Rather Be Reading » A Young Adult Book Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Book

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The pen is mightier than the sword…

Apple and Rain by Sarah CrossanIt isn’t easy, but telling something as it is, telling the truth, always seems more beautiful and more poetic than anything else,” says Mr. Graydon — the English teacher in Sarah Crossan’s simultaneously sweet and heartbreaking Apple and Rain. At first, he’s the teacher no one wanted, a replacement, and suddenly he spends the year treating his students with the kind of respect that has them interpreting poems and writing their own pieces in response. As the main character in the story, Apple is a young teenager dealing with the return of her mother who abandoned her years ago on Christmas Eve. She wants so badly to make her a permanent part of her life that she decides to leave the person who has always taken care of her — her grandmother — to live with her mom as she settles in. It’s as surprising for her as it is for the reader when Mr. Graydon’s assignments start to pry so many unspoken feelings out of her. Suddenly this homework doesn’t seem so innocent as she pens her truest feelings and hands in the paper with the easier, more superficial answer. She may be in her early teens, but she already has a grasp at how powerful the truth can be.

Similarly, in the fast-paced and oh-so-good Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, Sam is discovering being vulnerable in her writing and having the courage to share it with others is more of a safe place than a scary one. She’s older than Apple and has a bit more life experience so I like to think of her as the next level Apple, in a way. Sam is struggling under the shadow of her judgmental, popular friends who have no idea who she really is or what she’s all about — a girl dealing with OCD. When the Poet’s Corner pops into her life, she’s forced to look deeply at herself and how she identifies with the world. She learns even more hard lessons, and uses all the energy she channels into poetry to find her happy place — a place she hasn’t seen in a really long time.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland StoneFor both Apple and Sam, writing and words become a lifeline. Sure, Apple’s relationship with poetry and her English class are kept a secret, but it is the one thing that’s keeping her sane when her life is being turned upside down by selfish people and their secrets. It helps her work through that and realize that her feelings are not invalid. Sam may be opening herself up to a small group of people, but at some point she has to take the courage she finds in that small room and apply it to the rest of her life. She has to find a way to make these two parts of her life click in a way that feels true.

The Mr. Graydons and Poet’s Corners may not be easy to come by in every day life, but they do exist. The gift of expression, of unlocking a whole new piece of yourself and a new strength you had no idea you possessed, is huge. You always remember that first confidence boost, the gift of a blank notebook, that place that becomes the safe haven for all of your ideas and messy feelings. Writing as a hobby in books (especially young adult) might not be anything groundbreaking, but I loved how both of these novels made writing so imperative to a character’s emotional growth — how it was a comfort and an ally when both girls were feeling so alone.

EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone: A favorite read of 2015; a touching, addicting, & well-paced tale of old friendship, honesty, and digging deep to find what makes you bravest. – Disney Hyperion; June 16, 2015. (Goodreads | Amazon | B&N)

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APPLE & RAIN by Sarah Crossan: A heartbreaking story about kids forced to act like adults, the messy complications of family, and finding the unexpected that makes us safe and happy. – Bloomsbury Children’s; May 12, 2015. (Goodreads | Amazon | B&N)

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June 26, 2015 - 4:27 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - Great post–I love seeing people comparing books with similar themes. It was nice hearing a more nuanced run down of both of these titles too (especially Every Last Word where I’ve seen so many reviews that all of the praise is starting to blend together).

June 24, 2015 - 11:59 am

Alexa S. - I loved this post, E! I love coming across characters who write in YA – it’s always so fun because I can identify so much with writing as an outlet and creative expression. I loved Every Last Word, and now I’m curious about Apple & Rain!

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I’m feeling 18-22 (and it’s great)

I’m a big believer that the things you love when you are a kid don’t necessarily have to disappear once you get older. Hello — I’m an adult reading young adult books all the time, I’m a frequent visitor to Disney World and it’s not because I’m a mom, and I’d always prefer to spend money at the movies to support a Pixar or Disney film over an Oscar-nominated drama. (That’s what RedBox is for!)

