet (or re-meet) Avery and Becca. So much of that initial meeting in the United States is left unsaid that I wondered if Just Like Me was a sequel but it doesn't seem to be.

Two stars

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