Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Release Date: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Children's Lit | Young Adult
Pages: 316 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.


 Wonder has been on my bookshelf, unread, for 4 years! How do I know it's been exactly 4 years? Because I purchased it before the little bookstore I worked at closed it's doors for good. I feel like after reading this Wonderful novel that I have committed some monstrous book crime for letting this book sit on my shelf that long going unread. I am so ashamed of myself! I feel like I need to be walking down some book-plank begging for forgiveness!

Image result for walking the plank gif

Now that I've confessed, let me move on and tell you just how moving, heart-warming and truly beautiful this novel is. We are introduced to August "Auggie" Pullman, a young boy born with a facial deformity. Being somewhat sheltered and home-schooled his entire life, his parents have decided it's time for him to attend school. We are then taken on the journey of Auggie's first year as a 5th grader in a real school, with real students, and real teachers. 

There are some gut-wrenching moments when we are reminded how cruel others can be(not just children) but what shines even brighter is the kindness in others. Love is truly louder. 

What makes this book a true gem, a real wonder, is the perspectives in which the story is told. We hear not just from Auggie but some of the other marvelous characters. Auggie is not the only character that is faced with setbacks, the trials and tribulations of school, life and growing up. We hear from Via, Auggie's loving, overprotective sister. Jack Will, Summer and even Miranda, a friend of Via's who feels she has the right to claim Auggie as her own as well. 

Wonder can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Not only it is just simply a beautiful story, but I can assure you that everyone will be able to relate to or find a closeness with something in this novel. Whether you are the new kid in class, a parent who is unsure if you're making the right decisions as a parent, a sibling, friends that may be drifting apart, etc. Wonder is so colourful and you will surely find an understanding or bond with someone or something. 

What I found to be the true takeaway of this novel was the strength and kindness in Auggie. It is not a story about Auggie being an underdog, it is story about love, friendship, and growth. 

“Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world.” -Auggie Pullman

"Be kind to one another" Ellen Degeneres 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Feature: Us Kids Know By JJ Strong

"A gripping, tragic debut novel that will fascinate and trouble sophisticated teen readers."Kirkus Reviews

A risky, heartbreaking debut in the vein of The Outsiders, following a group of unmoored teens in suburban New Jersey as they blaze destructive paths and wrestle with burgeoning adolescence, ultimately committing one disastrous error that changes their lives forever.
We all knew about Cullen Hickson.
Siblings Bri and Ray O'Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Ray—bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid—wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don't really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn't really understand them either.
 When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O'Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn't know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime—from breaking and entering to grand theft auto—while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman. As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen's antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous, a series of life-changing events threatens to lead the teens down a dark path—one that could forever alter the course of their lives.

Add to your 'TBR' Pile!

About the Author: 
JJ Strong received a creative writing degree from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in English from Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in Fifth Wednesday, the Santa Monica Review, and LA Weekly. He taught for many years in the undergraduate writing program at USC, before moving to the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and son.

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Young Adult | Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal interest
Find the Author: Website

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Always keep an Exorcist on speed dial

My Best Friend's Exorcism was probably one of the most entertaining books I've read this year. I started this book just a shy of a few days after Halloween. It is the perfect book to curl up to when you're in the mood for a little spooky fun! There were a few nights I would read this in bed, completely home alone and it was a little unnerving. Every little house creak and tick suddenly became a lot more noticeable! 

My Best Friend's Exorcism is a fun blast to the past. With it's 80's references and nostalgic song choices, this book will make you want to have the most epic E.T. Rollerskating party after you're done reading it!

Grady Hendrix did an excellent job writing from the perspective of 2 female lead characters. He actually captured the awkward adolescence of teenage girls flawlessly. I related quite a bit to Abby and adored her character. The book is told from Abby's perspective and the chapters are laid out by awesome relative song choices. Trust me, you will have the most rockin' 80's playlist afterwards. 

 This book will make you laugh, cry and give you nightmares. It is the perfect package: 2 best friends. 1 being overtaken by a demon and the other willing to die trying to save her. 

"Two people were fighting to be visible on Gretchen's face."
"Hot damn!" he shouted. "We got ourselves a demon!"

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