Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Tag Archives: genre: non-fiction

keeperClaudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose
Release Date: January 20, 2009
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
Source: Digital Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history. – Goodreads

Review:
In my next foray into required classroom reading, we meet Claudette Colvin, who was a real person who did real things, and this book acts as a bit of a history lesson about Jim Crow. My university was founded by the Roosevelts in the 1930s, so social justice is a big thing there. Most of the novels have some kind of social justice thread throughout. Everything about the Jim Crow era makes me sick. I just can’t even imagine how that world was, the constant normalcy of humiliation, not to mention violence, that hung over everyone’s heads. It’s awful.

This book is interesting though, because it’s not fiction. There are real interview excerpts with Colvin herself interspersed with factoids about the Jim Crow era, completely with pictures of “white only” grocery stores and movie theaters for “colored people.” I feel as thought a lot of history written for children is whitewashed, so to speak. They say Rosa Parks was “just tired” when really she’d been a civil rights activist for years. They call slaves “servants” in textbooks. But this book doesn’t whitewash and it doesn’t focus on just one thing. They talk about rape, and trumped up charges, and injustice done by the justice system. I liked that. Show us what really happened. Don’t cover anything up.

This book is so interesting because it’s real life and not fiction. Claudette Colvin was like a teenager precursor to Rosa Parks; in fact, Colvin knew Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr basically got his start with her case (though he wasn’t the lawyer who represented her in court). Colvin was pretty much  the reason the Montgomery bus boycott happened in the first place, something I never knew, even though it happened months after her arrest. This is what I mean by history books whitewashing history. Everyone is taught that poor, quiet Rosa Parks was tired one day and didn’t want to get up, and that’s why the boycott began and the buses were desegregated. But Parks’ protest was planned, she was an adviser and confidante of Colvin’s, and Colvin’s bravery kicked everything off. These people were not just exhausted from work, they were tired of being seen as less.

This is an important book because it’s more than standard teenage coming-of-age stuff (though that is plenty important too). This is a book told in the words of the people who were there, a recounting of history as it happened. Everyone should know the truth in all things, especially this.


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We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh’s semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided “grand gesture” at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love–or at least a girlfriend–in all the wrong places.  – Goodreads

Review:

Josh Sundquist has been single his whole life, minus that period in eighth grade when he dated a girl. For 23 hours. Josh wants to know why he’s been single, so he wrote a book about it. Yes, that is the whole point of this book, why has he never really dated someone. And Sundquist, really isn’t a bad guy, throughout the book that is proven to be true. He goes back and talks to every girl he really had a crush on to find out what went wrong and a lot of the time, it was miscommunication.

Through drawings and in-depth analysis of his dating history he begins to find out where things went wrong. “Background”, “Hypothesis”, and “Investigation.” This was very much a legit scientific discovery and because this is a memoir, Sundquist often seems a bit obsessed with romance; however, I never once thought he wasn’t genuine, honest, and a bit awkward which makes him more genuine. He talks about being homeschooled through eighth grade to that first day of public high school and those experiences in college we all wouldn’t mind forgetting.

Sundquist often assumed girls wouldn’t like him. He’s awkward, he has one leg, that he lost to childhood cancer and while he tries to not let that be a problem, it does effect how he acts. He tries so hard to not be a bother about that fact, that he has one leg, but it does cause him to have walls up around himself. The reader, and Sundquist himself, find out he had a lot of walls up around himself and for the longest time really didn’t love and accept himself. How could he expect someone to love him, if he really didn’t love himself? I’ve read enough romance novels in my time to know that it’s not impossible, no wait it generally is. But once he starts to accept his disability and himself, he stops looking for love and what happens? He finds Ashley, he present day fiancée. (Another Ashley, not me Ashley.)

I wanted to enjoy this book. And I found it to be a quick read; however, I also found it to be quite problematic. It started before I picked up the book and saw this post my friend Anna had on tumblr. I was like “Ugh. Bad joke to promote the book.” And then I started to read the book and found this in the book and my heart hurt. Because why? Why do we have to “joke” about the friend zone? It’s almost 2015, can’t we move on?


20701984El Deafo by Cece Bell
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: ALA 2014
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. – Goodreads

Review:

When the list of ALA signings came out and I read the blurb for El Deafo I knew I needed to have it and not just because of my new found love and appreciation of graphic novels. The blurb spoke to me and I had this need to meet Cece and not only was Cece one of the nicest people I’ve met, she was a pleasure to talk to, also! We also bonded over the fact that I’m an Ashley and her brother is named Ashley!

El Deafo did not disappoint. I devoured it and then re-read parts of it because I loved it that much. Not only do the illustrations give me a warm feeling, it was extremely relateable. Everyone feels like they don’t fit in it, Cece just believes it is different for her because she wears this beast of a hearing aid and while that is partly true, it is also because she’s in elementary school and everyone goes through that phase.

What also drew me in was her family and friends and how they tried to do the best for her and what the believed would work out for her in the end (Spoiler: she’s happily married with two kids! Everything worked out fine!) Cece’s friendships also spoke to me. The mean friend, the friend who worries about hurting you, the friend who you wonder if they really are that nice (and yes they are). I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book, I enjoyed it that much. Not only did the storyline keep me in, but the drawings did, too AND this is the ARC that I read, I cannot wait to read the finished product and see how the color adds to it. This is one I would recommend with no hesitation.

 


17290329Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year by Ramsey Beyer
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Zest Books
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge. – Goodreads

Review:

One of my highlights of ALAMW this past year (besides meeting/having my life become better because SOMEONE is in it) was because I met Ramsey Beyer and her book Little Fish. Then of course, because life happens, the book sat on my shelf and recently I picked it up and devoured it. In one sitting.

Highlight of my reading month to be honest.

I related a lot to Ramsey and her first year at college, her love of list making and realizing how polarizing your childhood home could be from freshman year of college when you live on your own. Through use of mixed media, lists, drawing and her livejournal, Beyer tells the story of her freshman year in art school when she moved away from her small town of Paw Paw to Baltimore, a place 700 miles or 10 hours from home.

While life in Paw Paw was good for Ramsey, she also knew that it was a very limited view of the world. She was excited to see what Baltimore would bring to her life. Because it spans the time period of one academic year you see her high school friends go from emailing her daily to barely emailing her and how it took her a bit to come out of her shell and find her group of college friends. When you grow up in a small town you know everyone and you tend to become friends for life. Ramsey jokes that she forgot how to make friends because she just always had them.

What made Little Fish stand out to me was the use of drawings, the inner dialogue, the lists. Oh the lists. 18 year old Ashley related to all the lists. Heck, the Ashley writing this review relates to all the lists. I often joke that my lists have lists and Ramsey seems to get that and embrace that side of her. She also over thought a lot and never hid that from her livejournal or the lists that she made throughout her freshman year. It works throughout Little Fish. Heck, I would love to fill my shelves with more books like this. Not just because of how well I related to it, but because how well done it was. It wasn’t your typical book, but maybe it should become more typical.


19715106Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In this funny, frank, and tender new memoir, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the f irst crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive–not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until–in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen–she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together. – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not really sure how I found out about Molly, I believe it was one of those situations where I clicked a link to click a link to click a link. One day I should talk about the Wikipedia game and how I rocked that shit in undergrad. Back to Molly and her story. Molly is married to Brandon, a man who changes his mind and changes it often, but she is okay with that, because she knows him. Not only does she know him, she loves him and she supports him. This is why when he decides to open a restaurant she doesn’t blink and fully supports him. She knows that he’ll change his mind and things will change. They always do.

Things changed alright. Just not in the way she was expecting. Brandon was continuing to continue his dream and it seemed that the restaurant was really going to happen and Brandon and Molly have no idea how to run a restaurant. They know how to work in a restaurant, but not actually run it, or be the boss of people. They create Delancey from the ground. While they rent the structure of the building, and from there they remodel the whole thing. Between themselves and their friends they do it. They made Delancey into what it is today.

I’m not sure what I expected when I went into Delancey, but I do know that I devoured it. I read it as an eARC on my kindle app and I kept telling myself “one more chapter…” before bed and then next thing I know, I finished it. I was drawn into Wizenberg and her family story about how she knew things would change but they changed in a completely different way. She’s the one who changed. The restaurant changed. Brandon changed. They learned a lot about each other and the uncertainty of life. The book also featured recipes that are important in Wizenberg’s life. Not only food they’ve made, but food that was important to them while the restaurant was being built. It was an excellent, quick, memoir.


15790822Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

What happens when the person you’re becoming isn’t the one your family wants you to be?

When Aaron Hartzler was little, he couldn’t wait for the The Rapture: that moment when Jesus would come down from the clouds to whisk him and his family up to heaven. But as he turns sixteen, Aaron grows more curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want Jesus to come back just yet—not before he has his first kiss, sees his first movie, or stars in the school play.

Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the girl of your dreams can just as easily be the boy of your dreams, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey from devoted to doubtful, and the search to find his own truth without losing the fundamentalist family who loves him.– Goodreads

Review:

While Hartzler and the author of this review are friends, this did not factor into said review, and although I do like him, he did go to UofA.

What happens when you grow up in a family you don’t fit in? That is how Aaron Hartzler grows up, he never really believed he fit in with them, and in the heartbreaking Rapture Practice he tells his story (which I have read multiple times by now.) Hartzler grows up expecting Jesus to come to earth and to pick him and his family up and take them to heaven. In part because they are Godly people, but also because Hartzler knew he was always being watched, by his parents, and God. It was also understood that not all families are like this, including his own: his own grandparents and cousins did not live to as strict of rules that Hartzler’s family did. And he wants them to go to heaven, so why can’t he do the same things they do?

From childhood through high school graduation, Rapture Practice takes us on what it’s like to be different in a family

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who love you, but love you in a different way than what makes sense. Aaron’s parents say no to such things as TV, because there is un-Christian things on it, he can’t listen to Amy Grant, because although Christian, she went mainstream and enjoys a glass of wine, which is a no-no. His grandmother, who he loves and adores lives with his grandfather and they watch TV which features half naked women. Does this mean that they aren’t going to heaven, too? What I found fascinating, was throughout Rapture Practice, I found nothing that Hartzler was interested in doing to be bad or evil. He was a typical teen who happened to go to a very strict high school, and then ultimately an even stricter high school, which I wasn’t sure was possible, and then he explained it. And it was possible. Hartzler even gets a core group of friends who love him for him, which includes him seeing movies, drinking underage and wanting to act in plays. Things that his parents don’t understand, because although they love him, they are worried what this means for the future of him. And they clearly do love him, it is clear throughout the novel, even when his heart is bleeding, they just do not love him in the way that Hartzler wishes they would love him.

The book ended and I was wishing for more. Every time I’ve read Rapture Practice, I have wanted more. Thankfully, I don’t need to know if 1782034_10103373188804491_1184561494_nhe’s okay. He’s better than okay. He lives in the LA area (a dream of his!) He’s acted (another dream of his! Look for him in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia you won’t regret it!) He has a fiancé (which I’m not spoiling for anyone. This book ends at high school graduation, and twitter is good for life updates.) It’s also good for bonding as you can see to the left. The important part of this book is the whole thing. Rapture Practice is full of hope and growth, from Aaron. I’ve read this book multiple times and every time I end it I have a happy sigh and makes me want to shove it into the hands of every teen I meet, which is okay, because I’m a librarian. It’s okay to be a book pusher sometimes. Particularly for non-fiction that reads like fiction.


17159009Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

“I’ve been single for my entire life. Not one boyfriend. Not one short-term dating situation. Not one person with whom I regularly hung out and kissed on the face.”

So begins Katie Heaney’s memoir of her years spent looking for love, but never quite finding it. By age 25, equipped with a college degree, a load of friends, and a happy family life, she still has never had a boyfriend … and she’s barely even been on a second date.

Throughout this laugh-out-loud funny book, you will meet Katie’s loyal group of girlfriends, including flirtatious and outgoing Rylee, the wild child to Katie’s shrinking violet, as well as a whole roster of Katie’s ill-fated crushes. And you will get to know Katie herself — a smart, modern heroine relaying truths about everything from the subtleties of a Facebook message exchange to the fact that “Everybody who works in a coffee shop is at least a little bit hot.”

Funny, relatable, and inspiring, this is a memoir for anyone who has ever struggled to find love, but has also had a lot of fun in the process. – Goodreads

Review:
Honesty time: I have never been on a date. And I turn 26 in May. And I don’t care.

This helped me relate to Heaney on a level that many seem to have issue with. It’s not that I’m purposely out there going I DON’T WANT TO DATE. But I’m also okay staying at home with no pants on and massive amounts of TV. I’m also not against marriage. My parents have been married for 30 years later this month. Most of my friends are married or engaged and I like most of their significant others. There is one I want to poke in the eyes, but that is probably more me than him. (It’s totally him.)

I had crushes like Heaney, and have a best friend like Rylee. Well not exactly like Rylee, because there can only be one Rylee. But I have that best friend who I could be 2,000 miles away from and still feel like I’m sitting in her living f39df464912b11e3a6c812b4d37167a9_8room, at home. I’m actually lucky, I have a few in my core group that mean the world to me.

All of that being said, I understand that Heaney is not relatable to everyone. They aren’t going to understand her need for lists and overthinking and the sarcasm. It’s hard though for me to review this book without bringing up the face when I posted a photo on instagram the comments I got where interesting. Most times I post what I read and no one says anything because, well, I read “normal” books. It’s very interesting for me to read a hot button topic. It then became harder for me when I related to the book as much as I did. That being said, I understand that this book is far from perfect. If you aren’t around my age a lot of the references won’t touch your heart the same way. Looking at you N’SYNC reference, JTT and Teen Beat. Oh the gel roll pens. I’m not saying people older or younger won’t get it, as Heaney is 2/3 years older than me. But I can get the gap growing and the side eye that occurs.

I’m also not telling you about the fact I haven’t dated anyone and the fact I more or less don’t care because does part of me? Probably. Do I care enough to put more effort into my dating life? HAHAH. No. And that’s part of why I liked Heaney. She did care to put effort into online dating websites, but she didn’t care that she didn’t find her dream man, because she knows she’s going to be okay in the end because she’s surrounded by a good group of friends who also don’t care that she has never dated.