Review Tuesday: Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami

I don’t read (or review) many children’s books, however, Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami grabbed me by the heart. It was just so lovely.

book-uncle-and-meFrom Goodreads:

Nine-year-old Yasmin intends to read a book a day for the rest of her life. Book Uncle, who runs a free lending library on the street corner, always has the perfect book for her. But when Book Uncle seems to be in trouble, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something. With the elections coming up and the grown-ups busy with their own affairs, what difference can Yasmin and her friends possibly make? Will they get help from Karate Samuel, the eccentric superstar who’s standing for Mayor? Yasmin gets to work, ideas begin to fly like feathers, and soon everything starts to spin out of control.

Yasmin is a wonderful character. She is bright, engaged with her friends and the people around her, and loves to read. She reads a book a day, and she gets her books, not from a library but from Book Uncle. Book Uncle runs the free lending library on the street corner and always has the perfect book not just for her, but for everyone. It is something that he takes pride in, and Yasmin is always excited to go and see him.

Then, of course, something terrible happens. Book Uncle does not have a permit to be on the street corner with his lending library and someone has complained about him. The worse news is that he cannot afford to get one. So he has no choice but to pack up his lending library and head on home. Yasmin, when she realizes that Book Uncle has gone, is firstly upset for herself. How is she suppose to read a book a day if Book Uncle isn’t there to supply the books? When she goes to see Book Uncle though, and sees how upset and depressed he is, she realizes that she has to save the lending library not just for herself, but for Book Uncle and the other people who use the library.

Thus begins Yasmin’s entry into civic responsibility. She gets her classmates and friends, and their friends to start writing letters to the mayoral candidates about weather they will be able to help Book Uncle, and when that does work as well as she hoped she comes up with a new plan, and then other.

This book is a wonderful read. It teaches children about civic responsibility, and that you’re never too young to help make change. It also teaches the value of friendship, making goals and achieving them, and of course the value of reading.

This is a fantastic story, with a great message. It’s definitely one that you’ll want to pick up!


Review Tuesday: Flannery by Lisa Moore

I have never read anything by Lisa Moore before, and while Flannery is a young adult novel rather than an adult novel, it still a fantastic intro to Lisa Moore I think.

From Goodreads:

FlannerySixteen-year-old Flannery Malone has it bad. She’s been in love with Tyrone O’Rourke since the days she still believed in Santa Claus. But Tyrone has grown from a dorky kid into an outlaw graffiti artist, the rebel-with-a-cause of Flannery’s dreams, literally too cool for school.

Which is a problem, since he and Flannery are partners for the entrepreneurship class that she needs to graduate. And Tyrone’s vanishing act may have darker causes than she realizes.

Tyrone isn’t Flannery’s only problem. Her mother, Miranda, can’t pay the heating bills, let alone buy Flannery’s biology book. Her little brother, Felix, is careening out of control. And her best-friend-since-forever, Amber, has fallen for a guy who is making her forget all about the things she’s always cared most about — Flannery included — leading Amber down a dark and dangerous path of her own.

When Flannery decides to make a love potion for her entrepreneurship project, rumors that it actually works go viral, and she suddenly has a hot commodity on her hands. But a series of shattering events makes her realize that real-life love is far more potent — and potentially damaging — than any fairy-tale prescription.

Written in Lisa Moore’s exuberant and inimitable style, Flannery is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, empowering and harrowing — often all on the same page. It is a novel whose spell no reader will be able to resist.

I loved Flannery the character. She is quick witted, smart in some ways, and rather naive in others, a loving person and just someone you wish you would have known when you were a teenager. I definitely got angry on her behalf about things that she had just accepted as the way of the world, and I also wanted to give her a hug in other parts of the book and tell her that it was all going to be alright and that sometimes high school is a just a bitch.

The book also deals with issues that are real for teenagers and that I think some people would love to censor (no offence, but I’m thinking southern Republican moms with too much time on their hands). There is a rather horrific bullying scene in this book that is without a doubt also an assault and while I became absolutely livid, this kind of thing happens, and the only way we deal with it is through educating kids to essentially not be little shits, and that this behaviour is not okay.

The other big issue that this book deals with is peer-pressure. Flannery’s best friend gets a boyfriend, and she changes drastically, and in not good ways. This plot arc reaches its climax at a party where things take a terrible turn and where Flannery, her best friend, and the reader learns that it is hard to come back from some situations, and hard to overcome some things – especially when social media is involved.

These two different scenes are some situations that teenagers face on the regular, and I think that they’re necessary to have in the book. These are the kinds of things that we need to be talking and preparing teenagers about.

Those two scenes aside, this book is about Flannery trying to navigate her way through high school, dealing with her own love and family life, and trying to get her project done. It is a hilarious, warm, and at times hard-hitting book, and you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll also fall in love with Flannery, she’s impossible to not like.