L-L-L-Little Reviews #52: July 2023

Posted July 27, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 0 Comments

Here are the books I read and/or finished this past month that were not part of scheduled tours or requests from authors/publishers.

The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho
L-L-L-Little Reviews #52: July 2023The Silence that Binds Us by Joanna Ho
Narrator: Raechel Wong
Published by HarperTeen on June 14, 2022
Genres: YA Contemporary
Length: 11:20
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
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Joanna Ho, 'New York Times' best-selling author of 'Eyes that Kiss in the Corners', has written an exquisite, heart-rending debut young adult novel that will inspire all to speak truth to power.
Maybelline Chen isn't the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can't come up with one specific reason for why she's proud of her only daughter. May's beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May's parents for putting too much "pressure" on him. May's father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It's up to May to take back the narrative.
Joanna Ho masterfully explores timely themes of mental health, racism, and classism.
©2022 Joann Ho (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

My Review:

This was such a good book. It went in totally different ways from what I expected from reading the blurb. I also learned a lot and have some research to do into the history about if that Chinese PR thing is true or not. I liked how real it was. I like how May had to come to terms with the fact that she wasn’t as open and supportive of her best friend as she’d thought she was. I really feel this would be a great read/addition to the award nominees for next year, so I really hope it makes that final cut!

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon
L-L-L-Little Reviews #52: July 2023Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #2
Published by Bantam, Dell on July 1, 1992
Genres: Adult Historical Fiction, Adult Historical Romance
Pages: 947
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-half-stars
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From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

My Review:

I started reading this book about 5 years ago, in 2017. And then, I put it down for a while. Picked it back up the following summer and then put it down about the time school started again. Picked it up once in 2020. Picked it up and really read a bunch during 2021, then put it down in the fall again. Read it a little in the summer of 2022, but then didn’t pick it up again till this past year as I began to get ready for my trip to Scotland for an Outlander tour. At that point I was sucked back in. Especially as there was a line that showed up in the current season of the show that was actually from this book. And then there were so many sites in the book that were ones on my tour, so it was neat to be reading about them as I was visiting them, even if I had seen them on the tv show already. Season 2 was not my favorite of all of the tv series, so I guess it makes sense I didn’t want to just devour this. But I am now starting book 3 and hoping I’ll move along much quicker with it! So this only got rated a 4.5 because it took me so long to get through, but that’s kind of my own fault maybe?

Howl by Shaun David Hutchinson

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #52: July 2023Howl by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 19, 2022
Genres: YA Horror, YA LGBTQ
Pages: 432
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: four-stars
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From critically acclaimed Shaun David Hutchinson comes a gritty and raw portrayal of the oftentimes traumatic experience of growing up.
Virgil Knox was attacked by a monster.
Of course, no one in Merritt believes him. Not even after he stumbled into the busy town center, bleeding, battered, and bruised, for everyone to see. He’d been drinking, they said. He was hanging out where he wasn’t supposed to, they said. It must’ve been a bear, or a badger, or a gator—definitely no monster.
Virgil doesn’t think it was any of those things. He’s positive it was a monster. But being the new kid in a town where everybody knows everybody is hard enough as it is without being the kid who’s afraid of monsters, so he tries to keep a low profile.
Except he knows the monster is still out there. And if he isn’t careful, Virgil’s afraid it’ll come back to finish him off, or worse—that he’ll become one himself.

My Review:

I’d been interested in reading this one since before the publisher sent it to me to read for the Gateway committee I am on. And really this did not let me down. It kept my interest throughout the story. I wanted to know how much was just imagination, how he was feeling because of what had happened, or if there was a real monster. And it was great how the author made the grandparents and father and mother the bad guys, just like they would be to a teen in that type of situation, but then also made me realize that maybe they weren’t as bad as they seemed at first. Or at least with some of them. I liked the way the author kept some twists and turns on what or who was actually behind all of the things happening. There was a bit where Virgil thanks a teacher for making something a safe space for him, and I really loved that part, and know that as an educator, I try to do my best to make the library, or my classroom in the past, a safe space for students who need that. This is one I definitely enjoyed!

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