Since I turned 30 in February, I’ve used the word OLD so much to describe myself and I know it’s a word I need to eliminate from my vocabulary. I shouldn’t care. I still get carded when I buy beer. My desk at work has plenty of Muppet-y knick knacks. I listen to Disney music every single week. But I’m still insecure about my age. I’m not even sure if it’s about the number. It’s more about knowing you are in a different place in life than others, and not knowing how to bridge that gap exactly — worried that they think you are an old lady when you really spent your weekend watching segments from The Muppet Show and comparing your cooking skills to Elmo’s. (For the record, I’m better.)

Anyway, while I work through this unforeseen, totally self-inflicted thing, I’m super in love with the fact that so many pop culture obsessions from my teenage years have survived the test of time and still exist! It’s like that rule about fashion. Style is cyclical. It all comes back around. Isn’t life cozy? It’s so surreal to have the opportunity to revisit these familiar things, and realize — hey it’s totally okay to still love this and you know what — it’s still awesome.

This is EXACTLY how I feel about these three things:

girl meets world: I cried all through the first episode of this Boy Meets World companion series. Cory Matthews is a dad and a teacher and the series follows his daughter with a great dose of nostalgic nods to the original series. It’s been hard for me to keep up with the show in real time but I caught an episode (“Girl Meets Pluto“) last weekend and, if possible, it made me adore the series even more. The new cast is putting together a time capsule, and Cory is determined to dig up the one he, Shaun, and Topanga put together when they were kids. I cried. (Also if you are a “Boy Meets World” fan, you have to follow @BenSavage on social media. He posts some awesome pics.)

Credit: TV Line

Credit: TV Line

hilary duff. It’s been seven years since Hilary Duff came out with a new album, but it’s really been eight since her last original album. I remember rushing over to Target that morning, sitting on my parent’s front porch and writing a review for one of my college classes. This week has been like reliving my college years and then some because HER NEW ALBUM IS AMAZING AND WORTH WAITING FOR. It’s basically the only thing I’ve listened to all week, and then some. (See: “My Kind” and “Breathe In. Breathe Out.”) Hilary is the ultimate life role model. She takes a break, does her thing, and returns stronger than ever. (I’m very tempted to rewatch The Lizzie McGuire Movie soon.)

Hilary Duff, Breathe In Breathe Out

vanessa hudgens. Another Disney Channel kid. I loved Vanessa in the High School Musical franchise, I shipped her with Zac Efron so so much, and I was obsessed with her first album. (So so good.) This year, she made her Broadway debut in Gigi and I was finally able to catch the show this past week. Despite lackluster reviews (the writing! the writing!), Vanessa was completely charming and her voice sounded amazing. I was sort of overwhelmed with pride afterwards like I was watching a friend I grew up with accomplish something wonderful. Like with Hilary, I was thinking: look how far we’ve come, Vanessa. LOOK HOW FAR WE’VE COME.

Look how far we’ve come indeed. I love when life becomes this mishmash of things I used to love and can learn to love again. Up next: this Full House reboot. Who else is excited?

July 7, 2015 - 1:22 am

Wendy @ Book Scents - I know I’m not “old” (i’m turning 27 this summer) but sometimes people will slam me for liking certain things and I’m like really? does it matter that much? why is a certain “thing” restricted to an age when we can enjoy it but not after that age? that’s just dumb. I always like to think age is just a number — which it is!

As for hilary duff, I didn’t even know she came out with a new album! I need to check this out asap because i really loved her back in the day! umm lizzie mcguire was a fave! about vanessa hudgens… I was SO SAD when she and zac efron broke up. that’s so awesome about her being on broadway though!!

June 28, 2015 - 12:23 am

Retrospectively Reading (17) | The Reading Shelf - […] “I’m Feeling 18-22 (And It’s Great)” @ Rather Be Reading […]

June 26, 2015 - 12:02 pm

Jamie - OH MAN I’ve been having the OLD crisis lately as I approach 30 in October. I’m not ashamed of liking things that maybe people might think “i’m too old for” but I definitely go through waves of “I DON’T CARE” to feeling a little insecure about it. But mostly I think of how happy those things make me and I’m like EH…DO YOU SELF…DO YOU.

and omg GIRL MEETS WORLD…Will and I started watching it when it first came out and watched like half of the season but got behind. MUST CATCH UP.

