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Dear Friend,

I’m sure you’ve been wondering about my latest reading adventures, and there have been numerous… Since I last wrote, this is what I’ve read:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

For me the most important aspect of the book, was the narrator. Rather than being a random omniscient being, or the protagonist, or even being a side character who watches the story unfold, this story was told, by death. Set during World War II, I felt that death is what we, as a society, relates to that time period, and allowed for an intriguing perspective. It took me a while to realize that Death was the narrator and this realization came upon me suddenly. I seriously read through a paragraph, and then suddenly reread it because I was so surprised. After I had accepted death as the narrator, however, I began to realize that this knowledge was crucial to understanding the story. At times, understanding Death’s perspective on war, killing, and the characters themselves, gave much more insight into the holocaust than what was actually going on.

Fallen by Lauren Kate

This book was so confusing!!! You know how sometimes you’re starting to read a book and you know what has happened, but you still can’t figure out what the book is about so you just keep reading because surely you’ll understand in a few pages, or the next chapter? That was this book… except you never get to the part of the book that makes the rest of it make any sense. As you may recall, this is a book that I borrowed from my mother and so I asked her about it and from that conversation I gathered that in order to understand what is going on, you have to read the entire series (which is approximately 5 books). Now I can’t imagine an inexperienced reader putting up with this at all, if I struggled to make sense of what was going on, and I’ve been reading practically non-stop for about fourteen years, then I can’t even imagine how someone who isn’t sure if they like reading, much less this book would be able to stay with a series that makes this little sense. It was almost as if the entire first book was the “introductory section” that you read in a book… setting up the stage for what is to come, but never quite getting there.

She Loves You, She Loves You Not by Julie Anne Peters

This book good, but I don’t feel like I can talk about it without comparing it to the other LGBTQ… book that I read by Julie Anne Peters, so look down to the next book and you can hear all about them.

Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters

I found it interesting to read two books on the same subject by the same author. Not only did Julie Anne Peters focus on a young girl who is learning love within the context of being a lesbian in a straight world in both stories, but in both cases the girls experienced being kicked out of the home after a parent learned of their sexual orientation. In She Loves Me She Loves Me Not, this occurs before the book takes place and is what sort of drives the story along however in Keeping You A Secret, this occurs about 2/3 of the way through the book and is a reaction to the story line. Overall, however what made the most impact on me regarding the purpose and worth of these novels was a letter that the author had written in the back of Keeping You A Secret talking about how at first she was nervous about writing about a lesbian love story because of the backlash it might have on her and her partner, but afterwards experienced an outpouring of support, especially from youth who related to the book and needed to know that they could be represented. This ability to use personal experience and relate to young readers who are struggling with their own sexual identity is something that I think should be celebrated.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

This book was amazing, I almost don’t want to tell you anything about it just so that you will be intrigued and go find it for yourself. I will however give you a quick plot line… Boy meets girl, girl was born in a male body, boy struggles to figure out how to handle this newly learned information and the rest is beautiful literary history. I have never read a book that is able to show this controversial topic in such a subtle and genuine manner. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but would forewarn that at first glance, can appear to be transphobic because of the realistic way in which Logan reacts to learning Sage’s secret. In a blog post I read responding to this book, there were some questions regarding the end of the book and whether it fit with the rest of the novel, and fortunately for us, the author even responded to the post so you can read what he says about the post as well. Personally I would respond to that post by saying that Logan’s reaction to it is what is important (I am leaving out some bits and pieces here so you can read and discover for yourself) rather than what is actually said or done… Come see me to borrow the book (except wait a little bit, I’m doing a mixed genre project on it) and then have a great conversation with me about it afterwards if you so desire…

I still haven’t updated you on all of the book reading I have been doing, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that…

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo