Mini Review: Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

25318441Two Naomis

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

5/5 stars

Release Date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

A realistic contemporary story of two girls, both named Naomi, whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia.

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie’s father lives a few blocks away, Naomi Edith wonders how she’s supposed to get through each day a whole country apart from her mother.

When Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi Edith’s dad get serious about dating, each girl tries to cling to the life she knows and loves. Then their parents push them into attending a class together, where they might just have to find a way to work with each other—and maybe even join forces to find new ways to define family.

Review:

Today I’m posting a mini review of Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick. This isn’t as detailed as my usual reviews, but I really wanted to share the book here.

TWO NAOMIS is absolutely incredible, I was thrilled from start to finish! Reading the synopsis, I knew it’d be super cute but it was also so emotional. From happy to sad to angry to I-don’t-know-what-I’m-feeling-but-I’m-super-emotional. The character development of Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith were off the charts. The authors’ were very good at making sure the reader understood not only both Naomis but their parents, family, and friends. It was like being in their heads’.

I loved both Naomis but I would say I connected with Naomi Marie a little bit more. She loved going to the library and making lists, just like me. She is also a bossy big sister, like me (haha). This is not to say I didn’t love Naomi Edith, because I did, but I definitely saw more of myself in Naomi Marie. Both characters were incredibly unique and brought something different to the story.

This is such an important novel for MG readers with divorced parents, to understand that change is okay. I definitely wish I had this book growing up. Two Naomis is also valuable for MG readers with non-divorced parents, to see from someone else’s perspective. If there was an emoji that was the combination of the heart-eyes emoji and the crying emoji, that would be my reading experience. I love, love, loved this!!

😍 + 😭 = this book ❤

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Mini Review: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

30256109American Street

Ibi Zoboi

5/5 stars

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Review:

Today I’m posting a mini review of American Street by Ibi Zoboi. This isn’t as detailed as my usual reviews, but I still wanted to share the book here.

This was so good and I’m having trouble putting that into words. Zoboi is a gifted storyteller. The characters of AMERICAN STREET captivate you from the very first page. I would say the character development is the strongest aspect of this book and the story is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. I also loved how Fabiola would compare her experiences as a Haitian immigrant in America with Vodou culture. I’m paraphrasing here but Fabiola described her situation as, “American by birth, Haiti by blood”. I didn’t expect the magical realism and it was a really beautiful surprise. A superb debut YA novel! I’m avidly awaiting Zoboi’s next work.

My review has a second paragraph but I didn’t include it here because it’s a huge spoiler. You can find it on Goodreads, where the spoiler part is hidden. Thanks for reading!

Kobo Emerging Writer Prize: Ann Y.K. Choi, M-E Girard & Lynne Kutsukake

IMG_4388The shortlist for the third annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize was recently announced and I was so thrilled to see Canadian authors Ann Y.K. Choi, M-E Girard and Lynne Kutsukake on the list. Their debuts are some of my most anticipated so I wanted to take the time to highlight them:

Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

This award is handed out to a debut novel (published the same year) in each of three categories: Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction this year). Along with a $10,000 CAD cash prize, each winning author receives promotional, marketing, and communications support. This is such a big award for Canadian debut authors and I’m especially happy to see a YA title on an awards list usually dominated by adult books. If you haven’t already, add these three books to your TBR. You can check out the rest of the shortlist here.

Also, if you’ve read any of these be sure to leave a review on book retailer sites like Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and Kobo. For this specific award, book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews were considered when selecting the shortlist titles. Your reviews, even if only a few lines, do matter! You can also follow these authors on Twitter by clicking on their names below:


Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi

Simon and Schuster | May 3, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

A bittersweet coming-of-age debut novel set in the Korean community in Toronto in the 1980s.

