Full disclosure, this author, Jen Petro-Roy, is an acquaintance. And she is an absolutely lovely person.
P.S. I Miss You is beautifully written and addresses so many pre-teen issues, I wish it had been around when I was in Middle School. We're in the midst of a great time period where race and sexual orientation are addressed in every way so that every child can identify with a character. That is a fabulous and much needed thing. But what Petro-Roy does that I truly needed in Middle School is she allows her character to question religion.
I was raised Roman Catholic. I was married in the church. I plan for my children to be baptized in the church. I'm proud of who I am and the traditions my family has based around our religion. But I questioned my faith a lot, especially in middle school and high school.
Obviously Religion is a touchy subject. but, just as with all the topics Petro-Roy addresses (sexual orientation, first crushes, family dynamics, lying), she handles it with grace and with an appropriate attitude for a young character.
Controversial topics aside, this is a wonderful story. Evie is an easy character for kids to relate to. She writes letters to her older sister who was sent away from home when she got pregnant. The letter format is easy and enjoyable to read. We follow Evie through a year of her sister's absence and watch as she make an important new frien and tries to find herself. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll roll your eyes and you might even yell at a character or two, but you'll love Evie none the less and you'll devour her story.
This book was beautifully written by Jesmyn Ward. While the story is engrossing, it is also hard to read. It was so emotionally draining that I could only read a chapter, maybe two, at a time. The characters are so well written, I'd happily read another 3 books about this family.
We follow Jojo, a 13-year-old African American boy and his family as Jojo tries to figure out what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in a constant state of struggle both with herself and with the world. His father, Michael, is white and in prison. His sister, Kayla, turns to him for comfort, love and everything else you'd expect from a father figure.
When Michael is released from Prison, Leonie, Kayla and Jojo go on a road trip to pick him up. While at the prison we meet the ghost of a young boy who knew Jojo's Pop when he was at the prison. The ghost travels back with Jojo and his family, looking for answers and sharing another perspective on family and love.
The story is beautiful, strong, emotional, and a little magical. You won't want to put it down, but you may need to so your heart can rest.
When I get to work there are 100 things on my to-do list. Yes, I have a physical, hand written to-do list. I'd be lost without it. I cross things off and add things to it all day long. It keeps me sane and organized.
But even with the to-do list, my mornings are busy and my afternoons are... unmotivated. I get to work with energy, drive and a vision of how the day should go. And then around 3pm I've been super productive, but I'm drained. My to-do list becomes daunting and that drive I had in the morning is gone. I find myself reading book reviews (which is good) and browsing Pinterest (which can be productive, but isn't always).
So this week, I'm trying something new. I've noticed a trend: I do the easy projects in the morning and by the afternoon, when I'm feeling drained, all that's left is the big, intimidating projects. This week, I'm getting those big projects out of the way first. No more procrastinating. State Report needs to be filed? Do it first thing Monday morning. Need to create flyers for programs coming up in the next few weeks? Work on one each morning this week.
The projects I like to work on need to become rewards for when I've finished the projects I would rather put off indefinitely.
And so far this plan is working. I've finished two projects this morning that I would normally put off for as long as possible. But they're done, and I feel good, and I have the rest of the day to work on fun projects. Plus, I won't feel guilty when I spend an hour knitting with the library knitters group later, one of my favorite things about Mondays.
I have pretty mixed feelings about this book. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was entertaining. There were both laugh-out-loud moments and light bulb moments. It made me realize how many things I care deeply about that I really shouldn't. It made me think about my priorities. But it also felt a little... smug.
The message is clear and important: care about important things and stop stressing about things that don't matter.
It's not a revolutionary idea, but I think it's an idea that needs to be said. The internet has changed how we care about things. We know more about more, for sure. We can google the answer to any question, we can find out anything about anyone on social media, but is that really helping us? With all this access to information we've come to care a little about a lot of things that matter and care a lot about things that don't matter.
My issue with this book is Manson's tone. He comes off smug and some of his examples are... not exactly timely. The one example that bothered me most had to do with women, false memories, and rape. The whole chapter (really, the whole book) comes off in a strong "entitled white male" tone and I didn't care for it.
Perhaps another author will take a stab at this idea. Because the idea is good. The idea is great. But the execution was lacking.
Want to check it out anyway? You can buy the book on Amazon here:
Full disclosure: I get a small commission from Amazon when you follow this link and make a purchase.
Every year I challenge myself to read 52 books, or a book a week. Some years I fall extremely short of that goal; I only read 23 books in 2017. But most years I'm pretty close to, if not slightly over that 52 mark.
For 2018 I'm doing a little bonus challenge. I'm hoping to hit 104 books this year, 52 physical books read and 52 audio books listened to. I've finished 8 books this year, 3 audio and 5 physical. I'm currently listening to my 4th audio (with just an hour left to go!) and I'm reading my 6th physical. Here's the list!
1. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
3. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
1. Fairest of All by Serena Valentino
2. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
3. The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
4. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
5. As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
6. The Power by Naomi Alderman
I'll have some reviews of the two current reads for you soon!