Title: Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Page Count: 448
Series: Legacy of Orisha, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: December 3, 2019 by Henry Holt and Co.
Review: It pains me to write this review because I had such high hopes for this book. I LOVED Children of Blood and Bone and checked this book out the day it was available at our libraries. I immediately dove into it and then….stalled. No matter how many times I picked it back up, I just couldn’t get into it. It quickly became apparent that the characters I loved from the first book were gone. In their place were characters I didn’t even recognize or like. The relationships that I had hoped would be fleshed out more in this book still felt forced and lacked substance. The action was sporadic and when I should have felt devastated, I felt nothing. There was no character development that made me feel invested in the story, so the betrayals and atrocities made very little impact on me. There had been great potential for character growth after such an epic conclusion to the first book, which leads me to believe that the author rushed this book to meet some deadline. I read in one of Adeyemi’s interviews that she did not have a break between completing the first book and writing this one, but I had hoped that this would not effect the quality of her story development. Though these hopes were quickly dashed, I am clinging to my sense of optimism for the next book, which is why I could not bring myself to give this book a lower rating. Hopefully she takes her time with it because despite it all, I still believe in this story. The way the book ended, I highly suspect she will be taking a page from history and incorporating elements of the slave trade and African diaspora. Only time will tell where she decides to go from here. Until then, my fingers are crossed!
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Page Count: 335
Series: Lux, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: May 8, 2012 by Entangled Teen
Review: I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into with this. It was a light paranormal read that didn’t make me think too much. It follows a very standard formula. New girl who doesn’t know she is beautiful moves into small town and meets mysterious and attractive boy. There is instant attraction and they immediately start a love/hate relationship. The boy, who also happens to be an alien, runs hot and cold, but eventually succumbs to his feelings for human girl. Throw in some bad guys, a happy-go-lucky sister, a jealous ex and you’ve got a pretty predictable plot for this book. Admittedly, this is sometimes the type of book I want to read, especially after I have read books with heavier content, but it was nothing new or original. I will likely not be moving on with the series.
Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Page Count: 230
Publishing Date/Publisher: September 12, 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Review: I was looking through available eBooks in our library catalog, and decided it was finally time to read this book. I recommend it a lot to teens because the format, cartooning, and writing style has made it beloved by many young readers.
I have to admit I was very impressed that Alexie could make such serious content humorous. Arnold/Junior does not have an easy life, yet he approaches each new situation with courage, wit, and resilience. There were times when I was both cringing and laughing simultaneously – an odd feeling indeed.
Arnold/Junior makes a very difficult decision to leave the “rez” to attend a “white” school in a neighboring town. At first he is shunned by both the Indians he left behind, and the kids at his new school who view him as an outsider, but gradually he starts to gain acceptance from his new peers. In a lot of ways this book was very illuminating regarding life on a “rez,” and reveals some of the challenges that many Native American tribes face today. Arnold/Junior is very realistic about his situation, discussing in particular the difficulties of poverty and alcoholism in his family, but I never once got the impression that he felt unloved or unsupported by his family members (which is rare in a book that features alcoholic parents). Arnold/Junior knew he wanted a different situation for himself, thus branching outside the rez, but he never forgot where he came from and he still held out hope until the very end for reconciliation with his tribe. I would imagine this book has been very inspiring for people in similar situations – those who are afraid to break the mold and step into the unknown. Arnold/Junior shows that it’s not easy, but it is possible, and sometimes the results can be positive in ways you do not expect.