This haunting coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a rebellious young girl, vividly captures the struggles of families caught between two cultures in the 1980s. Family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden loves, domestic assaults—Mary discovers as she grows up that life is much more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her secret passion for her English teacher is filled with problems and with the arrival of a promising Korean suitor, Joon-Ho, events escalate in ways that she could never have imagined, catching the entire family in a web of deceit and violence.

A unique and imaginative debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety vocatively portrays the life of a young Korean Canadian girl who will not give up on her dreams or her family.

-I believe this was published as adult fiction but could appeal to YA readers


28217802Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

HarperCollins | September 6, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth–that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.


25893533The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

Knopf Canada | April 5, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Set against the pulsing backdrop of post-war Tokyo, The Translation of Love tells the gripping and heartfelt story of a newly repatriated Japanese-Canadian girl who must help a classmate find her missing sister. A dazzling New Face of Fiction for 2016 that will appeal to readers of All the Light We Cannot See and Anita Shreve.

Thirteen-year-old Aya Shimamura is released from a Canadian internment camp in 1946, still grieving the recent death of her mother, and repatriated to Japan with her embittered father. They arrive in a devastated Tokyo occupied by the Americans under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Aya’s English-language abilities are prized by the principal of her new school, but her status as the “repat girl” makes her a social pariah–until her seatmate, a fierce, willful girl named Fumi Tanaka, decides that Aya might be able to help her find her missing older sister. Beautiful Sumiko has disappeared into the seedy back alleys of the Ginza. Fumi has heard that General MacArthur sometimes assists Japanese citizens in need, and she enlists Aya to compose a letter in English asking him for help.

Corporal Matt Matsumoto is a Japanese-American working for the Occupation forces, and it’s his overwhelming job to translate thousands of letters for the General. He is entrusted with the safe delivery of Fumi’s letter; but Fumi, desperate for answers, takes matters into her own hands, venturing into the Ginza with Aya in tow.

Told through rich, interlocking storylines, The Translation of Love mines a turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of both the occupied and the occupiers, and how the poignant spark of resilience, friendship and love transcends cultures and borders to stunning effect.

Book Review: A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung

23384425A Tail of Camelot (Mice of the Round Table #1)

Julie Leung

4/5 stars

Release Date: October 4, 2015

Publisher: HarperCollins

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Young mouse Calib Christopher dreams of the day when he will become a Knight of Camelot like his father and grandfather before him. For generations, Calib’s family has lived among the mice that dwell beneath the human Knights of the Round Table, defending the castle they all call home. Calib just hopes he will be able to live up to the Christopher name.

Then, on the night of the annual Harvest Tournament, tragedy strikes. The mice suspect the Darklings are behind the vicious sneak attack, but Calib has his doubts, so he sets off on a quest for the truth. Venturing deep into the woods beyond the castle walls, Calib and his friend Cecily discover that a threat far greater than the Darklings is gathering, and human and animal knights alike are in grave danger.

With help from a host of unlikely new allies, including a young human boy named Galahad, Calib must get the Mice of the Round Table and the Darklings to put aside their differences and fight together. Only then will they be strong enough to save Camelot.

Review:

Maybe a 4.5. Slight spoilers in review.

At first glance, A TAIL OF CAMELOT by Julie Leung sounds like a cute MG novel – a retelling of King Arthur and Camelot set in the POV of small, anthropomorphic animals. While this is true, it turned out to be so much more – the rich detail and world-building reminded me of REDWALL and the in-depth characters and humour made me think of THE BLACKTHORN KEY. Leung wowed me with her debut novel – add her to your auto-buy list!

