Wellll, it’s a good thing that I got a few books ahead in my reading challenge! I don’t think I read much in March at all! We got a new foster placement towards the beginning of the month and the first couple weeks were pretty rough! It’s definitely better now! We even took two weeks off of school, lol. But here is what I read in March!
Standing on the stage, I felt exposed and like an intruder. In these professional settings, my personal experiences with hunger, poverty, and episodic homelessness, often go undetected. I had worked hard to learn the rules and disguise my beginning in life…
So begins Born Bright, C. Nicole Mason’s powerful memoir, a story of reconciliation, constrained choices and life on the other side of the tracks. Born in the 1970s in Los Angeles, California, Mason was raised by a beautiful, but volatile16-year-old single mother. Early on, she learned to navigate between an unpredictable home life and school where she excelled.
By high school, Mason was seamlessly straddling two worlds. The first, a cocoon of familiarity where street smarts, toughness and the ability to survive won the day. The other, foreign and unfamiliar with its own set of rules, not designed for her success. In her Advanced Placement classes and outside of her neighborhood, she felt unwelcomed and judged because of the way she talked, dressed and wore her hair.
After moving to Las Vegas to live with her paternal grandmother, she worked nights at a food court in one of the Mega Casinos while finishing school. Having figured out the college application process by eavesdropping on the few white kids in her predominantly Black and Latino school along with the help of a long ago high school counselor, Mason eventually boarded a plane for Howard University, alone and with $200 in her pocket.
While showing us her own path out of poverty, Mason examines the conditions that make it nearly impossible to escape and exposes the presumption harbored by many—that the poor don’t help themselves enough.
What I thought: I thought this book was pretty fantastic. The author is similar in age to me so it was interesting to see the differences as well as the similarities in our lives.
Because I Was a Girl by Melissa de la Cruz – Because I Was a Girl is an inspiring collection of true stories by women and girls about the obstacles, challenges, and opportunities they’ve faced…because of their gender. Edited by #1 New York Times-bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, the book is the perfect gift for girls of all ages.
The collection includes writings from an impressive array of girls and women who are trailblazers in their fields, including bestselling authors Victoria Aveyard, Libba Bray, and Margaret Stohl; industry pioneers like Dolores Huerta, Trish McEvoy, and Holly Knight; renowned chef Katie Button; aerospace and mechanical engineer Emily Calandrelli; and many more.
What I thought – Meh. There were a couple good stories, but I guess I should have expected that most of them would be the same old thing…
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.
What I thought: Well, it was ok. I guess I thought there would be more…stuff…lol.
Light Years by Emily Ziff Griffin – Luisa is ready for her life to start. Five minutes ago. And she could be on her way, as her extraordinary coding skills have landed her a finalist spot for a fellowship sponsored by Thomas Bell, the world’s most brilliant and mercurial tech entrepreneur. Being chosen means funding, mentorship, and most importantly, freedom from her overbearing mother. Maybe Lu will even figure out how to control the rare condition that plagues her: whenever her emotions run high, her physical senses kick into overload, with waves of colour, sound, taste, and touch flooding her body.
But Luisa’s life is thrust into chaos as a deadly virus sweeps across the globe, killing thousands and sending her father into quarantine. When Lu receives a cryptic message from someone who might hold the key to stopping the epidemic, she knows she must do something to save her family—and the world.
What I thought – I had high hopes for this one. It turned out to be just ok as well. I was interested and kept reading, so that was a good sign, but again, I think I was hoping for more…
A Place to Land by Kate Motaung – A Place to Land is a globe-spanning memoir that wrestles with the question, “Where is my home?” Kate Motaung watched “home” slip away again and again—through her parents’ divorce, a foreclosure, two international moves, ten rental homes in ten years, and her mother’s terminal battle with cancer. Add in the challenge of a cross-cultural marriage, and Kate was constantly adapting to a new environment. Through her experiences, you’ll realize—as she did—that no matter where we go or what we do, this world is not our home.
What I thought – This book was needed at the time I was reading it. It was perfect timing. I will have a deeper review soon on it!
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway – A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.
Being the middle child has its ups and downs.
But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—
Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.
And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.
What I thought – Thankfully another good book for this month! It was done so well with three main characters which a lot of the time I just don’t like.
So, that’s what I read in March! I don’t know if April will be any better as I have a lot going on, but with a little travel, I may get some read during that.. We will see!