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Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

25695574Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung
Published 6th Sept 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Goodreads

Summary: Gilmore Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat in this witty novel about navigating life in private school while remaining true to yourself.

Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.

Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless—everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy’s last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.

As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh—and to her old life—threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung’s novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.

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Lucy and Linh is a fantastic addition to the prep school arc. When I first read this book, the first thing I thought about was Gossip Girl. Think of it as a more deep and intellectual version of Gossip Girl. I really enjoyed the character growth in this one.

Lucy and Linh is written in the form of letters, from Lucy to Linh. Linh is a bit of a mysterious character. Although Lucy writes countless letters to her, she never responds and occasionally shows up to fight against injustice against Lucy. Lucy is a wonderful character. She is an Asian, living in a poorer part of Australia, and against her better judgement, decides to take up the test for a chance to win a scholarship to Laurinda.

Laurinda is an all girls school led by three girls collectively known as the Cabinet. These girls are intelligent, beautiful, well liked (sort of) yet there’s something so cunning and horrible about all of them that people seemingly allow them to get them away with it.

Lucy and Linh is incredibly character-based. The story progresses on a day to day basis, but what keeps It interesting is how Lucy handles her day and navigates her new life in Laurinda. She recognises her weakness, her strengths, the bad in people, but also the good. What I love about this book is that there is absolutely zero love interest in this book. Just pure character development and girls, learning about themselves. I love it!

This book is so easy to fly through and so engaging and entertaining that you wouldn’t want to put it down. Definitely a heartwarming and beautiful ending, a total must have for your shelves.

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Mini Reviews / Dork Diaries #2 – #4

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Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl (Dork Diaries #2) / Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star (Dork Diaries #3) / Skating Sensation (Dork Diaries #4) by Rachel Renee Russell

Following my initial review of Dork Diaries, I just couldn’t help myself. My sister started reading book #2 and wouldn’t shut up about it that I continued reading and… I couldn’t stop. I read it one after another and only came to a stop because I couldn’t find book #5 at the library.

THE SERIES GETS BETTER.

If you recall, I wasn’t too crazy about the language used in this book. I don’t agree with the use of the word ‘retard’ and I didn’t like the way she treated her family. I had my fair share of concerns about this book but I’m happy to report that the series does indeed get better.

Nikki does a fair bit of growing up. She gains perspective about her parents and in particular, her father. Nikki becomes grateful towards her father for scoring her a scholarship at the school, despite her initial hatred for him because he is a pest exterminator. Sure she’s still embarrassed about the giant cockroach above his van and the fact that she needs to ride in it occasionally, but she’s not such a brat about it anymore. As far as I can remember, the language has improved a little bit, though I’m still not too crazy about it. Perhaps its written as such to make it believable that a teenager is writing this diary instead of a grown woman, but still.

My favourite so far is book 3 and 4, but I’m leaning more towards 4 because I feel that that’s where Nikki grows up the most. She becomes kind and compassionate towards other people and feels apologetic for her behaviour towards her family and other people in her life.

Is this series worth reading? Yes, yes, absolutely yes. Suitable for children aged 6 and above — but be aware: parental guidance and discussions may be required. As always, proceed with caution and do what you feel is best for your children and students.

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#BuySingLit: I Want To Go Home by Wesley Leon Aroozoo

I Want to Go Home by Wesley Leon Aroozoo
Published by Math Paper Press

Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book c/o the author. Review and opinion is my own.

Goodreads

Summary: On the 11th of March, 2011, Yasuo Takamatsu lost his wife to the tsunami during the Great East Japan earthquake. Since that fateful day, he has been diving in the sea every week in search for her.

Compelled and inspired to share his story, I Want To Go Home is a journey from Singapore to Onagawa through the lens of the intrigued to meet him. Of unlikely friendships across borders and languages; to share a man’s loss, recovery and determination to reunite with his wife.

The novel’s feature film (also titled I Want To Go Home) has also been selected for the 2017 부산국제영화제 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). This book also includes a Japanese translation by Miki Hawkinson.

