Books Read in April 2022

Middle Grade

A Song Called Home
Sara Zarr

If Lou’s mother’s life was a book, it would be a romance novel, and if that were the case, this book would pick up just as Lou’s mom got her Happily Ever After. Lou’s mom has a new husband and Lou has a new stepfather, a new school, and a new house. She’s been shaped by the years her alcoholic father was around and she’s being shaped by the fact that he’s not around anymore.

More so with most books, I felt every bit of Lou’s feelings. Where they came from, where they lived in her, how long they lingered. This is a long book for a middle grade novel, and it is one I think adults shouldn’t pass by.

Sort of Super
Eric Gapster
Read for Librarian Book Group

There’s a lot to like in this middle grade graphic novel about a kid just getting used to his superpowers. He’s got a smart younger sister who is fun too.

Young Adult

August and Everything After
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

A summer at the beach—the version where the main character is escaping something. I loved the way this book captured getting wrapped up in making music in a way that solves the problem. There was also a great plot about loving a person whose life circumstances provide roadblocks to the relationship. This felt like a very honest book, and I like that.

All My Rage
Sabaa Tahir
Read for Librarian Book Group

Perfect. Worth the long wait.

Ain’t Burned All the Bright
Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffith
Read for Librarian Book Group

A poem that is richly illustrated. This book reminds me of the book of one drawing for every page in Moby Dick.

From a book reading perspective, this book is heavy enough that it was hard to hold, even for the brief read.

With You All the Way
Cynthia Hand

A middle child of three sisters story. One of my favorite things. Also a favorite: the quest to lose one’s virginity. Plus, it’s set in Hawaii.

My Contrary Mary
Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The usual fun setup of historical figures, fantasy elements, and sprawling romance. Characters from an earlier book make an appearance, which is always enjoyable.

Kiss and Tell
Adib Khorram

Hunter is part of a boy band and the only gay member. When his ex-boyfriend posts information about their sex life, Hunter’s life gets more complicated.

Told from Hunter’s point of view, and through a collection of online articles, scripts from videos, and emails between the band’s handlers, this is an excellent meditation about the pressure we put people who are young and also famous.

One of the things I’m hoping that will come out of this period of social media culture are realistic expectations of famous people. This book is a step in that direction.

Grownup Fiction

We Ride Upon Sticks
Quan Barry

This starts out strong, what with the collective narration by a girls field hockey team, the evocative 1989 setting, and the strong narration. (Not to mention that one girl’s claw—the curled big bags that were popular at the time—is a regular contributor to the story)

But it lost steam around the midpoint. Perhaps a deep dive into 11 different players made it sloggy, or perhaps the evocative 1989 setting turned into one too many references. By the time when we got to the in-the-future wrap-up chapter, I was thoroughly annoyed that every single one of the team was either very successful (as in rich) and/or famous.

Still, such a strong start! Perhaps you will like it more than me.

Grownup Nonfiction

The War of Art
Steven Pressfield

Pressfield offers a way to think about creativity. He outlines the resistance and charts a path to get yourself through.

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