It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/6/15

With equal doses of nonfiction and young adult fiction this week, I am one happy camper. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme, and the kidlit version is hosted by Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Here’s some of the books I’ve recently finished:

Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere: A Memoir by Poe Ballantine

Love and Terror

I was first introduced to this book because the documentary was showing in town. Opening night was Halloween…talk about freaky considering the topic.

Several years ago in Chadron, Nebraska (the college town that I just graduated from) a professor from the college (remember, the one I attended?) went missing. The professor was missing from December until the discovery of his body in March. His body was found bound to a small tree and charred, making the body nearly unidentifiable. However, the tree he was tied to had no sign of burning whatsoever.

Suicide? Murder? Poe Ballantine explores the freakishly disturbing and still-open case in his memoir of his time in Chadron. After reading the book, I can’t make sense of it. I don’t think the professor killed himself, but I don’t think he was murdered either. Even after reading the facts about the case, I still can’t draw a conclusion. Disturbing and eerie are the perfect words to describe it. I found myself seriously scared while reading this book.

I loved reading about an area where I grew up. I’ve been at the local stores and landmarks Poe describes. Several of my professors are also featured characters in the book. While the book focuses more on Poe’s life, the documentary focuses more on the town of Chadron and the case of the missing professor. I highly recommend both, but be ready to scratch your head at this puzzle.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

yaqui

Although I’ve been obsessed with reading new books, I took a moment for a throwback with this title. While the cover screams boy book, the actually story is geared more towards girls. As it turns out, Yaqui Delgado is a girl who bullies Piddy, also a girl, until she cracks.  

After having recently read Gabi, a Girl in Pieces, I kept comparing the books. There are many similar themes and characters, but Gabi is a homerun and Yaqui Delgado is just a base hit.

Primarily, I was disappointed with how the plotline panned out, and I think the title of this book outshines the book itself. I guess when you title a book “So-and-so Wants to Kick Your Ass” I’m expecting something…more. More edgy. More in-your-face. More something.

March: Book Two by John Robert Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

Photo Jun 19, 4 43 10 PM

After March Book One left on such a cliffhanger, I was excited to pick up Book Two. I enjoyed Book Two more because the flashbacks weren’t as confusing. In Book One, the current John Lewis is in his office with children as he tells the story of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Also, there are flashes to Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Three different storylines were a bit too much for me.

Whereas, Book Two only has two storylines: the Civil Rights Movement flashbacks and the inauguration. It is streamlined a bit to create less confusion for readers. However, I still got the feeling of “information overload” with the introduction of characters. Yes, the graphics helped me keep them straight, but there are so many characters I couldn’t keep up with it. Regardless, for the same reason I read Book Two, I’ll read Book Three.  

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Rumble

A lot of edge with a bit of plot twist makes for a through-and-through Ellen Hopkins book. I was so disappointed when I didn’t get a free copy of this book at NCTE, so when I saw it at the public library, I nabbed it.

Although the ending of the book was more predictable than her other books (the true plot twist occurs in the middle of the book), I still enjoyed reading this free verse novel. Somehow Ellen can create such relatable characters that I empathize with and wind up loving, but then I am crushed when they make poor decisions, “wrong” decisions in my eyes. Always an emotional rollercoaster, Hopkins still tops my list of  favortite ya-lit authors.  

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