Thursday, August 30, 2018

Abbreviations #65 | My Family Divided, Lucky Little Things + The Looking Glass

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction in general (though I would like to change this, and I already find myself armed with recommendations from my baby sister Rachel), but I wanted to check out My Family Divided because it chronicles (for a younger audience) the story of Diane Guerrero, and how she was separated from her family at a young age when her parents were deported. I knew, going into it, that it was going to be a hard read. Immigration is something that I hold close to my own heart, and in the current political landscape, it’s been all I can do to keep my heart from shattering whenever something new unfolds. And true enough, My Family Divided is heartbreaking. Diane recounts her story, from her relationships with her parents and growing up knowing about their legal status to the moment when they are deported from the country and she has to figure out what to do on her own (with help from some lovely folks in her life). This account (though edited to suit a younger audience) is honest and emotional, and it was eye-opening to read about someone specifically going through what Diane did. While I do feel like it was a little choppy in the execution (the jumps in timeline at times were a little hard to follow), ultimately, I’m still glad I read this one.

My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss and Hope by Diane Guerrero (with Erica Moroz) | Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. | Publication Date: July 17, 2018 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)


Lucky Little Things is about Emma, who is dealing with the grief of losing her Aunt Jenny as well as the growing pains of being an adolescent. She receives a mysterious letter guaranteeing her good luck for a month, and while she doesn’t put any stock in it at first, things start to look up for her. But what will happen to her luck after the month is up? Now, I knew that Lucky Little Things was a middle grade novel going into it but I didn’t expect it to read for the MG audience on the younger side of the spectrum (which is not my personal cup of tea). The pacing was uneven too, and the character also felt underdeveloped, which didn’t really help make this novel any better in my eyes. The redeeming quality to this story is that the plot itself was charming and plays out in a pretty satisfying way. All in all, it was a decent enough read, but ultimately nothing that really stood out.

Lucky Little Things by Janice Erlbaum | Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux | Publication Date: July 24, 2018 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)



If I were going to try to make some sort of bookish comparison for The Looking Glass, it would be Tiny Pretty Things with a slight hint of The Hazel Wood… only it wasn’t nearly as good as both of those titles. In essence, The Looking Glass is the story of Sylvie Blake, a ballerina on track to pursuing the professional career her sister Julia was formerly after. Julia has disappeared after a series of traumatizing events, and she pops up again in Sylvie’s life when she sends Sylvie a copy of a fairytale book from their childhood and starts her on a journey towards finding her older sister. Though this premise is certainly promising, and it does pan out over the course of the novel, this novel turned out not to be my particular cup of tea. I was intrigued by the complicated relationship Sylvie has with her older sister, as well as the growing pains and questioning that she’s experiencing as a teen. I also found the fairytale elements and the road trip part quite interesting! But all in all, the rest of the story - Sylvie herself, the plot pacing and development - felt underdeveloped. I did wind up being intrigued enough by what I was interested in to finish this, but it’s ultimately one that I find just okay.

The Looking Glass by Janet McNally | Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: August 14, 2018 | Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thank you!)

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