Book Club Returns: The Hate U Give

Now that I have settled in to motherhood a little bit, it is high time to bring back the Young Adulters Book Club! I am really looking forward to taking a deep dive into books again and discussing them with all you fine book club members.

So without further ado, I give you our May book selection:

From Goodreads:

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.

Given the current state of the world and the issues that are receiving tons of attention, this should be a timely and important read. I can’t wait to talk about it!

Also, it is a popular book so if you need to put a hold on it at your local library, do it sooner rather than later. I will post the discussion at the end of May. Happy reading. 🙂

PS. Find the other book club posts here.

Book Club Returns: The Hate U Give

November Book Discussion: Bone Gap

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Oh man, you guys, I think this is my favorite book that we have read for this book club. There were just so many things to love about it: themes of inner vs outer beauty, male and female power, magical realism, beautiful prose, fabulous characters. Really, I could go on and on. Do you get the point that I loved Bone Gap?!

So here we go, diving into the November discussion. This is my second last audio discussion before the baby comes! Crazy pants. Hope you guys enjoy it. Remember to leave your comments below and check back to see what other readers thought!

Quick summary:

  • themes of external vs internal beauty
    • all the men who think Roza owes them something because she is beautiful and get upset when she doesn’t want them
    • Finn’s prosopagnosia and how it relates to his relationship with Petey
      • Isn’t that what love is, seeing things that others can’t?
    • how Sean respects her wishes and that automatically puts him on a different level than the other men she has encountered before
  • all the ways in which people leave: Didi, Hugh, Petey’s dad, Roza
  • Finn and Sean’s relationship
  • the magical realism elements were limited but pretty seamless, except for the random horse riding through weird, magical worlds, which I thought was a bit strange
  • the beautiful, beautiful prose that created such a rich and wonderful atmosphere and setting

(Remember, December’s book selection is If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. You can find the other Young Adulters Book Club posts here.)

November Book Discussion: Bone Gap

October Book Discussion: The Knife of Never Letting Go

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Happy Halloween! Let’s jump right into it, shall we? Without further ado, the October book discussion for The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. (It starts off a little awkward, like I’ve never done this before, haha.)

I think this one has the potential to be fairly divisive, and I am really interested to hear what you guys thought about it. Don’t forget to check the box that will send you an email when other people post here, so that we can respond to each other!

Also, remember that November’s book is Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. Do you have your copy yet?

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October Book Discussion: The Knife of Never Letting Go

October Book Selection: The Knife of Never Letting Go

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I was going to make you guys read another horror/supernatural thriller novel for October – tis the season – but then I was reminded that not everyone likes that stuff as much as I do, so I decided to keep those for myself and go a different route. (I do have some great seasonally appropriate recommendations, though, if you are interested!) We actually ended up with a four-way tie in this month’s poll; I recruited Bryan to be the tie-breaker. He chose The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which I am quite excited about as it has been on my list (the one in my head) for ages. Admittedly, I was really excited about all the options, so it would have been impossible to disappoint me!

From Goodreads:

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

That summary doesn’t even begin to touch on the elements of gender politics that have seen the book compared to The Handmaid’s Tale (!!!) and that I am salivating to delve into. This should be another meaty read with lots to discuss, and I can’t wait to get into it! I hope you guys are excited, too. Happy reading. 🙂

PS. Find the rest of the Young Adulters Book Club posts here.

October Book Selection: The Knife of Never Letting Go

September Book Discussion: Dumplin’

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Hello, hello, and welcome to the September book discussion! For this edition, I brought in one of my very best friends and one of the most intelligent people I know, Alex Luterbach. Several notes:

  • The sound is, once again, not fantastic. I am still working on figuring out another way to record these conversations.
  • There are two (gasp!) swears, including an f-bomb. So be aware of that if you are listening at work or around children.
  • If you are interested in doing one of these book chats with me in the future, let me know!
  • When you leave a comment, make sure that you check the box to have a notification email sent to you when someone else comments on the post. That way, you can come back to the post to respond to other people’s thoughts. 🙂

Without further ado, our discussion about Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.

