Two Books in the Gender Secret Series

OK books 2 & 3…kind of blended together because I read them back to back in less than three days.

In Book 2, Violet and Viggo reconnected in The Green and came upon Ms. Dale and some Matrus bad guys (gals?) … and they found another egg. And Violet found her brother. And some bad things happened. Also, new characters were introduced. Thinking about it like this, a lot happened. There was a lot of running and fighting and fear and stuff. Very fast-paced.

Book 3 was much slower. Viggo was unconscious for many, many chapters and there were a lot of interpersonal relationship types of things and just going about our day discussing issues rather than doing anything about them. And then, BAM – the last couple of chapters kind of exploded all over the place. The twist at the end was an interesting twist. I wondered if that was what would happen when Ms. Dale was confused about Desmond’s behavior and loyalties.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Book 4 (and 5 and 6.)

(PS. I’m getting a little tired of the Matrus vs Patrus, misandry vs misogyny stuff, lol.)

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

I’ve seen a few of Dr. DeGruy’s videos over the last 10(?) years and every now and then someone mentions her book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome on a blog or Facebook. When I saw it mentioned in January I decided to read it.

I reserved a copy via ILL (Thanks College of William and Mary for letting me borrow your copy!) and expected it to be a slow and painful read. It wasn’t slow at all and it wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected it to be because Dr. DeGruy covers topics I’ve heard about before or that I already believe to be true.

There are a couple of places where I really wish this had been a book that had an editor rather than her self-published thesis. For example, when she talks about AA women who are abused by men who are abused by women, I suspect she lost a lot of women (and some men) and never got them back. I think an editor would have been able to help her make her point more effectively.

As for the basic premise of the book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome — I think it’s a definite possibility. Nature vs nurture etc. People who grew up in poverty have a different relationship with money, with food, with “things,” and sometimes with people than those who did not. Those who grew up with child abuse or domestic violence have a different relationship with money, with food, with things, with people than those who did not. (You could go on… survivors of the Holocaust, survivors of Vietnam, etc.) Yes, people CAN overcome those things — they vow to do better than their parents, be better than their parents but when you add systemic racism to the mix, well that’s something else entirely.

I can definitely see the possibility of PTSS.

Very interesting book.

The Book of Ivy

First in a post-apocalyptic fiction YA series, The Book of Ivy wasn’t too bad. It was slow in parts, particular Ivy’s character development. It was too quick in others, particular in Bishop (he was what he was and that was that.)

It almost felt like a book two that was created primarily to set up book three. Everything that (slowly) happened, happened just to get Ivy (and I assume Bishop) to where they are at the end of the book. Period, that’s it. I would like to read book two but … it’s not available in print from my library, and it’s certainly not worth buying. I’ve put it on my TBR list, should I ever find a way to get a print (or audio) copy… it may be a long wait.

Save Me a Seat

From the 2016 Cybils shortlist, we listened to Save Me a Seat on audio. It’s a short book, told from the perspectives of two very different boys — one who grew up in New Jersey, and another who grew up in Bangalore and both find themselves outcasts at Albert Einstein Elementary. One who is very smart (an IQ of 135! lol) and one who has an auditory processing disability so people often assume he is not smart.

On audio, having two separate voices tell each boy’s story was a nice touch. An even nicer touch was the glossary in the back of the book. You’d think, being white Americans that you are (or I am), that there would simply be a glossary of Ravi’s “unfamiliar” Indian words. But nope, Joe’s “unfamiliar” words are there, too.

Kids who are struggling with bullying or self-esteem should read this. Or, anyone who needs a refresher in why there’s more to a person than meets the eye or a reminder that giving up is not an option should this one.

The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Practical Magic and the only problem with this darn book is that I can only barely remember Practical Magic. I’m either going to have to get a copy at the library next weekend or find a way to watch the movie.

Highly Illogical Behavior

Huh. I thought Highly Illogical Behavior was a Cybil. It’s not. It’s very Cybil-like. The writing is good. The characters, I really liked (though Lisa made me angry from the first page.)

Anxiety + Severe Panic Attacks + Some OCD = Agoraphobia and Solomon hasn’t left his house in more than three years. There are a whole lot of problems with this book but it didn’t matter. I liked the characters enough to overlook everything else, (even all of the Star Wars Next Generation chatter), and ended up enjoying the book a lot.

Full of Beans

I really loved Full of Beans. It’s a Cybil from last year that explains how Key West went from being a dead, bankrupt town during the depression to a must visit tourist destination — and a 10 (?) year old boy tells the story. It event touches on the leper colony that was in Key West at the time, and handles it beautifully.

(TW was not quite as thrilled with the book as I was. I don’t know what her problem is, except that she doesn’t like children’s fiction. Speaking of which, I think it’s categorized as middle grade fiction but it feels pretty young, to me. So better for younger good readers or older reluctant readers.)

Reading in January

January is always such a good month for me. If only all months were like January…

16 total
11 were written by women and 1 of those was a woman of color.

4 were Cybils
1 was a graphic novel
1 was audio
10 were YA, Middle Grade or Children’s books
2 were non-fiction

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

Another Cybil from last year, In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse was good. It read younger than I expected it to, so if you have struggling readers – this would work for them.

I liked the relationship between Jimmy and his grandfather and the journey they took together. I wish there’d been more connecting the dots between Jimmy’s situation at school before the journey and his growth after the journey but that would have made the book more complex and I think the author wanted to keep it an easy read.

Rebel of the Sands

I thought Rebel of the Sands was a Cybil. Turns out, it isn’t. If I’d known that, I probably wouldn’t have read it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it — it was fine. The problem was that I didn’t really like Amani until close to the end. I also found it a little repetitive in places — the book needed a better/different editor, I think.

This is the first book in a series, I doubt I’ll read the next one.