Category Archives: contemporary

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

wasnt-meDespite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association put forth a resolution in 2009 stating that “there is insufficient evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work,” there are still numerous facilities and therapists that claim they can “cure” homosexuality.  It breaks my heart and makes me angry, in equal measure, when I hear about teens being sent off to so-called conversion therapy camps.  To put it plainly, I find the notion that GLBTQ people can/need to be “fixed” is simply horrifying.  I recognize that some people’s religious views are the reason they don’t condone homosexuality, but I reject the implication that one’s religious beliefs can or should be forced upon anyone else.  Though some some places [California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C.] have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors, I am appalled that so many states haven’t stepped up.  Hopefully, books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me and The Miseducation of Cameron Post can help to open people’s eyes and to bring about further change. Continue reading

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

accelerationSome people are confused by the fact that I can’t handle “scary movies” but am so intrigued by novels and biographies about serial killers.  During my freshman year of college, I actually scared the student assistant at my college library.  He asked which class required me to watch so many A&E Biography specials about serial killers and I answered, “It’s not for a class.  I just think they’re interesting.” He shoved the movie across the counter and practically ran into the back office.  When I returned the next week, he was nowhere to be found.  Fortunately, we met through a mutual friend a few months later and figured out that we recognized each other because he was the AV guy at the library and I was the “creepy serial killer girl.”  I was able to elaborate about how my interest was piqued during a high school psychology class and that viewing habits were based purely on curiosity.  (Up until that point, apparently, he had been worried that I was a serial killer in training or something like that… Oops!)
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Fault Line by C. Desir

fault-line The most obvious audience for this book is people who have been directly affected by sexual assault.  I think this book could help both victims and the people close to them with processing their feelings and seeing that they are not alone — especially friends and family members of rape victims, since there aren’t many books about the guilt, shame, and helplessness they often experience.  One of the most important audiences for this book, nevertheless, is the general population of adolescents and young adults.  Sadly, many people aren’t even sure what constitutes rape, and I think reading this book would be an excellent way to broach the subject with adolescents and young adults as a part of a comprehensive sex education program.  Fault Line provides an opportunity to explore and discuss the concept of consensual sex vs. rape and also provides some valuable insight into some common, yet widely varied, reactions of victims of sexual assault.  Though there are some people who complain that there are “too many rape books” out there, I disagree.  Each one provides a different perspective into what is still a very big problem in our society.  Perhaps if Laurie Halse Anderson‘s Speak weren’t so relevant almost 20 years after it was first published, I might think those critics had a leg to stand on. Continue reading

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlCath was not just a Simon Snow fan.  She was an über Simon Snow fan who actually had followers of her own.  How?  Cath wrote fan fiction.  More specifically, she wrote Simon/Baz fan fiction.  And her story, Carry On, got tens of thousands of hits every time she posted a new chapter.  While I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Cath entered college with the intention to be a fiction writer, I was interested in how she struggled with creating stories all her own even though the fan fiction flowed so easily for her.  And even more than that, I was impressed by how wholly I found myself being absorbed into Cath’s everyday life and her struggle to adjust to the new realities of her life as a college freshman.

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Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

soul-enchiladaThis story had a little bit of everything.  The whole enchilada, if you will.  (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist using that pun!)  But seriously.  This story had drama, action, fantasy, humor, sports, and a love story all wrapped up in one.  Fans of books like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Croak will definitely want to check this book out!   Continue reading

Monument 14 [series] by Emmy Laybourne

Monument14Sorry I never posted a review last week.  I had every intention of finding a few minutes to post a review  but… well…  I was on vacation and I was just having too much fun with my family!  ;-)  We spent the week in NYC and did a variety of cultural, educational, and just plain fun stuff.  Every day was exhausting, but my son insisted that we still make time to read at least a chapter every night before we crashed at the hotel.  As much as I enjoy reading with my kid, it was a little creepy — because we were reading the dead & the gone, which is all about post-apocalyptic NYC!  And because we were reading that book, it reminded me that I had to finish the Monument 14 series (another post-apocalyptic story) when I got home.  So, I decided that would be the subject of my first post back.
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The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

tragedy-paperThis is another one of those books that I just cannot imagine reading from an actual book because it worked *so* well as an audiobook.  Although the plot is not even remotely the same, this audiobook actually reminded me of Thirteen Reasons Why because it had one narrator for the main character and another narrator for a person who left behind a recording.  I’m not sure what this says about me, but I really enjoy “listening in” on these recordings and the reactions they invoke from the main character!  ;-)  Continue reading