I wasn’t able to make up the books from last week (yet), but I was at least on track this week! Here’s what I read
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: October 6th 2015
I don’t want to say a lot about this one here. I’m doing a reader vs. reader feature over at TSU. It’ll be posting the first couple of weeks of Decembers, so I’ll be sure to link back then.
When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:
Joseph almost killed a teacher.
He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.
He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.
What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl.
Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.
But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.
Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 8th 2015
This was a rather sweet story for the most part. It does feel a bit weird saying that since it was between a 15 year-old and a 19 year-old, but nothing actually happened and it was portrayed in a kind of innocent/sweet way. It was more about Maggie coming to terms with who she was and how she felt. The art work just didn’t work for me. It’s not horrible, but not a style I really like.
Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Release Date: September 29th 2015
This book is…intense. In a very, very good way. It’s timely topic that hits right where it hurts. The amount of passages I have marked is unreal. This is the book for my book club on Tuesday, so, I plan to come back and talk more about my and their thoughts.
Two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galuzzi, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.
Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave by Shyima Hall, Lisa Wysocky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 21st 2014
I guess I decided that this week I didn’t want to hold back any punches. I’m trying to read more non-fiction. Shyima’s story is heart-wrenching, but it wasn’t that engaging. I felt for Shyima, but wasn’t emotionally attached to her or her story. Nonetheless, it was great read to see inside of child slavery and what Shyima had to overcome both in slavery and once she was freed.
Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt’s capitol city of Cairo to live with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima’s servitude—but her journey to true freedom was far from over.
A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.
Death Note Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Release Date: October 10th 2005
I know, I know, my manga/anime cred is much lower admitting I haven’t read this series yet. However, I am not and I can see why it’s so popular. I love the cat and mouse game that has started and how smart it is. I’m sure the next couple of volumes will make their way into next week’s read pile.
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, a death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?
Servamp Vol. 2 by Strike Tanaka
Series: Servamp # 2
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: June 16th 2015
I still have no idea what is happening in this series. I don’t know why, but I’m having a lot of trouble keeping the characters and storyline straight. It’s like there’s just too much going on for me to fully enjoy it. However, I can see the teens liking it, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with the series beyond this volume.
When a stray black cat named Kuro crosses Mahiru Shirota’s path, the high school freshman’s life will never be the same again. Kuro is, in fact, no ordinary feline, but a servamp: a servant vampire. While Mahiru’s personal philosophy is one of non-intervention, he soon becomes embroiled in an ancient, altogether surreal conflict between vampires and humans.
Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto Vol. 1 by Sano Nami
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: August 4th 2015
This manga wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t awesome either. There’s not really any storyline going one, which may be why I’m not completely on board yet. The set-up is intriguing though, so I’ll give it another volume or two before I fully set my opinion in stone.
First year high school student Sakamoto isn't just cool, he's the coolest! Almost immediately after starting school, he began attracting everyone's attention. The girls love him, and most of the boys resent him. There's even a boy in the class who works as a model, but who is constantly upstaged by Sakamoto!
No matter what tricks the other boys try to play on him, Sakamoto always manages to foil them with ease and grace. Though Sakamoto may seem cool and aloof, he helps others when asked, such as in the case of the boy in his class who was being constantly bullied. No matter what difficulties Sakamoto encounters, he moves through his high school life with confidence and class!