Reading Response ~ It’s Monday!!

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

I finished reading Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert and all I can say is I feel like I was on a roller coaster ride. This book definitely is the epitome of a diverse novel! This novel is set around Suzette “Little”, the main character, who returns home to Los Angeles after a year in boarding school located in New England. When she returns home, she wonders if she will return to boarding school or stay in LA with her brother, Lionel “Lion” (who was diagnosed bi-polar before she was sent to school), her mother and step-father.

Suzette has many things she deals with in her life. Her brother’s condition was the reason she was sent away as her parents thought it would be best until they could get his condition under control. While at boarding school, Suzette had her first same-sex relationship and had to deal with the fallout when they were discovered. After she returns home, her old crush, Emil now has shown he has feelings for her as well. She also discovers a new friend, Rafaela, who she secretly has feelings for and whom her brother begins dating. On top of all this, she has to deal with the fact that her parents are a bi-racial couple and the looks and whispers she deals with when she is with them or her step-brother. Finally, the most compounding problem emerges when Lionel reveals to her that he has quit taking his medicine for his bi-polar condition! She must then try to save Lion from his greatest threat…himself.

I think this is a great novel that deals with many current issues. It shows the difficulty of those dealing with a mental illness as well as how it can affect the family members. It also explores love and sexuality and all the emotions that arise. I think it’s a powerful novel, and I believe there are many students that would find this book appealing. I would caution though, that because it is written in such a current and moving way, there is some language and situations that may not be suitable for all students. I would not recommend it for younger students or students that would be easily offended.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

black chimpanzee
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

I also finished Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby this week. All I can say is love, love, love! The book is about thirteen-year old Joey Willis who has been deaf since the age of six. She reads lips in order to communicate as her mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. Unfortunately, this limits those Joey can communicate with since not everyone’s lips are easy to read. One day as she is out in the woods picking mushrooms, she meets an old man named Dr. Charles Mansell. Charley has Joey follow him back to his house where she is introduced to Sukari, a chimpanzee that knows sign language.

Sakari was rescued after her mother was taken by poachers and has been with Charley ever since. Soon the bond between Joey, Charley, and Sukari grows stronger than ever with Charley and Sukari teaching Joey how to sign. When her mother learns about this, she forbids Joey from seeing Charley and Sukari. Joey must sneek around in order to see the two. As Joey learns to sign, secrets are revealed about her childhood that were never meant to come out and pretty soon life is thrown up-side down for Joey, Charlie, and Sukari.

Hurt Go Happy is based on a true story of a chimpanzee that learned to sign. It is an emotional book about pain, loss, hope and redemption. I found myself happy, angry, and at times crying over the story line. This is a book I got personally vested in and loved every minute of reading and feel a loss now that it is over. It is a book that could be recommended for any student from elementary through high school. I plan to hopefully have my Literature class next year read this book as I think they all will thoroughly enjoy this beautiful tale.

 

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Reading Response ~ It’s Monday!!

This week I have been working on two wonderful books: Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby and Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. This has, unfortunately, been the first week since the beginning of the year, that I haven’t been able to completely finish a book in a week. I attribute this to the end of the school year and all that pertains to getting ready for that. But I have been able to, luckily, get some reading in and have all the confidence that I will get one, if not both, of these novels done in the coming week.

Hurt Go Happy is a fabulous book about Joey Willis who lost her hearing at the age of six. Since then, she has become accustomed to being left out of conversations. Her mother is adamantly against having Joey learn sign-language (I have yet to find the reason why) and therefore must rely on reading lips. During an outing gathering mushrooms, Joey happens upon the land of Dr. Charles Mansell and soon discovers he has a baby chimpanzee named Sukari. Joey begins to learn sign language with her new friends…but how will her mother react to this discovery? I can’t wait to find out.

Little & Lion is another fascinating book. Suzette returns home from New England to Los Angeles after being away in a boarding school. Her brother, Lionel, was diagnosed with bipolar so her mother and step-father had sent her away while Lionel was learning to cope with his condition. When Suzette returns, she begins to fall back into her normal routines with old friends and her new crush, Emil. But things are starting to become unraveled as a new “crush” has Suzette trying to figure her life out. How will Lionel’s condition affect Suzette and those around her, and will a love triangle be the down-fall to Suzette. These and other questions will hopefully be answered as I continue to read Little & Lion.

Reading Response ~ It’s Monday!!

everything everything

This week I finished the novelĀ Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. This story follows the life of 18-year-old Maddy, who has been isolated in her home for most of her life because of an immunodeficiency illness. Her home is hermetically sealed to prevent anything from getting to Maddy and making her ill. Because of her isolation, Maddy doesn’t know all the things that she has missed out in the world until a new neighbor, Olly, moves in. Olly harbors his own personal demons as he has an abusive and alcoholic father. Soon Maddy and Olly become friends, first through text messages and looking through their windows but soon their friendship blossoms into a romance. With the help of Maddy’s nurse, Carla, the two soon start to see each other in person until Maddy’s mom discovers their meetings. Through their relationship, hidden secrets soon emerge and they will risk everything to be together.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. First of all, it’s the story of a girl that has been secluded because of her illness for most of her life. It shows the isolation that someone with such a profound illness must endure. Secondly, it’s a great romance story with a bi-racial couple, as Maddy is Asian/African American and Olly is white. It also deals with mental illness and in a small part, homosexuality (in the case of Olly’s friend who hadn’t came out to his family). I think all of diverse topics this book deals with, it is an excellent book for any middle school/high school student.

I did watch the movie right after reading the book. I must say that although the movie is nice, it most definitely does not go well with the book in terms of content. There were so many elements that were left out of the book, I would highly recommend reading the book whether you have already watched the movie or not.

Movie Trailer: https://youtu.be/0LyEE7eR0nM