June 24, 2015 - 10:43 pm

Jaime Lester - I am 32 years old, and basically the only books that I read are young adult books, and middle grade thrown in sometimes too. Oh, the looks I get. It did bother me a few years ago, but I just don’t give a crap anymore. Just because I am not a teen or even in my twenties anymore doesn’t mean I am an old fogie. And I don’t love the books that I love because they make me feel young again. I love them because they are dang good, and even in my 80’s they will be dang good! I think it is the grown-up in me that can appreciate it as much as I do! And I am, like you, a huge Disney/Pixar/Animated movie fan, as is my 31 year old best friend. That is another thing that I am dang proud of! Also, and the last thing that I will mention, is Full House is coming back! I loved it when I was a little thing, and I am excited about seeing everyone again! I loved this post, and I look forward to hearing even more of the things that people say you shouldn’t love, but you love regardless, at our ripe old young age!

June 24, 2015 - 10:57 am

Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit - You and me both, Estelle. I think I’m never going to stop being 18-22 at heart. In the year before I turned 30, I think I realized that, and I made my peace with it by starting a YA book blog. =) Now I have friends who range from 15-40 in age in the online world, and I’ve realized that age really doesn’t matter so much anymore. Sarah is 6-7 years younger than me, but we get each other, and I’m so SO grateful I met her.

That said, I am really glad that I also have close friends who are my age, because, like you said, I am in a different place than my 18-22 year old friends, and it’s important to have people who really get you in your professional/personal life.

I’m still on the fence on Hilary’s new album, but I wish I’d seen Gigi – Vanessa Hudgens was adorable in the one number they did at the Tonys, and I just love her. (Were you also deeply saddened when she and Zefron broke up?). I haven’t watched Girl Meets World, but I never really watched BMW, so I can’t say much to that…however, I did just go meet up with the bunch of 17-22 year olds who created Green Gables Fables, and while I didn’t feel OLD, I felt the difference in our lives so much…the weight of my responsibilities (can’t just go away for awhile because I have a house and cats and a husband) felt a lot bigger. But I wouldn’t choose not to have them, you know?

June 24, 2015 - 12:47 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I’m 33, and I remember that turning 30 definitely shook me a little. There’s something about moving up into a new decade that makes one reflective about the years that have gone by. Even though I’m now into my 30s, I definitely still have moments where I pause and wonder if I’m content at the place where I am in my life. I have a lot to be thankful for (a loving husband, an adorable little boy, and a roof over my head that I am privileged enough to own), but there are other times where I worry that I could be further along in my career and whether I made the best career and schooling choices thus far. At the same time, I’m also a child at heart and I firmly believe that growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional! I can also be found busting out the Disney playlists, and rejoiced at being able to watch The Little Mermaid with Marko a couple of weeks ago. He loved it (which means we’ll get to watch it over and over and over again!) and adorably refers to Ariel as “Mama Fish.” So, even though I’m getting older in years, I still get to hold onto all those childhood moments by living them all over again through Marko’s eyes.

June 22, 2015 - 9:19 pm

Leah - ♥ ♥ My heart can’t handle all the awesome! Pop culture will always be filled to the brim with nostalgia – whether it’s tv shows/music/fashion from our childhood or decades before we existed. I think it’s fascinating watching the ebb and flow (although when I was entering high school bell bottoms/flared jeans were making a comeback and NO THANK YOU) and I love that its resurgence means I can share in the excitement with my nieces (Jurassic World especially!)

June 22, 2015 - 11:31 am

Alexa S. - Macky is still semi-yelling at me to watch Girl Meets World, bu since I haven’t seen Boy Meets World in its entirety (I know, I know!), I feel like I should do that first. But yes to Hilary Duff’s album (which is fabulous. I love Confetti!) and to Vanessa Hudgens (who I wish I could have caught in Gigi) and to FULL HOUSE REBOOT (*spazzes*)! Love that these things that are part of your childhood/my childhood are circling back again :)

June 22, 2015 - 11:05 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Joining the 30s club is weird isn’t it? When I turned 30 it was weird. but this year I turned 32 (just a few weeks ago) and I’m struggling with this a lot. Although I truly don’t think it’s old, I am insecure about certain things in my life. But enough about that.

