Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Time to Move Along

It's been a pleasure to blog here on Blogger, but the time has come for me to try other platforms.

I hope that those of you that have come to follow me will continue to do so at my new blog, still titled The Hermit Librarian, now hosted over at Word Press.

Thank you again for following and watching as I've learned how to format reviews and participated in various memes. I look forward to continuing to review and continuing to improve in the future!

Please see my new blog for future new entries: The Hermit Librarian

Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Rating: 4 Stars

I've been told to read this for so long and thank the Oreo Gods that I finally read it! My husband actually read it ahead of me and liked to tease me as I gasped and reacted to various scenes throughout the book.

I loved all of the nerdy references that Becky Albertalli weaved into her story. They didn't feel superfluous, which can be such a pain in the rear. If they're shoehorned in, then if feels like I'm being patronized and I hate that.

The cast of characters were wide and varied. Some I loved and some I wanted to flick off the page like a stray piece of confetti.

Martin wasn't exactly a villain, but I certainly disliked him a whole lot, especially with the crap that he pulled. The obvious thing is the blackmail that is alluded to in the summary, but there's more and I tell you, I wanted to throttle this kid. I don't know that I ever really understood him. He was blackmailing Simon for a date with some girl he barely knew. What has to be wrong with you to make you think that blackmailing someone is the answer to anything? Plus he got overly defensive at one point in the book even when the girl he supposedly had a crush on told him that it was alright. He seemed to be the type of kid that has a white knight image of himself, but that image never holds up as he well finds out.

Alice, Simon's older sister, was a great girl, but her story line was minimal and felt forced, like we were supposed to think there was something more to it than there ended up being.

I'll admit that I was trying to guess Blue's identity for a good portion of the book because why not? There were some false leads but by golly I did it and I was so happy that it turned out to be who I thought it was. I know very much want to see this book as a film just so we can see this hidden romance blossom. Would it convey well on the screen? Would people who had never read the book see it coming?

And three cheers to Blue for braving the Tilt a Whirl for Simon. That's on the same level as a roller coaster for me and believe me, sir, I get it! 😲

The pacing in the first half of the book was a bit slow, but things picked up as the play that Simon was involved with began picking up speed, as he began exchanging more emails with Blue, etc. I listened to the first half on Audible and I commend Michael Crouch for embodying the characters pretty well.

There were scenes that I loved and I will admit that I squealed aloud a couple of times. I loved when Abby and Nick took Simon to the bar and he accidentally picked up a college kid. I loved when he was talking to Nick and the other soccer kids (because REASONS!). I loved the moments that he and Blue have after they officially meet/start dating. Each moment is precious and you can see it like they're delicate moments hanging in the air, memories that slowly solidify into a hug, a kiss,

The only thing keeping this book from a full five stars is the pacing in the beginning because it made me doubt whether I wanted to finish the book. I'm glad I finished it, though. It was a great book about Simon's LGBT+ experience and I was thankful to read it because it felt authentic and not overly dramatic or rose tinted. I look forward to more books from Becky Albertalli because she had a good feel for the voices of her characters and gave to us, instead of strokes of keyboard, fully fleshed people that we can visualize as living breathing people standing before us and living.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: George by Alex Gino

BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not....

Rating: 5 Stars

I'm glad that I could start the year off with a 5 star read. I think that bodes well!

George tells the story of a young girl who knows she's a girl, but lives with the fact that those around her see her as George, a bright boy but a boy nonetheless. She knows who she is, so why does no one else? The chance to show them comes when her class is to put on the play Charlotte's Web.

This book has been on my list for awhile now. I've wanted to read more LGBT+ books, particularly ones that deal with younger subjects because that seems to be a age group that I don't see represented much in fiction; it's mostly teen subjects, which is fine, but reading this book about a 10 year old realizing her identity and going through the beginning steps of transitioning offers a perspective I haven't seen yet.

I loved how Alex Gino presented George with George's proper pronouns even before George comes out to anyone. It legitimizes her identity when no one else seems to.

Kelly, George's best friend, is a very good friend. I am not sure how realistic she is, but I think that for the sake of this story she was very necessary. It's never mentioned, but I wonder if she had any experience with being teased or bullied for who she was because she's mixed race? That's how I saw her from context clues, at least. Anyway, she is good for George because she accepts her for who she is and doesn't question it once George states it. It's explained and she accepts it.

I loved this and also want to use it as an example for a lot of arguments in the future. If children can figure this out, how the heck are adults having such a hard time with it?

George's family was a mix of support and fear, which I think was more on the realistic side. I understood this, even if I wasn't happy about how some of those characters were acting. It was understandable and real, so again, a big thanks to Alex Gino. They didn't seek to sugar coat George's experience, which I appreciated.

The ending was wonderfully written because while there were good moments, there were loose ends tied up, not everything was resolved, not really. This isn't really an end for George, who chooses to be called Melissa before the end, it is just the beginning. There is an experience at the end that shows just how much joy she has ahead of her and while the road will be tough, I hope Melissa holds that moment in her heart and remembers that she has friends and family around her as she grows into a kind and generous young woman.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.