This week was filled with many books that either caught my attention or served to keep me occupied during my late night moments of insomnia. Even with Easter weekend I still managed to find some time to curl up and binge read three books this week. When I say binge read I mean that I sat down and read each of these in the span of two hours, so yay for six hours of reading this week.
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
Keeping on the track of reading about different disabilities this book deals with two Special Education students as they learn to function after graduation. Biddy was born with a birth defect, and is unable to read or write. She also isn’t always able to keep track of (or understand) what’s going on. Then there’s the outspoken Quincy, who may not be able to write, but she will sure speak her mind. The two couldn’t be more different, but they also couldn’t be a more perfect match.
Pros: Wow a very eye opening book. The story deals in detail with what it means to be considered stupid just because your brain doesn’t work the same as everyone else. It really focuses on those with mental disabilities and what they go to try and fit into a world where everyone else tells them they are different. Biddy and Quincy are so different, but they have to learn to work together, share chores, and ultimately trust each other. This book has so much to do with friendship, respect, and what it means to be human. A sort of spoiler the book does touch on the subject of sexual assault, and to be honest it pissed me off the ideas that were put into these girls’ heads since they were different, and yet, it opened my eyes to how often the events in the book can actually happen.
Cons: The first half of this book was so slow. It took me forever to get into it, and I almost invoked my reader’s rights and gave up. Even though I’m glad I stuck with it, I really only loved the second half of the book (if that’s possible). The bad guy was your stereotypical creepy guy, and the plot was slightly predictable at times. I think this is why I hated the first half so much.
The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Meyers (Book Club friends there are spoilers ahead)
Let’s see. I’m not even sure how to describe this book. It honestly messed with my head in so many different ways. There is mystery, a little fantasy, and thriller all mixed into one, and my word it’s done beautifully. The book follows Jocelyn who receives a letter from her brother, Jack, who is supposed to be dead. Jocelyn teams up with a childhood friend, Noah, and revists her childhood in order to solve the clues and find Jack before it’s too late.
Pros: This book keeps you on your toes. If you like books that take you on several twists and turns, and you never know what’s coming next then this is the book for you. I didn’t even see the ending coming (and yes I’m still trying to figure it all out). Jocelyn spends a lot of time in her past mostly describing what it was like to be in and out of foster homes, and what it means to live with abusive parents. This book deals heavily with psychology, and it really makes you think. I’m not really sure what else to say, but that I really loved it.
Cons: As much as I loved the ending I felt like they tried to resolve everything too fast. Every twist is thrown at you in one chapter, and honestly I needed more time to digest it all. I wish all the information had been a little bit more spread out. Other than that I loved this book, and if it fits your interests I would highly suggest reading it.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
The third book I gulped down this week was actually my least favorite of the three. Sure it hooked me in, but there were definitely a few things missing. It’s Friday night and Rashad just wants to grab a pack of gum and some chips. Next thing he knows he’s being accused of stealing and a police officer is pummeling him. Quincy, sees the event happen, but the officer is his best friends older brother. What do you do when you are caught in the middle of it all? In an age where police brutality and racism are heavily discussed this books comes in as a way to help navigate it all.
Pros: Rashad is African-American and while he follows every rule he is still treated badly. Rashad is forced to look at the facts and decide whether or not he wants to do something or just stay quiet. He also has to work through how is race somehow impacted the police officer’s decisions. Quincy also has a lot to work through. He has to decide whether to do the right thing, especially when doing it could cost him everything. The two journeys help the reader think about what it means to act up and not just sit back and watch.
Cons: While there was plot to this novel there also wasn’t a plot. The book drug, and I felt like nothing was really resolved by the time it finished. Of course the boys have made their decisions, but I wanted something more to come of it. I think this was just me being optimistic and hoping that a book would somehow do something that we haven’t been able to do in real life. I guess that’s what makes this book so great is that it points out we have a long way to go, but each of us has a choice to do the right thing.