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Prior to reading this book, I didn’t actually know about this story. But I’m glad that the author contacted me and let me know about his book. I do feel that this story is one that should be shared. There’s a lot of things that we don’t necessarily know about the aftermath of a Tsunami. How deeply it affects people and how they’re holding up when the news don’t talk about them anymore. The laws, the court trials, the search — these are the things that sometimes get overshadowed by other news. But for these people who are affected, it is their life. They live through it, day in and day out.

What I like about this book is that its not very difficult to get into. Its a non fiction that reads a little bit like a fiction book, which is great, especially for people who don’t really read non fiction or are scared of non fiction books being boring. The book is essentially the author’s week, spending time with a Japanese man who is still in the search for his wife’s body. He dives everyday, with the hopes of finding her and bringing her home.

I liked the story. I think its entertaining, it teaches us a lot of things about the Tsunami, about how they prepare the citizens for a Tsunami, the protocols etc. But there’s a lot of how the author himself relates or makes sense of the whole situation. I feel like this could be a hit or miss with people — I’m kind of 50/50 about it myself. I think yes, its a good way for me to relate with how he feels as an interviewer. He wants to tell the story of how he felt, the places he went, the things he observed in detail and share it with us. But sometimes, it becomes too detailed that it derails away from the main story he wants to share. It can get a bit much.

I went into this with no expectations, though the main expectation is to learn more about Mr Takamatsu. And while I learnt bits and pieces about his story, his life, his wife, I found myself more intrigued with the final few parts. I was keen on learning to know more about the lawsuit, the evacuation plan, I wanted to see more research about safety plans, alerts. I thought those portions were important and interesting.

The book essentially is a documentary piece, about a journey, but I felt like there’s still so much I could learn about Mr Takamatsu and his life and his efforts. I would say that its a good non fiction, but it was hard to connect to the story on a deeper level.

The book touches the surface of love and loss in the midst of a disaster. A good read, suitable for those who are keen to read more non fiction books.

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People Like Us by Dana Mele

35356380People Like Us by Dana Mele

Published 27 Feb 2018

Goodreads

Summary: Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

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Admittedly, when I first saw this on netgalley I was attracted to it because of its cover. It reminded me of Gossip Girl and intrigued me even more when I found out that it’s a campus mystery. I’m still high from One of Us Is Lying and I wanted more campus mysteries similar to it.

People Like Us has its own merits. We meet our protagonist, who turns out to be somewhat of an antagonist. Our main character, Kay, reminded me a lot of Tease, where both protagonist are antagonists. They are both bullies, self-aware and somewhat trying but not really. Kay is not supposed to be a likable character. She’s not supposed to have a moral compass. Kay is detestable, annoying and childish. From the start to the end, Kay controls her own destiny. She started investigating to save herself, to protect her past, and even to the vey last page, Kay Donovan only thinks about herself.

Sure, Kay grew as a character. She acknowledges her faults and owns up to it by apologizing to her victims. But the problem with Kay is that as she mends the bridges she’s burned, she breaks more bridges along the way. She’s neither genuinely good or inherently evil. I think that’s what attractive about Kay as a character. She’s very 3 dimensional, and feels very real. All of us are like this in some ways. We’re neither here nor there, neither good or bad, but we are all trying. And I think that’s what Kay is just trying to do. Try.

People Like Us kept me turning the pages. It started a little bit slow but got more exciting towards the middle. i enjoyed the idea of a revenge blog, though the first two missions seemed too easy and convenient. A filler mission, almost, just to rid us of some characters from the clique. The real exciting parts begin when we meet Nola, an outsider and the relationships that Kay tries to build with the people most unlikely.

People Like Us does leave a little bit unexplained. A lot of the why isn’t answered satisfactorily. I kind of get it, but it doesn’t explain why it had to be this way, why the killer backtracked in the end. It seems like the killer as a whole as another backstory that either I missed, or just wasn’t explained entirely. That’s the only reason why I knocked a star off People Like Us.

For fans of mysteries, campus mysteries, mean girls and One of Us Is Lying. Definitely one for the shelves, and one that’ll keep you talking for a while.

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

34189556The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Published 9th Jan 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads

Summary: A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

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WOW. What a ride!

I’m kind of iffy about “best thrillers” title, lest I be disappointed like Final Girls. But boy, oh boy, was I in for a show.

