The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 5 stars
Have you ever inhale read something because it gripped you so much? And then kicked yourself because you inhale read it and now it’s over and you wish you had spent a little more time with it? Yeah, that’s what happened for me.
I need to sit back and digest what I just read because it’s so powerful and thought-provoking. But for now, I’ll just say this: A hairbrush is not a gun.
Update: so it’s been just shy of two days since I finished reading this and I’m honestly still thinking about it. I’ve grown up in America, reading about and seeing the unjust killings of African Americans by police in the news but since I am white and therefore extremely privileged, I have no clue what it’s like to have the police target me just because of my race. Angie Thomas has captured the African American experience so well in this book that I have been able to get a small glimpse of what it is like. I think that every white person needs to read this book in order to grow as a person and learn. It’s uncomfortable to read about Hailey and how blatantly racist she is, while claiming that she is absolutely not one. But when you say things like “that Black stuff” and ask questions like whether or not an Asian American’s family members eat cats for Thanksgiving, you are most definitely a racist. It’s micro-aggressions like these that minorities face everyday from white people and I’m glad that Thomas included them to highlight how you may think you are joking when actually, you are doing real damage.
One of my biggest complaints about YA in general is how the parents tend to be lacking, but I am so extremely happy to say that Starr’s parents are very much involved and have a healthy relationship. Yes, they fight, but they are mature about it. They want what is best for their children. They punish their children when necessary. They are just extremely wonderful role models and their relationship is so freaking cute to boot.
The story has a large cast of characters, but you end up rooting for all of them. By the end of the novel, I was praying that no one got hurt. Starr is such a fantastic character – she struggles throughout the book and is flawed, but is also completely strong and stands up for what she believes is right. Mav and Lisa are amazing (see above paragraph for my gush about them). Her brothers have great personalities and are a positive presence in Starr’s life. Chris is willing to learn about things that he doesn’t understand. DeVante wasn’t someone I wanted to root for, but as we learn more about him, I couldn’t help but love him. Uncle Carlos shows that there are good cops that get overshadowed by the bad ones. The community show just how close they are and how they stand together. It was just such a wonderful thing to read.
I hope that I’m doing this book justice – I’m still learning. This book is powerful, timely, and important and everyone needs to read it.
Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott – 4 stars
I honestly remember very little about the Civil War from what I learned in school. But when I heard about this book detailing the lives of some bada** ladies, I was all in.
Karen Abbott clearly did her research and presented the lives of these women in a way that was educational but also hella entertaining.
Emma Edmonds, Elizabeth Van Lew, Rose Greenhow, and Belle Boyd all believed in what they were fighting for. And despite my Southern heritage (Texas born and raised) I have to say that Emma and Elizabeth’s stories were more intriguing to me. I just did not care for Rose or Belle and how pretentious they both came off.
Emma disguised herself as a man so that she could fight in the Union army. Elizabeth created her own underground network. Rose and Belle both boasted about what they were doing and took it as an honor that they were arrested multiple times. Though these women never met (save for a couple of times with Rose and Belle), Abbott weaved their stories in the same chapters if they were occurring at the same time. Because of this, it was sometimes difficult to keep track of who I was reading about.
It was clear that these four women were willing to sacrifice for what they believed in. And it was really awesome to read a story about the Civil War that focused on women rather than the men. I started reading it back in November but I wasn’t really in the mood for non-fiction at the time so I put it off. It’s fitting that I finished this during Women’s History Month.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – 5 stars
This short book packs a punch. I love how Adichie backs up each of her points with real-life experiences. I especially loved that she focused on her experiences in Nigeria, as it highlights the need for intersectionality within feminism. As a white woman in America, I have not had to face many of the experiences that she has faced and it opened my eyes to making sure that my feminism includes all women. I think that everyone should read this. Especially if you are new to feminism.
Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross – 2.5 stars
The story was all over the place, especially with the random flashbacks that are not really identified as flashbacks. Also, I really couldn’t care less about either Cate or David and did not really see the supposed chemistry between them.
The author tried to handle issues like sexual assault, suicide, and teenage drug use, but because she tries to cover all of them, she really doesn’t do justice to any of them. She even tries to have a female/female relationship, but again, does not really do it justice.
It was pretty cool to read the music scenes as it is clear that music is something that the author is passionate about. But other than that, I just wasn’t very interested. And there were several plot points that I had a very hard time buying *cough* Bryn’s involvement with a crime going unnoticed and unreported by anyone *cough*.
This book also had the wonderful *sarcasm* trope of YA books having non-existent as well as abusive parents. I’m really really tired of this and I wish it would stop.
Also, the amount of times the author used ellipses was rather annoying.
Overall, I was rather bored with this and I’m glad that I got it through Kindle First since it means I didn’t have to pay for it.
Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul: Second Dose by Jack Canfield, Mark victor Hansen, and LeAnn Thieman – 4 stars
I cried during the stories. I laughed. I sat back and thought about the impact we can make as nurses.
I liked that there was a variety of stories and a variety of perspectives. It’s sometimes nice to hear from patients rather than only from other nurses.
Overall, this book was just what I needed as I gear up for my last seven weeks of nursing school.