Leung really brings Camelot – the court of the legendary King Arthur – to life. I didn’t just imagine a castle with mice dressed in armour, I saw a court of dedicated knights (mice, larks, squirrels), I could taste the food (elderberry wine, soup served in hollowed-out acorns), and I could feel the setting (i.e. sea breeze). This retelling is set during King Arthur’s reign, and while there are similarities between the humans and the animals sworn to protect Camelot, Leung gives the main characters their own past, present and future. Something I absolutely loved, becoming a knight (for the animals) is not gender-specific (something we usually see in historical and/or fantasy books) and there’s no mention of “why is this character becoming a page/squire/knight, she’s a girl” nonsense. The Second-in-Command (and later Commander) is Sir Kensington, a female mouse. We did see a bit of this with the humans. King Arthur is away, so Queen Guinevere proposes a plan to defeat the enemy and the Knights of the Round Table basically refuse to listen to her. One might argue it’s because she didn’t have the sword in the stone – the knights will listen to anyone who pulls it out – but the fact that they’d rather listen to a 12 year old boy (age may be wrong) who’d pulled out the sword rather than an adult was slightly annoying and maybe even unnecessary.

Calib Christopher was a very likeable character, I could immediately get into his head. He’s one of those characters who’s shy, doesn’t have a lot of confidence in himself and just needs that extra push to realize he is brave and smart. Calib being a likeable character didn’t make him stand out though, he felt a bit like an insert-yourself character, which I’m not the hugest fan of. This sort of character, while easily likeable, doesn’t completely challenge the reader.

Most of the chapters are in Calib’s POV but we also see the perspective of the humans. Told through a 12 year old boy, Galahad comes to Camelot to become a page or squire (can’t remember which). He’s the son of Sir Lancelot, who he’s never met, so there’s a lot of pressure and expectations on him. Galahad wasn’t my favourite character – he struck me as a bit of a stereotype. Luckily, chapters with Galahad were shorter than Calib’s, although it was funny to see how the humans reacted when they witnessed odd animal behaviour. I did like that Leung tries to balance out the male-dominated POV’s by introducing Cecily as a main character and someone who helps Calib save Camelot. She was a fun, bold character. Also, the names were the best thing ever and really helped with the world-building (ex. Sir Owen Onewhisker, Devrin Savortooth, General Gaius Thornfeather).

There are some underlying themes of prejudice and discrimination. In the beginning, the animals of Camelot and the Darklings (animals living in nearby woods) are enemies, despite the truce between them. Rumours surrounding the Darklings have basically taken on a life of its own. I loved that as the book progressed, Leung presents a different side to these animals. This isn’t too prominent, you really have to be looking for it, but it’s something that could be discussed more in the sequel. However, I would have liked to see the POV of the Saxons and weasels, and maybe less of the adding physical traits with negative connotations to the enemy i.e. rotten teeth.

While I found the plot a bit predictable, maybe because I’m familiar with this sort of archetype, MG readers will be delighted at the sort of plot twists Leung lays out for them. A TAIL OF CAMELOT is a must-have for MG readers and I cannot wait to read the sequel. Perfect for fans of REDWALL, this is a great book for introducing readers to historical fantasy and the myth of King Arthur and Camelot.

February Wrap-Up Post

IMG_2758February was a great reading month! I was able to finish one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2017 – Windwitch by Susan Dennard. This was such a great sequel ❤ I also read this super cute middle grade novel called A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung. Definitely recommend, even if you don’t read MG that often. I’m also trying to read the 2017 Canada Reads shortlist and was able to finish my first book – Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis. I really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure if it’s the one book Canadians need to read now. I hope to read at least two more of these books in March (there’s five books on the shortlist).

Books Read:

Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung

ICYMI:

Top 5 February Releases

Book Review: Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Top 5 February Releases

In January I wrote about some of my most highly anticipated 2017 book releases, divided by debuts, sequels and standalones/first in a series by a non-debut author. These posts were really fun to write and I loved being able to share some incredible, upcoming books. I started thinking about a feature I could create that would allow me to write posts like these every month, but without any overlap of themes or books i.e. sharing new books each month.

