[Review] What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?

Some girls want to rally for his expulsion — and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

Continue reading “[Review] What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel”

These Are A Few of My Favorite Reads: Wondrous Women

For a long time I was resistant to reading nonfiction because I thought it was “dry” and “boring” — but then my mom suggested I try starting with biographies and memoirs, because they’re stories about people and (in some cases) can read like fiction. So I followed her advice, for once in my life, and to no one’s surprise she was right! Maybe I should listen to my mother more often.

And since March is Women’s History Month, what better way to honor some amazing, inspirational women than by sharing their stories, as told by themselves?

Continue reading “These Are A Few of My Favorite Reads: Wondrous Women”

REVIEW: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Summary: Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders … but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty — until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed — and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth — especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand. 

Continue reading “REVIEW: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik”

REVIEW: A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Summary: March, 1945. The ravaged face of London will soon be painted with victory, but for Sylvie the private battle for peace is only just beginning. Revealing strength and small acts of kindness in the most unlikely places, A Small Dark Quiet looks through the eyes of a mother as she finds the courage to face loss – both her own, and that of the orphan born in a concentration camp whom she and her husband, Gerald, adopt two years later.

Haunted by the gaps in the orphan’s history, Sylvie begins to draw him into parallel with her dead child. When she gives the orphan the stillborn child’s name, Arthur, she unwittingly entangles him in a grief he will never be able to console. His name has been erased, his origins merely guessed at, but the trauma Arthur carries begins to release itself in nightmares, merging into the story he has been told about the dead child whose life he is expected to step into.

Having internalized the sense that he is an imposter, Arthur’s yearning for a place where he might be accepted is echoed in our own time. Striking, too, are the resonances that can be felt through Arthur’s journey as the novel unfolds over the next twenty years: the past he can neither recall nor forget lives on within him even as he strives to forge a life for himself. Identity and belonging may be elusive, but the pulse of survival insists he keeps searching and, as he opens himself to the world around him, there are flashes of just how resilient the human heart can be.

As part of this process, Arthur comes to understand that he is Jewish, yet he fears what this might entail – could this be an identity or will it only make him more of an outsider? He’s threatened with being sent back where he belongs – but no one can tell him where this is; he learns all about ‘that other little Arthur’, yearning both to become him and to free himself from his ghost. He can neither fit the shape of the life that has been lost nor grow into the one his adopted father has carved out for him.

Through Sylvie’s unprocessed grief and Arthur’s acute sense of displacement, A Small Dark Quiet explores how the compulsion to fill the empty space that death leaves can, ultimately, only make the sense of such a devastating void more acute. Yet the search to belong and the instinct to love and connect persists in this story of loss, migration and the ways in which we find ourselves caught between the need to feel safe and the will to be free

Continue reading “REVIEW: A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold”