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YA

White Fox by Chen Jiatong

(The White Fox #1)

A charming story about a fox growing up to be an adult, and trying to fulfill their destiny. This book is translated from Chinese. Sadly, this is only part one of the series. The ending of the story is sort of a cliffhanger and I don't really like it when authors do that.

There are cute illustrations in the novel, but not enough in my opinion. I think illustrations in these sort of young adult chapter books are part of the magic of reading paper books. Illustrations, photos, maps, and diagrams are certainly a way paper books still have an edge over eBooks.

Nevertheless, this is a good story for younger readers. It's written as sort of a myth, with the main character encountering obstacles along the way and how he deals with them.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #79 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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Drama by Raina Telgemeier

This graphic novel is quite different from her Smile series. The Smile series is an auto-biographical telling of her childhood, while this Drama story is about a high school girl named Callie who's a set designer in the Drama club.

The author still has the same beautiful drawing style in this book, but the story didn't feel as 'real'. I didn't get pulled into the story as much as the Smile series: Smile & Sisters.

I was reading this to my 5 year old daughter so the themes of this book: crushes, gay friend, prom didn't really appeal to us.

Rating: ★★ Book #88 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

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Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

(Smile # 2)

This was such a wholesome adventure! When reading this book, I felt it was about me and my family. I think I even enjoyed this more than Smile – review here!

I read this to my daughter, 5 years old, and suddenly this is her favorite book. She took it to 'read' at her kindy. She's so cute! I think I've definetly sparked a joy of reading in my daughter.

I need to find other great graphic novelists to introduce to my kids. She already loves Ben Hatke. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #84 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

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Smile by Raina Telgemeier

(Smile # 1)

It's a graphic novel about a 7th grade girl already dealing with her complicated girl life and suddenly having a new issue to contend with – braces! I read this to my 5 year old daughter, but I'm sure I'll read it to her again when she's older and then she will read it herself too. This story takes you through the scary process of getting braces – even including the doctor visits – and the other minefields kids have to handle in middle school: crushes, fake friends, bullies, and self-image. I can tell the author is a 80s baby like me by the references she throw in there: The Little Mermaid! and Nintendo! The graphics are really nice. I'm tempted to get the whole Smile series now.

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #80 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

When I first heard there was a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, I had mixed feelings; I wanted to find out more about the origins of Gilead, but also didn't want the author (to possibly) taint the legacy.

Now that I've read it, I know that both feelings were right. I enjoyed it mostly, but still other things left a bad taste in my mouth.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Coming into this book I already had a bit of a negative feeling about it. I dislike over-hyped books and movies; normies gushing over books usually gets me running the opposite direction.

Why did I read this book? My friend kindly lent it to me and it was sitting on my desk. It's the summer so I haven't been in the mood to really read any 'heavy' books, so I gave it a try.

Now everything you've heard about this book is correct, he name drops so many culture references that is tends to get annoying. Usually these things he talks about doesn't really add to the story except to give the reader some nostalgia. I'm currently listening to the 80s Ready Player One movie soundtrack, so I guess it's working?

The story is a trope we've seen before: misfit boy saves the world against evil corporation and gets the girl. It's not a complicated plot and it moves along quickly. Are the characters cardboard cut-outs? Yes but it's still a perfect summer read; the chapters are short, and it's like eating junk food – it makes you feel good.

There are lots of nerd and gamer references that I, as a former gamer growing up in the 80s, appreciated. In my opinion, I'd label this a YA novel in the same vein as The Maze Runner. It's fun to read. I'll probably forget the plot in a few days but hey, what are you expecting? This is not an award winning book for its writing. This is a summer movie. You know what will happen just a few pages in but you still want to go along for the ride.

I was expecting to hate this book but I actually enjoyed it. I was expecting to 'hate read' it then, write a nasty review but lookey what I wrote. It wasn't all that bad. I guess sometimes the normies can hype up books that are pretty good, but, for the record, I still hate Harry Potter.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #55 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

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A futuristic future where the rich have air filter suits so they don't breathe in the noxious air, the you's (the verb to have in Chinese), while the mei's (the verb for without) choke and die on the air without suits and die in their early 40s. This YA series is set in Taipei so the setting really came alive for me as I live in Taiwan. I will definitely hold onto this book for my daughter to read when she grows up, if we last that long. This story is a good story about how climate change affects the rich and poor differently. It's a fun story with a good message!

Rating: ★★★★. Book #26 in my 2019 Reading Challenge

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