Tag: Contemporary

Audiobook Review: AfterMath by Emily Barth Isler

AfterMath
Author: Emily Barth Isler

Narrator: Emily Barth Isler
To Be Published:  September 7, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 14-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

After her brother’s death from a congenital heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy is not prepared to be the new kid at school–especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family’s own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers.

Lucy clings to her love of math, which provides the absolute answers she craves. But through budding friendships and an after-school mime class, Lucy discovers that while grief can take many shapes and sadness may feel infinite, love is just as powerful.

Jessica’s Review:

AfterMath is the third book I have read this year that has dealt with a school shooting before or after the fact. AfterMath is a middle grades novel by Emily Barth Isler and the title has multiple meanings.  The idea for AfterMath came to Isler after the December 2, 2015 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, California.  She had a baby and a 4-year-old at the time. 

Each chapter of AfterMath begins with a Math problem. Our main character is Lucy who is twelve years old and dealing with the death of her younger brother from a rare congenital heart defect.  Dealing with the loss, Lucy’s parents decide to move.  They move to where her parents have a shorter commute, but they also move to a town that has not had new members to the community since there was a school shooting four years earlier.  Not only that, but Lucy is also the age of the students who were victims of the shooting.  The house they move into was also the home of a girl her age who died in the shooting. 

Lucy’s adjustment to a new school in a unique situation at an awkward time of life is our story.  There are so many important issues addressed in this book with loss and grief being at the forefront.  PTSD in various forms is also addressed along with bullying.  For one particular student we see the effects of how the sins of one person affect another who had nothing to do with said sin.  We see how everyone experiences their grief in different ways, and the way Lucy does this is not telling anyone at her new school about the recent loss of her brother. 

I really liked Lucy and how we see her love of Math despite having problems with learning the concept of Infinity.  We see how she grows over the course of the novel. We also get to know Avery through Lucy, a girl whom everyone at the school avoids. We also see Lucy’s home life with her parents and mysterious math jokes appearing in her room.  Lucy has a good relationship with her math teacher who also teaches her after-school mime class. 

This is a great book for those in the middle grades age group.  I listened to the audiobook version which the author also narrated.  She brought a special voice to the novel.  I received an arc copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

AfterMath is definitely recommended for the middle grades ages readers. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Falling by T.J. Newman

Falling  
Author:  T.J. Newman

Published: July 6, 2021
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 26-29, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.
What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.
For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.
The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

Jessica’s Review: 

Falling sets you up for an extremely fast paced read from the very beginning and you don’t know what will ultimately happen at the end!  Bill Hoffman is a pilot and will be flying a plane from LA to NYC and just 30 minutes ago his family was kidnapped.  He is told that if he does not crash the plane that his family will die.  What will Bill do?

This is not a book I would recommend reading on a flight!  It is nonstop suspense that is driven the whole novel!  The author was a flight attendant for 10 years and even wrote it while on the job.  She faced 41 rejections until it was finally accepted, and Falling is now a published novel! 

Falling is all about family: First, is the pilot’s family being held hostage. Second, is the flight crew and their closeness.  You can really see how Newman brought her experiences as a flight attendant into the novel.  

I give Falling 4 stars as a few things did not really work for me: How the FBI became involved and some of their actions were too convenient and the motives of the villain just did not really work for me.  I was still intensely involved as to what was going to happen with a hijacked plane in a post 9/11 world. And then we have a flight attendant whose nickname was “Daddy” /”Big Daddy”?  If that was meant as some comic relief, it did not work for me. 

Will Hoffman save his family by crashing the plane or will something else happen to the plane? 

Get ready for a wild ride as you read Falling. 

Falling is recommended.

Purchase Links: 
Amazon US 
Amazon UK

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#Diverseathon2021: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Published: May 5, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 2-4, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Jessica’s Review: 

Clap When You Land is inspired from what can be called the ‘Forgotten Flight’: American Airlines Flight 587 from JFK to Santo Domingo just a couple of months after 9/11.  Flight AA587 crashed shortly after takeoff from JFK on 11/12/01 with 260 persons on board.  Once terrorism was ruled out, it did in fact become the forgotten flight. The title comes from the tradition of applauding once a plane safely touches down upon landing.  This novel written in verse focuses on grief, forgiveness, and sisterhood. 

Camino and Yahaira both face the untimely death of their father via a plane crash. Their lives are changed forever, and it is just the beginning as they did not know of each other as their father, Papi, had a great many secrets. They are now having to deal with the memory of a man who was not who they thought he was (including two wives) and more. 

What will the two girls do? They are from very different backgrounds as Camino lives in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira lives in New York. Can two girls from very different lifestyles with only a father in common meet and get along?  Do they even want to?  Both girls are sixteen but seemed older due to their life circumstances aside from the loss of Papi. There are many heavy themes dealt with over the course of the novel. And the reader also gets to learn of the Dominican culture through Camino. Both girls are our narrators and are likeable.

I listened to the audiobook version of Clap When You Land and I think that did help me with this novel as I am not a poetry reader and it is written in verse.  This is the second novel in verse I have ‘read’ and both were audiobooks.  Acevedo is one of the audiobook narrators herself!  Listening to Clap When You Land you are fully pulled into the story and root for the girls and hope they find peace in their forever changed lives. 

I listened to Clap When You Land as a part of #Diverseathon2021. The prompt for August is main characters in an interracial relationship (romantic/ friends/family). August’s host is Mary @booksbymary1 and she will host at Instagram.

For full details on this year long read-a-thon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

Clap When You Land is recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK 

 

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