Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On

 

Check out guest contributor Kristy Elam’s reviews of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On! Kristy is an avid reader, former English teacher, current tutor and book editor, and a life-long learner. She is married and the mother of two amazing boys. She loves Harry Potter, Stephen King, own voices stories, and dystopian novels.

Fangirl: A NovelCarry On (Simon Snow Series)Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series)

I read Fangirl years ago, well before this blog, so I can’t give you a “first time” review. However, after reading this gem the second time, I can easily say I loved it even more. I was introduced to Rainbow Rowell’s books via an online book club, and I was skeptical. Her works sounded too cute for me. My first of hers was Eleanor & Park, which dealt with difficulties like bullying and a difficult family. I quickly realized there was more than “cute” to this books. My next book was Fangirl. And as much as I loved Eleanor & Park, Fangirl will always be my favorite of hers. I’ve read dozens of coming-of-age stories, but the main character in this one, Cath, really just captured my attention. She’s off to college, separated from her twin, Wren, and really struggling. Cath and Wren write fan fiction. But Wren has a new roommate and the divide between the twins is growing, much to Cath’s horror.

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Queer YA: Patrick Ness’s Release

ReleaseIf you haven’t read a book by Patrick Ness, you are really missing out. He is one of my favorite authors, and everything I’ve read from him has been a hit, including Release. I’ve previously reviewed one of his books More Than This review  but I cannot recommend his Chaos Walking trilogy enough. Published the same years as The Hunger Games, it was a pioneer in the modern young adult dystopia genre and is FINALLY getting a film adaptation. I plan to reread the series next year. He also wrote A Monster Calls, which is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. You might have also seen the very well done movie. So, anytime a Ness book comes out, I clamber to get my copy. Continue reading

Queer YA: Laurel Wanrow’s Guardian of the Pines

Guardian of the Pines (The Windborne Book 2)Every once in awhile I invite guest contributors to review for Raise Them Righteous. This review of Laurel Wanrow’s Guardian of the Pines is by Sean Farrell, a lecturer of English at the University of Texas at Arlington. I hope this won’t be his last contribution!

YA fantasy can sometimes feel a bit same-y: a chosen one goes on a quest and defeats a great evil, perhaps finding love along the way. Laurel Wanrow, in Guardian of the Pines, inverts or flat-out ignores many of these familiar tropes, leading to a unique fantasy adventure that feels like a breath of fresh air. Continue reading

Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman’s “Jacob” Books (2014; 2019)

Jacob's Room to ChooseJacob’s Room to Choose (2019), by Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman, reintroduces readers to Jacob, the protagonist of their 2014 children’s picture book Jacob’s New Dress.

In Jacob’s New Dress the protagonist shares his desire to wear a dress with his parents. They take a little convincing but are quite supportive; in fact, Jacob’s mom helps him sew a dress. Jacob does deal with bullying when he wears his new dress to school, but his best friend Sophie, a supportive girl who reappears in Jacob’s Room to Choose, stands up for him. Continue reading

ARCs

One of the best things about book blogging is having access to Advanced Reader Copies of amazing books through NetGalley and, more directly, from authors and publishers. I am currently reading two amazing books for middle-grade readers, but I think both will be enjoyed by audiences 12 and up.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

The first, Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky will spark curiosity and excitement about African and African American folklore. It needs to be in every 6th grade+ classroom.

Tristan is a well developed complex character who young readers are sure to admire. He is brave even when he is scared and loyal even when he is annoyed. Mbalia’s descriptions of settings and artifacts are cinematic. I’m a reader and rarely think a book must be made into a film but this book must be made into a film. I want to see this movie. I want to see Tristan and Gum Baby and Brer Rabbit.

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The second, Lindsay Lackey’s All the Impossible Things, uses subtle doses of magical realism to allow readers to access the protagonist, Red’s, inner thoughts. Red’s mom is in prison and she is bouncing around from foster home to foster home… so far. I’m only a few chapters in but felt compelled to declare my love!!

 

More on these books soon!