Blog, Reviews

Blog Entry No. 29 – Full Disclosure

Dear Readers,

have you ever read a book that made you wonder how you could walk through society with your eyes closed until now? Well, I truly hope so for you. If not, you maybe should consider reading Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. This book, published in 2019 in Great Britain by Penguin Books, isn’t just a great bestseller. It’s eye-opening, honest (at least it feels honest) and relatable.

To be frank, I usually don’t like photographs as cover, but this one – taken by Theodore Samuels – fits the novel pretty well. It’s unobtrusive, nearly shy, but still beautiful. It portrays the main character extremely good, I think. The title and the authors name seem to scream, because of the bright colour and therefore build an intense contrast to the calm blue in the background.

Full Disclosure is told by the main character Simone. She is finally happy again at her new school, after she was hated badly at her old one, because the students and parents found out that she’s HIV-positive. She has found her beloved, two, best friends – Claudia and Lydia -, she’s directing the school musical Rent and she’s making out with Miles, the attractive boy, who helps with the musical’s set. Simone is happy, full of questions about having sex with HIV, but happy. But as she finds an anonymous note in her locker that threatens to tell everyone that she’s positive, her world is standing upside down again and definitely not in a good way…

Full Disclosure is probably the first Highschool-novel that actually taught me something. I mean a way of understanding a perspective I definitely can’t relate to, because I’m luckily not affected by the issues black people and people with HIV have in society. I’m glad that I found this novel, because it showed me that there are things I will, I can never understand, since I’m one of the privileged, healthy, white folks that urgently need to be told what it’s like to be affected by racism and ignorance. This topic is highly complicated, amongst other things, because it’s an emotional one that involves many different, individual experiences as well as a complex history and a lot of ignorance and unreasonable fear. I get confused about the whole matter frequently, but I try to understand. I’m sorry for everyone I might have hurt because of my own ignorance. I think we all should communicate more and in a healthier way. Listen to what the people have to say. Listen to how they feel and I guess then there will be at least a chance to improve, to understand and to stop the sorrow. Full Disclosure is – in my opinion – a book, that explains to the reader in a subtle, sensitive way, how it feels to be hated and not understood. The story is told by Simone, so one gets to know her thoughts while reading, which helps enormously to realize, why she’s reacting in the way she does. She’s a character that develops and that is independent which leads to a perception of her as an authentic person. Additionally, all the supporting characters are drawn in a deep and original way with their own problems, that get discussed and aren’t just ignored like in other novels.

All in all it’s a gorgeous book with great characters and important matters. It discusses the perception of HIV-positive, of black and of queer people and doesn’t forget the “simple” matters of growing up. No matter if one likes Young Adult or romantic novels, I think everyone, but especially all the privileged, white, healthy, ignorant people should read Full Discosure at least once in a lifetime, but actually as soon as possible.

Have a great week,
Aly

Blog, Reviews

Blog entry No. 28 – White All Around

Dear Readers,

the review of this week will be a rather short one. I’m gonna show you what the book is about and what I think about it. No talk about the cover or any analytical parts. I’m sorry about this short version, but I’m pretty stressed out in the moment, so this is sort of a compromise between not writing at all and getting stressed caused anxiety because of not having enough time for my actual work. I hope you like it anyway.

Cover from the ePub version by Europe Comics I got from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

White All Around by Wilfrid Lupano (Writer) and Stephane Fert (Artist and Colorist) is the first graphic novel I read besides the Batman comics from the DC Universe (in Germany published by Panini Comics). It is the first one, but it will definitely not be the last one. It’s great to see what art can deliver and to have a bit of variety to usual novels. It was published on 20th January 2021 as an eBook with 140 pages.

What is White all Around about? (Summary found on Goodreads)
Canterbury, Connecticut, 1832: a charming female boarding school has found success among the locals, with two dozen girls enrolled. Some in town question the purpose of educating young girls—but surely there’s no harm in trying? At least not until the Prudence Crandall School announces its plans to start accepting black students. Thirty years before the abolition of slavery in the United States, in the so-called “free” North, these students will be met by a wave of hostility that puts the future of the school in question, and their very lives in peril. Even in the land of the free, not all of America’s children are welcome.

My Opinion: White All Around is no character based story. It doesn’t tell thoughts and the development of one or more characters, instead historical facts have been incorporated in an appealing and fulfilling way. I was shocked about the intolerance of the people in the town and knowing that this is based on real actions, makes it even worse. But I think that’s exactly what historical literature should do: It should raise attention for the issues and errors of the past times to avoid them in the present and future. This graphic novel opens eyes for racism, sexism and intolerance in general, which needs to be done more often. An appropriate Fore- and Afterword provides background knowledge about the setting and situation of the story. All in all it’s a greatly drawn graphic novel, which hopefully may invite more people to read about historical events.

Have a gorgeous week,
Aly

Blog, Reviews

Blog Entry No. 27 – Clap When You Land

Dear Readers,

today’s review will be about a new favorite book of mine. I saw it on bookstagram, in a post about young adult books recommended for black history month. After reading the description I decided nearly instantly to buy it. Now, after a bit more than a week reading this incredible piece, it became one of my favorite books, I like it even better than Every Day by David Levithan. I’m talking about Clap When You Land, a novel-in-verse, written by National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo.

The Cover of the hardcover edition (published by HarperTeen): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52516332-clap-when-you-land

The only tough decision I connect with that novel, is which version I should buy. I really like the cover of the hard-cover book, but I often find paperbacks more comfortable. Also, they’re cheaper (don’t get me wrong, I like to support authors, but I don’t have that much money to spend on books every month, so I think that’s a fair compromise). After all, both covers show the main characters somehow divided and are beautifully designed. Both the hardcover’s drawn style and the paperback’s digital designed cover-images are amazing and in it’s simplicity contrary to the highly emotional story.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is about Camino, a young girl living in the Dominican Republic. Her father visits her every summer, but this year everything is different, just because of one event: On the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino meets crowds of crying people when she arrives at the airport. The plane crashed. But she’s not the only girl who mourns for her father: Yahaira, living in New York, is told in the principal’s office that her father, her hero, died in a plane crash on the flight he takes every year in the summer to the Dominican Republik. Both girls need to learn the secrets their father had. They need to get along in a new, forever altered reality. But maybe there is hope to not be alone with this grief anymore. Maybe there is hope in finding a sister and in fighting for their dreams.

Personally, I love reading poetry and novels, so this novel-in-verse was a perfect mixture. Honestly, it was beautifully written without being overwhelming poetry-metaphor-language, if you know what I mean. The style supported the plot and the emotions perfectly well. It was written from two perspectives, Camino’s and Yahaira’s. I read some reviews by people, who said the characters have been to similar to tell them apart, but I totally disagree. Even when the name wasn’t written above the part anymore, I could instantly say, who tells the story at that point because everything was written logically all the time and I found those two characters very different. Also, the novel addresses issues, I think people should talk more about. Men, who think girls are their property, for instance. Clap When You Land contains LGBTQ+ content as well, but without making a fuss about it and I love it this way (of course I know that’s definitely not the norm, even in modern society, and it should be talked about more in order to get tolerated on a larger scale, but I wish it could be that easy). In this story it’s just normal and not really a problem, being gay and I think this is the way it should be: people love people, let them love each other, why does the gender matter?

So all in all, I really loved reading this book and will never regret buying it. As soon as I finish some other books on my current reading list, I’m gonna read “Poet X” or “With The Fire On High” by Elizabeth Acevedo. I’m looking forward to it!

I hope you’re well!

Yours,
Aly