What Did Dalton Read: Books from April 2019
Join us each month for this featured article from Young Adult Librarian Dalton Bennett, as he reviews his most recently read books!
Dry by Neil Shusterman
If you know me, you are aware that I love horror films; I love a good grotesque jump-scare. But, in my opinion, the only thing scarier than Pennywise is any apocalyptic scenario. Although a drought in California is not necessarily apocalyptic, but this book raises a new concern for mankind: water zombies. What happens when all sources of fresh water evaporate and the rest of the world has yet to see the California "tap-out" as a major concern? Would you do anything and everything in order to ensure your survival? Or would you too become one of many ringtones in the sand? Of all the books that I will discuss this month, Dry is by far my favorite!
From Goodreads: "The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive."
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Every time I come across a book that features the art of magic, I instantly think, "Does it compare to Harry Potter"? Of course not, but, Children of Blood and Bone does take you on a journey through an African inspired landscape where both maji and diviners are slaughtered for demonstrating even a hint of their power. It is up to Zelie, the daughter of a once powerful maji, to embark on dangerous journey through Orisha in order to resurrect the powers of the maji. But, this book contains plenty of surprising twists that will keep you turning every page. A definite read for all fantasy lovers.
From Goodreads: "Now we rise. Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy."
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
In honor of National Poetry Month, I decided to read at least one verse novel. The Poet X will hold a special place in my heart, as the life of Xiomara holds similarities to mine. Elizabeth Acevedo paints a beautiful, yet troubling, image of a 16 year old Xiomara, who, under the restraints of a conservative mother, wishes to find her voice as she begins to explore her own identity as a young Hispanic woman living in the Harlem neighborhood.
From Goodreads: "A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo, Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.