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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a finalist for the National Book Award.  After reading this story, I completely understand why.  I am blown away by Jarrett's story.  I am inspired by his resilience and work ethic.  And I am truly touched by the love he found for his unconventional family.

Hey, Kiddo is a graphic memoir that details the childhood of Jarrett J. Krosoczka.  With a mother that was largely absent from his childhood, and a father whose name he didn't even know for the first seventeen years of his life, Jarrett's grandparents took on the role of mom and dad.  And while they had their own faults, they provided Jarrett with the love he deserved.  As Jarrett grew up, he found peace through art and continued to pursue a career in the field while facing adversity that no child should ever have to.  Along the way to his dream, he built a strong family bond and learned that the people you surround yourself with will always be the best family you could ask for.

This story is told in a unique way, through Krosoczka's own artwork, along with letters, drawings, and other mementos of his childhood.  I really cannot recommend this book strongly enough.  It is incredible.  

From Amazon:

A National Book Award Finalist!
In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father.

Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie by Courtney Summers was an incredible journey into the mind of someone who is out to do whatever it takes to help the ones she loves, and maybe even the ones she doesn't even know.  This novel is intense and dark, but will keep you wanting more.  It is told in a unique way, with alternating viewpoints from Sadie herself, along with the narration of a podcast that is trying to track her down months after she has gone missing.  It is a story about trauma, sisterly love, and the lengths we will go through to protect the ones we care most about.  I can't recommend this one highly enough!  

From Amazon:

A New York Times bestseller!

4 Starred Reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly!

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith

As you may know, I am a huge fan of Andrew Smith.  He is at the top of my list of favorite authors.  He writes incredible things.  But it has been way too long since I have had the chance to read something new by him.  I have been (not so) patiently waiting for the release of his newest novel, Rabbit & Robot, for a long time now.  In his new novel, Smith, takes us for a ride that was well worth the wait.  

Rabbit & Robot tells the story of Cager Messer and his friend Billy Hinman.  As the United States is falling in to another war (it's 27th simultaneous war) and Cager is falling farther in to his Woz addiction, Billy and Rowan (Cager's caretaker) kidnap him and take him to the Tennessee (a space cruise ship that is owned by Cager's father) to help save his life. 

The Tennessee proves to be anything but safe.  Filled with anything you could imagine, this cruise ship seems to be the perfect place.  While the Earth burns from the now more than 30 simultaneous wars, the cogs that run every aspect of the ship become infected and turn cannibalistic.  The idea of being stranded in space as possibly the only humans alive takes its toll on Cager and he begins to wonder what it really means to live a full life, a life with meaning. 

As is the norm, Smith's newest novel will make you laugh and cry, but more importantly it will make you think.  This story about love, friendship, the power of technology, and humanity will stick with you long after you have turned the last page.  You will question what it means to be truly human, while vowing to live the best life you can. 

From Amazon:

Told with Andrew Smith’s signature dark humor, Rabbit & Robot tells the story of Cager Messer, a boy who’s stranded on the Tennessee—his father’s lunar-cruise utopia—with insane robots.

Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they’ll be stranded alone in space forever.

In his new novel, Andrew Smith, Printz Honor author of Grasshopper Jungle, will make you laugh, cry, and consider what it really means to be human.