Thursday, September 6, 2018

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, is a young adult novel by Becky Albertalli, which centers around Simon Spier, a closed gay high school student and theater student. Unbeknownst to everyone in his school and family, Simon is emailing with someone he met on a school website named "Blue", under the moniker "Jacques". As events unfold and secrets are revealed, Simon has to do things he doesn't want to do to protect his huge secret all while trying to find out who Blue's true identity is.

I think the book is written well. It's not the best book I've read, but I think it's a very important story for the LGBT+ community. I think teenagers would really enjoy this book due to its simple language and quick, fast-paced writing style. All the characters are very accepting and lovable which completely makes the story much better in general. 
I definitely recommend this book for fans of teen mysteries, romances, and high school stories! It's a fast, easy read that you will wholeheartedly enjoy.

Reviewed by Melody, Grade 9
Montrose Library

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Smell of Other People's Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People's Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, is split into 4 perspectives of teenagers: Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank. Taking place in Alaska, their lives will intertwine together as they struggle through difficulties in their lives. Ruth’s dad died in a plane crash and her mom ran away, leaving her alone with her strict Catholic grandma. After she gets pregnant, Ruth describes that it’s “ironic that the bigger [she] get[s], the more invisible [she] become[s].” (71) Dora has a brutal father and a mom who drinks away at the Sno-Go, or the local bar. After winning the lottery, Dora gets abused by her dad to give up the money with threats and profane language. Because of her uncontrolled father, she stays over at Dumpling’s house and feels like she is “part of a family.” (95) Alyce truly wants to dance but instead helps her dad fish during the summer. She saves Hank’s brother, Sam, after she sees him jumping off a boat. Hank must decide if running away is a better option than to live with his new dad. He decides to stowaway in a ship with his 2 younger brothers. With a bonding relationship, these teens must learn how to survive together as they untangle their secrets and connect.

I think that this book was great because of the abundance of plot twists and because it is told from 4 different perspectives. The characters are teens who go through domestic abuse and teen pregnancy. As I understood each character's situation, I felt sympathy and pity for them. I would always feel proud when the characters decide to move on and persevere through their lives. I would recommend this to anyone who is going through similar situations so that they can relate to the characters.

Reviewed by Daniel H., Grade 8
Downtown Central Library