Monday, November 29, 2021

On My Bookshelf: November

November has been busy! Between student events, getting my shots, and trying to keep the house together, I feel like I'm constantly running. There isn't a day when I can just sit home and chill...but after a year/plus of quarantine, I don't mind it one bit.

This month's reading centered heavily around my students. I find myself constantly at the bookstore now, scanning the shelves for something they might like. They're ferocious readers, snatching books out of my hands as quick as I bring them in my room. I have to watch out for my fingers!

So enjoy this list. There's a few on here that I highly recommend! 

1. Mexican Gothic
By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

For someone who loves suspense, horror, and all horrible things in general, I am surprisingly not often reading books in those genres. This one kept popping up in my recommended list, so much so that I finally broke down and bought it. I was not disappointed! It follows the true gothic style of writing that made gloomy castles and droopy Victorian parlors all the rage.

The story follows Noemí Taboada, a rich young Mexican woman who is tasked with checking in on her sick cousin in the mountains with her husband's family. She finds a creepy, creaky old Victorian mansion and so many secrets. It's a slow burn, and you don't know just how horrible everything is until it sneaks up right on you. I couldn't put this one down, and if you're a fan of horror or suspense, I would 100% expect you to read this!

By Samira Ahmed

This book settled deep in the pit of my stomach. I found it on sale at Books A Million, and without thinking I snapped it up. YA novels on sale are the best thing ever; you can pay $3 for something the students will absolutely love. I read this one in a single day, it was so good.

Layla is seventeen and living in a version of the United States that is in the middle of a crisis. Muslims are targeted after a terrorist attack, and the government responds in a very similar way to the internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII, as well as victims of the Holocaust. It was chilling to see the similarities laid bare on the page. She and her family are sent to an internment camp, and the story is horrific. But there was a part of me that kept thinking...what if...could it...what would I do? And a book that makes you question yourself is one that you should read.

By Kayden Phoenix and Amanda Julina Gonzalez 

I'm always looking for graphic novels to add to my ever-growing collection. In keeping with Hispanic Heritage Month reading only a few weeks before, I settled on this book. The illustrations are colorful, the dialogue easy to follow and digest. Now it was the subject matter that required processing.

The story follows Jalisco, a young woman whose mother is kidnapped. She is taken in by a group of women who work to end the kidnappings and murders, and she joins them in their efforts. Despite the bright graphics, there's sinister undertones of the stories. It's an adult story told from a young woman's perspective. It's simultaneously brave and heartbreaking. I liked it, though I don't know if I need to read it again anytime soon. 

By Kirsty McKay

Full disclosure on this one; I bought it because I liked the cover. It's a little sweet, creepy, and definitely something I knew my students would like. The story follows Cate, a student on an exclusive island boarding school for gifted students. Every year they participate in a game where students are "killed" by pranks, and the winner becomes a notorious legend. At first the pranks are simple and follow the rules. Eventually things take a dangerous turn, and despite police involvement, they continue the game.

The premise of this book is fantastic, and I love how the author has created the point of view of the main character. There's hints and clues dropped along the way, but really it kept me guessing until the end. It's hard to keep me from guessing the end of a book, or at least predicting, and this one did just that. I'll be losing this one to a very eager teenage reader soon!


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On My Bookshelf: December

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