I also love “kid” things. And I listen to Disney Music all the time! I have to check out Hilary Duff’s new CD.

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Why in 5: Linda Lael Miller’s The Marriage Season

The Marriage Season by Linda Lael MillerThe Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller  ( web | tweet )
Published May 26, 2015 by Harlequin HQN
Pages: 304 | Target: adult
Keywords: remarriage, small towns, single parents, best friendship

Summary: Bex is always taking care of someone else; it’s about time she starts paying attention to the good looking single dad she keeps bumping into (whether it’s accidental or because of her best friends).

The Brides of Bliss County series is so fun because it centers around the lifelong friendship of three girls living in Mustang Creek. They all made a pact to find their happily ever afters, and now it’s Bex’s turn. Here’s 5 reasons you should toss this book into your beach bag:

  1. True friendship: Bex might be fiercely independent but she knows when she needs her girls. She also knows to be prepared for hang out time with snacks (can you imagine the darling bakery they probably came from). That’s what I call a friend. These girls know each other so well, and especially know when to call each other out on their crap.
  2. Two people just about/almost kinda ready to move on: Bex’s love, Will, died Afghanistan and Tate is a widow, raising two young boys on their own. There’s more to both of their stories (I love where Miller went with Tate’s) but as the reader, you know from the start these two can help fill the void in each of them — even they were both already established as people who embraced the detours they’ve hit, and lived satisfying lives.
  3. There’s no right way to fall in love. Miller’s a classic romance writer, and I love that familiarity but she also pushed and pulled our characters together in a way that didn’t fulfill some of the more traditional timelines in romance novels. I loved that. Definitely an emphasis on maturity, and less on drama — which fit Bex and Tate’s characters perfectly.
  4. Kids! I never realized quite how much I love having kids a part of a story like this one. You get to watch a character fall in love with more than her partner. She has to click with the kids too. Loved having these rascals (including Bex’s nephew, Josh) involved in the story too.
  5. A log cabin. Normally a log cabin would bring to mind images of Abe Lincoln, but this place was so important to this couple’s story… even if there were a little hiccups along the way.

You know you really enjoyed a trio of characters when you get choked up at the final chapter. I hope you’ll take some time to know this loyal threesome soon!

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Little Bird Publicity has provided me with one copy of THE MARRIAGE SEASON for a lucky U.S. reader. Try your luck below, and thanks to LBP for spreading the love!

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An early copy of this book was provided for review.

June 17, 2015 - 12:20 pm

Christy T - The last great romance I read was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas!

June 16, 2015 - 12:57 pm

christy - Beautiful cover! I just finished a so-so NA romance and am currently reading a romantic suspense. As far as favorites this year, I enjoyed “Burying Water” by K.A. Tucker and “Cookie Cutter” by Jo Richardson.

June 15, 2015 - 11:05 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I so, so, so need to check out Linda Lael Miller. Where should I start?

June 14, 2015 - 4:26 pm

Grace @ She Reads Things - I usually don’t read adult romance books (YA is my choice of poison!), but this book looks great! I’d say that the last books with a good romance component that I really liked would have to be The Longest Ride and the Nantucket Series. I absolutely adored those books!

-Grace :)

June 13, 2015 - 5:49 am

Leah - Do you do this to me on purpose, E?! I seriously need to get on board with the Linda Lael Miller love – every single book that you have reviewed has sounded fantastic and absolutely perfect for a lazy summer day. (Though I was be all over an Abe Lincoln book!)

Eep, going through my shelves, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve read a straight up romance novel. Sure, there have been books to include a romance (The Sound of Glass, The Last Letter From Your Lover, Seraphina, etc) but the last ROMANCE novel I read was in 2013. Surrender to Sultry by Macy Beckett. Two years ago. Help me, Obi-Wan Estelle. You’re my only hope.

