Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 8/26/13

I am excited to be a part of the conversation at #IMWAYR!  Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting this meme.

I read a ton last week (hmm... perhaps sensing the impending start of school, when my reading hours dwindle?) but I'm away at my family reunion on beautiful Squam Lake in New Hampshire, so I'm keeping my blogging brief today.

I kept having a strange, deja-vu-ish sensation while reading Elliot Holt's You Are One of Them. Sarsah Zuckerman is a child of the Cold War and Holt seamlessly goes back and forth between 1980s Washington DC and Moscow shortly after perestroika. Like Sarah, I was born in 1973 and I lived in Eastern Europe right after college. Holt captures a 1980s childhood perfectly and her descriptions of 1990's Moscow are so evocative of what I remember of living in Romania at that time.

Thus while I clearly had a personal connection to this book, I also found the mystery at the center of the story utterly compelling.  Sarah's childhood best friend, Jenny Jones, writes a letter to Andropov and is invited to the USSR.  After her triumphant tour behind the iron curtain, Jenny's entire family is killed in a plane crash (reminiscent, of course, to Samantha Smith, a fellow Mainer who I idolized as a young person).  Sarah's devastation and feelings of abandonment are matched only by her shock when, years, later, she receives a letter from a Russian woman who implies that Jenny is, in fact, still alive and living in Moscow.  The rabbit hole that Sarah descends into as she tries to track down answers is dizzying and I desperately wanted to know the truth.  I highly recommend this book, especially to readers who grew up in the 1980's and who will, while reading, find themselves remembering little pieces of their own childhood that they had completely forgotten.

My other reads this week consisted entirely of potential Maine Student Book Award nominees... we'll see if any make the list:

Serafina's Promise:
Read my review

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
Read my review

Zebra Forest
Read my review

Hero on a Bicycle
Read my review

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