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Month in review

Reviews
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe
Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions by Chloe Rhodes
Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase
Classified as Murder by Miranda James
The Clue at Black Creek Farm by Carolyn Keene
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
Giant Days: Extra Credit by John Allison
The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Ice Witch by Joel Ross
It All Comes Down to This by Karen English
Kraken by Wendy Williams
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh
Lost and Fondue by Avery Aames
Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City by Will Mabbitt and Ross Collins
Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
The Million by Karl Schroeder
Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
Paradox in Oz by Edward Einhorn and Eric Shanower
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Restart by Gordon Korman
Running With Lions by Julian Winters
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
Weather or Not by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Miscellaneous
Cybils Update (October 16)
Cybils Update (October 23)
Cybils Update (October 30)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 01)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 08)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 15)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (October 22)
September 2018 Sources
September 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FFCC99: Orphan Uhoria Labyrinth
FFCC33: Orphan Uhoria Blue Highway: A comparison of The Sentinel and Three-Quarters Dead
FFCC00: Orphan Uhoria Interstate: The Polar Express, Waiting for Augusta, and Winterhouse
FF99FF: Orphan wildlands cornfield
Road Narrative Update for September 2018

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


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Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish: 10/26/18

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya is set in the summer before Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Marcus Vega is tall for his age and he's taken on the role of protector at school, putting himself between the bully and his victims. All that comes to a head when the bully goes to far and Marcus breaks his nose.

Marcus was defending his younger brother's honor. The younger brother, Charlie has Down's Syndrome. He is otherwise a delightful boy who loves Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and has a Willy Wonka hat. But to bully (a rich white kid as bullies often are) he's an easy target.

Marcus and Charlie's mother who works long hours at the airport decides what she and her boys need more than anything is time away from home and a chance to reconnect with family. Although their dad isn't in the picture, he has family in Puerto Rico and it's them that they visit.

Marcus, ever hopeful, sees the trip as a chance to reconnect with his father. Most of the trip is spent trying to track him down, to get the adults in his family to talk about him. It doesn't go well but he does eventually get the answers he needs, even if they aren't the ones he wants.

Meanwhile, Marcus is documenting his journey with a borrowed camera, loaned to him by a friend at school. It is really through his photography that he is able to meditate on his situation and re-contextualize it.

As it happens this middle grade novel fits into the road narrative spectrum project. It's a 336666: family, home, offroad. The trip to Puerto Rico allows the Vegas to reconnect with extended family and as a core family unit. As Marcus was born in Puerto Rico, it is a chance to return to his original home and learn about his roots, even though he doesn't speak Spanish. Finally, as main journey is via an airplane (coming and going), it's an offroad journey.

Five stars

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