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The Week in Review: 02.21.2020

February 21, 2020


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL is a graphic memoir by Robin Ha.  As the only child of a single mother in Korea, things were always a little different for Ha.  Single parents were rare in Korea as was having a mother who worked.  When Ha was fourteen, she and her mother went to Alabama on vacation and, while they were there, her mother told Ha she was marrying the man they were staying with.  Ha found herself in a new school where they spoke a language she couldn’t understand.  She was teased and ridiculed and didn’t know what was going on most of the time.  To make matters worse, she didn’t fit in with her new step-family either.

Oh, how I loved this book!  I understood that Ha’s mother was trying to make their life better but, boy were things difficult to begin with.  I admired her tenacity, though, and wondered if I would have had the same strength.  Ha was strong, too, and felt for her and cheered for her as she found her way.  Vance went to a very diverse high school where many foreign students enrolled each year.  After reading this book, I talked to him about the way they were treated and integrated into the student body.  I was happy to hear that, for the most part, the students were receptive to them.  Ha’s illustrations are wonderful and bring her story to life.  This terrific book needs to be in every middle school and high school and would be great for a classroom discussion.  (Review copy provided by Balzer + Bray.)


HARRIET TUBMAN by Barbara Kramer is a National Geographic Kids Level 2 (Reading Independently) Reader but I learned a lot.  When I went to school, we weren’t taught much about women or African Americans in history class so about all I knew about Tubman was she was part of the Underground Railroad.  I knew she must be brave but I had no idea just how brave.  Since this book is for early readers, I know her life story was simplified but I really appreciated that they included photos of and quotes from Tubman herself.  I also appreciated that the treatment of slaves was not glossed over.  It states:

Slaves had no rights and were usually mistreated.  They were listed as property along with their owner’s animals.  They could be sold to other masters to work without pay at any time.  Children were often taken from their parents to be sold.

There are lots of colorful illustrations and boxes with facts to keep young readers engaged.  There’s a timeline and a quiz in the back of the book.  Pick this outstanding book up for the young readers in your life!  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


ONE OF US IS NEXT by Karen McManus is the sequel to ONE OF US IS LYING.  In this book students at Bayview High School, known nationwide for its gossip, start receiving texts about a Truth or Dare game.  The chosen student is given 24 hours to respond or a secret will be revealed about them.  The secrets that are exposed prove to be fatal for one unlucky student.  The point of view is shared by four different students giving a full picture of the what’s going on.

I haven’t read ONE OF US IS LYING but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this book.  The characters are pretty well developed and the plot is full of tension.   I found the twist at the end to be implausible but I was able to roll with it.  The audio version was narrated by Maria Liatis, Holly Linneman, Fred Berman, and Karissa Vacker.  Even though though a few of them sounded a little old for their role, they all did a good job.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • I started working on our taxes but realized we don’t have all the forms we need so will have to put them on hold for a few weeks.
  • It snowed for the third time this winter on Thursday.  Thankfully, it didn’t stick.
  • I walked at least three miles every day and averaged just over 17,100 steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2020 5:52 am

    Sounds like a really good reading week!

  2. February 21, 2020 6:58 am

    A new to me Jenny Colgan book. I’m glad your snow didn’t stay around. Spring is in sight 🙂

  3. Diane permalink
    February 21, 2020 7:13 am

    I’ve never read a graphic novel! Crazy huh? The Harriet Tubman book sounds great, my oldest granddaughter would want to know more about her. She’s a crusader for the underdog already, and was obsessed with Rosa Parks story as well.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Beth F permalink
    February 21, 2020 7:55 am

    One of Us Is Next (and the first one) — yes, a little bit of eye-rolling, but both books held my attention. The Ha books sounds amazing.

