L-L-L-Little Reviews # 5: 3 YA Books and a Graphic Novel

Posted December 22, 2018 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 14 Comments

Okay, a little bit far behind on reviews again!  Really hoping to be as caught up as possible by the end of the year so I can start fresh in 2019.   But we’ll see how that goes.  One of these is 2 months behind, and also will have a review of the movie.  So time to get it done.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:

Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Genre:  YA Contemporary
Source:  Purchased Collector’s Edition physical copy 
My rating:  5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this book since it first came out almost two years ago.  I took it home two summers ago planning to read it while school was out.  I did not.  Then I planned to try to read it last year before I went to the  big ALA Convention in New Orleans this past summer and had the chance to maybe meet the author.  I did not.  I didn’t get to meet her, although I did go see a panel she was a part of.  Maybe if I’d read the book, I’d have made sure to get to meet her, but of course her lines were really long, so without having read her book, I didn’t plan out getting into her line early enough.  I will definitely want the chance to meet her, next time there is a chance.  I ended up finally reading the book shortly before the movie came out this past fall.  I have to say that I loved the book and they did a pretty good job with the movie. Some of my favorite parts were of course left out of the movie.  Like, as I read, so many different times I would get the theme song from The Fresh Prince of BelAir stuck in my head.  That was not inserted into the movie as much as I’d have liked it to be.  As you would expect, they left other things out of the movie, as well as changing some things.  While I get some of the things they changed, I don’t agree with a couple of them from the end of the movie.  Like the part with her younger brother and the gun and the cops, don’t like that change or agree with it.  I do get why they left the end without the moving part in the movie.  Even though in a way, it kind of defeats the way the ending should go according the book.  

A great book, a great story, a great new author that I can’t wait to read more by! 

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does–or does not–say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen:

Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Genre:  YA Historical Fiction/Opera Retelling
Source:  Received copy from library where I work
My rating:  5 stars

This is another book that took me a while to read.  I got a copy from the library where I work before last summer to read.  The author was once not only a teacher in the school district where I work, but she also was a librarian in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Libraries which are partnered with my school district where I am a librarian.  Any way, I got to meet her earlier this fall when she was part of a panel at the Barnes and Noble where I work, and then she came to visit students at my school a couple weeks ago.  I didn’t get this read until last month, because I wanted to make sure to have it read before she came to discuss it with my students.  As usual it was another one that blew me away, and I couldn’t believe I’d waited so long to finally pick it up and read.  

So more specifically about the book itself, I loved the history and all the research the author did to make the story so full and vivid.  She wrote in the way that always makes me want to learn more about the time period and what truths she added to the story and what was actually what happened.  There was so much edge of the seat tension about halfway through the book and all the way to the end.  Then, I could barely put it down the last day I was reading it, read over 100 pages that day, and the ending, well, the ending gutted me!!!  It was good, and if you know what the opera it is based on is about, it is what should happen. But still!  Gah!  Loved it, even as I hated it.  Great story, and can’t wait to read more by this author.  Here I am with her both times I’ve met her.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until the kingdom is conquered by enemy forces and she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless love.

Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.

Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of … even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.

The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from debut author Megan Bannen.

Losing the Field (The Field Party #4) by Abbi Glines:

Release Date: August 21st, 2018
Genre:  YA Contemporary Romance
Source:  Downloaded digital audio from public library
My rating:  5 stars

I’m a huge fan of this series, I’ve loved all of them so far:  Until Friday Night, Under the Lights, and After the Game.     This book starts with the next grade of football players, only Nash Lee is no longer going to get to be a football star.  I can say that I had barely started this book when I already didn’t want to get out of my car to stop listening.  It was actually Tallulah’s story that got me crying.  So much in her that I saw in myself.  Her walking to lose weight reminded me of the summer I walked at least 20 miles a week and lost weight.  How I wish I could do that again as easily.  The story actually reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books by Jay Crownover, strangely with the name Nash, the male character in that book had the same name as this guy, and kind of did the same thing to the girl in both books.  But there were some extra things I didn’t see coming, like a YouTube star, and a death, and so much more.  Plus there was an added storyline of the teacher that made a huge impact at the end, one that had tears streaming down my face.  A great book, and I can’t wait, or hope at least, that there will be more with the other guys on the team in future books.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Losing his dream, his ultimate plan, and his future- Nash Lee never expected to be facing a life without football. One wrong move and it had all changed. Going back to school for his senior year no longer appealed to him. He’d rather not leave his house. Walking back into Lawton High School, seeing pity in everyone’s eyes was just another reality in his nightmare.

