What if every time you told the truth, evil followed?
My name is Melody Fisher. My daddy was a snake handler in Appalachia until Mama died. Though years have passed, I can still hear the rattle before the strike that took her from me.
And it's all my fault.
Since then, I've been passed around from foster home to foster home. I didn't think anything could be as bad as losing Mama.
I was wrong.
But I will not speak of things people have done to me. Every time I do, worse evil follows. Now, the only thing I trust is what saved me years ago.
Back when I would sing the snakes calm ...
Speak No Evil is a haunting story about Melody, the daughter of snake handlers in the south. She has a truly horrible upbringing - experiencing abuse and trauma. When we meet Melody, she's 16 and is no longer speaking. She also is in trouble for violence at school. Melody, who has a special connection to the living beings around her as well as having a special sense of feeling, needs to be able to talk because people are spinning tales of her life without her input. Melody needs to speak.
I found Speak No Evil to be inspiring as much as it was evocative because of Melody's journey from losing her mother through all the trauma she goes through. The use of lyrics/poems were a key feature of not only reading this book, but feeling what Melody was feeling. This book is truly unlike any other book, let alone YA book, that I have ever read. It's content ringing with truth and hurt - it is an experience to read Speak No Evil.
I recommend this book to everyone, but I do want to provide a trigger warning for abuse. Take care of yourselves readers.
Eve 2.0 is a fantastically written, fast-paced read that will give video game lovers something to look forward to. Non-gamers, like myself, will also find the story of Eve 2.0 intriguing as the world that has been built is full of action and science fiction-like qualities.
I found myself with similar feelings as to when I first read Ready Player One. Gwen/Teddy is a high level gamer who gets thrown into video game after game after her long distance boyfriend introduces her to it. Her journey also involves her ex boyfriend and neighbor...which simply adds to that emotional twisting of the gut we get from young adult novels.
Ultimately I quite enjoyed reading a story that incorporates video games, a heroine, and adventure. It was fun to read and get immersed in the story. Highly recommend!
Quijana is Guatemalen-American and lately she's been feeling as if she's living in a world of halves. Author Rebecca Balcarcel does a beautiful job in describing how it feels to live between cultures - and never fully feeling like one belongs entirely in one culture over the other. This book is about exploring cultural identity told through the eyes of a seventh grader, an age that is also between that of being a child and a teenager. The exploration of identity takes place during a time in which Quijana is navigating the issues of coming of age. The Other Half of Happy is definitely an important Latinx novel that everyone should read. It details the struggles of living in two worlds - that one which matches everyone else's: going to school and dealing with coming of age identity issues. However, it also deals with the other world - the one that is more internally grounded. That world in which our families are significantly intertwined, and with them, our identities. The Other Half of Happy is a beautifully told story with lyrical prose by Balcarcel. It is emotional and endearing and readers of all cultures and identities should take the time to read Quijana's story.