I asked for a thriller, and I definitely got myself a thriller. The best way to go into this book is to go into it blind. Don’t read too many of the reviews, don’t try and find out anything. Just go into it blindly.

I did exactly that, and what I got was an amazing thriller in return. Despite reading the summary that tells me not to make assumptions, I made my assumptions all throughout Part One and boy, was I completely wrong. I didn’t see any of it coming.

The book is divided into Part One and Part Two — part one mostly introduces the people involved and comes from different POVs, whereas part two, is the continuation of Part One told in only one POV. Having the different POVs really brings a different dynamic to the story because we get to see the same thing from different angles. We create different assumptions, there is greater suspense and when everything is revealed at the end of part one, you mind is completely blown.

Looking back on the story, there were a few hints about the twists and turns but it was so subtle that you could easily miss it. I think the way it was written is to make it seem as minute and as unimportant as possible so that you’d be surprised to the end.

I’m more impressed by Part One than Part Two, mostly because I expected more towards the end. The ending wasn’t as impactful as the ending of Part One. It was underwhelming and I wanted to see more happen to the characters. The ending does knock a few stars off the rating, but if I was honest, the majority of the book is too good for me to give it a 4 star rating.

More of a 4.5/5, but it leans more towards a 5 than a 4. Still, a perfectly good thriller about marriage that is unlike others and definitely one for the shelves.

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Dork Diaries Book 1 by Rachel Renee Russell

6054449Dork Diaries Book 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell
Dork Diaries #1

Published 2nd June 2009 by Aladdin

Goodreads

Summary:

It’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls in this hilarious novel!
Meet Nikki Maxwell! She’s starting eighth grade at a new school—and her very first diary packed with hilarious stories and art in Book One of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…

I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles.

But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day.

And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…

MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!!

And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such CRAPPY luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year 😦 !

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My little sister has been reading the Dork Diaries series and I’ve always wondered about the content of these. My brother is a huge Wimpy Kid fan, and seeing how both Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries are constantly on the best sellers list, I finally decided to give it a go too.

I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting Dork Diaries is. The main character Nikki, is incredibly believable as a tween protagonist. I reminisced a lot about my own youth, and how I behaved when I wanted certain things and my own great sense of entitlement at the time. Dork Diaries has a lot of plus points: there’s so many things that we could discuss to kids about in this book, both as an educator and as a parent. It makes for good conversation, and its a book that is bound to be enjoyable for both boys and girls (albeit, leaning towards girls).

I did have my fair share of concerns, one being the use of the word retarded to describe herself, whenever she does something that’s silly. It’s not excusable. Its derogatory, its hurtful and its just not necessary. I would have preferred if she just stuck to the word “silly” to describe her own silly behaviour. Another concern is the fact that Nikki describes her parents are brain dead, for the simple reason that they do not buy her a phone despite her constant hints. Again, the language used here is very coarse and something that I don’t want younger children to use. They are not ok and it will not ever be okay.

I get the perspective that these are important key points that educators and parents can pick up and explain to them the dangers of using such hurtful words, or the concept of being rude and inappropriate but if we continually expose them in situations that “should be” taken as humour, it might be taken lightly to them too.

While I do have my concerns, Dork Diaries is still overall a very good and enjoyable book. As always, with children books, exercise with caution and always educate, educate, educate!

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Final Girls By Riley Sager

32796253Final Girls By Riey Sager

Published 11 July 2017 by Dutton

Goodreads

Summary: “The Final Girls need you. . . .  The Final Girls are tough, everything survivors should be.  But the new threat is clever, ominous, even closer than you suspect. You are about to gasp. You might drop the book. You may have to look over your shoulder. But you must keep reading.  This is the best book of 2017.”—Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Find Her

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Boy, do I have a lot to say about Final Girls.

I bought this book in the height of its hype and I’ve been tying to finish it for over 6 months. That’s how long it took me to finally finish this damn book.

It’s not that it’s no good, it’s just way too draggy and unnecessarily so. The idea and premise of this book is excellent. I mean, come on. The idea of a gang of final survivors from massacres is just fantastic! But I just couldn’t buy into Quincy’s character. I couldn’t picture her in my head; she felt so 2 dimensional and just didn’t seem like she could be a real person at all. There’s just something about her that I didn’t care for — something that screamed ‘boring’ and incredibly ‘first-world-problem’-y. (There’s pages and pages and pages about her professing her love for her boyfriend, but also not being into it and lusting over some other guy and yada yada yada. I want to be her friend, but I also don’t etc. So boring — I began speed reading at this point. Nobody is missing out anything anyway.).

