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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



Outside In: 11/11/17

Outside In by Jennifer Bradbury

Outside In by Jennifer Bradbury is historical fiction about the Chandahar sculptor, Nek Chand. It's told from the point of view of a street boy, Ram, and was inspired by the author's time as an English teacher.

Though Ram lives on the streets and has to use his wiles to stay alive and provide for himself, he is oddly ignorant of his culture. He seems to spring into being on the first page with no past and no sense of self beyond that first page. He is basically a blank slate for Nek Chand to rebuild in his image — and it's off putting.

There's a lot going on in this book — a city still recovering from partition. A city in the middle of an economic boom — but not one that reaches everyone. There are still marginalized people scraping together what little they can — like Ram. And there are people who are trying to make the city a more beautiful place with their limited means, like Nek Chand.

While Nek comes across as a flesh and blood character firmly living in his time and place, Ram never really gets there. He is just there to be a conduit between the historical figure of the artist and the present day reader — presumably an upper elementary or middle grade aged American child. It's an unsatisfying disconnect.

Three stars

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