Books Read in September 2022

Picture Books

The Waiting Place: When Home is Lost and Not Yet Found
Dina Nayeri  and Anna Bosch Miralpeix
Read for Librarian Book Group

This is a photo-illustrated story of a few of the many children who live in refugee camps in Greece. I wasn’t on board with the camp itself being personified, but I really appreciated the photos. What a talented photographer!

Berry Song
Michaela Goade
Read for Librarian Book Group

Berry picking in Alaska with a Tlingit grandmother and her granddaughter.

Middle Grade

My Own Lightning
Lauren Wolk
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book picks up not long after the events of Wolf Hollow and some of the writing assumes that the details of the first book are fresh in readers’ minds. There are some glorious sentences and a solid redemption plot. It also seems a best-case scenario of being hit by lightning.

Attack of the Black Rectangles
Amy Sarig King
Read for Librarian Book Group

A very nuanced look at classroom censorship and busy-bodying in general. Excellent characters, a razor-sharp plot, great discussions about protecting boys while slighting girls, and a very A.S. King-type plot about Max’s dad.

The Language of Seabirds
Will Taylor
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book is drenched in emotions and we’re right along with Jeremy as he spends two weeks with his father at the beach (the Oregon Coast, expertly rendered without pointing to any specific beach town) while his mother moves out of the family home.

I loved the language of seabirds and Jeremy’s feelings about a boy he might like.

Young Adult

Saint Anything
Sarah Dessen

Sidney’s life changed because of her brother’s choices. As her mother puts all her energy into her brother’s prison sentence, Sidney attempts to make a new life. There was a lot of really good unfair parental choices on which to take umbrage on Sidney’s part for.

How You Grow Wings
Rimma Onoseta
Read for Librarian Book Group

Since the number of YA books set in Nigeria is slim, this provides a window into that world. This is more of a character-based study that follows two sisters for a time. As with most character-based novels I read, I found it to ramble and to be unsatisfying.

The Weight of Blood
Tiffany Jackson

A near-perfect homage to Stephen King’s Carrie, but this time set in a small southern town with separate proms: the white prom and the everyone else prom. This main character is half-Black and raised by her white father, who passes her off as white.

Transcripts from a podcast about the tragic event Maddy was involved in are interspersed with omniscient third-person viewpoint to dig in on the details.

I’m a big wimp who doesn’t read horror, but my love for Tiffany Jackson’s writing kept me going through this scary book. I did wonder if it would have been better to mention Carrie in the book? It seemed odd that no one in the town was familiar with that particular prom horror story.

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
Read for Librarian Book Group

A great window into an Orthodox Jewish community. I found the overall plot arc to be rocky in a first-book sort of way. I look forward to the author’s next book.

Keeping the Moon
Sarah Dessen

This book was published in 2004 and with it comes the idea that being 45 pounds overweight makes you grotesque. The main character felt that way and nothing in the story ever called out that feeling. So that part hasn’t aged well. Other than that, this was a standard Sarah Dessen story: summer, outsider, learns something, finds cute boy to love.

The Truth Project
Dante Medema

A novel in verse (and text messages) about Cordelia’s senior project that exposes her to the fact that her father is not her biological father. Many interesting things happen as she wades through the fallout.

This is Why They Hate Us
Aaron Aceves

Books about bisexual teenage boys are in short supply and this is a welcome addition to the LGBTQIA+ canon. Enrique’s summer of exploration rambles, but is engaging throughout.

Grownup Fiction

Beach Read
Emily Henry

Two writers, two summer houses next to each other. The premise was great: romance writer finds out her parents amazing marriage wasn’t what she thought it was. That, combined with undergraduate co-lust-ees reunited, made for great reading.

Young Nonfiction

Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama
Loree Griffin Burns, Ellen Harasimowicz
Read for Librarian Book Group

A photo-illustrated exploration of a beekeeper and the honeybee rescuer who moves a bee colony that has swarmed.

Grownup Nonfiction

How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing
K.C. Davis

Davis helps people who have problems completing care tasks (the term she uses for cleaning and chores). This is a kind and gentle approach to keeping house: renaming, stripping things down to the basics, realizing that cleaning is not moral and that not cleaning is not immoral. The author includes a five-point plan for cleaning every room that I quite liked. The book is designed to be read by people with ADHD. I found the more inclusive font to be hard for me to read. This is worth checking out if you go through periods of inability to get house and personal care tasks done.

The Curve of Time
M. Wylie Blanchet

Blanchet’s essays are about her time exploring the British Columbia coast in the 1920s and 1930s when she and her five children lived on a 25-foot boat. Her observations about the Indians (her term—the book was published in the early 1960s) are not great. At the time of publication, “killer” whales were not the orcas that we know today. Those things didn’t play well with my 2022 sensibilities. What does work are her lyrical and amusing descriptions, her small-space living before that became a thing, and the wonder of exploring with no firm plan and many children, some rather small.

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