Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson – Excellent; I reviewed earlier this month.
The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah – Also excellent; I reviewed earlier this month.
Carry On, Rainbow Rowell – I listened to this as I ran most of February. Basic plot is a group of teens struggling with sexuality as well as wizardry and fighting dark forces. I didn’t love it, but it was interesting enough. I shouldn’t compare it to Harry Potter, but having recently read those, I couldn’t help myself. It just wasn’t as imaginative or compelling.
Unforgiven, Lauren Kate – This was the final story in the Fallen series, and I read through it pretty quickly. This was set from Cam’s point of view, his love story. He was a very interesting character from the original band of fallen angels, and his love story felt less superficial and deeper than the original love story.
Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink – This is another pioneer girl story. Caddie has the pluck of Laura Ingalls but her family struggles much, much less. Caddie is likable enough, but I didn’t love her family the way I loved the Ingalls family. Her mother reminded me of Nellie (from the Little House books), and some of that arrogance comes through in Caddie as well.
Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk – This was an excellent middle grade novel set in early WWII farm country. Annabelle, a responsible and thoughtful 12 year old, befriends Toby, the town recluse. Toby helps Annabelle defend herself against a young bully that is threatening her and her younger brothers. I loved the mother character and the morality influence she had on Annabelle, encouraging her to not let fear or pride generalize the way she treated others, that what we do and how we act isn’t dependent on someone else. When the town bully goes missing, Toby is blamed. Annabelle is the only person that has tried to understand Toby and his PTSD, and her impossible task to make the town see the situation clearly and protect Toby will pull at your heart.
Wonder, RJ Palacio – I read this with my daughter, whose class is also reading this together. This story about a young boy that has facial deformities, starting school for the first time and his struggle to make friends, captured her interest from the beginning. Schools were closed for sickness and she wanted to finish the book and couldn’t wait for school to start back to find out, so she asked me to buy this book for her. I read it after she finished and we had an excellent discussion about the book, whose character she identified with most, and what parts she loved the most. Her class is going to see the movie together when it comes out, but I would challenge everyone to read this book first! It is excellent book for everyone, not just late elementary and early middle school readers.