So, each month (maybe halfway through) I’ll be posting about the top 5 books I’m really excited for, that are releasing that month. There’s always one or two book birthdays I end up forgetting, so I hope this helps other people. Obviously there’s a lot more than 5 books releasing each month, but I don’t want a super long feature. I’ve made a new category called “Book Birthdays” so it will be easy to go back to a specific month. I hope you add these February releases to your TBR! A side note, two of these books haven’t come out yet so do preorder them – preorders and first week sales are really important for the authors. Borrowing the book from the library and leaving reviews on book retailer sites are also as important.


32075671The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Balzer + Bray | February 28, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.


24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Thomas Dunne | February 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.


30269126Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Razorbill | February 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.


30375703The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Razorbill in US | Harpercollins in Canada | February 14, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in her father’s war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, “The Valiant” recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire.”


30653880The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (sequel to The Girl from Everywhere)

Greenwillow Books | February 28, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy.

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

10 Books to Preorder in 2017

Today I’m sharing 10 books coming out this year that I can’t wait to read. This is the second in a three part series where I’ll be sharing some 2017 releases. There are so many amazing books coming out that I couldn’t write about them all in just one post. My other posts are about sequels (read here) and 2017 debuts. A few of these aren’t available for preorder yet, so I’ve added a link to Goodreads and the author’s twitter account. Add the book and follow the author so that you can be notified once it’s available for preorder.

Friendly reminder that if your local library doesn’t have a book you want, make a purchase request! The more interest they see in a title, the more likely they’ll buy it. This helps just as much as buying/preordering a copy yourself. Libraries usually have a form you can fill out on their website, but you can always call or ask in person.


32766747The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Razorbill | July 18, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?


29283884The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Katherine Tegen Books | June 20, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.


32606929Deadmen Walking (Dark-Hunter: Deadman’s Cross Trilogy #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Tor Books | May 9, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Hell On Earth

When the Chthonians brought the primal gods to a truce at the end of their great war, part of the pact they forged was that the worst of the evil the gods had unleashed against each other and mankind would be forever banished.

But forever is a long time. And nothing can contain those determined to find a way back.

To catch evil, it takes evil . . .

While Thorn is able to contain the demons unleashed on the ground, the ones who prey on the innocent sailors and sea faring travelers are beyond his reach.

For the sake of humanity, he makes a shaky alliance with an old foe, Marcelina. In the form of the ship they sail upon, she assembles a team under the command of Captain Devlyn Nathaniel Bane, one of the most notorious and bloodthirsty pirates to ever sail the high seas.

Damned and murdered by his own, Bane is out for revenge. With his own secret agenda, he agrees to take charge of the motley crew of pirates and brigands, and to protect the seas from the preternatural terrors that seek to devour every unwary soul they can take.

Theirs is a sacred and deadly task, as they are hunted by their prey and human authorities alike. If they fail, the world will fall to the ancient gods of chaos, and anarchy will reign. Most of all, the Southern gate, where the greatest, most powerful darkness is imprisoned, will be opened and there will be no stopping it.

It’s yo ho ho and a bottle of high seas stakes where the souls of all humanity are the ultimate prize and bargaining chip.


25014114History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

Soho Teen | January 17, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.


29387853Want by Cindy Pon

Simon Pulse | June 13, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?


33158561Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore 

Feiwel & Friends | September 26, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Add it to Goodreads | Twitter

Synopsis:

Love grows such strange things.

Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers garnered fabulous reviews and was a finalist for the prestigious YALSA Morris Award, and her second novel, When the Moon was Ours, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Now, in Wild Beauty, McLemore introduces a spellbinding setting and two characters who are drawn together by fate—and pulled apart by reality.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

-The cover was just released – as in five days ago – on Entertainment Weekly, which is why it has that watermark. The finished copy won’t have it, incase you were worried.


32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Duet Books | May 4, 2017

Add it to Goodreads | Twitter

Synopsis:

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.


31145133I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) | May 30, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.


Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) by Jodi Meadows (no cover yet)

Katherine Tegen | Fall 2017

Add it to Goodreads | Twitter

Synopsis:

New fantasy trilogy about a girl stripped from her political family and imprisoned, her fellow inmates who know more than they say, and a dangerous secret about illegal dragon trafficking that might be her only hope of escape.


