Friday, August 16, 2019

Review: The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything is a story of loss, love, terrible coincidences and enduring friendship. Robyn Schneider's quiet and engaging book is about Ezra Faulkner, who once had it all and lost it, but now must face school and life again.

Ezra was a star tennis player. In this world, tennis players are even more popular than football players and Ezra was the top of the heap. He had the most popular girlfriend, went to all the right parties and was one of the guys all the way. One night before the book even begins he is injured in a traumatic accident in such a way that he loses all his friends and his ability to play tennis. 

We meet Ezra just as he's recovering and going back to school for his senior year. He's lucky enough that a former friend who he became too cool for in the past is willing to take him into his group. And, that group includes an exploration of the world of the debate team and a mysterious new girl who captures his imagination and his heart. 

What I loved about this book:
  • Ezra is smart and his internal dialogue is fun and engaging
  • His new friends are also intelligent and their banter brings you into their world
  • Ezra has a physical ability to manage and it's easy to connect with him as he deals with new limitations and frustrations as he adjusts to it
  • Cassidy, his love interest, is complicated and nothing is quite what it seems in her world, which keeps you guessing
The popular kids can feel a little stereotypical and the concept that the tennis team is more popular than the football team is different from most midwestern high schools I know about. But, overall, this story is one you don't want to miss. It will give you all the feels from beginning to end. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Why I read

When I watch TV, I am observing a world, but when I read I am in the world. It's me casting spells and hunting horcruxes. My adventures in the spy world are many. The mysteries I've solved raise the hairs on the back of your neck. I've dated a vampire, fought for my life in a field of teens and conquered the old west. I've been any manner of magical being, all kinds of criminals and every level of royalty. 

I have seen the universe in the crisp white pages of a book-- from Europe, to the Moon, to the inside of a small boy's body. My travels span thousands and thousands of years, millions of pages, decades in the future and eons into the past. I've befriend lions, lived in rugged mountains, danced at weddings after the apocalypse. 

Every page is a new opportunity for me to see a different point of view, to appreciate that we are each the hero or heroine of our own story. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review: Dumpin' and Leah on the Offbeat

I finished both Dumplin' and Leah on the Offbeat recently. I love both books for their body positivity, smart, thoughtful protagonists and nice attention to the secondary characters.

SPOILER ALERT!! Do not read on if you are not looking to spoil either (or both) of these book endings for yourself

***** You have been warned!!

Here's the crux of my problem: Both books are about characters who come to love and appreciate their bodies, but they are also about characters who chose the hot, not so nice person who will finally come around to being with them. They both throw over the awesome, always there nice guy who liked them all along for just being themselves for the person who finally decided they were, I guess, worth it in the end. Not exactly super inspiring. If the idea is that girls of any size should be appreciated for who they are, why do they have to end up with hot people who are not such awesome people aside from being hot?

It killed me when Willowdean in Dumplin throws away Mitch like he means absolutely nothing to her because she just feels that magic with Beau, who treated her like a dirty secret at the beginning of the book. And Leah running off to be with Abby when Garrett is being so sweet and likes her for who she is. (Also, the way she has no problem screwing over her friend Nick is a little off-putting, as well). Why do these girls refuse to find "magic" with great people who treat them well? What's so magical about someone treating you like crap?

So, while I enjoyed both of these books, I just can't get onboard with the happily ever afters because they felt like settling for something less in both cases. Maybe Mitch and Garrett weren't the ones. The magic just wasn't there. Still, each of these characters could have been way kinder to them and then gone off to find a nice person (male or female) who treated them the way they deserved to be treated from the beginning.

Enjoy these books if you want to, but please promise me in your real life you'll give those nice folks a chance when they turn up!