3/4 of this book is incredibly slow and boring. At some point it even stopped making sense. Here comes another “Final Girl” Sam, let’s invite her into our home and start painting nails in the middle of this crisis aka A GIRL IN YOUR GROUP JUST DIED BUT LET’S FORGET ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND AND JUST MAKE A BONFIRE. Honestly. A lot of the baking scenes, the over-explaination of her feelings towards Sam (and everyone else) could have been done without.

The book travels back and forth in time, from the present day to the day of the attack but again, a lot of what is revealed from the past doesn’t come along to the very end and even then it was sort of a whut kind of moment for me. The book picks up the the last quarter, which is its only saving grace but I am sad to report that the ending didn’t wow me and I’m just left with more confusion than a conclusion. I just didn’t get the ending. I thought it was going one way and then suddenly a whole new story came about outta nowhere. Didn’t really see that one coming but I also don’t think it really gelled the story together, personally.

I really wanted to love this book. I heard nothing but good reviews about it and it was billed as one of the best thrillers of 2017. I wanted to be wowed, but I wasn’t. I just couldn’t be. A thriller that doesn’t grab you from the start, is pretty difficult to dive into, especially one that literally has nothing going for it for 3/4 of its entirety.

It could have been, but it wasn’t meant to be. Final Girls is not for me, but if you’re willing to push through and give it a shot, why not.

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One of Us Is Lying By Karen M. McManus

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published 30 May 2017 by Delacorte Press

Goodreads

Summary: The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

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STOP EVERYTHING THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK.

I knew right from the summary that this book is going to be my next favourite thing. It had potential to be great and it lived up to my expectations.

Throughout the whole book, I was thinking about who could have done this to Simon and its written so well that I couldn’t figure out who the killer was till the very end. This book was such a thrilling ride. It was so exciting, and I loved that it was told in four different perspectives. It’s always great to be able to see the same scene from different point of views and I think it helps to get into their psych and doing all the guess work. This book is just so addictive. Once things got started it was just extremely hard to stop. I had to force myself to pace through this book because I just didn’t want it to end so quickly.

There are so many interesting twists and turns to the plot that at once point it seemed like everything was figured out, but more angles were explored, more people were pinpointed and suddenly, everything isn’t so clear anymore. I thought personally the secrets that were exposed were kind of mild but when interlinked together, it sort of made sense of those whole situation. It sparks a heavy discussion about our current society, its demands, its prejudice. The entitlement. In a way, the conclusion of the murder case really made me think a lot about the motive and the question remains: was it worth it?

I loved this book. From the characters (and their self discovery and growth!), to the moving plot (when they started to take things into their own hands, that was my favourite!); everything about this book is perfect.

I want this as a Netflix original movie or even a series, kind of like Pretty Little Liars. I mean, why not? Please someone, grant me this wish!

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#metoo by Lori Perkins

36531293#MeToo Essays About how and Why This Happened, What It Means and How to Make Sure It Never Happens by Lori Perkins

Published 3 November 2017 by Riverdale Avenue Books

Goodreads

Summary: #MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened,

What It Means and How To Make Sure It Never Happens Again

More than 16 million people had posted their #MeToo story and support against sexual harassment by mid-October as a reaction to Rose McGowan’s brave admission that she had allegedly been raped by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. A groundswell of reaction to and exposure of this sexual predation was unleashed that has spread throughout Europe and beyond. New revelations of unacceptable behavior in every industry break every day as people come forward in response to the viral #MeToo posts. Protests are scheduled such as the “Take back the Workplace” Hollywood march in November of 2017, and legislation is being drafted in New York and California to finally change the way things have been for far too long.

This is the turning point. Things are going to change.

This is a historic moment and it needs to be memorialized, passed around and passed on. Although social media is a fantastic means of igniting a fire, it needs to keep burning, like a torch.

