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Month in review

Reviews
Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
Armstrong and Charlie by Steven B. Frank
Bad Housekeeping by Maia Chance
Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Bow Wow by Spencer Quinn
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
Farm Fresh Murder by Paige Shelton
Field Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez
Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch
Ivy by Katherine Coville
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue
Lumberjanes Volume 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson
Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
Mrs. Saint and the Defectives by Julie Lawson Timmer
Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
My Dirty Dumb Eyes by Lisa Hanawalt
Otis by Loren Long
Our Hero by Jennifer L. Holm
Outside In by Jennifer Bradbury
Queen and Country Volume 1 by Greg Rucka
Smarty Marty Steps Up Her Game by Amy Gutierrez
Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle
We Are the Engineers by Angela Melick
Winnebago Graveyard #3 by Steve Niles
A Woman's World Tour in a Motor by Harriet White Fisher
Wrong Side of the Paw by Laurie Cass Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 06)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 13)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 20)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 27)
October 2017 Sources
October 2017 Summary
Reading Goals for 2018

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



Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish: 11/30/17

Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch

How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch is the third of the Hereville books. It opens with Mirka and her parents returning from the hospital, Mirka newly born. Then it fast-forwards to the present where Mirka is told to babysit her young half sister because her stepmother has to run a quick errand out of Hereville before the Sabbath starts.

As Hereville is a Jewish Orthodox town, that means, among other things, no driving once the sun sets on Friday until the sun sets on Saturday. It comes down to a no fire (no taking the easy route to do things, when the mind and heart should be preoccupied on God and the Torah.

Mirka, it's been established through previous books, doesn't feel like she fits in the restrictive community of Hereville. She doesn't feel cut out to be the sort of fruma (pious woman) her stepmother is trying to teach her how to be.

What this book does is fill in the blanks to explain where some of that resentment comes from. Mirka's family are first generation residents in Hereville. Even, the very traditional stepmother was raised moderne. But something happened in the past to inspire Mirka's family to move to Hereville. I'm not entire sure how old Hereville is — even though it's on the edge a magical forest (where a troll, a witch, and now we learn, a magical fish live).

The magical fish is like a djinn, in that it grants wishes and all the wishes have consequences. What's different about this magical creature is that the unfolding of this book's adventures is a shared responsibility between Frieda and Mirka and her half-sister. One could argue none of this would have happened if Mirka had listened to her stepmother and stayed out of forest. But the fish wouldn't have been as dangerous as it has become if young Freida hadn't tried to use a wish against the fish.

The flashbacks are handled through a magic hairband, loaned by the witch to Mirka to help against the fish. The hairband is actually a portable time loop and in a logic all its own, shows Mirka the past but doesn't allow her to interact with it.

The previous two volumes were more like parables dressed up in adventure fantasy comics. While there are still lessons here, the stakes are much higher for everyone involved in this book. In one way or another, Mirka, her half-sister, and their mother nearly lose their lives. They literally lose everything. It's one of the highest stakes fantasy plots I've seen in a while that felt genuine, surprising, and real without being melodramatic.

Five stars

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