I haven’t been reading as much as I wanted to for the past month or so. No, that’s not quite right. I’ve been enjoying other media. I want to get through more books, but I haven’t been in the right head space. Instead I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. But I did still cross a few books off my list while I was taking a break from blogging. My book blog is woefully behind, but I will eventually be putting reviews of these books there.
The first one I finished was Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland. This is the follow up to Dread Nation. In a lot of ways, I feel like this book was even darker than the first. It deals a lot with trauma and PTSD and the emotional aftermath of the violence that filled the first book (and this book is equally violent). I really love the way the series ended, which still leaves room for follow up books without feeling unresolved.
Monday’s Not Coming was a gut punch from beginning to end. Claudia is twelve when her best friend goes missing. Worse, no one seems to notice or care. Even her parents don’t believe that Monday’s missing.
I can’t say much more without giving anything away, but this book deals heavily with mental health and abuse. While it was excellent, it’s not the type of book anyone can just pick up and read.
10 Things I hate About Pinky is, as you might expect, great for fans of 10 Things I Hate About You. I really love the character dynamic, and much as I am not a romance reader, fake dating is one of my favorite tropes. It was so funny, but also had a lot of emphasis on parent/child relationships and family.
I was a huge fan of the Dear America books in middle school, so I was thrilled to learn that there is now a series of Dear Canada books. The first title I found was These Are My Words, which follows a First Nations girl who is sent away to residential school in 1966. The residential schools were notoriously abusive, so I was curious to see how a middle grade book would handle it and…it didn’t. While written by a First Nations woman, the main character stumbled in and out of dangerous situations without ever understanding the consequences of her actions or exactly what the danger was. Her main quarrel is with the English language and the variable ways of spelling (which, same). I’m not sure if this was a decision on the part of the author or the publisher, but considering DA has produced books about the Holocaust, Civil War, and Spanish Flu that didn’t shy away from the hard topics, even if it handled them delicately for younger readers…I thought it was disappointing.
Still, I am currently reading another Dear Canada book, A Desperate Road to Freedom which is about an escaped slave and her family traveling north to Canada and the welcome they find in Toronto. I’m not far into it, but so far I’m liking it a lot better than These Are My Words.
I don’t think I’ll get a lot of reading done the rest of the year, but each of these books has been valuable to me in their own way, and I think most of the narratives have been highly relatable, often dealing with rejection, solitude, conflicts between family and friends, and other issues that are not race-specific, which is one of the points I wanted to make when I started this reading challenge. We all experience the same emotions, even if they are expressed or triggered by different things. We are all human, and I think these books really highlight that.
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