Book Review: Shout

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Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Filled with imagery and metaphors, Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, addressed difficult situations including trauma, rape, cancer, addiction, and abject poverty. The author’s pain management comprised moving, running, art, and reading. Through powerful and memorable words, Laurie Halse Anderson tributes a gym teacher, an author, and a journalism professor for her curiosity. When a friend introduced her to a Carnegie library, “Lovebrarians” provided memorable treasures and angels without rivalry, criticism, or torture.

This collection of poetry provides escape recipes, social mountain opportunities, and “Sound of Music” harmony while encountering directionally challenging situations, war themes, sour relationships, and unfortunate vulnerabilities. Defenseless against figurative war zones and fighting battles just to breathe were typical experiences described while facing silence and sadness. “Dreaming was a tradition” to ward against a “lifetime sentence of rape” and other societal dysfunctions. Desperate to feel accepted without censorship or condemnation, Anderson presents desperate teenagers who ache to be included, deny compliance, and refuse to be silent despite emotional scars.

Riding a bicycle provided more than an equestrian simile, a connection to the real world, an escape mechanism, a sense of independence, and free transportation. Fantasies of being Madonna, Princess Diana Spencer, and Cinderella blossomed hopes of liberation and happiness.

When Laurie Halse Anderson was welcomed by Walter Dean Myers into the world of books for kids, she accepted a responsibility to her readers. Children with scars, should not “disappear into the rearview mirror.” These authors celebrated “writing for the kids the world doesn’t want to see.”

If you appreciate reading about people who face adversity, are drowning in broken dreams, and are “hungry in the sea of despair,” you will benefit from Shout. Transform your anger, crime, fear, or hatred into a “Mending Wall” that illuminates candles of hope and warms courage. If you are searching for companion reading, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh parallels “cyclical poverty and the country’s changing economic policies that solidified her family’s place among the working poor.”

Anderson’s unflinching vindication is a “denouncement of our society’s failures” prior to the #metoo and #timesup movements. Shout the truth!

Shout is available in hardcover and audiobook. 

Guest review by Carmaine Ternes: Kansas Librarian, Researcher, Writer, and Presenter

 

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Book Review: The Frame-Up

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The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin

There is so much to like about a book that combines comic books, mystery and mayhem, romance, and geek culture. Not your standard Cozy Mystery, The Frame-Up follows MG as she navigates life as a no-nonsense, passionate comic book writer.

When MG discovers a potential comic book link to a series of local crimes, she teams up with hot cop Matteo to try to find the connection. Like any good cozy mystery, MG soon branches out on her own and fun and quirky hijinks ensue.

Part of what makes this a great read is Molin’s depiction of MG. Her decisions and actions throughout the story don’t always make sense to the reader and at times she bumbles things and obstructs the investigation. In her excitement, MG places herself and others in dangerous situations without fully thinking through the consequences. She’s flawed. She’s a real person. She’s relatable to the reader.

The Frame-Up has just a hint of romance — more of a will-they-or-won’t-they scenario — and sets up the storyline between MG and Matteo for future installments. Molin’s writing is light and funny, with just the right amount of pop culture references to not feel trite. The Frame-Up is a fun, easy read for when you’re not looking for something serious – great for a lazy afternoon or weekend.

 

Review by Andover Library Staff

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Book Review: My Dear Hamilton

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My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

 

I chose this book initially because like most of the country I had fallen under the spell of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Surprisingly, this book turned out to be one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. My Dear Hamilton gives us a glimpse into the life of Eliza Schuyler before she became Mrs. Hamilton.

As with most historical fiction the authors embellished some of the characters and events. I did appreciate the extent of the authors’ research into the actual people, places and events that took place during Eliza’s lifetime.

I love historical fiction, especially the Revolutionary War era. If you are a fan of Hamilton the musical you will really enjoy this book. Perfect mix of historical facts with great imaginative writing.

Review by Andover Public Library Staff

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Book Review: All Fall Down

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All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Grace knows she isn’t crazy. She witnessed her mother’s murder and is determined to find the man responsible – whatever the cost. But faced with a lack of evidence and supporting witnesses, she is deemed irrational by those around her and her accusations largely discredited. When she unexpectedly encounters her mother’s killer hidden among the social elite, she decides to take matters into her own hands to prove the truth of what happened.

All Fall Down” in the first book in Ally Carter’s Embassy Row trilogy that follows Grace’s investigation into her mother’s enigmatic past. Perhaps the best aspect of this book is the unreliable narrator; part Anastasia, part Memento, this book keeps the reader guessing at what is fact and what is supposition., the story is entertaining and fast-paced

This series will appeal to a wide variety of readers and is especially perfect for any reader that enjoys suspenseful YA fiction mixed with a hint of romance. While the plot has its issues (as most do), it is engaging and fast-paced, and leaves the reader instantly reaching for the next book in the trilogy.

Review by Andover Public Library Staff

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