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Generation One by Pittacus Lore (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 6:18pm

It has been over a year since the invasion of Earth was thwarted in Pittacus Lore’s United as One. But in order to win, our alien allies known as the Garde unleashed their Loric energy that spread throughout the globe. Now human teenagers have begun to develop incredible powers of their own, known as Legacies.To help these potentially dangerous individuals, the Garde have created an academy where they can train this new generation to control their powers and hopefully one day help mankind. But not everyone thinks that’s the best use of their talents. And the teens may need to use their Legacies sooner than they ever imagined. 

Generation One is an odd book and one I generally didn't enjoy. For a book that has a character-driven plot, the characters just didn't seem to entice me enough to say that I loved this story. The story itself is okay, but nothing I would say really different. This was my first read by Pittacus Lore, so I was a little worried that I was going to be confused a lot, but that didn't end up being the case. I may have enjoyed this book a bit more if I had been introduced to this writing style before. 

I found the plot had a lot of action, but that being said, nothing really happened. What bothered me the most was the amount of dialogue this book actually used. I for one am all for dialogue, but the interactions between characters felt unnatural and a bit forced at times. I found myself skimming through conversations and not really engaging with the characters. I am not sure if I didn't like all the dialogue because of my lack of connection, or if really the interactions were really that forced.

Overall, this book is not my favourite and may have been a bad introduction to the the author's work. I followed the story easily enough, but it just didn't do it for me. The characters are not easy to connect with, which leads for a very unsatisfying character-driven plot. I give this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend this book to those who have previously dealt with this author's style.

- Sabrina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Generation One will be available June 27.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 9:28am

I give the novel The Fashion Committee a 0.5/10. At the beginning of this novel, I disliked everything about this book: the characters, the plot, the writing, everything! And the more I read the more I hated.

The two protagonists, John and Charlie, have very different personalities, and at the beginning I hated Charlie and I absolutely loved John. John had all the right characteristics I was looking for, but then he started to go down the wrong path! Charlie on the other hand, started out like a spoiled brat. She tried to add French vocabulary into her chapters and I despised it! But then she started to understand that she was being a brat, and I started to like her more and more! However, throughout the whole book Charlie kept trying to add a different language into her P.O.V., whether it be French, Spanish or Japanese. That made me dislike her more then I would have otherwise.

All the way through this book, I wasn't fond of Susan Juby's writing. The style of her poetic writing didn't fit the feel of this drama-filled book. The plot of this novel was also too far-fetched! I hated how John had that whole, I-hate-you-all-and-I-hate-this-school attitude. The only reason why John was doing this was because he wanted to do metal art classes at this school. That is a terrible reason to do something that he "hates" for the whole book! Susan could have done a way better job with his character. John needed to learn a lesson at the end of this book, like never give up on something you love or try something new and maybe you'll love it. He needed to learn that you can't get away with everything in life by cheating. Overall, John just sucks! This whole book was ruined because of stupid John!

So, this is what I think of the novel The Fashion Committee. I would recommend this book nobody because no one should have to go through the pain of reading this terrible mistake of a novel! You should read this book only if you want to bash it or if you love horrendously bad books.

- Courtney, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Monday, May 22, 2017 at 12:47pm

Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—like how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. There are just a few problems: Sana's new friends don't trust Jamie's crowd; Jamie's friends don't want her around anyway; and the sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl. Telling the truth is easy, what comes after it is a whole lot more complicated.

It's not like it's a Secret by Misa Sugiura is about Sana Kiyohara, a Japanese-American girl who thinks her dad may be having an affair and is starting to realize she might be lesbian. I thought this was an interesting book. The characters weren't very likeable and many of them were racist, but their thought processes and views of the world were still interesting to read about. The novel discussed a lot of the stereotypes that people make based on race, such as Asians are smart or Mexicans are lazy, and it showed why these stereotypes are hurtful and untrue. As someone who likes poetry, I also enjoyed the role poetry played in this novel.

Overall this book made me think about the harms of stereotyping people. I'd recommend reading this if you're interested in books about race and sexuality issues. People who like poetry may also enjoy this novel, and I discovered some new poems I like as a result. This was an enjoyable read.

- Niina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 2:05pm

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Words in Deep Blue was an enticing read and one I really enjoyed. The overall story line is easy to follow and the plot is engaging, but it's the sentiment and meaning behind it that did it for me. The topic of books and words and the passion the characters feel for them is amazing. It made my bookish heart melt. This is a great introduction to Cath Crowley's writing style, and I am absolutely enamoured.

This book is beautiful and it will make the reader feel so content once you've finished. It is intriguing despite not being overly complicated or complex. It's perfect for a slump read and yet, it will make you cry tears of joy and a little of sadness. It's simple and straightforward.

Overall, the characters really resonated with me as a reader, and the plot was quite engrossing. I recommend this book to anyone who has read previous books by Crowley, or for new readers looking to read her works. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

- Sabrina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Words in Deep Blue will be available June 6.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 11:24am

Queer There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager is an eye-opening and inspiring book. Though not a member of the LGBTQ* community  myself, I have friends who identify as gay or lesbian. and with my interest in history, I thought this book offered a great look into the untold stories of many famous people throughout history.

For example, both Eleanor Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln identified as gay, but that’s not something most people know. What’s more is that the highly respected baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers (who famously gave Jackie Robinson a chance in the big leagues) tried to pay one of their homosexual players to marry a women!

Even though these facts were interesting from a historical standpoint, they were not my biggest takeaway. What stood out most to me is how people unwaveringly remained themselves even when they were faced with extremely difficult challenges, such as anti-gay laws. I think that it’s important to recognize the struggles of these people, both past and present, and the fact that issues like this are still a huge problem in 2017.

All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone, either in the LGBTQ* community or not, because I think that this is an interesting and important book regardless of your sexual orientation.

- Reese, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Queer There, and Everywhere will be available May 23.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
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