The Hate U Give #SummerofRealness #YANovels

Hi bloggers and fellow readers!

I am back again with the latest novel in the #SummerofRealness #YA reading venture.

This time, it is to reveal The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is a play on the acronym THUG and is about a teenaged girl named Starr who loses her friend Khalil to police brutality. In today’s world, it is so unfortunate that our black youth are experiencing the same injustices our grandparents and great-grandparents experienced.

I think the true magic of this work lies in the timeliness and realness of the story. Starr is the narrator and she must navigate two worlds: In one world she is a resident of Garden Heights where gangs line the streets and schools are filled with over-sexualized teens profanity and overall detrimental behaviors, but Starr attends Williamson on the other side of town where she becomes “Williamson Starr”- she changes her accent and enjoys being the “non-ghetto black chick.

What you must know is this: there is romance, there is violence, but there is the tie of familial love as well.

Surprise! It is a movie and The Hate U Give will arrive in theaters October 19th 2018.

**Side Note: I did not get to finish this story because the loan period expired at my library, however, the overwhelming amount of positive reviews this book has received is astounding. Over 2,000 five stars on Amazon.

Let me know what you think 🙂

Advertisements

If I Was Your Girl, #BookReview #YASummerReads

This is Amanda’s story. Amanda has suffered at her last school and nearly committed suicide,  forcing her mother to send her off to live with her father.

_What if your son told you he was your daughter__

But it is in this new town that Amanda forgets her one, golden rule: trust no one.

She meets a young man on the football team and even befriends a few girls that attend a fundamentalist church. Amanda has the ability to blend in because she is absolutely gorgeous with feminine features that seemingly comes naturally- but what will happen once her secret gets out? Can she trust the nicest, hardworking boy she just met or will he bail once he learns the truth?

I enjoyed this book for two reasons: One, it involved a protagonist that was uncommon for me and two- the story was not built on any clichés that I could tell. Amanda’s voice is one that is full of hurt but with so much incredible power at the same time. She wants to live and has goals.

Amanda’s father was just as complex as she. Although the mother plays a pivotal role in Amanda’s life, the father’s response is varied and real. Any father who dreams of having a son, who suddenly learns his son wants to be a girl will definitely have a hard time coming to grips with it, but you will understand the father eventually if you pay attention to his interaction with Amanda.

This is definitely a book that deals with more than transgender issues: There are bisexual, gay issues and other important topics.

This book would be very appealing to any YA audience. I suggest people read this as a family or a group and take some time to read the author’s note as well.

Highly recommended!

A Summer of Realness Reading, #YASummer

A Summer of Realness

Hi bloggers and friends!

Its summer and the youth (and adults) are trying to spend their weekends on blissful vacations or kids are sent off to summer camps. Either way, there have been so many sad reports of our youth going through hell right now.

A couple of years back, I introduced YA summer on this blog to review and discuss books in any genre that was geared to the youth. I had an amazing time interviewing authors and buddy reading with my sister.

So this summer, I want to introduce the “Realness”

No fairy tales. No creatures of the night. No science fiction, just straight up stories about life.

My Goal? To review the books with sensitivity and find the ultimate message to pass along.

Ready?

 

Here’s the List:(may not be read in this order)

If I Was Your Girl

The Hate U Give

 

 

 

A Letter to Sons, ‘Between the World and Me’ Review

between world

Every once in a while I read a book that forces me to highlight everything that jolts me fully awake. The words and the way the author stitches them together creates a story that is gold. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is that book. It is a letter to his son but I think it is a letter to sons, daughters, sisters, mothers, fathers-everywhere.

 “You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.”(Between the World and Me)

When I began reading Between the World and Me, the first word, Son– drew me in. I knew this would be an exploration of words and memories and advice. Coates draw us in with his play on words and symbols as he warns his son that although he is growing into consciousness in this new social media world where there is more access for black people- the Dreamers(those who have captured, beat, and raped us) are still hunting us but in different ways. I like how Coates does not come right out and tell his son not to like non-black people. In fact, his warnings are in the form of smooth connecting thoughts from this world and the past- stitched together.

Black life is cheap, but in America black bodies is a natural resource of incomparable value.”

Coates talks of his son’s reaction to the Michael Brown event and how the officer got off. Coates reminds his son, “I did not tell you it will be okay. It will never be okay because I have never believed it.”

A crucial moment where a black body is defined by how it is broken.

Between the world and me is definitely a book everyone should be picking up and reading over and over again because although we can love the world…the world knows the value of a black body and unfortunately for us, the black body is seen as expendable even a black child’s body. Again, Coates renders this truth in a way that is palatable and nutritious while still delivering much-needed vitamins to the soul.

I highly recommend this work.

For more reviews like this, please subscribe to my blog and/or follow my Tweets @thewriteweb

Separating Musicians From Their Ghosts

I don’t know much about XXXTentacion, aside from the very unique name he chose to bathe the social media networks with. I know what he looked like and even heard some of his songs, but now that he is gone, or transitioning to that next dimension, everyone has negative, positive, and neutral words to say.

I do not want to focus on how his life ended here, I do want to laser in on what a young girl said on the video. She said XXXTentacion’s words guided her through her darkest times(I’m paraphrasing here).

That part touched me because as judgmental as we all can be at times, this girl found a voice through his music. What she could not articulate, he did. What she experienced, he did. When she couldn’t translate her pain- he did.

That is what music does.

Music is so fluid and formless, that it brings all people together or it can cause us to scratch our scalps about the person behind the music. At the moment, the girl did not think of his reality and all the accusations hurled his way or even the solid things he’s done to allegedly hurt someone. All she knows is that his music was her language, a language that can be felt through the headphones, over the loudspeakers.

