Monday, November 26, 2018

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

Sixth grade was supposed to be different. But AJ's still short, still boring, and still invisible to the girl of his dreams. When he's paired with the lovely Nia for a class project, he begins adopting various characteristics of pop culture vampires to draw her attention.

I really enjoyed this middle-grade graphic novel with its mish-mash of vampire lore and all the angst 11-year-olds can inhabit. It wasn't as predictable as I'd feared, and I quite enjoyed the twists.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

While watching The Magnificent Seven at the local cinema, a young woman is struck by an idea. Nayeli and three friends set off on a quest (like all epic stories) to America to find seven men to return to their village and begin life there anew.

It's a fun, entertaining "road story" as the group encounters big cities, bus travel, new experiences, love and lust, illegal border crossing, American tourists, and much more.

While written in 2009, the story has some very timely elements. The Mexicans in the book have many, many opinions about migration from the south (and control of their southern border) along with simultaneous, opposing opinions about migration to the north and control of the northern border.

I'd highly recommend listening to this one: The book is an interesting blend of English and Mexican-Spanish - some translated, some left to inference - which made it a fantastic audiobook full of language and nuance and local flavor.