 

Vote for October’s book selection here. I will announce the result Thursday morning.

September Book Discussion: Dumplin’

September Book Selection: Dumplin’

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Coming in with a full 75% of the vote, September’s selection is Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. I am so excited for this one, guys! I have been reading a lot of books lately about body positivity and fat positivity and this is just supposed to be an incredible read. (PS. Read “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls” by Jes Baker if you haven’t already. It’s a (non-fiction) revelation.)

From Goodreads:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

***

As always, feel free to post any thoughts you have while reading on this post, and if you want to get caught up on our past discussions, go here.

September Book Selection: Dumplin’

August Book Selection: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

The votes are in and our book selection for August is The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. This should be an interesting read, with, I’m sure, some difficult situations and themes. Can’t wait to dive in! Have you picked up your copy yet?

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid’sAnnie John and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl – and society’s ideas of race, class, and beauty.

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Feel free to share your thoughts here while reading. 🙂

(Find the rest of the Young Adulters Book Club posts here.)

August Book Selection: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

July Book Discussion: Nimona

Yay, this is the first time that we are going to try out the new format! Be gentle, I don’t have much (haha, any) experience with this kind of thing, so forgive the weird long pauses (I was trying really hard not to say “um” and “er” a whole lot!). I would love to hear what you think about the new format (love it? hate it? ambivalent about it?), if you have any suggestions for making it better, or if you want to scrap it completely. And of course, most importantly, what did you think of Nimona?! Comment below! <3

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Summary of points covered in audio discussion:

  • A simplistic concept with on-the-nose character names (Goldenloin and Blackheart, seriously?) led to a surprisingly layered story about morality.
  • Blackheart’s morality is generally reserved for heroes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Clark Kent; our first hint that he was going to be our actual hero, not Goldenloin or the Institute and in contrast to Nimona’s apparent love of destruction.
  • In my opinion, Nimona wasn’t just a monster. She wouldn’t have loved Blackheart if she was. She was being the monster that she had been made into.
  • Class issues were brought up several times in the story but it felt heavy-handed and unnecessary to me because it never really went anywhere.
  • Gloreth = girl power, rah rah!
  • I find fight scenes in comics so hard to follow. 🙁
  • Goldenloin and Blackheart just set aside their years of fighting and were totally fine? Hmm.
  • OH! And I forgot to mention one thing completely! Thoughts on whether or not the girl at the end was ACTUALLY Nimona or if Blackheart just wanted it to be?

See the rest of the Young Adulters Book Club posts here.

Vote for August’s book selection here.

July Book Discussion: Nimona

July Book Selection: Nimona

This month we are doing something a little bit different! Our book selection is a graphic novel, which I am really stoked about; there are some truly phenomenal stories being told in this medium and I’d love for us to explore them a little more. So in that vein, our first graphic novel for the Young Adulters Book Club is Nimona by Noelle Stevensonyoung-adulters-book-club-becoming-jessica-nimona

As well, as I mentioned in the June book discussion post, I am going to be experimenting with a new discussion format this month. Carlia had a great suggestion to do a live cast where everyone can participate, perhaps on Facebook Live or Periscope, and then post the audio on the blog afterwards for others to interact with and post comments, etc. I haven’t quite ironed out all the kinks yet but I will be sure to let you know when I do!

As always, happy reading and feel free to post any thoughts you have during that process here. 🙂

July Book Selection: Nimona

June Book Selection: The Lies About Truth

With 60% of the votes, this book won by a (tiny) landslide. It sounds interesting and I am excited to get my copy from the library. Hopefully it is a bit more of a crowd-pleaser than the last one. 🙂

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As usual, feel free to post your thoughts and feelings and reactions on this post while you are reading, just be sure to mark any spoilers clearly so people can avoid them if they want to. Perhaps consider indicating which page you have read up to so everyone else can determine if they are where you are or not. 🙂 Happy reading!

June Book Selection: The Lies About Truth