Happy Monday, friends!
This week has been yet another crazy one (I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever have week that I don’t categorize as “crazy”). Between the “lasts” of college and the insane workload, I often find myself feeling as though I’m slipping further into the abyss that is academia and stress. In the words of my middle school kids, “pls send help.”
BUT, one of the most refreshing pieces of my semester has been the emphasis placed on fun, choice reading. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been able to turn back the pages of my most recent novel and just dive straight into a different world for awhile. It was a cold, rainy weekend in Chadron, which, to me, means that it’s the perfect weather to curl up with my favorite blanket and read. Since the weather was dreary and wonderful, you can imagine what my entire weekend looked like.
I just want to shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE LUCY KNISLEY. Seriously. This woman is a genius. Her writing is witty, honest, heartwarming, and revolves around food; what more could a reader ask for? In her graphic novel Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride, Knisley takes readers on one of the biggest adventures of her life thus far: her wedding. From engagement to physically building the venue, this novel gives readers eyes into the entire process. I love that Knisley is so honest in her writing; it’s something that has struck me with both Relish and Something New. She never holds back, which allows readers to get the full experience of the stories she is telling us. I smiled when she and John, her husband, became engaged, and I screamed “YES” when she discussed her love of dresses with pockets and the fact that her wedding dress had them (sign me up). The genuine writing and personal touches, such as the photographs, made this novel absolutely fabulous. Lucy Knisley doesn’t sugarcoat love or weddings, but I still found myself gushing over it all. (5/5 – just read it; you know you want to)
After talking with my professor about how much I loved Pedro & Me, I was sent home with Hilo: the Boy Who Crashed To Earth. This graphic novel was written by Judd Winick, the same person who wrote and illustrated Pedro’s story from last week (check out the post containing that review here). This story follows D.J., Hilo, and Gina and their friendship, even in trying times. Hilo has no idea who he is, where he came from, or why D.J., his new friend, won’t let him just wear his super cool silver underwear. As the newly united trio try to solve the mystery of Hilo and his past, new problems begin to surface on Earth. Is Hilo’s past coming back to haunt him? How far will friends go to help one another? As they fight for the good of the Earth, these three will learn their own worth and find out what true friendship looks like. This novel is, to quote Hilo himself, “outstanding.” As I was reading, I continually thought about how appealing this could be to several different audiences. It’s a must read if you enjoy action, comedy, and friendship. (4.5/5)
I think a common misconception people have about graphic novels is that they are all “little kiddish” and lack “literary qualities” (whatever that means). However, with novels like March, I’m not sure how anyone can still believe this. The March trilogy follows the life of Congressman John Lewis as he fought for desegregation and equality in the 1960’s. Split between the day of President Obama’s inauguration and his own childhood in rural Alabama, Lewis tells the story of the Civil Right’s Movement and the impact it had on him as an African American male in the deep South. From meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to getting arrested at a sit-in, this novel faces the issues of discrimination and racism head on. The graphics are beautiful and the story is one we can’t let be unheard. (5/5)
On Friday, I came home from Block (the finale of the teacher ed program here at CSC) feeling exhausted and, to be quite honest, a little down in the dumps. When this happens, there are three things that get me out of the funk: 1.) copious amounts of sweets or junk food, 2.) phone calls with friends and/or family, or 3.) holing up in my room and devouring books. Friday, I opted to go with option #3, and I was not disappointed.
The Summer I Turned Pretty is one of my absolute favorite YA books. Jenny Han’s writing is something I have loved since I first read this trilogy years ago, and it greeted me like a warm, comforting blanket on Friday. I holed up in my room and re-read the story of Belly and her summer adventures at Cousins Beach with the Fisher boys and her family. As Belly grapples with the difference between first love and true love, she must make her choice: does she choose the always fun and loving Jeremiah, or does she choose Conrad, the brooding, seemingly unreachable brother. Belly has grown up, but does that mean Cousins has to change too?
Here’s to more reading and less stress!