Sheila, Jen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting the #IMWAYR meme.
I received a big box of books from Penguin recently (thank you Penguin!) and it is full of potential award winners, including...
The Glass Sentence by S.E Grove is a big, meaty fantasy that takes place in an alternative world. It’s 1891, but not the1891 that we know. In this version of the world, something called the Great Disruption has caused the globe to essentially break apart, leaving it forever altered. Instead of different cultures and languages across the world, there are different ages. Sophia's parents have disappeared into another age and she is being raised by her uncle, a brilliant cartologist. When he is kidnapped, though, Sophia goes to the dangerous Baldlands to search for him. She is a smart, strong character and her relationships are achingly vulnerable. Although it took me a few chapters to get my head around this altered reality, Grove’s world-building abilities are truly quite amazing. This is a big book (in every way) and I think it would be most appreciated by readers who love to fully and completely immerse themselves in an imaginary construct.
There has been so much discussion about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that the first thought I had when I saw The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond was "Ah ha! A diverse book!" which is, of course, a rather limiting (and limited reaction) to a book. Thus, I was really pleased to discover that this is a story with rich characters who evolve in meaningful and realistic ways. What I especially loved about this book is that although it is about a biracial girl finding her identity, her voice is universal and one doesn’t need to be biracial to relate.
Kristin Levine's follow up to Lions of Little Rock is another historical fiction, but The Paper Cowboy is much darker. Set in the 1950s, Tommy dreams of being a cowboy, but instead he’s quickly becoming a bully in response to the abuse that he suffers at the hands of his mother. I literally could not read this for extended periods of time because the physical abuse combined with the bullying that the protagonist engages in was just too much for me. Readers would benefit from some background knowledge on McCarthyism and will need a strong stomach to handle the difficult issues raised by Levine. This is a powerful book!
Finally, my book group chose two YA reads for this month and reading both was like snacking on sweet chocolate candies... I couldn't stop!