Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas
Latinx, magic, day of the dead, ceremonies, transgender, coming of age, culture, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
Yadriel wants to prove he’s a brujo worthy to be a part of the brujos. Despite being transgender, he still tries to convince his family to allow him to prove his worth. As they don’t want to accept his gender he will not stop trying to convince them. One night a spirit left the world and that spirit is their cousin. Defying the rules he goes to find where his cousin went and summons his spirit. Except that wasn’t his spirit but of a fellow high school student that died that year. Yadriel also accidentally summoned a relentless spirit that doesn’t want to leave. Yadriel has to clean up the mess he made and prove to his family his gender.
This was the most beautifully written young adult novel that I ever had read. I was so sad that this book was short and I had binge read this. This novel speaks so many truths behind the fiction of how some families in society do not accept their child’s gender and the pronouns that they prefer. I loved the ending and found it perfect. Usually there are only novels that have families either shun them or the protagonist is accepting of themselves. Never in between and this book made my heart warm and glow. There was some romance and a lot of science fiction going on. I loved it and I would’ve loved it more if there wasn’t a potential dead love interest. That got me bummed out in the end. Overall, I loved this novel and was so glad to have read it.
On The Come Up – Angie Thomas
POC Representation, rapping competitions, young adult, Fiction.
Bri is going through some rough times and it shows in her school grades. She knows for sure she wants to be the greatest rapper of all time and go through her first rap battle successfully. In hopes of gaining attention for a record label so that she can provide a better living. She fights to get her voice heard and in the positive light and not be labeled as a hoodlum. Her first battle she kills the competition but roadblocks are thrown in her way and she must overcome them.
I had read one of Angie Thomas’s books before and I loved her unique style of writing. The dialogue is natural and doesn’t feel forced. I felt that this was really believable as it is believable in real life. Not only that but the characters she creates as well. I don’t typically listen to rap music but I really loved Bri’s rhyme and the rap songs she has made. There were some that absolutely felt like a burn to whomever she directed her anger at. Angie Thomas’s books always point out the inequality and the inadequate treatment of the African American community. She also points out that this doesn’t just affect the adult population but the younger population. The realities presented to them and the type of lives the parents want their children to have. I felt that Bri was losing that hope and desire, but rapping battles and competitions can bring more opportunities. School and education also can bring just as many opportunities. I felt mad at her but she does have points about the way the faculty treated her. I really enjoyed this novel and I saw that Concrete Rose is on the shelf and I look forward to reading that one as well in my near future. I highly recommend this novel and all of Angie Thomas’s books.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Young adult, contemporary, fiction.
Starr lives in a poor black neighborhood and goes to a school in another neighborhood. She and her best friend, Khalid, are on their way home when they are pulled over by a cop. The white cop asks Khalid to get out of the car and moments later he is shot. Starr witnessed her best friend’s death and had a gun drawn on her. The next couple days, she hears his name and all the horrible names. Her boyfriend, Chris, and her friends at the high school don’t understand her world and she tries to tell them everything. Starr has a falling out with a friend who doesn’t quite understand that her words are hurtful especially at a time like this. During this time, Starr’s neighborhood has become a war zone, and no one is safe. The white cop has a sob story, and everyone seems to believe the white cop’s perspective. Starr stands up and tells her side of the story, her perspective of what happened to her best friend despite the consequences and dangers she will face.
I heard this book was on the challenged and YA (young adult) banned book list. I had to investigate and wonder why people have a problem with this novel. The main complaint is the violence and language. I don’t understand the violence and language complaint, but that did not distract from the narrative Angie Thomas was telling. She was telling a story of how many black teens and young adults’ lives are impacted daily in black poor communities. Also the adult’s who struggle as well because they have to work harder. Starr gives a perspective of how it feels to witness a best friend’s death and injustice of a system that was supposed to protect everyone but instead took the life of her best friend. The discrimination they are faced with and the straight up racism. Police violence is nothing new, this has always been here. This novel is a great insight of how the criminal justice system is racist and does not serve justice where it needs to be served. The systematic and institutionalized racism needs to end. Starr’s story is not some made up fantasy, this is a reality. I honestly think people are uncomfortable because of the truth and they want to censor the truth and realities. I do not think this book should have been banned, I think this needs to become apart of high school curriculum and be allowed to read by everyone. I love this book for the way it is, and I do not think this book deserves to be banned.
The Perfect Predator: A Scientists Race
to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Disease – Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas
Disease, life altering, life
threatening, survival, nonfiction.
While on vacation, Steffanie and her
husband Thomas, were having a great time and enjoying themselves. Unluckily her
husband had contracted a disease that was not easily treatable at first.
Further into the story, they go to hospitals and this disease that was
contracted was untreatable and this was going to end with her husband possibly
dying. All was a race to survive this disease but along the way, Steffanie
never felt less of her husband nor left his side. She stayed by his side
through thick and thin.
I found this nonfiction book to be very
compelling as well as a page turner. My heart swelled and I had gotten
goosebumps throughout reading this work. I thought, at first, that this was
going to be bland and boring. I was happy I was wrong about my speculations of
this work. I do recommend to read this nonfiction work if one is intrigued to
hear survival stories and other accounts of survival told through other’s
perspectives. This helped gained some knowledge but as a warning, do not self-diagnose
and go see a doctor, no matter what the condition may be.
Hannibal – Thomas Harris
Horror, fiction, suspense.
Hannibal Lector had escaped from being in custody and
been living life to the greatest he can. Meanwhile, someone equally as sinister
is hunting Lector down for revenge for his disfigurement. Clarice Starling,
feeling guilt and wanting him to go back into custody has to first rescue
Lector. The tables turn as it is Lector saving Starling as well as mending her.
He leaves her in a good condition but as far as her partner goes, he was
dissected and maimed horribly.
What can I say? Thomas Harris is the prince of horror.
Harris knows how to write a damn morbidly creepy tale that gives one shivers
down their spines. I had binge read this after dark. I know I should have taken
note for book before this one but couldn’t help but to binge read this novel. I
highly recommend one to first read Silence of the Lambs then this one.
Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
Horror, fiction, suspense.
Clarice Starling, a FBI trainee, is in search of a sinister serial killer. This serial killer had kidnapped a woman, skinned her, left a moth in her mouth, and dumped her. His name is Buffalo Bill and he kidnapped another potential victim. Clarice must interview and get assistance from an associate of Buffalo Bill whom may give answers to catching Buffalo Bill before it’s too late. Doctor Hannibal Lector not only helps Clarice but somehow got into her head. Both the cooperation of Hannibal and Clarice, the woman is saved, and Buffalo Bill was brought to justice. Doctor Hannibal Lector escapes and writes to her.
I really love Thomas Harris for producing this incredible horror fiction. I had seen the movie as well and both versions are perfect. I wouldn’t suggest one to read this lightly because it gets heavy and complicated till the end. Do not read this after dark or one might get the chills and spooked by shadows. I sure did make that mistake and couldn’t go to sleep right away after binge reading this novel. I highly recommend the book if one is looking for sinister horror. This is one of my favorite horror fiction by far.