June 11, 2015 - 9:26 am

shokufeh - I just finished the Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, and keep thinking about it. It’s not classified as a romance, but is definitely about love (and the challenges that may be involved).

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Attention, Attention! Wild Cards

Allow me to take you back to the days of Tiger Beat and Teen Beat for a revival of Attention, Attention. Estelle reviewed Wild Cards over a year-and-a-half ago on the blog, but I recently had the pleasure of listening to the audio book. I really, really enjoyed my experience and the book, despite how often it made me blush. (So, so much.) My only semi-major complaint is that the narrator did not pronounce Ashtyn’s name correctly 98% of the time. Derek does have a Southern drawl, but he shouldn’t have sounded like he was saying “Ash-jin.”

Hopefully these details will be reason enough for you to hit your local library to check out Wild Cards ASAP!

Wild-Cards-Profile-on-Derek-Fitzpatrick

Celebrity Casting: Wilson Bethel (image sourceimage source) because he was cocky and arrogant as all get out on Hart of Dixie, but could make absolutely any girl swoon after him.

Wild-Cards-Profile-on-Ashtyn-Parker

Celebrity Casting: Jessica Biel – she’s athletic and tough-as-nails (or so I assume), just like Ashtyn.

So what do you think? Wanna give Wild Cards a try?
Did you already read it? What did you think?

June 15, 2015 - 11:47 am

Liz - Yes please, Wilson Bethel! I love Wade so much. Thanks for the eye candy.

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Adam Silvera & a Call to Arms | Dive Into Diversity

Dive into Diversity Reading Challenge

Hello, readers!

Another month, and more time to diversify your bookshelf. We’re thrilled to have debut novelist (a.k.a. that tall guy who used to sell me books at my favorite bookstore) Adam Silvera on the blog today! His  highly-praised release, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, turns ONE WEEK OLD today (aww) and Adam is sharing some thoughts about timing and introducing homosexuality in books. Hope you enjoy Adam’s Dive Into Diversity stop, and add his recent release to your reading lists! (Also, challengers, don’t forget to add your DID) links below!) Take it away, Adam!

I don’t understand why people mistake homosexuality as a choice, but they do. I’m sure a lot of the misconception revolves around wanting the world to spin a certain “normal” way, but let’s dismiss that idiocy for a few minutes (and for the rest of our lives) and take a look at why homosexuality may feel foreign to well-intentioned others.

Teenhood is that time of independence and discovery that can be both exhilarating and frustrating, and for a lot of teens, it’s the first time they’re reading something that may involve gay characters. Homosexuality in middle-grade fiction exists on a very small scale, but you’re always more likely to see a wizard struggling with his magical life than you are a kid pondering his sexuality. Sure, some pre-teens are developing loveless crushes on each other, but for the most part they are chasing each other around the jungle gym, tattle-telling on some little nemesis, or playing Pretend, so you could argue it’s not necessary to roll out homosexual presence just yet. Except I did all these things and still had feelings for boys and knew not to talk about it because it wasn’t being talked about. I’ll admit to being the kind of reader far more interested in Harry Potter dealing with all his problems, both Muggle and magical, but seeing an outed Dumbledore, or even another Hogwarts student who’s gay, could’ve changed the game for me. But we shouldn’t be including homosexual characters just for those who are gay–it should be for EVERYONE.

My point to all of this is I believe we’re introducing homosexuality FAR TOO LATE to people by only addressing it in young adult novels, and it may be why it’s so alien to others who aren’t experiencing these feelings themselves. I would love to see a greater presence of LGBT characters for younger readers, and introducing them as young as the picture book crowd so they aren’t surprised by the different ways to love.

I totally understand more authority comes with teenhood, but we shouldn’t have to be a certain age to declare who we are, even if some of those declarations turn out to be wrong. Sexuality may not always be a choice, but how we define ourselves is.

Thanks for stopping in, Adam!

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT: The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is (Soho Teen, June 2, 2015).