25314447Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

Putnam’s Children | April 11, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

Top 10 Books of 2016

I can’t believe 2016 is almost over?! It feels like just yesterday I was talking about my goals and expectations for 2016. Today I’m sharing a combination of my favourite books read & published in 2016 and books published but not read in 2016. For the latter, this way I get to share books I never got the chance to read but heard really great things about. I tried skipping really popular books that everyone knows about, in favour of some great but lesser known ones. I’m sorry if one of your faves didn’t make it. I’ve reviewed a few of these, click on the title to read them.

I’d love to know if any of these were your favourite reads? Are there any books that I have to, above all others, read in 2017?


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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Tor Teen | January 5, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Greenwillow Books | February 16, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.


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The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Flux | February 8, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.


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Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Dutton Books for Young Readers | March 15, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.


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Warrior Witch by Danielle Jensen

Angry Robot | May 3, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen.

Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world.

As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone.

But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.


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A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Roaring Brook Press | October 25, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.


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The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

St. Martin’s Griffin | April 26, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.


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A Tail of Camelot (Mice of the Round Table #1) by Julie Leung

HarperCollins | October 4, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Young mouse Calib Christopher dreams of the day when he will become a Knight of Camelot like his father and grandfather before him. For generations, Calib’s family has lived among the mice that dwell beneath the human Knights of the Round Table, defending the castle they all call home. Calib just hopes he will be able to live up to the Christopher name.

Then, on the night of the annual Harvest Tournament, tragedy strikes. The mice suspect the Darklings are behind the vicious sneak attack, but Calib has his doubts, so he sets off on a quest for the truth. Venturing deep into the woods beyond the castle walls, Calib and his friend Cecily discover that a threat far greater than the Darklings is gathering, and human and animal knights alike are in grave danger.

With help from a host of unlikely new allies, including a young human boy named Galahad, Calib must get the Mice of the Round Table and the Darklings to put aside their differences and fight together. Only then will they be strong enough to save Camelot.


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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Tor Books | February 23, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.


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When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Thomas Dunne | October 4, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

Book Review: Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard

 

25005214Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1) – prequel novella to the Red Queen series

Victoria Aveyard

3.5/5 stars

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Harper Teen

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Review:

Victoria Aveyard’s writing is superb in this prequel novella to Red Queen. Queen Song tells the backstory of Queen Coriane, from her life before the Royal Court to her friendship with the crown prince as well as the heartache and despair that comes with being a Silver daughter. Although the writing was strong, the main character was not.

I think Coriane’s personality didn’t fully get across to me and her troubles came across as a pity party. She seemed like she’d make a great mechanic or engineer and a big reader, but she doesn’t really fight for those things. As well, she talks about these things, but we don’t really see her doing them. It should be show, don’t tell. She also observes and thinks about the Reds and the Silvers. I did like that and I felt like she could’ve made strong strides as the Queen. She acknowledges that the Reds have it so much worse than the Silvers, but the focus remains on what the Silvers can’t do (like fight cancer or death). The irony is that she’s told multiple times to get a backbone and is written as weak and underwhelming.

I read Red Queen over a year ago so I don’t remember every skill/talent that the Silver houses are known for, never mind remember what a Singer can do. I wish the author had mentioned Coriane’s ability earlier (rather than near the end) and maybe explained it a bit more. I was actually starting to think Coriane didn’t even have one. Elara’s ability was mentioned earlier and in greater detail.

Maybe my main issue was that, I the reader know the fate of this character, having read Red Queen and wished for a character who fights up until the last moment, despite their fate. Coriane did act but it didn’t feel significant. It seemed to place her deeper into the hole. If you liked the Red Queen series or want to read about the backstory of this character, this is a quick read – just don’t expect a great YA heroine.

