Tag Archives: Carly O’Connell

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Powerful and timely, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas well deserves its long-held spot at the top of the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller list. If you read only one book this year, it ought to be this one. Thomas masterfully combines social justice and talented story-telling in this novel about teenage Starr Carter who witnesses her best friend being shot to death by the police. Not only does the novel examine major problems that affect people of color like police brutality, but it also explores smaller, more insidious ones like microaggressions and cultural appropriation. Every character is so multi-faceted and believable, you will find yourself caring deeply about them and what they are going through. Continue reading Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Book Review: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

If you are a feminist and haven’t been reading Adichie, it’s time to head to the library. Between her writings, TED Talks, and being featured in a Beyoncé song, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is steadily becoming a household name in the international feminist scene. After reading her novel Americanah for book club, I decided to check out some of her works that deal more directly with her ideas on feminism. Today I will review her most recent publication: the epistolary essay Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, originally written as a letter to her friend with advice on how to raise a feminist daughter. Continue reading Book Review: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Book Review: Labyrinth Lost–a Story of Latina Magic

Sometimes, as a teenager, you wish your family would just disappear. But what happens when you have the magic to actually make that happen? Sixteen-year-old Alejandra Mortiz finds out in Zoraida Córdova’s Labyrinth Lost, Book #1 of the Brooklyn Brujas series. Alex dreads the Deathday ceremony that will awaken her powers, but when she tries to banish her magic, she banishes her family instead. Drawing from Latin American myth and culture and blending them with common tropes of the genre, Córdova creates a unique fantasy world for Alex to explore as she explores her own heritage. And despite what the back cover would have you believe, this isn’t your typical boy-girl romance. This is a book primarily about women and the relationships between them, be they familial, antagonistic, or romantic. Continue reading Book Review: Labyrinth Lost–a Story of Latina Magic

Never Too Late – Picking up Harry Potter as an Adult

When I started dating my current boyfriend, he decided it was time to finally pick up Harry Potter, if only for the sake of our relationship. Otherwise, how could he hope to communicate with a girlfriend who speaks in 50 percent Harry Potter quotes? Ever wondered what your impression of the books would be if you picked them up in your mid-twenties, two decades after they came out? Wondering if it’s worth your time to jump on the bandwagon now if you missed the boat so many years ago? Let’s ask him and find out! Continue reading Never Too Late – Picking up Harry Potter as an Adult

Interactive Fiction: Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review

Treasure hunting. Code breaking. Doodles and audio clips. If your reading experience doesn’t include these elements, then I guess you haven’t picked up Emilie Autumn’s new ebook edition of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. While the detective skills may seem more fitting for a mystery novel, TAFWVG is actually part-autobiography, part-historical fantasy about being institutionalized for mental illness in the Victorian era and today. Emilie Autumn continues her dedication to a personalized relationship with her fans by developing this new level of interactive fiction. Continue reading Interactive Fiction: Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review

Book Review: Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke

The Ruby in the Smoke, Book One of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart series, never gained the same fame as The Golden Compass and the rest of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, perhaps for good reason. It’s a cute story but doesn’t have quite the magical draw of epic world-building that bolsters his other works. From a feminist perspective, I appreciated the feisty female protagonist who demonstrates math skills and business acumen, but on an intersectional level, the book fails. The novel is meant to be a treatise against opium and the role England played in encouraging the opium industry, but it is rife with simplistic or downright racist depictions of Asians and the East. Continue reading Book Review: Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke

Diversity Among Shadowhunters: Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight

If you’re looking for a good YA series with bisexual, Hispanic, or autistic representation, it might be time to hop on the Dark Artifices train, as the second book was just released last Tuesday, May 23. From the author who brought us our first Jewish vampire and an immensely powerful gay warlock comes a new spin-off series from her original The Mortal Instruments world. Today I will review Lady Midnight (Book 1 of The Dark Artifices) by Cassandra Clare, particularly focusing on the minority characters Mark, Christina, and Ty. Continue reading Diversity Among Shadowhunters: Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight

Best Worlds and Settings in Modern Sci-fi/Fantasy

Recently, I’ve been reading Literary Wonderlands: A Journey through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created by Laura Miller. It outlines literary works with the best world-building across history, from early myths to modern sci-fi/fantasy franchises. Inspired by this, I’d like to share with you some of the books with the most immersive settings I’ve ever read, books that had me walking their worlds long after I closed the pages. (I skipped the obvious ones like Harry Potter, which were of course featured in Literary Wonderlands.) Continue reading Best Worlds and Settings in Modern Sci-fi/Fantasy

Women of Shannara: A Feminist Look at Amberle and Eretria

 

I’ve mentioned the Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks several times before, and now with season two of the TV show tentatively predicted for Summer 2017, I decided it was time for a re-read. I chose to start with book 2 of the series, The Elfstones of Shannara, because that is where the TV show starts from. Published in the 1980s, Elfstones stands apart from many high fantasy epics by featuring two prominent female characters. Amberle and Eretria, while both involved in a love triangle with protagonist Wil Ohmsford, present two very different notions of femininity in a genre that often lacks any representation at all. But can they be said to be feminist characters? Continue reading Women of Shannara: A Feminist Look at Amberle and Eretria

What Is This “New Adult” Genre and What Geeky Books Belong to It?

Perhaps your local bookstore has added a new shelf label or your favorite author has announced a new series under this mysterious category. In any case, you’ve found yourself wondering, what exactly does “new adult” mean, especially in terms of literature? New Adult is the next step up for those of us who love YA but have graduated into the next stage of our lives and want something that hits a little closer to home. Usually featuring protagonists aged 18–30, New Adult fiction engages with themes such as sexuality, developing independence, change, and embarking on a career. While Young Adult works are often set in high schools, New Adult is usually set in college or the early years beyond schooling. Continue reading What Is This “New Adult” Genre and What Geeky Books Belong to It?