Tag Archive | Family

The Truth About Goodbye

When searching for a title to read, The Truth About Goodbye, stood out to me. This novel follows the story of Sebastian whose learning how to live life without his husband Frank, who had passed away almost a year prior when the story begins. Thankfully he has Frank’s cat Arthur who keeps him company along with his best friend Chole. 

Sebastian struggles with anxiety, self-esteem and trusting people. He lost his parents years ago, so Sebastian feels even more adrift after loosing Frank. He misses Frank and at times is positive Frank’s ghost has been visiting him. One night Chloe introduces Sebastian to her new apartment friend Reid. Sebastian hasn’t thought of dating because he’s still mourning his husband’s loss. Reid is patient putting up with Sebastian’s mixed signals because of course Chloe makes friends with an attractive man.

This novel covers the important topic of grieving and what that can look like for different people. It also, discusses how difficult it can be to move into a new relationship when the previous one might not have had the closer it needed or was cut off prematurely.  I think the biggest topic this novel handles is learning to allow others to love and care for you when it’s hard to be motivated to love yourself when you are emmersed in grief.

If you are looking for a sweet, thoughtful read I recommend this book. I appreciate NetGalley for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Mr. Ricard for writing such a sweet novel about relationships, family and how to get through surviving the death of a loved one.

Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe 

Aristotle is a loner whose content to keep to himself until one day Dante arrives on the scene. Aristotle who prefers to go by Ari is at his local neighborhood swimming pool. He doesn’t know how to swim, but at least he can stick his feet in the water. Dante notices him and offers to teach him to swim. This starts a new friendship for both teens. Dante is well liked, but doesn’t have any friends. Ari is the quiet, brooding type. Both teens learn to let their guards down and trust each other. Both of them are struggling with who they are in the world.

I can relate with Ari. His relationship with his dad is one of occasional conversation, but nothing too, deep. Ari’s dad is a veteran who won’t talk about the war, is very reserved and quiet. My dad isn’t a vet, but he can be quiet and reserved around me. I think the relationship between these two characters is a great picture of how through life’s challenges the wall between a parent and child can be torn down.

Mr. Saenz provides yet again a beautifully written book about friendship, love, figuring out who you are wether you like girls, boys, or possibly both. Ari’s story grabs you from chapter one. The cast of characters from Ari, Dante, their parents, Ari’s brother whose not mentioned at home and his extended family have all unique personalities. Ari and Dante’s friendship shows what true friends will go through for a best friend they truly care about. If you are looking for a story with funny, contemplative moments this is the book for you.

The Girl In The Red Coat

I don’t quite recall which Youtuber recommended The Girl In The Red Coat, but one day I decided to buy it. The cover is a striking shade of red. As you read the story you get the significance of the red coat and the red shoes. 

This book is about eight year old Carmel who decides to be naughty and wander off at a book festival with her mom, Beth. This story covers what happens to Carmel after she wanders off and the repercussions it has on her life, her mom’s life and her dad’s. The author wrote very poetically, but the novel felt dragged out. I give it 4/5. If it was a tad shorter I’d probably give it 5/5. It is a thought provoking book and worth the read.

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life

Some books wreck you for life in a good way. This book by Mr. Saenz does just that. I don’t even remember if I read the inside flap of the book jacket. All I know is I was hooked from page one. This book is, too beautiful not urge everyone to read it. This story talks about family, friendship, love, and how to survive life when it just plain sucks.

Sal is raised by his adoptive gay father Vicente. They live a simple, quiet life with their golden retriever named Maggie. Sal’s life is fairly standard with going to school and hanging out with his best friend Sam. Sal is a calm mannered teen until a classmate utters an anti gay slur at him. Sal ends up in the principal’s office after hitting him.  He’s not sure why all of a sudden he’s angry. Sal doesn’t remember his mom who died when he was three and has no clue who his birth father is, but wonders if his reflex to punch comes from his birth dad’s side of the family. Thankfully Sal has Sam in his life. She’s got a potty month like a trucker, but she sticks by Sal. The other best friend Sal has in his life is his grandmother he calls Mima. He gets to visit her on holidays and occasionally since she lives in a different state. She loves to make homemade tortillas which he loves to eat the first fresh one with butter. Sal’s life turns upside down when Sam needs his help. This book talks about the depth of family ties, friends new and old, and dealing with the topic of death. 

The characterization is excellent. Each character is distinguished and unique with their own quirky personalities. They come alive off the page and feel like flesh and blood. I laughed, I cried, and now I feel emotionally like I got grazed by a car it was that an intense of a read. There is so much life and poetry in this one book. Please go buy a copy. Buy two because you will want to give one to a friend.

