Book Review | If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl Review Paige's PagesTITLE: If I Was Your Girl
AUTHOR
: Meredith Russo
PUBLISHER
: Flatiron Books
RELEASE DATE
: May 3, 2016
GENRE
: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQIA
PAGE COUNT
: 280


If I Was Your Girl is a high school romance from the perspective of a transgender girl.  While the writing and plot are forgettable, this novel is necessary because it gives young adult readers of any and all gender identities the chance to read trans experiences in relatable contexts.  Besides the universal struggles of fitting in and finding true friends, If I Was Your Girl portrays a trans girl being the subject of romantic attentiongoing a long way to affirm that trans teens are equally deserving of prom proposals and a magical first kiss.  

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Book Review | Shadowbahn: A Novel by Steve Erickson

Shadowbahn Review Paige's PagesTITLE: Shadowbahn
AUTHOR
: Steve Erickson
PUBLISHER
: Blue Rider Press
RELEASE DATE
: February 14, 2017
GENRE
: Speculative Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 320


Knowing nothing about Steve Erickson as a prolific author, I was drawn to Shadowbahn by its eyebrow-raising premise: 20 years after their devastating fall, the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in the Badlands of South Dakota.  Thousands migrate from every corner of the nation to see the phenomenon with their own eyes, and listen to the music the Towers emit.  Like an aural Rorschach test, everyone hears a different tune.  Meanwhile, on the ninety-something floor of the south tower, Jesse Presley, the stillborn twin of history’s most iconic singer, awakes to a reality in which he survived in his brother’s place.

AMERICAN STONEHENGE blares the cover of one newsweekly.  To some who gather, the Towers represent a hallowing of the ground.  To others, particularly those who lost someone in the Towers twenty years ago, they represent a desecration – page 16

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Double Review | More Happy Than Not / History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not (2015) and History Is All You Left Me (2017) by gay YA author, Adam Silvera, are a perfect pair.  Featuring realistic gay protagonists, they confront themes crucial to older YA readers including identity, sexuality, love, and loss.  Silvera’s representation of mental illness is unflinchingly honest and raw.  I may not be able to bid you “happy reading”, but I hope you will find Silvera’s writing as powerful as I did.

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Book Review | Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water Paige's PagesTITLE: Into the Water
AUTHOR
: Paula Hawkins
PUBLISHER
: Doubleday
RELEASE DATE
: May 2, 2017
GENRE
: Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller
PAGE COUNT
: 386


The success of Paula Hawkins’ debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, built up my expectations for her new release.  Although I was anticipating a tense and tightly-woven mystery, Into the Water delivers a slow simmer with anticlimactic results.  While it missed the mark for me, I can see how its slow climb and narrative consisting of multiple points of view will appeal to some readers.    Continue reading

Graphic Memoir Review | Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Marbles by Ellen Forney Review Paige's pagesTITLE: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me
AUTHOR & ARTIST
: Ellen Forney
PUBLISHER
: Avery
RELEASE DATE
: November 6, 2012
GENRE
: Adult Graphic Memoir
PAGE COUNT
: 256


In this intimate and informative graphic memoir, comic artist Ellen Forney tells her story of battling bipolar disorder.  Along the way, she delves into the origins and issues of the “crazy artist” stereotype, and rewrites her own identity as a creator with mental illness.  Most of all, Marbles is for readers who want insight into the long-term challenges of living with bipolar disorder.  
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Book Review | This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall

This is Shyness Paige's PagesTITLE: This is Shyness
SERIES: This is Shyness #1
AUTHOR
: Leanne Hall
PUBLISHER
: Text
RELEASE DATE
: August 2, 2010
GENRE
: Young Adult, Magical Realism
PAGE COUNT
: 272


In the magical realist town of Shyness where the sun never rises, strangers Wolfboy and Wildgirl share a dangerous night of self-discovery and unexpected kinship.  While Shyness is a vivid and interesting setting for this YA adventure story, I struggled to connect to the characters or the sense of stakes.

Wolfboy is a Shyness local.  Wildgirl is on a mission to forget.  When their eyes meet across the room at the Diabetic Hotel, they join forces and decide to see where the night takes them.  As their backstories gradually unravel, their bond deepens, and the adventure heats up. Continue reading

Book Review | A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance Review Paige's PagesTITLE: A Time to Dance
AUTHOR
: Padma Venkatraman
PUBLISHER
: Nancy Paulsen Books
RELEASE DATE
: May 1, 2014
GENRE
: Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 320


A Time to Dance is unlike any other book I’ve read.  Delivered in flowing verse, Venkatraman combines a lovingly detailed representation of disability with sumptuous insights to her own culture and religion.  The result is a story for all ages that celebrates the beauty in all things.  Its uplifting message has resonated with me long after reading, and impacted my perspectives on disability and religion.   Continue reading

Book Review | It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us Review Paige's PagesTITLE: It Ends With Us
AUTHOR
: Colleen Hoover
PUBLISHER
: Simon & Schuster UK
RELEASE DATE
: August 2, 2016
GENRE
: Contemporary Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 376


It Ends With Us is a powerfully moving novel about domestic abuse.  It educates readers on the self-delusions and self-blame that perpetuate the abusive cycle, as well as the financial and family factors that sometimes make separation impossible.  For a book with such a light and accessible tone, It Ends With Us took me on a dark emotional journey that resonated  long after reading.  This is a necessary book that makes difficult discussions accessible to our generation. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang

american-born-chinese-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: American Born Chinese
AUTHOR
: Gene Luan Yang
PUBLISHER
: First Second
RELEASE DATE
: September 1, 2006
GENRE
: Junior Graphic Novel
PAGE COUNT
: 240


Fusing mythology with a contemporary coming of age story, American Born Chinese confronts Asian stereotypes and cultural alienation.  These topics may sound heavy, but Yang weaves his story around these themes effortlessly, like a present-day Aesop’s fable while remaining fresh and fun.

Jin Wang is the only Chinese American at his new school.  When the new kid from Taiwan tries to befriend him, Jin is scared that being seen with a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) will destroy his chances of fitting in.  Meanwhile, cool all-American teen Danny is scared his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee will ruin his rep with his popular crush. Continue reading