Reviews in 5 Sentences|Dear Martin and A Long Way Down

Dear MartinDear Martin by Nic Stone
Page Count: 210
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Crown Books

Goodreads Summary:Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

5 Sentence Review: Dear Martin will make any reader angry shocked and sad the mistreatment of young black boys. From Nic Stone’s depiction of police profiling to racism in a high school setting (in class conversations regarding race) to the black lives matter movement, this book will impact the way you see race in numerous ways. Although personally nothing was brought new to the table I appreciated the messages the book sends. Dear Martin promotes good adult figures such as teachers and Dr. King himself. Lastly, the book has an outstanding message on how both marginalized people and the majority race can find peace with each other.

Long Way DownA Long Way Down By Jason Reynolds
Page Count: 320
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Poetry
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

GoodReads Summary: Will’s brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually used his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

5 Sentence Review: Jason Reynolds writes a book the packs so much emotion with so little time. Our main character tries to find peace with his situation by using violence to avenge his brother. The book delves into the cycles of violence, toxic masculinity (especially placed on young black men) and systematic racism. Reynolds poetic, heartbreaking words will stay with you for days, haunting your mind. Same with Stone’s novel, nothing new was necessarily bought to the table, but nonetheless, this was an incredibly creative way to address the relevant issue regarding the disadvantages black men have to face every day.

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Mini Reviews|Short books by Black Authors!

Need some more short works by black authors? Here are 3 recommendations! Continue reading “Mini Reviews|Short books by Black Authors!”

Mini Reviews| Important books tbh

20701984El Deafo by Cece Bell

Published: September 2nd 2014 by Harry N. Abrams

Page count: 233


Summary: Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

Thoughts: This was sooo adorable. I found this to be amusing at time yet very educational. I’m a hearing person so it was fascinating to see how people who are deaf grow up. Cece kind of dismisses ASL and it was interesting to see behind her reasoning and how she feels about that way of language now. I took an ASL class in college and so I saw a lot a parallels between the struggles people who are deaf have to go through (people mumbling, covering their mouths, the stigmas behind people who are deaf/hard of hearing/ dismissiveness towards the community, etc).  Also, I liked how the graphic novel explored the themes of stable friendships and forgiveness two themes that are extremely important, especially for a young audience. I think children and adults will appreciate the cuteness of the comic and will learn a thing or two. This little gem is absolutely worth reading.


23341894Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Published: June 16th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

Page count: 233

Rating: ★★★

Summary: Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Thoughts I read some reviews before diving in that this was a more Disney-fied version on mental health but I think I’m going to have to disagree on that notion a tiny bit. I will admit, the romance seemed and I wasn’t really on board with Sam and AJ (note: I put ASH first because I thought that was his name lmao) because I felt like there wasn’t much connection there. I felt disconnected from the other characters and even Sam at times. However, what I really enjoyed and appreciated about this book was the amazing presence and effectiveness of Sam’s psychiatrist, Sue. Far too many times in entertainment/media, we see counselors and therapist as these bad guys and how people can’t confide in them. It was honestly such a breath of fresh air to see that psychiatrist are depicted greatly and how she helped Sam with her thinking process rather strictly telling her what to do. I also really liked the poetry aspect of the book and it made me want to buy a journal and start writing (though it would be very bad).  I didn’t completely guess the twist but I knew that some things didn’t make complete sense throughout the novel. Nonetheless, that was still an interesting addition to the book itself.