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Book Club

I started a book club at my house a couple of weeks ago. The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht has become an amazing tool for the kids participating.

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Pub Date: 02 Apr 2019
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Mera: Tidebreaker is an origin story of Mera and Aquaman. It says so on the back cover. Otherwise, I never would have known these characters already existed. I'm not a comic book hero follower, so this was a total introduction to these characters for me.

As a graphic novel, it fell a little flat. As others have opined, the romance developed too quickly in story form; although, I could see the foreshadowing of Mera being unable to fulfill her plan and to end up loving rather than hating her father's foe. That's part of the story's flaws, too; it was really a quite predictable story. But there was confusion, too; without background knowledge of the characters, I had to read others' reviews of the graphic novel to know that Xebel was a penal colony.

I was enthralled by the drawing, however. It's difficult to give the ocean a personality, and illustrator Stephen Byrne's portrayal of water was fantastic. On the other hand, his portrayal of Mera was inconsistent.

Because of the terse treatment of the plot, I don't know whether or not this would best be recommend to fans of DC Comics or to people who are newbies of the DC Comics franchise. Both might be disappointed.

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Book review: All Our Broken Pieces

Book review: All Our Broken Pieces by L. D. Crichton

Publishing date: May 7, 2019

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I didn't think I'd enjoy a sappy love story, but that's OK, because this wasn't sappy. I really liked these believable characters. Kyler was very romantic, and Lennon made for a very good example of how to understand OCD in others.

The OCD portion of the story was handled very well, both normalizing and explaining how it's not normal, or rather when it's not normal... when it interferes or embarrasses or makes others uncomfortable. The facial disfigurement part of the story was not quite as revealing as far as creating empathy, but it did allow for some insight.

Even though most YA novels entail hyperbolic parents, and All Our Broken Pieces is no exception, the author did a good job of reining in the parental extremes and bringing them back down to sensible characters. Any characters are good who can admit when they are wrong, and these adult characters do just that. Graciously, too.

I'll probably shelve this acquisition for my high school library in our "death/drugs/disease" genre sticker category, but it could easily just be categorized as realistic fiction or romance. In any event, I'm looking forward to recommending this title to my students.

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