Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Radius of Us, by Marie Marquardt

When Gretchen and Phoenix first see each other, she is terrified by his resemblance to a stranger who attacked her and left her changed forever. Phoenix is a Salvadoran refugee seeking asylum after horrific gang violence drives him and his younger brother to flee, and he is stung by her reaction, which cements his feeling that he is an outsider who can never belong.
But Grace seeks Phoenix out later to apologize, and the two begin a tentative friendship (and later romance) as they help each other navigate the treacherous terrain of healing.

The Radius of Us does a great job balancing serious issues (PTSD, anxiety, gang violence, immigration issues) with the more familiar day-to-day teen issues of breaking up, falling in love, and being a good friend to your friends. The larger challenges that Phoenix faces (fleeing gang violence, seeking asylum, trying to be reunited with his brother who was detained as an unaccompanied minor) are addressed with realistic sensitivity. This book has a lot to offer for readers of all interests.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

I really like the book. I think people who haven't read it should read it and I would rate the book a 7 or a 8 on a scale from 1-10. ~ Posted by Mia, 9th grade

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dear Martin and The Hate U Give

The issues of police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system have been in the news continually over the past few years , and two recent books deal with the experiences of African-American teens in the shadow of the search for justice. Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, both feature a high-achieving protagonist in an affluent, mostly-white high school who is forced to reckon with the realities of race relations in America when their communities are rocked by the police shooting of a young black man. In Dear Martin, Justyce's quest to emulate the nonviolent strength of Martin Luther King is upended by his own undeserved run-in with law enforcement, while in The Hate U Give, Starr becomes an unwitting witness and needs to decide how (or whether) she will stand up.

Both books portray complex characters making challenging decisions against the backdrop of friends and family with very different experiences, and a society that views their struggle as either false or not worth a protest. Each brings a different perspective to an essential topic, while also bringing a gripping, well-told story. Highly recommended.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

You Bring The Distant Near, by Mitali Perkins

Starting in the 1960s through the present day, this book follows three generations of Bengali women and their personal journeys of growth. Every woman is complex in their hopes and dreams for themselves and for their families, and how those dreams change as circumstances change. The conflicts between sisters, or between mothers and daughters, when those dreams are in conflict, are very realistic and speak to changes in society as a whole. Ranee, the mother and then grandmother, is happy in an arranged marriage and traditional in her goals for her daughters, who are in turn more rebellious in how and where they find love and life fulfillment, and who raise their own daughters still differently. You Bring The Distant Near manages to interweave cultural pride, assimilation, social critique and family love into one very readable, page-turner and tear-jerker of a story.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

5 stars.
Scarlett O'Hara, a southern belle, becomes stuck in the Civil War trying to save herself. She ends up getting married a few times, all the while pining for another, and the mysterious Rhett Butler chasing after her. Don't let the length scare you! It's such a great read, you'll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what will happen next. The characters are refreshing, because of their flaws and human personalities. Definitely recommend!!

~ Posted by a Homestead junior

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Reviews of Banished and The Tragedy Paper

A girl with healing powers was running away with her aunt, brother, and dog from evil people who has visions. The story is exciting and intense. It involves killing, fire and guns, which makes the story more nerve wrecking. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who like reading books that has good and evil in it.
A boy is going to his senior year. He found out a set of tapes in about an albino boy's story of his first love and how things happened in the albino's senior year. I would recommend this book to people going to their junior or senior year, because you might relate and learn something from it.

~ Reviewed by a Homestead senior

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

None Of The Above, by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above caught my eye just for the title, I saw it sitting on the library shelf and  remember thinking about the title. I was so happy I picked it up, because this book will leave you on a high of happiness for the rest of the day. It is so positive and shows us all that now matter what our chromosomes are we should all love each other regardless. This story follows high school student Kristin Lattimer or Krissy, starting out right around Homecoming for their school where Krissy thinks that everything in her life is fitting into place. But then she is diagnosed with AIS, or intersex and her life is suddenly turned upside down. (Intersex is when you are born with both male and female body parts, though intersex people can appear outwardly as a girl or as a boy. It is part of the LGBT+ community). Kristin now has to figure out how to navigate through her life discovering this new part of her and what new paths and ways to take in her life in and out of high school. 

I really liked (loved, even) this book because it was so diverse. This is the first, and only book I have picked up and fully enjoyed about the topic. It has amazing representation and the author is a doctor, so there was also a blend of doctor facts but the book did not overuse the medical facts and information. A side note is that the author also uses the older more unknown term hermaphrodite, which was done away with because it seemed like a more hurtful term, but in this case it is being reclaimed. Which I thought was pretty awesome and super cool of the author. (Although some characters do use the term with a more negative connotation). I really like that it explored the beauty in being intersex and being you. I also want to mention there are a few scenes in which Krissy is outed but I loved that there were people there to support her and help her. 

There isn’t really much I disliked about the book, this book is really amazing and I am so glad it was written. I wish there were more books like this and hope for more books alike to come. I would recommend this book to anyone honestly it was so captivating. You become captivated with this world and what happens to Krissy. This book gets a five out of five stars from me not only from it being diverse but it was just so positive and amazing and a truly awesome and funny story to read. I do still wish that there was another book coming as a sequel, but I still love it and will remember it forever.

~ Reviewed by Alexi V.