𝙱𝚘𝚘𝚔 𝚁𝚎𝚟𝚒𝚎𝚠 || 𝙱𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚋𝚢 𝙼𝚒𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚎 𝙾𝚋𝚊𝚖𝚊 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Becoming, a subjective experience about Michelle Obama’s childhood in south side Chicago, her pursuit of living the American dream, eventual dissatisfaction with what that meant and finally coming into her own.
Michelle did not sugar coat her attitude toward politics, her feelings about Obama running for president or the challenges of creating and raising two daughters with the media scrutiny.
While her voice was pleasant, humorous and candid, a tone that stood out the most was her optimism. The belief that better outcomes are possible even under the worst circumstances. The optimism wasn’t found without real work being put in, it was based on trusting her contribution to her life and society. The understanding of knowing who she was, the company she kept and having faith. She placed emphasis on family, education, supportive friends, being active in the community and finding a balance that works. Becoming provided an up close look into the experiences that shaped her to become the phenomenal woman many admire and look up to today.
A well written relatable piece and I’d recommend it as one the neccessary biographies to read, especially for black men and women.
He Forgot To Say Goodbye by Benjamin Sáenz
Publisher: Simon Shuster
Published: June 17 2008
Buy or Burrow: Buy
People don’t always have to do the right thing for the right reasons—so long as they do the right thing.
Synopsis: Two teens with different social standings have one thing in common : a father they know very little about. Circumstance brings them together and both boys try to understand why their fathers left without saying goodbye
I believe that we’re searching to understand ourselves in this life and the world around us. To have parents who are present and guiding while young makes that search a little bit easier… but what if you don’t get that? What if you’re missing a mom or dad, because he or she decided not to say goodbye when they left?
He forgot to say goodbye followed Ram and Jake as they try to understand why their fathers left.
Ram’s dad left him and his younger brother and his mom refused to talk about him. Over the years, he made a version of his father in his head, while trying to quietly make something of himself. His fragile heart was obvious from the first page and how he dealt with another person leaving him nearly breaks him. Jake also grew up without his father, a mom that makes you want to yell every time she spoke and a step father that you can’t help but dislike immediately.
The physical difference between the two boys is broad but dealing with an absent father you constantly long for can diminish your differences, especially when you realize that you only wanted them to love and think you’re enough to be remembered.
The novel felt like an unrestrained journal you’re permitted to read and learn from. The young, exposed and flexible tone from both boys made for an enjoyable read even during the tough pages. You don’t have to have an absent parent or be a teen to trust the voice of the characters. It makes you want to promise to be a better version of yourself, hug the ones that stay and love a little harder.
The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Published: March 28 2017
Buy or Burrow: Buy
When you’re left without the memories of who you’re and only recall glimpses of the past as your present, how do you deal with it? How does it affect your family?
In The Wide Circumference of Love, Gregory Tate is a renowned architect who is losing his memory and his family are taking different routes to come to term with the diagnosis of early onset Alzheimers. His wife, Diane Tate, must learn to shoulder this alone. A first, as she and Gregory always relied on each other in all the trials they faced in their marriage. His daughter, Lauren, followed in his footstep to be an architect but navigating new surprises in her life as she slowly loses the father she was once close to becomes a challenge. His son, Sean, who had a distant relationship with the family worked to bridge the gap and create a new relationship with a man that has now forgotten that he was his father.
Once Gregory is placed in an assisted living-a difficult decision Diane had to make following some troubling events- the dynamic within the family changes again. Finding ways to love the man Gregory once was and would be as the disease progressed became the goal for the family.
This story was more than just about Alzheimer’s. I was in awe of how Gregory and Diane built the foundation of their love, how scared each were of the disease when it began to show and how much can happen when you put love first. The story has several narrators who shared different parts of the experience with the readers. I wanted more narration from Lauren, whose story was one that could be fleshed out into another book as her life was a storyline many people could relate to.
The Wide Circumference of Love served a good dose of honesty on how hard Alzheimer affects the family and reinforced the importance of a supportive family.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinka Braithwaite
Published: Nov 20 2018
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Buy or burrow: burrow
My Sister, the Serial Killer explored the dynamic between two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Korede is older and a nurse while Ayoola is a serial killer. Ayoola killed her latest boyfriend and Korede must help to clean up the mess and hide the evidence. Korede began to wonder about her sister’s latest kill, lack of remorse and how she was dealing with covering up Ayoola’s mess. All to soon, Ayoola drew the attention of someone close to Korede’s heart and she has a chance to save him before he dies.
