identity

Aug 18, 2018

Dear Ijeawele begins with a young, new mother's question: "How might I raise my daughter to be a feminist?" This slim book is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's letter of response, acting as an encouraging and thoughtful manifesto for feminism, in fifteen funny, compassionate, and observant suggestions for loving empowerment.


Oh, I love this book, this essay, this letter. So well articulated, Adichie's work is quick and easy to read and underline. 
I am in my twenties, and it's not that I am planning on raising a girl any time soon, but it is that I am continually raising myself as a female

This Is Us (DVD)

By Dan Fogelman
4
Rated by Edward R.
Sep 27, 2017

This Is Us is a dangerously addictive show about a family over multiple generations and the extreme challenges they face. The pilot episode hooks you into a compelling drama by intertwining the lives of all the characters in a unique way. The story continues with complexities that match real life and yet what we see seems more surreal than reality.


This show is emotional. Not the setup/payoff kind of emotion but rather suffocating you with emotions until they find the right string to pull that will choke you up. This approach works in two ways: it pulled me in and then pushed me out. The

May 9, 2017

LaToya goes to a mostly white school. She has no friends and even the other black kids make fun of her. One night she prays to be anything but black, and she wakes up with white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. Then the real fun begins in this journey of self-discovery that takes shocking and hilarious twists and turns.


This was an interesting book about putting oneself in someone else's shoes. It was not as hard hitting as I might have liked. There were some good moments that got you thinking, but overall, things turned out as expected. I'm not sure what this book was trying to accomplish

May 2, 2017

This novel for young readers is a beautiful and emotional coming of age story exploring life as a bocha posh in modern-day Afghanistan.


When Obayda's father loses both of his legs in an explosion and her family is forced to move to a small village, they are in need of some good luck. Obayda's aunt decides to turn her into a bocha posh, a young girl dressed as a boy. Life in between genders is confusing for her, and she has trouble adjusting to her new life until she befriends another bocha posh. But when everything changes, the two best friends need help to fight for their newfound

Sep 24, 2016

What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned is the most original, electric, and soul-altering book of poems I’ve read in more than a year. It reads like a nonlinear memoir that skips around Alexie’s life, with common threads charging the poems like drumbeats.  The largest theme - growing up on an Indian reservation surrounded by a cast of remarkable characters with haunting stories – shows up in nearly every poem.  Other themes of grief, recklessness, addiction, poverty and freedom reappear again and again. Alexie occasionally skips to the present, connecting his former and current selves, like the New

The Passenger

By Lisa Lutz
4
Rated by Debbie F.
Jun 23, 2016

After Tanya Dubois finds her husband's dead body at the bottom of the stairs she decides to run. Not because she's guilty, but because she is living under an assumed name and hiding from the past. She needs a new identity and the only way to get one is to call the man she's hated for 15 years. Roland Oliver has connections and money, two things Tanya needs. His reason for helping her? He has secrets of his own. "I want a clean identity, a name that's prettier than my own and if possible, I'd like to be a few years younger." Thus, Amelie Keen is born. 


Through a succession of events, Lutz

All American Boys

By Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
5
Rated by Becky C.
Feb 1, 2016

All American Boys is a big-issue book that also makes an excellent character study. Rashad, a sixteen-year-old African-American boy, is the victim of police brutality. Quinn, a sixteen-year-old white boy, is a witness to Rashad's beating. These two guys live in the same city and go to the same school. Quinn plays on the same basketball team as some of Rashad's friends. And yet they barely know each other. The story takes place during the week Rashad recuperates in the hospital. Quinn comes to terms with the fact that he saw the beating that put Rashad there--and that the police officer is his

There Will Be Lies

By Nick Lake
4
Rated by Chris K.
Dec 11, 2015

There will be two lies, [the coyote] says. Then there will be the truth. And that will be the hardest of all.


And what lies they are. Even more so, as the coyote promises, the lies exposed by the truth. Nothing will be the same.


Not ever.


And that's not even to mention the small surprises and little white lies along the way.


For all that she can remember of her nearly 18 years, Shelby has enjoyed a quiet, stable life. She and her mom live in a simple house, do simple things. She is homeschooled. They have a routine that never changes. And she has little contact with others

Eden West

By Pete Hautman
4
Rated by Chris K.
Oct 22, 2015

I know that the World is a terrible place, filled with wild animals and evil men and wicked women.


