The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm is a truly fascinating sci-fi set in Africa. Talk about fabulous worldbuilding! It’s surprisingly accessible and gives us only a little “weirdness” at a time so we have time to acclimate.
Interesting how this almost absurd world can seem so plausible. Why is that? Not just the details, but the confidence with which they’re presented. The author isn’t arguing, isn’t trying to convince the reader. The POV character takes his world for granted, even, which makes the bizarreness seem mundane. Fabulous.
Fab description on page 66: “It was ten o’clock at night. The vast city of Harate was spread out like a jeweled sea. Traffic lights blinked at the tops of buildings. Busses, taxis and limos swarmed through the skyways, patrolled by cops in night-black cars that reflected no light. They were like patches of moving darkness in the rowdy, noisy traffic.” Delicious.
How, with all these POVs, does it stay Tendai’s story? It does but I want to dig into it later and see how it does.
The plot twists and turns—then the line on pg. 296, “Because with courage, you weren’t afraid to look at the truth. You weren’t afraid to ask questions or do the right thing.” One of my favorites by far. This book deserves further study. Mental note made.
Caroline B. Cooney’s A Friend at Midnight is one I picked up on a whim Friday afternoon. Obviously, since it’s only Monday now, this book was a quick and engrossing read. It’s the charming (ahem) story of a little boy abandoned at the airport by his father and rescued by his older sister. It’s about the elder sister’s struggle with keeping her brother’s secret. Overall, I’d say the book was annoying and refreshing and gripping and disappointing and meaningful.
What Jamie Saw is the story of a boy and his mother fleeing an abuser. The first chapter is heartbreaking and poignant. Coman chooses a close 3rd person but incorporates a distinct narrator voice—mature, respectful (similar to the Ramona books but less optimistic). So the voice...
Looking for Alaska is easily one of my favorites from the MFAC booklist. Even though I’ve grown a little tired of the forced-funny, self-deprecating voice so ubiquitous in contemporary ya, and tired of a protagonist who stands there going “um hum” while everyone else gets the great one-liners. But here...
S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders. Amazing. Hard to believe this novel was written by a teen. What trumps all here is a sympathetic protagonist and a strong storyline. Hinton can get away with...
In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 14-year-old Arnold (Junior) Spirit fights racism and his tribe’s anger as he tries to escape the alcoholism, depression, and death of life as a reservation Native American. I can see why this book received so much attention.
Forged by Fire is gripping! And excruciatingly painful to read. A few thoughts: I’m not sure if I bought...
Seriously, An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 was entirely fascinating. Like brain porn or something. I love medical weirdness and plagues and boils and gross stuff. So this book had me from the title.
Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood crafted a moving introduction. The importance of keeping a family story alive. I wonder, though, if this story would have more power in a different format?
Tuck Everlasting. I first read this in upper elementary when I was in a special "advanced" reading class where I got to spend the English hour on the beanbags in the corner and read my way through Newbery classics.
Bronx Masquerade. I’m torn on this book. My first impression was that the voice was good but not as good as Tyrell by Coe Booth, and that the book was a yawner. I couldn’t get into the world, couldn’t “see” it. I had that first problem, the seeing, all the way through even though I later found that the book was not a yawner at after all.