Saints and Misfits offers a realistic, thought-provoking yet humorous portrayal of a Muslim teenager—something I didn't know I needed until now. As an Arab Indian-American hijabi teen, Janna finds herself as a misfit in her father's new family and with her mom, whose attention is seemingly fixed on her brother, Muhammad. Not to mention the presence of saints and monsters wearing saint masks that further jumbles her life. Janna faces many other challenges as well, such as when a picture of her hair is posted online, or when her relationship with a non-Muslim boy manifests into something more. Janna's quirky voice is incredibly engrossing. Her experience may be foreign at first, but quickly becomes relatable and you can't help but cheer her on. Just like all teenagers, she is naive and flawed but eventually these traits are what help her mature; which, in turn, emphasizes the fact that Muslims, like us, are just normal people who do things like waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night.
Besides Janna, the cast of characters is another strong aspect of this book. Each is given a unique personality and development, although Janna is still my favourite character, I feel like the cast isn't overshadowed by her at all. From Janna's charming brother Muhammad, saint Sarah, her witty friend Tats, the insightful Mr. Ram to her parents and more. They offer comic relief and some of the most golden moment that you'll have to find out for yourselves.
This book is a 4/5 star-read for me and I highly recommended it.
- Phuong, a Two Thumbs Up reviewerCategories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli by James Parks (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)by McNally Robinson - Monday, Jun 19, 2017 at 6:41pm
Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo is a funny, and delightfully strange book about an animated skeleton that plays the lute, and his friend, a gelatinous cube of goo. After they are unceremoniously fired (and subsequently banished) from the fictional corporation Subterranean Pits and Lairs LLC, they unexpectedly embark on an soul searching journey led by a perpetually enraged imp through forrests full of (not really) vicious unicorns and (not really) tricky gnomes. It's really the skeleton, Rickety Stitch who's doing all the soul searching, and Goo, the cube of jelly playing the role of the ride or die friend and providing moral support.
The individual characters are brought to life by the vibrant illustrations and the insane story telling skills of the creators. I absolutely love all these characters, and of course the actual story. It's well paced, with little to no plot holes, with genuinely witty dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who's fans of fantasy or anyone who likes stories with quirkier characters.
- Chloé a Two Thumbs Up reviewer
The cover of Dividing Eden is one of the reasons I originally picked up this ARC. Simplicity is one of my favourite book cover trends, so that was definitely a factor when I picked up this copy. When I look back on Dividing Eden, I will only have happy memories for the cover because in the end the book did not meet my expectations. Throughout the 336 pages, I was constantly bored and found the plot extremely predictable. At times I even wanted to give up because I just couldn't stand it anymore.
There was the vagueness that seemed to cling to everything in this book. There were many occasions throughout that information was given, but it was so vague that you couldn't help but wonder what the point was. Especially when they brought it up so frequently. One major point would be the Xhelozi who are continuously mentioned throughout the book and were considered a major threat, but in the end only had a minor role for a few pages. It was disappointing.
Dividing Eden wasn't what I wanted it to be at all. I was disappointed and bored throughout the whole book, and it is more than likely that I will not be picking up the sequel when it releases.
- Stephanie, a Two Thumbs Up reviewerCategories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
On May 22, 1995 at 7 p.m. sixteen-year-old Jimmy Farris and seventeen-year-old Mike McLoren were working out outside Mike’s backyard fort. Four boys hopped the fence, and a fight broke out. Within minutes, both Mike and Jimmy had been stabbed. Jimmy died a short time later. While neighbors knew that the fort was a local hangout where drugs were available, the prosecution depicted the four defendants as gang members, and the crime as gang related. The accusations created a media circus, and added fuel to the growing belief that this affluent, safe, all-white neighborhood was in danger of a full-blown gang war.
The start of One Cut sucked! It didn't make sense to me why the fight was only half a chapter. So if you're going to read this book, I'm pre-warning you that One Cut is a slow, confusing book. I would give it a rating of 5/10 stars. I suggest this book to no one unless you like to read books about a trial in America that was boring.
- Elia, a Two Thumbs Up reviewerCategories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
We Come Apart is a very heartbreaking novel written in verse about friendship and love. The themes of immigration, racism, and bullying are very prominent in this story. It is about two troubled teens: Jess, whose family/home life is overshadowed by abuse, and Nicu, who is an immigrant from Romania to England. I would've loved this book, but I just couldn't fully immerse myself in the world. There were things that just irked me, and I couldn't get past those issues.
First off, I couldn't tolerate the writing. I felt so disjointed because of the verse. Maybe it's just me and that poetry/verse has never suited me, but I missed the detail of world-building (it's set in LONDON and it literally felt no different from any book that took place in the United States), and the description of characters and emotion and other things!
As the book progressed, I accepted the writing, until another problem bugged me. The characters. More specifically, Jess. Yeah okay, her life is awful and her home life is bad. I don't want to dismiss those facts, but god, she is such a brat! Like her character development is good, but it's just the fact that she is a bystander and at times a bit too cruel for my liking. Also, Jess seems so emotionless and empty at times that it just felt depressing to read on about her.
It goes the same for the ending! Yes, I understand that not all books have happy-go-lucky endings and characters, but that only works when there's an underlying message of hope and optimism! The ending feels so anti-climatic and... useless. My main confusion about this whole novel is that I don't really know what it is trying to say.
All in all, I give it a 7.5/10. It is good, but I didn't really enjoy the style it was written in, and I don't fully understand what it was trying to achieve or the message it wanted to get across.
- Yen Anh, a Two Thumbs Up reviewerCategories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
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