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | @AdamSilvera | Excerpt @ MTV.com

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July 10, 2015 - 4:52 pm

Crystal - I loved More Happy Than Not – reviewed it in May for Rich in Color – http://richincolor.com/2015/05/mini-review-more-happy-than-not/ and I also enjoyed Adam’s comments here. I am looking forward to a lot more books from him in the future.

June 29, 2015 - 8:33 am

Monthly Bookish Awesomeness: June 2015 | Bookish and Awesome - […] his own MFA program and writing his way to publication • On Adam’s favorite TV shows • On why people mistake homosexuality as a choice • On who would be great friends for Aaron Soto outside the book • On learning when […]

June 24, 2015 - 9:31 am

Beth @ Perpetual New Girl - Great interview with Adam. I am hoping to read More Happy Than Not soon, because of all the wonderful things being said about it.

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Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth ⋅ Estelle Reviews

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe BoothKinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth ( web | tweet)
Published August 26, 2014 by Scholastic Press
Pages: 256 | Target: middle grade
Keywords: foster siblings, urban settings, summer school, friendship

Eleven year-old Jarrett is pissed off, and it has nothing to do with his mother taking in more foster kids. He’s not too psyched to have to share his room with a 12-year old stranger, Kevon. Why does the newest addition to his family have to be older than him, better looking, great at basketball, and able to make new friends almost immediately?

Jarrett finds out soon enough that Kevon is less than imperfect. He has no trouble raising his voice to Jarrett’s mom when it comes to the best way to care for his younger (special needs) sister. He’s prepared to do whatever it takes to escape this foster home and be back where he belongs — living with his dad on the other side of Newark. This is okay with Jarrett because he just wants his room back.

Both boys learn a lot about patience, because Kevon’s stay is not as short as either of them are prepared for. Soon Kevon is encroaching on his time at the center and with his best friend, Ennis. Jarrett decides to impart his supreme spy skills to find out the real story about Kevon and his little sister but something just isn’t adding up.

I really enjoyed reading about foster care from this angle. Jarrett is proud of what his mom does, but he also feels like she cares a bit more about all the babies coming and going than him. He’s learned to detach himself from the kids the more and more she fosters, because he’s gotten so sad when children have left their home in the past. Like his mother, he’s extremely empathetic and can’t help but feel angry at the parents who mistreat their children.

In addition to the fostering process, Kinda Like Brothers has Jarrett reacting from hearing his teachers talk poorly of his academics. He’s having a lot of trouble concentrating in school, he was absent a lot during the year because of his asthma attacks, and nothing is clicking. He’s totally frustrated because his mom doesn’t seem to be paying enough attention to his, and he’s not sure what the point of applying himself is when everything thinks he’s “dumb” anyway.

All this heaviness is sprinkled with the standard qualms of an 11-year old — the girl he desperately wants to impress, how annoying it is to remember to put on deodorant (and how equally annoying it is to be reminded to wear some by his mom), the recent changes in his best friend, and getting down all the moves for step team. I can’t forget his passion for making movie trailers either. Jarrett may have trouble believing he’s smart but you have to believe he’s going to make it through his school difficulties because the kid is charmingly ambitious. There’s nothing “stupid about that”.

Despite the young audience for this book, I love how we are given some insight into Jarrett’s mother and her own tendencies to push happiness away. There was also the stark (and all too timely) observation that kids in Jarrett’s neighborhood would regularly be targeted by the cops without having done a thing — all because of what they looked like. Certainly a moment that would elicit a ton of discussion in the classroom, in the home, and beyond.

Kinda Like Brothers was funny, smart, and explored the many meanings of family. It touched upon the not so great things we do when we are feeling threatened and how we make up for them; how we protect ourselves and the ones we love; embrace the things we do well and use them to get through the things that are still a work in progress.

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June 8, 2015 - 1:36 pm

Alexa S. - Kinda Like Brothers sounds like it packs a punch with its honesty! I really love the fact that it’s written for a younger audience, but still would pack a punch for any reader – even older ones. It’s always interesting to me to read about foster parents, and Jarrett’s mother seems like someone I’d want to learn more about (and Jarrett too, of course).

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