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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



Miles Morales: 11/19/17

Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

I've been following (on and off) the Spider-Man comics since my early childhood. They were carried in our evening paper — back when evening papers were a thing. The evening paper has since merged with its morning paper rival but Spider-Man continues.

One thing comics do is kill off a long standing hero or do alternate what-if versions. Basically telling the same story over and over again for decades or finding reasons to keep a character living in real time but perpetually young or middle age or whatever age they're known for gets boring, frustrating, unrealistic, and tedious. Of course there's also the TV adage that every plot line can be recycled after seven years but sometimes you just got mix things up.

That's where Miles Morales comes in. He's Peter Parker's successor or he's an alternate version. Or or or. Frankly in the big damn scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Miles Morales is his own damn person and he happens to be Spider-Man. It works for the Dread Pirate Roberts — so why the hell not?

Now enter Jason Reynolds — a relatively new author who has rapidly become one of my favorite middle grade and YA authors. He captures the inner city, urban life in a way that is universally relevant. There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to read a Miles Morales adventure written by Jason Reynolds.

Reynolds begins his novel at a low point for Morales. He's lost or is in the process of losing his spidey sense. He feels burned out and is ready to just go back to being a pretty much the only black teenager at this prep school because he's on scholarship. Except now he's been suspended and it looks like he's been framed for sausages from the bodega where he works (as part of his scholarship).

On top of all of that, his Spidey-senses seem to be working only in the one classroom he hates most. Miles has a history teacher that is right off the plantation. He's intentionally baiting Miles through micro aggressions and setting him up for expulsion.

Admittedly the teacher as antagonist or even supervillain, isn't a new concept. Adult mentor — especially elderly mentor — as monster or alien, isn't a new concept either. But here's it's presented in the form of institutionalized racism. It starts with Miles being told by all the adults among his kith and kin telling him about that one person in their high school career who made their life a living hell. They're doing it to show him that yes — what he's going through isn't a new thing and that he'll probably get through it like they did.

But then — a pattern emerges. That was different. Obvious but different. It was a fun twist on a type of story that's been done before. It was a chance to play out the idea of what if monsters or paranormal entities or whatever were taking advantage of colonialism and racism to harvest victims unnoticed and unpunished?

Suffice it to say, if Jason Reynolds writes more Miles Morales adventures, I'm there.

Five stars

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