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American Road Narratives: Reimagining Mobility in Literature and Film by Ann Brigham
Author: A True Story by Helen Lester
The Big Roads by Earl Swift
Bull by David Elliott
Chopping Spree by Diane Mott Davidson
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
Giant Days, Volume 4 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar
Hannah and the Homunculus by Kurt Hassler
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson
I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
I Say Tomato by Katie Wall
Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
Jem and the Holograms, Volume 3: Dark Jem by Kelly Thompson
The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Mayday by Karen Harrington
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography by Tim Fitzharris
Needled to Death by Maggie Sefton
Noragami Volume 03 by Adachitoka
Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi
Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski
Tip of the Tongue by Patrick Ness
Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Tru & Nelle by G. Neri
The White Road of the Moon by Rachel Neumeier

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 03)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 10)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 24)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 31)
June 2017 Reading Report June 2017 Reading Sources

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



The White Road of the Moon: 07/29/17

The White Road of the Moon  by Rachel Neumeier

The White Road of the Moon by Rachel Neumeier is a YA fantasy set in a kingdom on a peninsula, blocked at one end by mountains and otherwise surrounded by sea. Imagine if you will, San Francisco and San Mateo counties without the rest of the Bay Area.

At the southern end of things near the ghost town of a once booming city lives Meridy and her aunt. She's about to be sold into a terrible apprenticeship because the aunt is tired to being responsible for her niece for many different reasons, including her ability to do magic and talk to the dead.

Meridy sets out on the road that leads to the northern end of kingdom to find her own fortune in life. Along the way she has many adventures and ends up helping the royal family. At first glance it sounds like a mixture of Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg, Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey, and Alanna: The First Adventures by Tamora Pierce. Maybe because of the timing and the seaside village that Merdiy likes to frequent, I was also reminded a bit of Moana — except that it's a quest by land instead of a quest by sea.

But there are problems with this motif heavy book, namely the usage of light and dark, white and black. Witches in this book are the only people who have black eyes, regardless of whether they are good or bad — but to many non-witches in the book, black eyes are things to be afraid of. Second, Meridy spends a lot of her time wishing she were light skinned and normal looking like the people to the north. The repeated white / light = good and dark / black = bad mythos got wearisome quickly

If this book were starting in the north, where perhaps Meridy was an immigrant in a racist society, who decides to leave the town for better things, I would have let her desire to have blond hair and blue eyes a pass. But she's leaving a village where, sure, she's gotten a very good education (somehow despite her running into wealthier people who know little to nothing of the world they are living in) to go to the north where the big cities are. She's purposely going to a place where she will stand out, where it will probably be dangerous for her, because it's a glamorous place — it's the normal place.

Imagine instead that Meridy decides to leave the haunted slums of the north to head to the countryside. Along the way she meets more and more people like herself and realizes that all the self hatred she has is part of her screwed up society. It would be a chance for character and world building, as well as social commentary.

One star

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