Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Based on the popular graphic novel series, Lumberjanes has decided to take these hardcore ladies into novel format for another round of friendship to the max. The Roanoke Cabin is working on their plant badges. Having stumbled across a magical field of unicorns and a mysterious mountain, the girls are determined to climb and explore this new territory since April has decided that like Rosie, the fearless camp director, she wants to earn the Extraordinary Explorer medal. Of course, if you know these talented and intelligent ladies at all, you understand that they will find themselves trapped in one crazy and heartfelt adventure with cloud people, smelly unicorns, clingy vine, and disappearing mountains. With the dangers that come with being bold and their friendships and interests tested to the max, these ultra-femme scouts must figure out who they want to be while also escaping a cloudy future.

The Lumberjanes series usually resides in YA shelving but this title is more for the middle grades, especially with the sporadic illustrations. Like the artwork, Tamaki successfully maintains the cute, quirky plot of the graphic novels, and I would have sworn Ellis and Stevenson wrote this book—the voice is on point. The feminist appeal with Rosie the Riveter and famous women shouted out in expressions is inspiring. These girls represent a mix of fortes and weaknesses without the stereotypes. Their friendship is supportive and realistic. As with the graphic novels, there is appropriate diversity representing the LGBTQA+ community, with a gender binary character and scouts with two fathers. Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power is a fun and spunky fantastical read for any feminist-minded tween.

I would like to thank NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids/Amulet Books for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power is set to publish October 10, 2017

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power (Lumberjanes #1) by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Brooke Allen (ABRAMS Kids, 2017)

Review by Christine F.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: The List

The List The List by Patricia Forde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Ark, where only 500 words exist, Letta is an apprentice to the wordsmith. All other words are illegal and forgotten, and the residents speak in garbled sentences. The police strictly monitor this bubbled, alleged Utopia, and all aspects of life, including meals, are regulated. Letta loves her words and buys into this society until she meets Marlo, a resister who lives self-sufficiently in the outskirts of town—a place where music, art, and language still exist. As Letta’s master suspiciously goes missing, Letta begins to realize that this world is not as safe and happy as it seems, and she is the only member who has the ability to save the words from an evil dictator with misguided politics, John Noa. Noa is relentless in his convictions and actions, and the future of the world relies on the thwarted flick of a canister and a heartfelt revolution.

A middle grade dystopian scifi thriller, The List, has unexpected twists and turns and speaks to today’s modern issues of global warming, the power of language, and possibly brilliant and powerful but destructive authoritarian leaders. Well written with a unique take on tween dystopian literature, The List will appeal to strong readers through its themes of love, language, family, history, and power. Letta is strong, feminist character with equally dynamic male and female antagonists. My only qualm is that the middle of the story loses its momentum; there is an excess of drawn-out, unnecessary details. With tighter, more succinct writing, I look forward to seeing what else Forde has to offer as an author.

I would like to thank NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Review by Christine F.

The List by Patricia Forde (SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky, 2017)

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