Patron Saints of Nothing – Randy Ribay

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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: June 2019
Publisher: Kokila
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Family, Coming of Age, Culture


REVIEW:

This felt like a familiar tale in the beginning. Someone close to the main character dies and the main character is angry and seeks justice. Except in this case the tragedy happens in the Philippines, far away from the protagonist, and Jay is reluctant to accept the events that lead to the death of his cousin so he travels to the Philippines in order to find out the truth his family is potentially hiding from him. Continue reading

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One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2017
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast/Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Essays, Nonfiction, Feminism, Culture, India, Humor


BLURB:

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father’s creeping mortality–all as she tries to find her feet in the world. Continue reading

Blog Tour: Mirage – Somaiya Daud

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Mirage by Somaiya Daud

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: August 28th, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, War, Romance, Feminism, Royalty, Culture


BLURB:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death. Continue reading

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

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The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: April 24th, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, War, Culture, Africa, Survival


BLURB:

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were “thunder.” In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety–perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive. When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted asylum in the United States, where she embarked on another journey–to excavate her past and, after years of being made to feel less than human, claim her individuality. Continue reading

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

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Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Crown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Anthology, Diversity, Culture, Life Lessons


BLURB:

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us. In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. Continue reading

Akata Witch – Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch by Nnedi OkoraforAkata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: July 11th, 2017
Publisher: Speak
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Culture, Friendship, Secret Society


BLURB: 

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs? Continue reading

The Astonishing Color of After – Emily X.R. Pan

35604686The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Family History, Romance, Culture


BLURB:

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Continue reading