Showing posts from 2018

We'll Fly Away - Bryan Bliss

Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.

But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling.

This book is a lot of things. It is difficult to read, but it is worth reading for some many reasons. Bliss's narrative is like a well-intentioned punch in the gut (if that makes any sense... it does to me...)
We'll Fly Away is about love and family, hopefulness and hopelessness, friendship and sex, crime and consequences. Above all,…

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend. Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable. But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
As I finish the last sentence and the loose pages of the bo…

Morris Finalists and Prediction!

Each year I try to read as many of the Morris Finalists as I can and make a prediction about the winner. So here we go!

This lineup is incredible, not only because of the impressive range of topics being explored, but also because of the fact that the authors themselves are so diverse and each comes from such a unique background. I've read four of these and, unlike some other years, I am having a heck of a time making any predictions.

I know it would be easiest to say THUG will win, simply because of the impressive amount of accolades and the sheer number of weeks on the NYT Bestseller list. But as with so many awards that include much-hyped books, the accolades can sometimes (even subconsciously) act as a deterrent in awards processes. But I love the book and would love to see it get further rewarded.

At the same time, I would love to see Saints and Misfits get some love since it's part of the first year of publications coming out of Salaam Reads, and the book itself is phenomen…

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground - Rita Williams-Garcia

Clayton feels most alive when he’s with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and the band of Bluesmen—he can’t wait to join them, just as soon as he has a blues song of his own. But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton’s mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that’s no way to live.

Armed with his grandfather’s brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.

This book is brief, but with a lot of emotional depth and the expected moments of tender-hearted, childhood honesty that Williams-Garcia is known for bringing to the page. Clayton and his grandfather, Cool Papa, get along very well, and Clayton feels more connected to him than his mom or dad. His mother is not a fan of their relationship though, having had her own compl…