While I didn’t seek out the plot prior to reading, I thought the title was catching and looked forward to a thrilling story – a total marketing genius. The previous title was “Thicker than Water”, something more approprate for the story, imo. I was seriously disappointed when I found that it contained very little mystery but liked the satirical route Oyinka took on the idea of duty and family. Through unfussy prose, we learned that Korede spent her whole life protecting her little sister from a tyrannical father and many bad decisions. Ayoola was overwhelmingly indulged by everyone, as seen from their mother, to anyone who met her. What I enjoyed the most was how accurate Oyinka displayed picking family over everything else, even if they’re toxic to you. A dutiful trait that runs very deep within the Nigerian culture.
While I didn’t get my dark mysterious novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer was an easy read, something to pick up on spur of the moment and enjoy for its refreshing take on loyalty.
p.s: how many kills does it take for a person to be labeled a “serial killer”? Leave your answer below !
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
By: Benjamin A Sáenz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub date: 02/21/2012
Buy or borrow: buy
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be – Simon and Schuster
Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (ADDSotU) covered different facets of life, from a friendship between two young boys who on the outside seemed like an unlikely duo, to a family dealing with shame and regret in an unhealthy manner. Aristotle and Dante not only tried to discover the secrets of the universe but helped their families find a few of their own.
While reading ADDSotU, I found that the author treated each relationship with care. It was refreshing to read the fragile relationship between Aristotle and his father, the push and pull between Aristotle and his mother as well as how easy Dante welcomed Aristole into his life and family. I had no choice but to fall in love with both of the boys as they helped each other. I enjoyed this book so much because of the support each teen got from their family in every aspect of their life, even though each one showed it differently. ADDSotU reminds you that family is very important during the years when teens are still figuring out where they belong in this big world.
I also found that the writing was witty, simple and unrushed. Sáenz didn’t fill the pages with unnecessary details that wasn’t moving the plot along.
Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a self discovery book that would touch not only teens hoping to learn a thing or two about the secrets of the universe but adults could find some secrets worth discovering as well.
I’ll be posting my summer reading list. Let me know if you’ll be reading any books this summer.
Ghana Must Go
By: Taiye Selasi
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date : 03/05/13
Buy or Borrow : Buy
A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts their circuitous journey to one another and, along the way, teaches us that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.- Penguin Random House
Ever been left speechless after a book, shocked that you can say a million things you disliked but in the same breathe, a million for why you love it just as much? Ghana Must Go was that. I began this book a few years ago and left it unfinished on my bookshelf. Looking to read beyond my usual YA novels, I chose to give it one more shot. After the first few chapters, I remembered why I dropped it years ago; the story unraveled in an unusual way. The author’s style required patience and she was building a world that couldn’t be rushed. So this time, I became patient. I read and went back throughout the book to make sure I got the message she was trying to convey.
Honestly, Ghana Must Go lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in a while. I felt so connected to these weird, weak yet strong characters and I was left feeling uncomfortable with that. I felt uncomfortable because I saw myself as well many other people I know in similar situations that Selasi wrote about. The brokenness and need for answers within each character was so real, you may even shed a tear. I learned from Selasi that, lack of communication is a deep rooted issue that can create a lifelong damage to people you care about. Many people, especially Africans, do not like to talk about their feelings, the things that hurt them and often shoulder pains that should not be carried alone. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent in Africans than other ethnicities, or we’re just more ashamed to show others our broken hearts.
If you are like me, and you didn’t finish Ghana Must Go, then give it another try. Be patient and let each character guide you through the turmoils, the revelations and the resolution.
If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll appreciate this well written work of art.
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
Borrow or Buy: Buy
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it -GoodReads
On The Come Up (OTCU) is Angie Thomas follow up to her astonishing debut novel, The Hate U Give. OTCU is a relatable story for many readers, especially black families. To avoid spoilers, I won’t mention all the struggles that Bri and her family experience, but I have experienced similar situations and to have a book show such things makes you feel less alone. We see Bri throughout the book trying to “make it”, so her family can be okay and although she is trying to make it as a rapper, there are young women and men just like her who are trying to make it either as a rapper, basketball player, accountant, stylist, nurse, lawyers or engineer and that is why this book will resonate with a lot of people. The songs included reminded me of when rappers actually stood for something and it felt like an ode.