  5. February 21, 2020 8:56 am

    I’ve been eyeing One of Us Is Next (and the first one, too); I might have to try this one. I also like Jenny Colgan’s books, so Where Have All the Boys Gone might show up on my TBR.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lloyd Russell permalink
    February 21, 2020 9:25 am

    I haven’t read the book on Harriett Tubman. But I saw the movie and sure learned a lot about such an important historical figure.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 1:01 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: ALMOST > AMERICAN GIRL is a graphic memoir by Robin Ha. As the only child of a > single mother in Korea, things were always a little different for Ha. > Single parents were rare in Korea as was having a mother who ” >

  7. Rhonda permalink
    February 21, 2020 10:35 am

    Almost American Girl is going on my list thanks.

  8. February 21, 2020 11:22 am

    Love the sound of Almost American Girl 🙂 I did read One Of Us Is Lying and it was really good, so I’m thinking I need to read this next one. Glad you enjoyed it and definitely check out the first book. Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. February 21, 2020 1:54 pm

    One of Us Is Next sounds like another fast, page turning book. I’ve been loving these types of books this year.

    Today, work, although so far it’s been tolerable and not bad at all. Didn’t get my reading done this morning as I was distracted by social media. Hope to grab a few pages at lunch.

  10. February 21, 2020 4:39 pm

    All while I wish our snow would stick

  11. February 21, 2020 4:41 pm

    All those books sound good!

  12. Helen Murdoch permalink
    February 21, 2020 11:14 pm

    I want to read both Almost American and One of Us is Next. Thanks for the good reviews.

  13. February 22, 2020 4:12 pm

    Thanks for the reminder – I need to call and make an appointment for our taxes soon. I’ve seen Almost American Girl mentioned before and need to add it to my TBR list. Thanks!

  14. February 23, 2020 6:59 am

    Both Almost American Girl and One of Us is Next sound fascinating. Why do people always make others feel like they are different and not-as-good-as? I remember as a child having one of my friends telling me that my grandparents weren’t Christian because they were Catholic. It made me feel like an outsider. I’d hoped that these sorts of things wouldn’t still be around in our world, but I think now that they will never really go away.

    We had a difficult time finding the forms we needed last year. The government used to keep tax forms at the post office and the library, but last year the forms were not available at these places. Good luck to you.

    I hope you have a lovely week.

  15. February 23, 2020 9:43 am

    Thank you so much for sending the Tubman book! We read it when you sent it and then she shows up in The Water Dancer at the same time. It was a nice coincidence and I felt like I understood her character a little bit better.

  16. February 23, 2020 10:04 am

    My daughter loves the Karen McManus books, she is really looking forward to the television adaption.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  17. February 23, 2020 10:52 am

    I grew up in the city of Auburn, New York, where Harriet Tubman lived for the last 50 years of her life so I will on the lookout for that book. I read The Louding Voice last week and absolutely loved it.

  18. February 23, 2020 12:29 pm

    I knew when I moved out of Virginia that I was going to miss the snow. So far, it has not snowed much here (that can stick). It’s been brutally cold though. I’d rather take the snow and miss the cold, you know?

    This is the second time I am hearing about Almost American Girl. Moving to a new place or culture is hard enough and not being able to fit in makes the experience so much more depressing. I knew a lot of classmates who were severely homesick when I first came to the US despite things going decently well actually.

  19. February 23, 2020 1:18 pm

    Well done for keeping up the walking – how do you manage to do that in the snow?

  20. February 23, 2020 8:17 pm

    Congrats on walking so much! One of my goals is to walk more, but there’s so much snow. Have a great week!

  21. Sarah Sammis permalink
    February 23, 2020 11:51 pm

    I want to get back into my photographic hikes again. Almost American Girl sounds good and is going onto my wishlist. My weekly update

  22. February 27, 2020 7:50 pm

    Yeah I’d like to read more about Harriet Tubman’s life and I should watch the recent movie as well. I hope you all have fun in SC with the Democratic Primary this Saturday! We’ll be watching. I’m voting absentee for the state of Virginia!

  23. March 2, 2020 12:09 pm

    Almost American Girl sounds fascinating

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