Revenge wasn’t a pretty thing. Tallulah Liddell had found it was rather controlling. The way you looked at life changed completely when you clung to the ugly notion. But she’d done it anyway. From the last day of her junior year when Ryker Lee had made a fat joke about her and Nash laughed with him, she’d been driven by pain. It wasn’t like no one had made fun of her weight before. She was used to that. What had hurt so deeply was Nash’s laughter. He’d always been the one person to notice her, include her, not treat her differently. But that one moment had changed it all. From the time she walked out of the school building to the moment she returned for her senior year Tallulah had been determined to lose weight and finally be the size her peers considered acceptable.

What she wasn’t expecting on her return was to find a broken Nash Lee who no longer smiled, rarely spoke, and didn’t care about anything or anyone around him. He was just existing. But the pain in his eyes she understood all too well. He was alone. He no longer fit into the perfect package.  

Captain America:  Road to Reborn by Ed Brubaker: 

Release Date: November 4th, 2009
Genre:  Superhero graphic novel
Source:  Checked out from library where I work
My rating:  2 stars

So one of the teachers I work with, I call him my work husband, asked me last year whether I thought Marvel or DC Comics were better.  Since I’d only watched the movies, I don’t read comics or graphic novels really, he challenged me to read one from each group, and even chose ones from the library where I work.  I started this one in August, and didn’t finish until the beginning of December.  Let’s just say that I am never going to be a fan of graphic novels.   And this one, well, just didn’t keep my attention, and each story felt like it didn’t fit with the others, so I was just bored and had to force myself to get through it.  Hopefully I’ll get to the DC book he picked for me this year, and I can do a comparison mini-review for it before the end of the month.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
It’s one year since the death of Captain America. And for the many friends and foes of Steve Rogers, this is the last step on the road to Reborn. For Sharon Carter, it is a journey for redemption. For Bucky Barnes, it is a journey of reflection. For his friends in the Avengers, it is a journey of reconnection. And for Norman Osborn, the Red Skull and others for whom the American Dream is counter to their own selfish desires, it is a journey of recrimination.

What happens next will make or break the Dream forever! Road to Reborn is full of dramatic, milestone moments — including stark revelations concerning the death of Steve Rogers, key character moments and the revival of hope that the Dream still lives! Led by writer Ed Brubaker (Criminal, Daredevil) — and featuring contributions by Captain America legends Gene Colan, Mark Waid, and Roger Stern — this is essential reading for any Cap fan, new or old! 

Collecting: Captain America 49-50, 600-601 

So those are 4 more mini-reviews.  I’ve only got three more at the time I’m writing these that are still waiting to be reviewed and are not part of tours.  But they are all adult contemporary romances, so I’ll save them for their own post! 

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14 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews # 5: 3 YA Books and a Graphic Novel

  1. I liked Losing the Field, but I was more into Nash's storyline than Tallulah's. Having to readjust his dreams was a huge thing, and I thought Glines did that part really well.

  2. Other than the Captain America one it sounds like you loved all of these! I am definitely going to read THUG and I can't wait to read it myself. My mum is reading it first and then she will pass it on to me and I will read it after her 😀 I also really like the sound of The Bird and the Blade.

  3. Danielle Hammelef

    I read THUG first before watching the movie (I always do this and one time my husband surprised me with Dumplin’ because he checked out the movie). I found details in the movie I forgot about or missed because they didn’t seem important while reading. The acting was really good.

  4. John Smith

    I didn’t know there had been a movie version of “The Hate U Give,” so I looked that up–it’s like they had a crystal ball (not that the bad things that happened / are happening aren’t sadly predictable). Maybe the book doesn’t get so “heavy,” but it does sound like our heroine is made to move between two world.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Oh yeah, that came out two years ago. It was a pretty big one. The book gets really heavy, I think more than the movie, in a better way. Thanks for stopping by!

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