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Beast & Crown by Joel Ross
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam
CatStronauts: Space Station Situation by Drew Brockington
Demon, Volume 4 by Jason Shiga
Feathertop by Robert D. San Souci
14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop
From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle
The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg
Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott
Lights, Camera, Middle School! by Jennifer L. Holm
The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds
The Losers Club by Andrew Clements
The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green
Murder on the Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman
Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes by Booki Vivat
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Paper Girls Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Red Leech by Andrew Lane
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Ripped From the Pages by Kate Carlisle
The Scarebird by Sid Fleischman and Peter Sís
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 25 by Rosamund Kidman Cox

Miscellaneous
2017 books read and reviewed
Back Half round-up: Favorite books read and reviewed from July-December 2017 Canadian Books reviewed in 2017
Diverse Books Reviewed in 2017
First Book of the Year Graphic Novels Reviewed in 2017
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 04)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 11)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 18)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 25)
Mysteries reviewed in 2017
Road Narrative Summary
November 2017 sources
November 2017 summary

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish


From Ant to Eagle: 12/19/17

From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle

From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle uses an opening tactic that I normally dislike, but here it's necessary. It opens with the first person protagonist telling the ending. Calvin Sinclair tells us up front that his brother is dead and feels responsible. He goes so far as to say he killed his brother. The remainder of the book is the last few months of Sammy Sinclair's life but how he died and what, if any, Calvin's part in it really was, is what gets answered.

I feel it's necessary here because Sammy's death isn't a way to escape the consequences of it. Nor is it a way to avoid writing the ending. Rather, the book is about recognizing when a loved one is ill and learning how to live with them and love them and support them when they are critically ill. It's also about coming to terms with the harsh reality that not all diagnoses are the same and that it's okay to feel resentment when someone else gets a better one, but eventually you'll need to move on.

The novel is written by a pediatric oncologist. So that's your big clue as to what kills Sammy. It also means that the details of Sammy's illness and decline aren't done haphazardly. His cancer isn't there for drama or melodrama. This is more of a slice of life book, set in the 1990s, that happens to be focused on how cancer affects families.

The set up to the story is the Sinclair family moving to London, Ontario. Although they were originally from Toronto (which is about ninety minutes or so away, assuming good driving conditions), London might as well be on a another planet. It was also one of the areas we were thinking of moving to (albeit it very briefly as we pretty quickly settled on Kitchener). So although Calvin begins his book also having to explain where London is and how sick and tired he is of people assuming he means London, England — I knew right were he was.

The rural town setting is also important because it gives an opportunity to see how other families of different backgrounds deal with pediatric cancer. One of the people Calvin meets is a Mennonite teenager who has been living in the hospital, completely separated from his huge family for a variety of reasons. The compromises his parents have to make to give their son a chance at recovery are vast and heartbreaking, even though their son's chance of survival is better than Sammy's from the very beginning.

The author currently lives and works in Calgary, Alberta.

Four stars

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