So Riverdale Avenue Books, a woman-owned leading hybrid publisher, is putting its money, words and power, behind this and publishing this collection of 26 essays from people who understand want to make this change, and we, as a society, have got to figure out a way to drive that change forward.

So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your co-workers and friends. Read passages to them, if they won’t read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better.

Help us make this movement more than a hashtag.

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#metoo, #metoo, #metoo.

I’ve been following the discussion on #metoo and honestly, this is one of the more important conversations we need to be having with each other. As I followed the news, I felt myself getting angrier and angrier. At a tender age of 13/14, I met a boy. And in the span on those turbulent 9 months, those were the most difficult times of my life. Back then I didn’t think of the word for it — I didn’t see it for what it was, but I knew that whatever happened wasn’t right. It wasn’t then, and when I think about it now, it’s not okay now either. At that age, I thought it was my fault, that maybe I brought it upon myself for being too forward with a boy a year older than me. That maybe I had led him on into thinking that this was okay.

I was wrong, and I want to tell my 13 year old self that whatever happened to me then, was not and will never be my mistake. #metoo taught me a lot — about sexual harassment, the different types of; the fact that sexual predators can be so sly and cunning and be as young as kids in high school. It’s something that’s been going on for centuries long, one that I hadn’t put my finger on or a name on it — until now.

I think the saddest part of reading this is that most people didn’t have an adult or person they could trust. The people they trusted betrayed them the most, and in search for help, they found themselves stuck in a cycle of hurt and distrust. Sexual harassment and abuse does a lot to a person’s psych. It damages them in some form and sadly… the predator usually doesn’t realise he’s in the wrong. Then there’s the people who are aware and don’t do anything, or the people who minimise the situation by telling you “it’s your own fault”.

I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t. It just happened when a boy gave me the ultimatum of a negative and a negative. I lost, no matter my decision.

I need you to read this. I need you to.

I want you to know that I’m here for you.

We need to change the system and make it safer for our children.

Please, I pray it will never be you too.

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Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn

35801649Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn
Published 18 Apr 2018 by Second Story Press

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

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Let’s talk about Krista Kim-bap.

No, seriously. Let’s talk about it.

This book is such a conversation starter. There are so many good morals within this book that the Middle Grade book world just doesn’t have enough of. Let’s start with the very obvious: the title of the book. Krista Kim-bap follows a titular character called Krista Kim. She’s a Korean-Canadian girl who knows little to nothing about her culture except that they eat Korean food and lots of kimchi.

Krista goes on a journey to find out more about her culture, the intimate story behind the Koreans love for food and rediscovers what it means to love yourself, being confident and breaking the status quo.

I love this book. For starters, this is a diverse book. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see that many books about Korean culture, period. It’s pretty exciting to see the different aspects of their culture, told by a Korean and seeing it through the eyes of a child and how they’re raised by their parents and grandparents. I think there’s a lot of importance for kids to be learning about other’s cultures and traditions; learning how to respect people who are different than us and celebrate their differences. Its completely excellent how Krista loves being Korean and doesn’t necessarily want to change anything about herself.

Middle grade books are targeted mostly to children aged 8 – 12, so some of the topics discussed here may be a little heavy for younger children; so if you are a parent or a teacher, this is your call. You’re gonna have to decide what is appropriate and what isn’t and filter accordingly — but: this book does talk a little bit about plastic surgery.

The discussion about plastic surgery is a short one, but the aftermath of that short discussion creates something we need to talk about. Krista’s grandmother is pretty big on plastic surgery, and admittedly, from what we’ve seen in Korean dramas or read on the gossip news, it seems like a pretty big thing in Korea too. She has a discussion with Krista and her older sister Tori about getting double eyelid surgery when they’re older in Korea, which leads to Krista’s eventual experiment with eyelid tape. This is of course met with disapproval from her mother, who finds it completely okay to have “Korean eyes” and not have the need to look like anyone in the magazines.

Krista Kim-bap is a bit of a fresh breath of air. I do think its an interesting book with a lot room for discussion and maintains its relevance to our current society. Filter this book or not, discuss it or not, but Krista Kim-bap can teach you so many things even as a grown adult.

Because loving yourself, being respectful to other people and walking to the beat of your own drums will never go out of style.

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