Posted in 3 stars, Book reviews

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

34530151.jpgGenre: Young Adult

Date Published: February 28, 2017

Pages: 438

Source: Penguin Random House Review Copy

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. 

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My View: I kept hearing about this book on and on. So much so that as a Secret Santa last year, I gifted this book to my giftee even without having read it! So imagine my pleasure when my request to review this book was approved.

And there I had it. This beautiful book in my very hands. I kept saving it for later because I wasn’t sure I was ready for this awesomeness yet.

And then I began reading. I finished it in 2-3 weekdays. It isn’t a kind of book that will go for a slow read.

The subject matter is sensitive and I did get to know about so many of these incidents when I read through the author’s notes and googled one incident after another, apalled at the racism, the unfairness of it all.

However, as much as I am impressed with the subject matter and agree that a book on this topic needed to be written, I can’t say it lived upto the hype for me. I went in expecting amazing and ended up with an above average book. I think the problem lay in my not being the target audience. I should have let YAs stick to this instead.

One thing that kept getting in the way of my liking this book better was the 16 year old Starr who refused to behave as a 16 year old, more like 10 maybe. I acknowledge that this might have to do with cultural differences but I am not so sure about that. I wish she acted her age and then maybe my head could wrap itself around it.

I hope this book starts up the much needed conversation and helps people be more fair in their behavior and not look at everyone from racism tinted glasses.

If you like lots of drama, this would be right up your alley!

3/5 stars – I liked it.
3 stars

Author Bio:

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

Thank you, Penguin Random House for the review copy. All views expressed are my own and unbiased.

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Posted in Book reviews

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385739370

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Goodreads summary: It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry into this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

MY views: Wow – not really about the book but about the fact that I finally finished a book. Recently I have been in a phase where I keep itching to start a lot of books but none gets finished. So this was a marvel. And it does have to say a lot about the book too.

As always I never read a book blurb. Some random quirk of mine. I want to unravel the book without knowing anything about it. And it really worked for this one. Mmm, I am still reeling with the aftertaste, salty like the ocean but sweet like a drink.

A beautifully penned down book, some lines are really well written and thought-provoking. But what I loved the most was the concept of the book. So fresh, new and interesting. It was like I was on a different kind of a journey myself. A beautiful journey you tend to get lost in.

I don’t know what more to say without revealing anything about the book. I loved all the sketches in the book. Wished there were more, though. 🙂

The book has it all, there are funny lines to make you laugh, the serious bit too, and some deeply profound lessons stated with such simplicity that you don’t feel like you are being lectured because you understand the reality and appropriateness of it all. Am I making any sense? I don’t know. But the book does.

And the most wonderful part of the book, it all feels real. Nothing is bookish or made-up or fantasized, it’s all, you know like, it can happen to anybody. I guess the reality also comes from the author who sketches and backpacks and knows all about places, so she has put so much of herself into the book, it’s like you are there with the characters who, by the way, are very well defined and you know them, up close.

Wanderlove, do you know what it means? You will know when you read the book, the meaning is beautiful and apt. What a great word to coin.

I think you really have to read the book to know what it’s about and why it is so fascinatingly beautiful.

There are some lovely lines that make me shiver from inside (in a good way), like-

“I recall the rasp of charcoal on newsprint, the chewing-gum stretch of a kneaded eraser, the precarious bite of a razor blade in a new pencil. The vibrancy of fresh watercolors squeezed from a tube. A new sketchbook, cracked open to flawless white. The way the smell of turpentine made me feel simultaneously sick and excited.”

And did you know the difference between envy and jealousy? I didn’t. Here it is-

“Envy is when you want what someone else has. Jealousy’s when you also don’t want them to have it.”

Some more beauty-

“Hearing about vacations is like hearing about dreams — no one cares except the person who’s experienced them. Without tastes and scents and context, they’re meaningless.”

“What you love the most is what you have to fi ght the hardest to keep.”

You want me to make it short and sweet? Simple, go read the book!

4.5 stars – It was REALLY good.