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Month in review

Reviews
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Allie, First at Last by Angela Cervantes
Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South, Part One by Gene Luen Yang
Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder
Cat vs Human: Another Dose of Catnip by Yasmine Surovec
Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain by Valeri Gorbachev
Click Here to Start by Denis Markell
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Darned if You Do by Monica Ferris
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
Framed! by James Ponti
Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat
How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel by Jennifer Brown
The Journey of the Penguin by Emiliano Ponzi
Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern
Kiki and Jacques by Susan Ross
A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Lost Cat by Caroline Paul
Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs by Cylin Busby
OCDaniel by Wesley King
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale
Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Sticks & Stones by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Valley of Kings by Michael Northrop
You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

Miscellaneous
Favorite books of 2016 by month
Favorite Own Voices read in 2016
Favorite series read in 2016
Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy read in 2016

Previous month

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



Favorite Own Voices read in 2016: 12/18/16

Favorite books

This year marks my first real attempt to curate my reading to include stories written by authors different than I am — a forty-something middle class white Californian. Although I've been reading books with diverse characters, I haven't been careful to include authors in the mix. Readers need to see themselves on both sides of the book: inside and out. As a book blogger and librarian, it is my duty to look beyond white writers who can or do write diverse characters.

My top twelve list are the ones that struck me the most. These are the ones I've been talking up with people on and off my blogs. This list includes books published in previous years as well as this year. Another goal for 2017, then, will be more diligence in reading currently published books for next December's list.

 

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Twelve: It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
Review

An Iranian teenager tries to be as American as possible in a new school, before, during and just after the revolution and hostage crisis. Zomorod Yousefzadeh and her parents have moved to Newport Beach from Compton because her father's gotten a promotion. They're trying to live the American dream but have plans to go home to Iran but that of course changes as the plot unfolds.

 

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Eleven: Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana López
Review

In town there is a new magic shop that promises access to the Vault if a person either buys $100 worth of stuff or performs a magic trick for the store owner. Although one of the boys has access to infinite money because of a stepfather who is trying to buy his love, the other two don't. So they all opt for performing a trick. Entry into the Vault leads them onto a regional magic competition.

 

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Ten: The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson
Review

In prison, Pete is given the opportunity to join a therapy group tailored to men in his situation. The program, though requires him to move to a different prison and to be on his best behavior. Feeling he has nothing to lose he says yes.

 

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Nine: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Review coming

There's a mystery about children going missing and the parents being understandably upset. Fears over the regularity of these disappearances compels the adults in the town to put strict curfews on their children's lives and force them to walk together in pairs or groups.

 

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Eight: The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
Review

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly is set in New Orleans. Sol and Ming, young Filipinas, live with their stepmother, after being abandoned by their father. Originally they lived with their mother and sister until their tragic deaths five years ago.

The story of Sol and Ming is a rather quiet one. It's told through a collection of episodes. Sol befriends a girl after accidentally beaning her in the head with a pinecone. There's the Beast who guards the junkyard. The is the elderly Chinese lady who lives upstairs who understands English but choses not to speak it.

 

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Seven: Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick
Review

Part of becoming a family (even couples) is learning how to bring together those favorite things and experiences and to make new ones. The parents have already done that on their dates but now it's time for the two girls to find their middle ground and to find things that the entire new family can to together.

 

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Six: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Review

This is the tale of a young woman saving her family after it's been infiltrated by a jumbie. Corinne La Mer is the woman of the house after her mother's death. She grows the best fruit which she proudly takes to market. It's there that she catches the eye of a supernaturally beautiful woman.

 

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Five: Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante
Review

At the heart of this story is the assumptions people in power — people with privilege make about people without. As teens, they also face parents and other adults assuming the worst because they are worried that the worst will happen. These are parents who know the odds are stacked against themselves and their children and they are desperate to keep them safe.

 

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Four: Aunt Flossie's Hats by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Review

I read the book for purely sentimental reasons. I had a grandmother nicknamed named Flossie by her siblings who also had a variety of interesting collections. While my Flossie wasn't a hat collector, a trip to her house usually involved playing with her old stuff, hearing a story to go with the treasures we found. The day ended with her making a snack or feeding us something she had made the day before. While she didn't make crab cakes, she did make an amazing shrimp cocktail.

 

 

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Three: Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley
Review

My other grandmother was a wedding coordinator and had lots to say about marriage and the wedding ceremony. She was unabashedly pro same-sex marriage and were she still living, she would have proudly coordinated same sex ceremonies. This book, while not about a Lesbian wedding, does include many interesting thoughts on being queer and on gender roles in the wedding planning process.

 

 

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Two: Ghost by Jason Reynolds Review

Castle, who calls himself Ghost, is befriended by a locally based track coach. The coach teaches him how to run competitively, he also helps Ghost deal with personal issues and to own up to his own mistakes.

 

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One: Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Review Coming

Normally these types of books make me cringe because the author fails to see things from their audience's point of view. This is especially true with recent history (whether nonfiction or fiction) written for children. What's recent for one generation is across the huge chasm of "before" for the generations that come after.

Here's a rare book that gets the target audience and gets their parents' generation. And also gets New York. My grandmother was of the mindset of the adults in the book that you don't talk about the THING (whatever it might be) that was a terrible event, a scandalous book or film, a terrible person — etc.

All of that is in this book along with believable characters who are living in their piece of fictional but very realistic New York.

 

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