Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

Almost didn't make it, but I desperately wanted to finish a book before posting.

Tell Me Three Things
There's something about cutesy, quirky YA romance books that get me every dang time. They're so predictable, and yet, so enjoyable. Jessie is new to her rigorous prep school in LA. Jessie is new to LA, even, having moved from Chicago to California following her dad's remarriage after the death of her mom. As she realizes that she'll never fit in there, she receives an email from an anonymous boy calling himself Somebody/Nobody. SN offers to be her anonymous guardian angel and tell her all the ropes at school, but he won't reveal who he is. Although she eventually starts to fit in, Jessie still relies on SN and desperately wants to know who he is. Although it was fairly obvious to me who SN was, it was still an enjoyable read.

The Great American Whatever
After the loss of Quinn's sister, he gives up on pretty much everything he loves--movie making, script writing, spending time with his friends. When summer rolls around, Quinn's best friend Geoff decides that enough is enough and drags Quinn out of bed, out of the house and back to reality--though a new reality for both. The details of Annabeth's death are put forth slowly by Quinn, intermixed with his own torment over how to tell his mom he's gay and his feelings for the cute new college guy who he meets through Geoff.
I really liked this book. The characters were all likable and the storylines were real, if a bit stretched at times.

Dodgers: A Novel
East, his brother, and two other gang members are sent by East's uncle to Wisconsin to kill a judge who is going to testify in a trial. East has never left the projects of LA, let alone ventured into the Midwest, so it's an adjustment, as well as dealing with his temperamental younger brother. This was a pretty amazing book, to be honest. It was a coming-of-age story in a way, but with a slightly different twist. Most of the storyline involves the journey to kill the judge, then it takes on a life of its own. I definitely found myself rooting for East who, in spite of the world he grew up in, seemed desperately to want to rise above.

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape
Have girls? Work with young girls? Know a girl? Read this book. Read it. The world teen girls are navigating now is a different world than the one in which most adult women grew up. Sexting, hook ups, nude selfies, blow jobs being the new good night kiss. It's scary, but also so important that we teach girls to advocate and ask for respect, to only do something if they want to do something--not because they're expected to--and that sex should be a two-way street. Also, of course, to teach our boys that being too drunk to really understand consent means it isn't consent and that girls aren't in existence to be pleasure givers. I had an incident at work recently where two boys came to speak to me because a female friend had her butt grabbed in the cafeteria. She urged them not to say anything, saying it wasn't a big deal, but they felt it was a big deal and they wanted to report it. I was--and still am--so proud of them, but also so very troubled by the easy acceptance of girls to things like this and that passivity is really covered in depth in this book.

The Two-Family House: A Novel
1947, Brooklyn. Two babies are born at home in the midst of a blizzard, born by the wives of two brothers who lives in the same two-family house. It is an unusual night, made even more unusual by circumstances that aren't immediately revealed. As the years progress, Teddy and Natalie--the two babies--grow to be the best of friends, while their mothers' relationship becomes strained and angry at times. This book is told from varying perspectives, from Helen and Rose, to their husbands and their children, as well. The characters, though there are many, are all well fleshed out and the story captivating. I had to put this one down at work today after silent reading time, and it was so not easy!

What are you reading?


Barb Ruess said...

Okay, now that I'm done adding a bunch of your reads to me "to read" list...

This week I read two books that I never would have picked up on my own, but searched out based on reviews from the Tournament of Books.

1. Sellout: Oh what an interesting, sarcastic (or was it) take on racial relations. Not always easy to read - partly because of the subject but partly because of the rambling narrative style - but I really enjoyed the thought-provoking perspective.

2. The Story of My Teeth: I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one but what I got was a surprisingly engaging, quirky story. And then when I learned how the book was written - I liked it even more. The author wrote the book in installments that were sent to a factory where they were read aloud on the factory floor. She then listened to their comments and suggestions before writing the next installment. The whole process and story were so curious to me and I ended up with a book that flew by.

Barb Ruess said...

P.S. I wish I could go back and edit posts to correct typos... I blame the wine ;)

Theresa Mahoney said...

Girls & Sex sounds like something every parent should read. I regularly go through my daughter's social media accounts and private messages and am shocked by what these 6th grade girls are doing and saying these days. I was worried about test scores and volleyball when I was 12, not thinking about boys. It's definitely a whole new world out there! Makes me sad that these girls are growing up way too fast.

Kelly Wolfe said...

I love reading your Wednesday posts! I seriously have already hopped on to the library website and placed holds on 2 of these books.

Lyndsay W said...

Added a few to my list - thanks! But my library doesn't have Girls & Sex soIcan'treaditohthankgoodness. Which is exactly the wrong response but.

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