Happy Halloween!

It seems fitting that I end the month with a collection of frightening local legends, given that tonight is All-Hallow’s Eve, when spirits are said to wander the Earth once more. Not that I’d want to come back on a night like tonight–it’s chilly outside!

I passed out candy to dozens of costumed kidlings tonight, and it’s always cool to see what they come up with. One of the coolest was a homemade jellyfish costume. The kid had taken lots of gauze and fluffed it over a hat, then twined little twinkling lights inside. Iridescent streamers dripped from the brim, and he wore all black for clothes. The effect was just as mesmerizing as the real thing…and perfectly eerie for the day.

As for November, it’s National Novel Writing Month! I’ll be participating in NaNo again this year, and I hope to finish everything for the final volume of my Nerdiverse series. No worries, though! I have plenty of reviews ready to go throughout the month. If there’s anything you’d like me to read, just let me know. Otherwise, stay warm and I hope you don’t get haunted!

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Fandom Week: Finale!

I’m a little sad, having posted the review of the last book for Fandom Week. I’m going to need to find another way to do this later, because it was fun. I’m the kind of person who will look up a single keyword topic at the library (say, “Robots”) and check out every book that sounds interesting. If you have any suggestions for keywords, please share.

See you Monday for the monthly hi-lo book!

Fandom Week: Book 2!

I’m sitting here, still stunned about the book I read. Warcross is…it’s beyond words, guys. Everything the first book of fandom week was, this one is not. I pushed back a review last month because I came across a book I just had to discuss, but this is different. I wrote this review so fast after finishing the book because I couldn’t do anything else. It was magical.

So, what does fandom week entail, actually? Someone asked me that the other day, and I figure I should probably explain. I’m a consummate nerd (in fact, one of my own series is an homage to science fiction, fantasy, video games, comics, anime, and all the other, wonderful nerdy things that I love). Many of my friends are also fans of these things, as are plenty of the students I work with.

Despite this, I try to read books that anyone could enjoy, since I know that every kid is different. I realized that some of the books I was reading could fit into certain categories. For example, some were based on era (books about the 1960s) or common themes (books about the immigrant experience). Since I started reading books for this blog, though, it’s become apparent to me that it can be incredibly difficult finding SF and fantasy books with diverse casts. It’s easy when translating work for the screen to say, “Oh, this random one-off character can be the ‘token’ x-category person,’ but in novels, especially SF and fantasy, most characters tend to fit certain archetypes…and body types…and racial types…and sexuality types…the list goes on. The three I found for fandom week, though, all contain characters that buck those “types.” Gena/Finn deals with mental illness and sexuality, showing that a little common interest can go a long way. Warcross deals with cultural and racial differences, making the point that, in a digital world, the mind is more important than the body. As for this week’s Saturday Morning Cartoon, we’ll see that when we get there, won’t we?

Either way, I’m still thrilled to be finding books that include a broader spectrum of characters in the genres I’ve loved since my own childhood.

Fandom Week!

It’s Fandom Week this week, everyone! Aside from today’s post, I’ve got two more exciting books about gaming and ‘net friends lined up for you.

About today’s, though…it’s the first review I’ve posted that’s largely negative. I vacillated on whether to even post it, since I’m supposed to be recommending books here, right? But I decided that a non-recommendation could be just as powerful. After all, so many books come out every month, and it’s important to know which ones are worth reading…or skipping.

I do feel vaguely guilty. All that “If you can’t say anything nice” training from childhood, I guess. But I have to be honest, and here I am.

Trust me, though–Thursday’s book is well worth the read. Happy reading!

The Hate U Give

I’d originally slated this review for later in the year, maybe even January of next year. As I say on the review, I’ve got a folder full of reviews ready to go far into the future. I do it this way so I’ll always have something to post in case I get sick, as well as shuffle things around as I see fit. And besides, it helps me keep track of everything I’ve read.

But before I was even a quarter of the way through The Hate U Give, I knew that I needed to post this review right away. It’s relevant to everything that’s been building the past few years. It’s a eulogy to those brought low by injustice and a promise that we can do better. It’s a poignant exploration of things that need to change.

It’s my birthday today, and I sincerely hope that, by the time I’m twice as old as I am now, the events of this book will be seen as historical fiction, that people living in the United States will read it and say, “These kinds of things happened back in the day? I’m glad they don’t anymore!”

Reviews Are Live!

Hey, everyone! This is Meg letting you know that reviews are live! There are two(!) brand-new sets of reviews, though they’re the list-post kind because it’s the first post of the month and that’s how we roll here. One list is geared towards middle school and the other is more for high school, but we all know that there’s always overlap between the two, especially for eighth- and ninth grade.

At any rate, go ahead and see what’s up over in the reviews section. See you Tuesday for the first full-length review!