So begins Jacob's narration. Like any seventeen-year-old, Jacob trusts what his parents and respected authorities have always taught him about the world and his place in it. Like any seventeen-year-old, he questions what he has always been taught and yearns to discover the world for himself so he can fully take ownership of his identity, to decide for himself who he will be. As is common, religion plays a role in his searching; but it plays an uncommonly large role for Jacob: he lives in a

Jul 18, 2015

I immediately fell for Denton Little. Born at a time when people know the date they will die, Denton knows his funeral is today. No surprise. Tomorrow is his death date. No big deal. But waking up in the bed with his best friend's sister? Now that is a surprise.  And a big deal.


The next day, his death date, strange things start happening. Sure he's going to die, but what is this huge bluish-purple bruise on his leg? And the little red pulsing lights within it? Denton's decided since he's going to die tomorrow anyway, he might as well not worry his mom or dad. However, this only works for

Jellicoe Road

By Melina Marchetta
5
Rated by Peggy H.
Apr 13, 2015

I know this is a somewhat older title with a copyright of 2006, but I missed it back then and every year since. Why? Why did I wait SO long to read it? And why can I only give it five stars? I want to give it ten on scale of one to five!


Taylor Markham lives at the Jellicoe boarding school in Australia. She was abandoned in a Seven Eleven on Jellicoe Road by her mother when she was 5. She never knew her father. Five minutes after her mother left, a woman named Hannah who lived by the Jellicoe school and sometimes took the students under her wing, came by and picked her up. Taylor and Hannah

The Half Life of Molly Pierce

By Katrina Leno
4
Rated by Peggy H.
Jan 3, 2015

Molly is driving back, but she doesn't know from where. And she doesn't know to where.  All she knows is that she should be in school, but she's in her car instead. Suddenly she sees a motorcycle speeding up behind her. Somehow she knows that he is coming for her. She passes through the intersection as the light turns red. The motorcycle keeps coming; it runs the red light. A truck enters the intersection, catching the back tire of the motorcycle, sending is spinning.  The rider flies through the air, over Molly's car and lands on the asphalt right in front of her. She brakes, screaming. She

16 Things I Thought Were True

By Janet Gurtler
4
Rated by Peggy H.
Nov 10, 2014

Morgan measures her likeability by how many Twitter followers she has. Her goal is to reach 5000 and she is getting very close. If she has 5000 followers, she has to be likeable, right? Even if she doesn't have any real life friends, even if the father she's never known didn't like her enough to stick around and help raise her. She is currently tweeting about things she thought were true. For example, that working in an amusement park would be amusing (it's not), that heart disease happens to other people (how could HER mother be in the hospital with heart problems???), that rocking out to

Jul 23, 2013

“Suspense” and “thriller” are among the tags for this book. I wasn’t sure at first if those descriptions fit. The book is about a woman, Christine, who wakes up every morning with no memory.  She has no idea who she is, where she is, or even how old she is. I figured this would be more of a drama than a thriller. But the suspense builds as Christine, and the reader, begin to question what she is told. What is real, what is imagined, and what is an outright lie?

This isn’t the kind of thriller where terrorists have planted a bomb and intelligence agents are racing to find it. This is a

Apr 9, 2013

Croak is a coming-of-age, teen identity, death-is-my-life book.  Lex is 16 and headed for expulsion from school. Her parents are trying to understand and help her, but Lex has become an unmitigated brat and terror. As a last resort, they ship her off to her uncle for the summer, hoping that country life will straighten her out.

It becomes immediately obvious that Lex’s parents have no idea what her uncle really does. He is a Grim Reaper and plans to bring Lex into the death business. What does that mean? The explanation comes out fairly early on in the story. In addition to coming to terms

Jan 25, 2013

Seraphina is an unusual woman in an unusual world. Humans and dragons coexist in a mostly peaceful, if a bit strained, manner. That they can inhabit the same city at all is due to the dragons’ ability to assume a human shape.

Considering how many, many books have been written about dragons, it was refreshing to come upon a different take on the subject. What would a dragon be like if its body became human? Would it still be a dragon on the inside? Have dragonish thoughts, feelings, and attitudes? If it’s the huge dragon body with its sharp claws and teeth that frightens people, would a dragon

Jul 22, 2009

Senna’s narrative is very much in the vein of Walls’ The Glass Castle or Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin. It surpasses both for its examination, not only of Senna’s parents relationship, but for its exploration of identity today, yesterday and tomorrow.


Carl Senna is a black man born in the south when Jim Crow was alive and well. Fanny Howe, on the other hand, was born of eminent Bostonians whose histories are traceable back to the Mayflower. Of her parents’ divorce Senna says “The divorce was so ugly because the marriage was so unequivocally beautiful. My parents’ marriage had been