The Lara Jean Series

I’d heard of the Lara Jean series since they are very popular. I was not, however, expecting to fall in love with the characters and storyline, not to the mention the book covers. The covers of this series are chic, classy and most of all girlie with how they depict Lara Jean’s room as she ages. The best thing about the covers are the titles are written in Sharpie. So realistic looking with parts that look faded. The covers are like the storyline’s cheerleaders asking new readers to dive into Lara Jean’s world.

Lara Jean Song Covey is raised in a single parent home due to her mom sadly passing away when she’s younger. It’s just her older sister, Margot, Lara Jean and their youngest sister Katherine aka Kitty. Lara Jean is a lot like me in that she’s nerdy, creative and somewhat of a homebody. The Covey girl’s dad is a doctor whose gone often. This series is about Lara Jean’s life: her family relationships, her childhood friendships, a first love and life’s changes. 

I can relate to Lara Jean in many ways, yet she reminds me think of my younger sister. Growing up I was the eldest, but my sister is the classic bossy older sister personality. I’m more of a passive, keep the peace personality type. Kitty’s character also, made me think of my younger sister in that she has an eagle eye of what’s going on, speaks her mind, but secretly is a softy. She’s like an M&M. Hard outter shell, but soft on the inside. I’m not into cooking, but Lara Jean is a talent and she decompressed by cooking just like my sister.

First loves and boyfriends are powerful. Lara Jean pretends to date her big crush Peter K in order to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. The plan backfires when Lara Jean and Peter fall for each other. Lara Jean used to be best friends with Peter’s ex. The relationship and friendship dynamic in the series is in depth.

If you like old fashioned romance set in a modern setting I highly recommend this series. The characters are well fleshed out, believable, versatile and most of all memerable. My favorite characters are Lara Jean and Kitty. I like Kitty because she is sassy, affectionate and funny. She’s a classy broad in a little kid’s body. I will definitely be reading this series again down the road.  Thank you Jenny for writing such a heartfelt series that stays with you after the very last page. When’s the movie coming out?

Lion


I saw the movie, “Lion,” before I bought the book. Usually I like to read a book first before seeing the movie, but in this case I’m glad I did. The movie is so verbatim of the memoir I felt like I was just reading the movie via words vs visually through a movie.
This is the memoir of Saroo from India getting lost and separated from his brother Guddu at five years old. He begs to go out and help his brother gather what food they can find for their family.  Being little Saroo is sleepy with it being late at night so he rests on a train station bench. Guddu tells him to stay put and he’ll be right back, but when Saroo wakes up his brother is nowhere to be found. He looks around the station and even in some of the trains.  Thinking his brother will find him inside one, Saroo lays down for more sleep. The next thing he knows is that waking up the train is in motion and he’s stuck on the train.

Saroo winds up far from home with a limited vocabulary of how to express where his home is and who his family is. A few people try to help him with no success locating his family, so he winds up in a scary orphanage. Thankfully a nice Australian couple want to adopt him, so Saroo gets to fly for the first time. His new parents are loving and patient. Saroo even gains a brother, another adoptee from India. 

Saroo keeps his memories of home in the back of his mind, to never forget them. He loves and thrives in his new home, country and family. After college he decides he wants to find his family. How to find it with the minimal information he remembers as a little five year old? Welcome the lovely technology of Google Earth.

This memoir is beautifully written. It tugs at your heart, your sense of what makes up a family and how memories can bring miracles. Go see the movie first though. You won’t regret it.

The You I’ve Never Known

Ellen Hopkins never disappoints and The You I’ve Never Known   is her best yet. This thick tome follows the story of Ariel and her journey coming to terms with her sexuality. Her father is a mechanic who has quite the temper and paranoia of them living anywhere for, too long of a time. Ariel wonders why they don’t stay in any place very long. That is until they land in Sonora, CA.

With her new home comes making new friends with Monica and Gabe. Ariel has never had a boyfriend before and she’s not sure if she just might like girls. Monica is a closet lesbian and Gabe is the cute nephew of her dad’s current girlfriend. Ariel is leery to open herself to having friends since her dad always would yank her away to live in a new place. 

When Gabe and Ariel discover one of Ariel’s rich classmates injured in a horseback ridding incident Ariel is in the lime light for saving her classmate’s life. Her dad is livid because the media is involved and that was one of his big rules. Don’t talk to or be seen by cops and don’t be interviewed. Why not Ariel has no clue why he’s so paranoid. 

Growing up Ariel’s dad told her how her mom abandoned them to run off with her lesbian lover. Seeds of hate and distrust have been sown since Ariel was little. Sure she’d love to have a mother figure in her life. Every time they live with a new girlfriend of her dads a part of Ariel hopes this one will stick, but they never stay around long enough.

Will Ariel ever have a mother figure in her life? Will her mom ever reappear? Why has her dad kept them moving from place to place for her whole life? Can Ariel start to establish roots in Sonora? Read this gripping book and find out.