To us with slightly older ears who still remember the melody of Lauryn Hill’s music and the sweet voice of Aaliyah and the tumbling beats by Timbaland and even those into the pop era of Backstreet Boys and NSync- we cannot identify. We wonder: What the heck would anyone see in the music of today?

I admit the music of today needs a serious makeover. But as with any Next Generation, that makeover may never come. My father’s George Clinton and Sam Cooke, became our Biggie Smalls and Tupac and our Biggie Smalls and Tupac world evolved into Tekashi69 and XXXTentacion along with others, and the world just evolve with it and it can be worse and it can get better.

There are all kinds of choices of music but which speaks to you? Which speaks the language you cannot communicate?

For me, I enjoyed the lyrics of 2Pac and the beats by Missy and Timbaland but the music that spoke to my heart most was Evanescence. Snow White Queen and Weight of the World were my anthems in the mid-2000s. I enjoy her music now- Today I wrap myself in the world of Dornik, Syd the Kid, and anime vibes on YouTube all day long to accompany my cleaning and studying.

Those who have gifted us with music and that have fallen, they did what they did by being brave.

Brave enough to step into this world and risk having their souls exposed. Stripped of flesh and judged for every single sin.

Get it?

Judged for Every. Single. Sin.

Exposed.

By us imperfect people. That is what artists do. Actors/Actresses, Singers, Writers, Musicians, anyone sharing a peace of their soul, WILL be judged for it because they are seen.

Their lives are available for us to peer in, when they do dumb things and sane things.

Anyhow, that is my take on it. These words were not organized, they are straight from the soul.

Don’t judge me.

~Ericajean

Grasping the Silver Lining of Mid 30’s

Sometimes your age shows up when you least expect it.

Let me explain.

So, here I am at my new job which involves extreme attention to detail and manual dexterity. The ability to communicate well and to be calm under pressure. In a sentence? That is me. I love computers, I dabble in web design and coding sometimes(no expert, just fascinated by it)

cosmin paduraru
Image by Cosmin Paduraru

Well….

So far, I’ve blanked out during training because the terms were all so foreign to me. Certain computer keystrokes and other things I should know, I fumbled on. I am quick at typing but the younger crowd is much quicker and grasped the training material much faster than I.

Even when faced with an older computer system to navigate which uses DOS, I thought, “Hey, I got this.” But noooo, I so, did not. I second guessed so much that I became flustered. No longer the cool, calm pickle  I’m known for.

To make matters worse, some people are only a few years younger than me and some are way older than me and they caught on fine.

The sparse few, like me are “lost in the sauce”.

I say all of that to say this. I know what I am meant to do and even though I have not written that bestseller, the fact is the only thing that brings me joy is writing.

I read somewhere that you know you are a writer when you are terrible at everything else- I need to find that quote.

I did not think that would be me, but so far nearly every job I ever had from tele-marketing, to teaching, to retail made me nearly puke because I hated those jobs so much. My last retail job was not that horrible though because I made great friends there, but the job nearly broke me down physically.

I am not old by a long shot. Some days I do feel nineteen, but most days when I see the silver lining crawling from my scalp in the freaking front of my head, I feel 50.

When I first wake up in the morning, I feel exactly 1,013 years old.

But I am in the middle of thirty.

I’m just getting started.

It’s That Awkward Silence When You Ask Me…

 

blackboard question
Image Credit: Pixabay

 

Awkward

A simple Google search on “awkward moments” will bring up a whopping, gazillion sites claiming the Top 20, Top 10, and Top 31 awkward moments we face. Well, my awkward moment could be considered blasphemy, and it would have been placed in my personal journal but I decided to publicize it: I have awkward moments when someone asks me if I am a Christian. Here are my reasons.

First, before you think it is because I am ashamed of my Lord and Savior, I implore you to believe that is not the case. The problem is I have very slim good experiences with Christians. I think we can commend them for the food and clothing programs, but many can be very rude and I remember a church’s deacon avoiding me and my husband at a cookout because we once asked for a little financial assistance, but they did not avoid us when we donated money and paid “tithes and offerings” beforehand. Christians tend to be church folk and do what is most easy and comfortable for them.

A pastor told me that helping someone in need and expecting those in the church to lend a hand is “Secular thinking”. to Telling the person to pray to Jesus is more appropriate…according to him.

That is reason number one.

If you ask me if I am a Christian, I may clam up and kind of shoot my eyes left and right so I won’t look at the judgment in your gaze. Yes. Awkward moment of silence there but I will not apologize for it because of reason number two.

Reason number two for my awkwardness when asked if I am a Christian, is the history of Christianity. Let me put it bluntly. A few years ago, I would proudly say “I am a Christian” and I even put it on the About Me page here-proudly. But I live a filmy residual, ghost-like kind of life of intersectionality: I am Black. Female. Christian. At any time, I have to be all three.

Blacks had Christianity whipped into them. Women, in the bible and in churches are not seen as powerful, productive light(unless it’s the infamous unattainable goal of being the Lady of Proverbs 31).

Moving on, I may ignore you if you are a Christian and talk too much, too loud, and too harshly about certain groups of people you are uncomfortable with. Count me out. I am not going to bash the LGBTQI community. I will not say the “poor need to pull up invisible bootstraps”, I will not think that the only people on earth who need help is across the globe- we all need help all over the globe, maybe in different stages and degrees.

Point blank, you may hear me moan, groan, tap my foot, tap my pen or ignore you if you come at me with questions about Christianity.

Just kidding. I’m not that mean, but there may be an awkward silence for a moment.

Don’t know why this topic of Awkward made me spill all these beans, but there you have it.

~Ericajean