October 9, 2018

(The rest of ) September books.

I don't think I really, truly loved any books I read in September. So, I'm showcasing the fact that I did already meet my reading goal for the year, so whatever happens is fine with me. Most of the books I read, I read in the spring. In the last 3 months, I've read very little. This isn't actually because of the baby but more because I'm just generally stressed out on the whole, so I don't read. 

Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly
This was a waste of time. Sorry.

Whenever I feel iffy in the middle of a book, my strategy is to go to Goodreads and check out the reviews. This one obviously has many 4 and 5 star reviews. But I always learn more from feedback and constructive criticism than I do from praise and accolades. ANYONE can write a summary and say a book was "GREAT!" and "Everyone should read it!".

Looking at this story through my teacher lens, I saw the cycle of poverty. I saw the effect of it on education. I saw the effect of it on families and the choices they had to make. I've taken a few courses on generational poverty and that's what I saw in this book: People who can't get out of the cycle they're stuck in and then being forced to turn to gangs and drug-dealing to make enough to survive. That is the theme of this book: the whole story is centered around Starr's parents sending her and her brothers to a prep school that is 45 minutes away. It's the device that moves the plot because Starr wouldn't act the way she did if that weren't the case:  Starr wouldn't have the struggles of being "two different people", as she says she needs to be.
Anyway. I didn't love it for a few reasons. This review is so thoughtfully done, though. If you have 24 minutes, please watch. (Slight spoiler in white: In the end, I thought it was good YA, but was written in a very stereotypical way? I liked Starr's mom a lot. I didn't like the way joining the riot was considered the way for Starr to get her voice heard. That isn't constructive to anyone looking at this as a model for how to make a difference.

What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan
This was an important story to tell, but I felt like there were a few things wrong with it. I wish someone who actually knew Maddy had written it. I wish there had been some closure about what was wrong with her. Was it depression? Was it mental illness?
I wish (I REALLY wish) the author had not inserted her own story into the book. Every other chapter was about the author's (non) struggles. Or maybe they were struggles, because we all have struggles, but it was no comparison to Maddy's suicide.  It was super annoying. I think a documentary 20/20-style could've done the job of this book. The story NEEDS to be shared and I'm so glad a foundation has been set up to help college students who are in the same situation. But the way the author put the book together wasn't the best.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Ugh. I didn't finish this. I read about 1/3 and got bored and then never had the desire to sit down and finish it. Feel free to email me spoilers...I would pick up her next book because I liked her first two, but this one wasn't great.

Linking up with Jana and Steph for the FOURTH anniversary of Show Us Your Books!


  1. i did like the hate u give, but i didn't love it as much as i expected to based on the hype. there were a few things i didn't like about it, and i agree with your spoiler.

  2. I still need to read The Hate U Give, but we'll see if I love it or not. I think it got so much hype because the overall topic is important, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. Sorry you haven't been reading anything terribly great, but yay for meeting your Goodreads goal.


  3. Sometimes book slumps happen. I enjoyed THUG, although I had to sit with it for a bit. My issues with it were not the ones you listed, but overall thought it was a great conversation starter.

  4. I keep hearing that about BA Paris's new book which makes me sad because I really enjoyed the first two as well

  5. I keep hearing the same thing about B.A Paris’s new book which is so disappointing because I have really enjoyed her others. The Hate U Give sounds interesting. I may have to try it..

  6. I loved The hate you give. Loved it. I don't really agree with your spoiler, in fact I think protest has been effective in making a difference throughout history ... but we can agree to disagree on that one. :)

    Sorry you had a horrible reading month, here's hoping for a better October.

  7. I get where you're coming from with THUG but I mostly disagree with your review. I think the potential for impact is huge, and I think it needs to be required reading.

    I'm in the minority but I actually really liked Bring Me Back.

  8. so maybe bring me back won't be my next BA Paris book haha! hope that your stress lets up sometime soon :)

  9. I loved The Hate U Give - I think It is a great conversation starter. I can’t see your spoiler on my phone so can’t comment on that.

  10. I haven't read any of BA Paris's books but the first one (maybe two) are in my TBR. I loved The Hate U Give - but my exposure to race and poverty is limited so I saw the book as an eye-opener.

  11. I liked the idea of micro-memoirs, but Heating and Cooling was TERRIBLE. Such a waste. I loved THUG but agree with your slight spoiler. I've seen similar reviews about this particular B.A. Paris book so while I still want to read this author's work, I'll probably start with Behind Closed Doors.

  12. I loved B.A. Paris' Behind Closed Door but have heard nothing but bad things about the new one. Thanks for your thoughtful reviews.

  13. I don't plan on reading The Hate U Give, but I do want to see it. I'm sure the book is better than the movie but there's just not enough time to read everything before the movies.


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