May. 27th, 2017

sarahmichigan: (reading)
Book No. 27 was "Good Kings Bad Kings" by Susan Nussbaum. It's a story about physically and/or mentally disabled teenagers living in a care facility and the people, good and bad, who interact with them in the system. It features many viewpoints, with a few chapters per character, rotating through several of the kids and several of the staff members who care for or interact with them. The kids get radicalized and fight for their rights, with the help of some of the staff while other staff defend the status quo. It sounds like it could a well-meaning but clunky and didactic book, but it never is. This is helped tremendously by the fact that the voices of the kids and adults ring so true. It's also very funny. Nussbaum, herself a disabled rights activist in a wheelchair, does a great job with the complicated intersections of race and ethnicity (many of the kids are black or Latino) and class with disability in the novel. I really felt like I got to know the characters and cried toward the end. Highly recommended.

Book No. 28 was "The Night Gardener," a gothic YA scary tale by Jonathan Auxier. The hardcover of the book is an absolutely gorgeous artifact, with illustrations in the initial pages and a silhouette of blown fall leaves on the first page of every chapter. It tells the tale of orphans Molly and Kip who seek a job, only to be sent to an old house in the woods that has a spooky old tree growing up and around it. The orphans learn that the unhappy family there is cursed and set out to save them from a sinister figure who cares for the tree. I found the book a little predictable in a few places, but the atmosphere Auxier creates is nice and spooky, and I like the central legend of The Night Gardener quite a bit. This book would be fun for teenagers or tweens who like a scary book and an easy pleasure read for an adult.

The other books I've read so far this year: )

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