Many readers have compared OTCU to T.H.U.G and I believe that’s not fair. T.H.U.G was a completely different story while OTCU pays homage to Angie Thomas love for rapping, the black culture and day to day struggle of an average black family. Both books has a strong plotline and shows that Thomas isnt afraid to speak her mind on concerning matters.
Bri was a character was lively and although her decision making skills needed more work, it added to the overall coming of age story line. There were alot of likeable characters that different people will relate to.
A great read and looking forward to her next release !
Leave a comment if you’re going to read or what you think of the book!
Happy Book Day!!
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Publisher: Harper Collins
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Both are Co Executive Assistant to a publishing company Co Ceo and now must complete for a promotion. Lucy cannot understand Joshua’s joyless uptight attitude and he is baffled with her bright and always helpful attitude. As they both continue to play their games, they realize there is something building between them, but is that another game they’re playing? And who will come out victorious?
Looking for a cute, fast and easy to read RomCom? The Hating Game delivers. I enjoyed the banter between Lucy and Joshua, the games were fun to read through and interesting to see how they both soften towards each other.
I liked how it took placed within a publishing company, I’m a sucker for character who love and breathe books. The tension between Josh and Lucy was funny and felt very real as I read it. Their relationship evolved gradually and with the usual bumps and glides that an authentic one usually has. Love them.
Lucy was a semi-likeable character. I found her somewhat annoying in some scenes but she grew on me towards the end of the book as she became more assured of herself. Love a great character ARC. Makes the book feel more real and true.
Overall, The Hating Game was a sweet read and great debut for the author!
You can buy or Borrow, but totally recommend of you’re in the mood for a light read.
With Love, 💛💛
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Yejide and Akin have been married for quiet some time and trying to get pregnant. Their family members are putting pressure on them, especially Yejide, to find a solution and give them an heir. As the pressure increase, choices are made by all parties involved to make the best of the situation and protect their loved ones. But no one considered the consequences of their decisions and how fate has it’s own idea of how their lives will turn out.
Stay With Me is a story that will make you grab on from the first page and never let you go. I went from trying really hard not throw away the book after a couple of chapters, to wishing and praying for better choices for the characters, to rooting then begging the characters to just figure out their life! It was a rollercoaster and I was not disappointed.
I felt that I may have loved this book alot more than other readers because I’m from Nigeria. I’ve seen a lot of the actions in the book played out when I lived there or when a fellow Nigerian share their story. So, it wasn’t just a “fiction” novel for me. This book could honestly be a Nigerian family’s reality and that’s what I loved most about it.
I liked Yejide’s character. She tried and went through so much and often time, when a family is planning for a child, a woman receives majority of the blame, when everyone knows, it takes two to get pregnant.
I was very invested and I loved it. I was not ready for the impact that this book was going to have on me. As a woman, I saw several issues that I’ve discussed with my friends and family in this book: how society looks at woman, treat women and men and the unbalanced responsibities placed in a marriage. (If you’d like to have a discussion on this topic, comment below, I can creat another post on this). Each character in this book felt real to me, they evolved accordingly and Adebayo did an amazing job crafting a story I’ll remember, share and recommend to others.
Buy this book and thank me later.
p.s.: I already gave my copy to a friend to read.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Dimple is a coder. She has plans to win first place at Insomnia Con and win first place then go on to college. Her plans doesn’t include a boyfriend. Rishi is also going to the Con, but he is only going to meet and get to know Dimple, because their family wants both of them to get married after college. Only problem is, Dimple is not aware of the arrangement. So what happens when Dimple finds out why Rishi is at the program and what does that mean for what she wants for herself?
When Dimple met Rishi is one of the cutest YA books I’ve read. I enjoyed reading about India and the culture, how much Dimple loved to stand up for the people she cared for, how supportive the parents were, the strong female friendship and all the technology and art details involved in the book.
I thought Rishi was a perfect complement to Dimple. He supported her dreams and I believe this is very important in relationships. I also enjoyed how Menon wrote about the struggles of trying to be independent and having a relationship. They are not mutually exclusive no matter what society says.
I wished for more scenes of Dimple and Rishi working on their project together. I think the romance kind of took away from that, but overall it was a fun read.
I’d recommend the book to other readers.