Review + Interview: Rabbit Ears by Maggie de Vries

18053322Rabbit Ears

Maggie de Vries

4.5/5 stars

Release Date: March 18, 2014

Publisher: HarperCollins

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Kaya is adopted, multiracial, grieving the death of her father—and carrying a painful secret. Feeling ill at ease with her family and in her own skin, she runs away repeatedly, gradually disappearing into a life of addiction and sex work. Meanwhile, her sister, Beth, escapes her own troubles with food and a rediscovered talent for magic tricks. Though both girls struggle through darkness and pain, they eventually find their way to a moment of illumination and healing.

This powerful YA novel is rooted in the tragic life of the author’s sister, Sarah, a victim of serial killer Robert Pickton and the subject of Maggie de Vries’s Governor General’s Literary Award–nominated memoir for adults, Missing Sarah. Sarah’s tragic experiences inspired the character Kaya, as well as an adult sex worker she meets on the streets. Vancouver’s missing women form a chilling backdrop for the story.

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I want to say thank you to Maggie for allowing me to interview her. Be sure to check out my review of Rabbit Ears; it’s a fantastic book that I highly recommend!

1. Although Kaya’s story is fiction, Rabbit Ears was inspired by Vancouver’s missing women and the tragic experiences of your sister, Sarah. Can you tell me why you chose fiction as your medium?

MD: I wanted to write a story about a girl who survived, when my sister did not. And after I learned that my sister was sexually abused when she was a child, I wanted to explore the silence around abuse. To do that, I needed to write Kaya’s experience from the inside, and to do that I needed to write fiction. I also didn’t want to subject my family to another book about them. Fiction provided me with the distance and the flexibility that I needed. In the end, fiction also allowed me to include my sister Sarah as someone who helped Kaya, and that was a joy for me.

2. Kaya refers to herself as “you” while Beth refers to herself as “I”. I found this had several implications for both Kaya and the reader. How did this develop? Did you always know you would tell Kaya’s story this way?

MD: I didn’t. I believe that I wrote both Kaya and Beth in third person at first. Then I took a short story writing workshop from Zsuzsi Gartner, and she encouraged all of us to try something different. I went home and tried second person, even though I know it’s frowned up. Immediately, it felt right. Because of what has happened to her, Kaya is at a bit of a distance from herself. “You” makes is easier for her to tell her story. Then, at the end, she is able to switch to “I.” I think “you” also may implicate the reader more than first or third person does, forcing them to place themselves in the place of the character.

3. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

MD: I always say, read, write and live. Sometimes writers forget about the living part, but if we aren’t living fully, and paying attention to our sensory and emotional experiences, observing our world closely, we won’t have the stuff to write from. I also believe that we find our voices by grounding ourselves in our own experiences and writing from there, even when we are writing about aliens or life on the other side of the world.

4. How did you feel when you found out Rabbit Ears had been nominated for a 2016 White Pine award?

MD: I was thrilled! I knew that it meant that many teens would read and talk about Rabbit Ears, and that made me very happy. Also, even though I grew up in Vancouver and I have lived in Vancouver for much of my adult life, I was born in Guelph, Ontario and my mother lives there now, so I have spent a lot of time there. I’m excited about coming to the ceremony on May 17 and spending some time in Ontario then.

5. Can you share with us any projects you’re working on?

MD: Right now, I’m working on revisions on A Voice for Change, which is a different project for me because I’m not the author. A Voice for Change is Rinelle Harper’s story and she and her mother are the authors. I’m the writer. Rinelle is a remarkable young woman, and it has been a great honour to work on this book with her and her family. I have learned a great deal. I’ve spent a lot of time in Winnipeg and I’ve traveled to their home community of Garden Hill in northern Manitoba. I believe that A Voice for Change will come out this fall.

I also have a picture book coming out next spring called Swimming with Seals. Like Rabbit Ears, it’s a true story in fictional form. My sister Sarah and her daughter Jeanie both love to swim, just like in Rabbit Ears, but they never got to swim together. In Swimming with Seals, they do.

