Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Book Review Club (October 2018)

Welcome to the October edition of The Book Review Club. As Anne of Green Gables said, "I'm so happy I live in a world where there are Octobers."  Do take a moment in your busy life to stop and smell the . . . marigolds! It's October's flower. I hope you enjoy this month's book reviews. (Pictured on the left is a marigold from my garden. )

by Marie Miranda Cruz (middle grade, contemporary)

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and is bursting at the seams with a population of about 10 million. The North Manila Cemetery is very busy and overcrowded and hosts 70 to 80 funerals daily. Around 10,000 poor live in shanties on tombstones and in mausoleums in the cemetery.

In EVERLASTING NORA, Nora and her mom take up residence in the North Cemetery following a fire that took Nora's dad's life and burned down the family house. Nora is forced to quit school (she would've been in sixth grade) and help earn money by selling flowers to mourners and washing laundry with her mom.

And then one night, Nora's mom doesn't come home.

Imagine that for a moment. A twelve-year-old girl is alone in her father's mausoleum. In the middle of a large cemetery. At night. And she doesn't know where her mother is.

Tagalog words are sprinkled throughout the book. (There's a glossary in the back if you get lost. I didn't.) There are many references to local dishes. Sensory and plot details highlight the Filipino setting.

EVERLASTING NORA is a story about extreme poverty and gambling and a child who must deal with her world that has completely fallen apart. This is also an uplifting story where friends become family, and people change for the better.

Well done, Marie Miranda Cruz!

Here's a photo from last night when I got to play "host" at Mysterious Galaxy for Marie's book signing. Fun!!!  Photo credit: Kathy Krevat    (Dear FCC: ARC)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Jody Feldman: MAXI'S SECRETS (Or What You Can Learn From a Dog) by Lynn Plourde (MG)

Linda McLaughlin: THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill (MG, fantasy)
                                 SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS by Laura Amy Schlitz (MG, Victorian Gothic)

Phyllis Wheeler: MY YEAR IN THE MIDDLE by Lila Quintero Weaver (MG, historical)

Sarah Laurence: SADIE by Courtney Summers (YA, contemporary)


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult (women's)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE WIFE BETWEEN US by Greer Hendricks and
                                                            Sarah Pekkanen (thriller)

Patti Abbott:  IN A DRY SEASON by Peter Robinson (mystery)

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: LESS by Sean Greer (literary)


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: UNHINGED by Omarosa Manigault Newman


Ray Potthoff: HUNDRED MILES TO NOWHERE by Elisa Korenne

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


Lucy said...

It sounds like a pretty serious topic for a middle grade book. Glad to know it has an uplifting element to it though. Thanks for reviewing. :)

Powell River Books said...

A difficult topic for any age. - Margy

Barrie said...

Lucy and Margy, yes, poverty is a tough subject. Sadly, it's one many middle schoolers can relate to. I will say, though, this book does have a very positive message about community and family. :)

Jenn Jilks said...

I also reviewed Jodi Picoult's novel!

Barrie said...

Thanks for the heads up, Jenn. I'll add the link. ;)