I was shocked to see that this book was a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist. Not because I didn’t think it was deserving, though, but because I was shocked it didn’t actually win! Shane Burcaw’s self-deprecating sense of humor and unwavering positivity in the face of adversity have already garnered tens of thousands of readers for his blog [laughingatmynightmare.tumblr.com], so it comes as no surprise that the book has also been universally well-received. Continue reading
You may have noticed that I am doing daily reviews this week, as opposed to my typical weekly post, and that is for several reasons. First of all, I have a lot of book reviews to catch up on! Secondly, school vacations are the perfect time for tweens and teens to read for fun, and I wanted to help out the people who might want/need extra suggestions. Last but not least, I realized that I was inadvertently on a roll with books that took place in summer… Since I still have a few more books that fit the bill, I decided it would make sense to keep with it and to help us all escape the winter blues, one book review at a time. :-)
Ever the sucker for a cool book cover, it only took one glance at this book for me to decide I *had* to read it. The fact that I loved Winger, also by Andrew Smith, certainly didn’t hurt. I have to admit, though, that I had a hard time getting into this story at first. Perhaps I was just too tired to “get it,” since I do most of my pleasure reading at bedtime, but I felt myself getting kinda lost in the beginning. It reminded me of how I felt when I read The Marbury Lens — which makes a lot of sense, considering the fact that Andrew Smith also wrote that book. In the beginning, there were a few moments where I thought to myself, “Wait! Was that supposed to be the ‘real’ Finn or the character [also named Finn] from his dad’s book?” In hindsight, I guess it may have been written like that on purpose, since Finn often felt trapped in his father’s story, but it made me feel a little crazy not to know what was going on! Fortunately, things got less confusing and everything fell (more or less) into place by the end of the story.
I read this book in early fall, but I felt like it would make a good January post. You know, with people making New Year’s resolutions about living their best lives and all? After almost losing my father in September, this book really resonated with me. I know it sounds super cliché, but both my real life experience and this book reminded me of just how short life can be — and how often we waste our time and energy on things that don’t even truly matter. Sometimes, you just have to say “F- IT!” Continue reading
I don’t know if this makes me crazy/strange, but I just HAD to hold off on reviewing this book so that it could be my 666th post! What better way to celebrate this milestone than with a book with a modern day grim reaper on the cover? ;-) (Sadly, it seems that my WP dashboard and the message I got after posting my last review disagree on how many posts I’ve previously posted… so this could potentially be my 667th post, but I’m just gonna pretend it’s my 666th post anyway!) Continue reading
As I was reading this book, I laughed out loud so often that my son — who normally “tunes out” the rest of the world when he reads — actually found it distracting to read in the same room as me. He kept asking me, “What’s so funny?” And, though I explained that I didn’t want to stop to share every joke that made me laugh, I offered to start over and read the whole book aloud. He declined the offer because he was determined to finish the book he was already reading, but I think he may go back and read it himself because he loved the passage I felt compelled to read aloud (about Henry’s wish list of weapons with which he could have protected himself). Continue reading
Leila was just a random girl in a red car who was driving across the country (from Louisiana to Alaska) to see the Northern Lights. But, to the people who she met along the way, Leila was also a huge help. Well… Her interaction with Hudson could actually be construed as less than helpful, but she definitely helped the rest of the people she met along the way! I like how the story was broken down into five distinct sections, like short stories, since the other characters that Leila interacted with didn’t cross over at all. These adventures were five different episodes in her life, if you will. I also appreciated the fact that, though the interactions were life-changing for the people she met, Leila often left feeling just as lost and confused as when she first arrived. I mean, it just felt so much more genuine to me that Leila *didn’t* have all the answers. Because, who does?