6. What have you been reading lately? Anything you can recommend?

MD: Right now I’m reading The Hunter and the Wild Girl by Pauline Holdstock, which is a strange and beautiful, like a dark fairy tale. And I just finished Ru by Kim Thuy, which is one of the most poetic books I’ve read in a long while. Haunting. Also by my bed at the moment is The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. I had never read anything by Oliver Sacks, and when he died last August, I was reminded that that was a terrible gap in my reading. What a fascinating man!

review

When I finished this book all I could think was wow. Just wow! Even though Kaya’s story is fiction, the author has weaved in true stories of Vancouver’s missing women and that builds up such an emotional response in the reader. The characters of Rabbit Ears have their own deep, dark painful secrets; the more you read, the closer you are to figuring out what those are. I couldn’t help asking myself is this the story of a survivor or someone who couldn’t get out. Rabbit Ears is an incredible book and the author brings alive some very important issues, including but not limited to: Vancouver’s missing women, drug addiction, sex work and teen runaways. This is a must-read, something that shows you can help break the silence and bring awareness. A discussion opener.

I couldn’t immediately get into the book. The format and writing style surprised me so it was hard to convince myself to continue reading. I’m so glad I did because once I got into it, I couldn’t stop. Later on, deep into the book, I started reflecting on the writing. Rabbit Ears is split into two POV’s: Kaya’s and her older sister, Beth’s. Within each chapter, there are a lot of page breaks; short entries like you’d find in a journal or diary. What’s really interesting (I didn’t immediately see the difference) is that Kaya’s POV is in second person while Beth’s is in third person. This means that instead of Kaya referring to herself as “I”, she uses “you”. This has a few implications. For the reader, it fits with the idea that by reading this, you provide a space for Kaya’s story. It could even mean that an Outsider is telling Kaya’s story because for some reason Kaya herself isn’t able to. This worried me about how the book would end, as I mentioned before. For Kaya herself, the “you” creates a wall – it’s easier to tell your story if you’re looking at yourself from far away. The entire format of the book is a perfect fit for the story.

I loved the different perspectives of Kaya and Beth. Kaya, Beth and their mother are grieving the loss of their father, who passes away from cancer before the book begins. This seems to set off the events happening in Rabbit Ears. Kaya is adopted and multiracial; with little to no friends in school, she is constantly dealing with bullying and racism. She ends up meeting Sarah, a sex worker and heroin addict, in Vancouver’s Eastside. Sarah saves her and tries to warn her of the dangers. She herself doesn’t believe she can get out, but Kaya has a home and a family. Sarah views Kaya as a survivor, someone who can be saved, someone who doesn’t belong in this world of sex trafficking and addiction. The fact that the author has written in her own sister, Sarah (who was a victim of serial killer Robert Pickton) as a character makes the novel all the more powerful and moving.

We don’t see Beth’s POV as much as Kaya’s, but we do see enough. I would say Beth takes up the tough love approach when it comes to how she and her mom deal with Kaya. Beth doesn’t understand why Kaya would do this – hurt their family and runaway from home. She thinks their mom is too lenient on Kaya. Beth is also embarrassed by what’s going on, not wanting her friends to find out. However, Beth is also worried for Kaya. After all, they are still sisters and I felt like throughout the novel, Beth really comes through. This bond of sisterhood is strong.

This book is shorter than my usual reads, but the length doesn’t diminish the plot. If you feel like this book will make you uncomfortable because you’ve never experienced what these characters go through, I recommend you read this. This book opens your eyes, it makes the unbelievable very real. Fortunately, I’ve never had to experience what Kaya and other characters go through. I know these things can and do happen to women, but reading this book actually opened my eyes. So if you’re reading this book or you’ve read it and think “how can this even be real”, stop and reflect. Kaya’s story is fiction, but her story is representative of so many victims. There is truth between the lines.