Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Monday's Not Coming ~ Tiffany D Jackson review [@Writeinbk @epicreads @KatherineTegen] @erinferdinand]

Monday's Not Coming
Katherine Tegen Books
May 22, 2018
448 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

A gripping, relentless, and timely new novel from critically acclaimed author of Allegedly, Tiffany D. Jackson, about the complex mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth.

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

The quote on the front cover of Monday's Not Coming, from Laurie Halse Anderson, tells readers the book is, "A mesmerizing, punch-in-the-gut-story," and that could not be more true.

Claudia's best friend is missing. And only she seems to notice, or care.

"I know what you're thinking. How can a whole person, a kid, disappear and no one say a word? Like if the sun just up and left one day, you'd think someone would sound an alarm, right?" (pg 1)

When we're told on page one of the book that Monday's disappeared and no one, save for Claudia, seems aware, it seems impossible. A girl cannot just disappear with no outcry, no concern. Yet, as the story progresses, we see just how possible it is for that to happen. It is scary how easily someone can be written off - usually because they were written off even while still right there in front of people.

The way the story is told ('The Before,' 'The After,' and some in the present) not only allows readers to gradually learn about Claudia and Monday's friendship, what happens once Monday's missing, but definitely ups the mystery and raises even more questions that you want to figure out.

I really loved that there was an added, unexpected element to Claudia wanting to find Monday. The secret Monday had been helping her keep added a level of immediacy to her need to find her best friend. Paired with the added stress it caused Claudia, it really made the story (and her) about more than Monday.

There are a lot of secrets, a lot of concealment and fear of the truth being found out in Monday's Not Coming. Author Tiffany D Jackson does an absolutely superb job making some things not nearly as bad as a character fears and some things so, so much worse.

This book will grab you from the beginning, yanking you up, down, and around as you experience Claudia's quest to find Monday, to find her best friend; and as you witness people's indifference, learn of the girls' pain, secrets and struggles to not let things be noticed, it truly is that, "punch-in-the-gut story."

("If Monday were a color, she'd be red. Crisp, striking, vivid, you couldn't miss her -- a bully's eyere in the room, a crackling flame." [pg 41].  The designer of the book jacket, Erin Fitzsimmons should be recognized for her awesomeness with this cover. With the way Claudia sees/thinks about/notices colors, the red, red, red cover is such a perfect fit.

After Allegedly and Monday's Not Coming, Tiffany D Jackson is up at the top of my list of authors to pay attention to = and to recommend. Monday's Not Coming is an utterly unforgettable tale of two young girls, their secrets, their truths and what it all says about them, their families, those around them, and society. I loved this book even as it absolutely tore me up.

finished copy received thanks to publisher, for review consideration

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Character Names

This week's Ten:
10 Best Character Names

Jus in Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Maybe, mainly (?) because it makes me think of Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice - but also for how much it fits his/the novel's story

Genesis in Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin

Monday, et al in Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D Jackson

Sadie Sparrow in The Lake House by Kate Morton

Cloud and Wallfish  in Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

Sunday Night in Two Nights by Kathy Reich

and these series.books have collections of names I love/think work well together/do a great job fitting their society:

Karou, Zuzana Nováková in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Blue, Gansey, Ronan, etc The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Book 1 reveiw

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cinder review

Speth,, et al in All Rights Reserved  (#1) by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Please leave a comment and let me know what character names are your favorite!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Trailer Friday [@GetUnderlined @DelacortePress @karatwrites]

The book trailer I chose this week is for Kara Thomas's forthcoming YA, The Cheerleaders. It will be out July 31st:

about The Cheerleaders:
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

July 31, 2018 // Delacorte Press // 384 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dread Nation ~ Justina Ireland review [@justinaireland @epicreads @harperteen @BalzerandBray]

Dread Nation (#1)
Balzer + Bray
April 03, 2018
455 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

I love alternate history stories . . . butt I get a bit nervous when the thing they make 'alternate' about history is something we can all (or should all) agree was something good/positive/that needed to happen.

In Jane's America, slavery has ended but things are far from equal. The dead have risen, putting a stop to the War Between the Sates and leaving everyone with a whole new danger, a new enemy. TO keep people safe  the Native and Negro Reeducation Act, declares that Jane (and other African American and Native American children) will be trained to kill the dead. To protect white people. As is their place.

Here is the thing about a novel where character think that way (you know, that racial superiority is a thing and that it makes sense): It is a brilliant way of demonstrating the fallacy of that precise way of thinking. It is easy to see the wrongs when a story is set during the time of slavery in the Untied States, but the injustices can be less obvious when set afterwards.

In Dread Nation author Justina Ireland gives readers a time when slavery was gone, but the dichotomy of how whites and blacks (and 'Natives') is nearly as profound. Without technical slavery there as a backdrop, we are able to see (and hear) more of how the characters think, how they justify the inequality (and wow is a lot of it not only horrible, but also out there - which is worse because it wasn't out there to them).

That's not to say, though, that Dread Nation is only about the societal structure of Jane's America and full of sociopolitical lessons on race and equality. (There's also bits about gender, as well.) It is a fresh and unique sort of historical fiction, zombie book. Much as the 'why' was bad, the idea of the combat schools was pretty awesome.  I like that these people were so sure that they were 'superior' that their plan involved training the 'inferior' people in combat. Yeah.

I really loved how thoroughly different, yet still very similar and recognizable this alternate America was to what happened.

The characters are very well written. There are some that you really, really want to get shot or bitten or something, and others that you want to help defend (whether or not they need it). I appreciated how the relationships developed during the book and how we learned more about the characters and their history.

Knowing what I do now of how and where things are in Jane's time and of her past, and being truly invested in the characters, their stories, and their relationships, I very much want to read Book 2 and find out what happens. And how close - or how very far - things may get to real history.

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