Freebie Friday: Chapters (#1)

Hello Readers!

I’m going to try something new.  And it’s something that I hope you find as fun and interesting as I find it.

As you may know I work in a public library so I see a lot of books coming in and out. Some of those books I know all about and am excited to read one day. Other books, even though I may order them, I don’t necessarily know anything about with the exception of the review I read in one review journal or another.

I decided that I should get to know some of these books better. However, I don’t necessarily want to read all of these books. How will I find out a little bit about this book, enough to see if it will catch my attention of not? I’d read the first chapter.

Every so often I will randomly choose a few books from the library shelves. And I will give you the basic rundown (title, author, summary, etc) plus my thoughts based on cover and the first chapter. When all is said and done, I will share with you whether or not I would actually add this book to my (ever growing) TBR list.

Sounds fun, right?! I hope so … sit back and enjoy the first installment of Chapters.

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Title: The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Author: Angelo Surmelis

Audience: Teen

Genre:  Contemporary/Realistic

Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.”

What Attracted Me To Pick This Book Up: There were sprinkles on the cover. Sprinkles remind me of ice cream, and I like ice cream.

Thoughts Based on the Cover: It’s simplistic but there are splashes of color than made me think that this book isn’t going to be boring. Beyond that, the cover makes me think the overall story features art in some way. Even though the cover definitely appeals to me (there are sprinkles on it after all) I’m not sure if I would necessarily like this book. I like art, but I don’t necessarily want to read a book about it, or where it’s central focus is art.

Thoughts Based After Reading the First Chapter: It’s a very short first chapter. And I like that. Sometimes when chapters are excessively long it challenges my attention. From the start I get a sense that the main character is vastly different from his family, and I appreciate that in a character. I like that he’s unconventional when his family seems so traditional. I thought the writing was catchy, abut chapter wasn’t too telling. With that said it still intrigued me – I wanted to know who this Harvey is? Why the main character’s mother was praying to cast the devil out him? And more than that I wanted to know what exactly he was hiding.

Is This a Book I’d Add to My TBR List: I think I would like this book. Yes, I’d add it to my TBR list!

Title: You Go First

Author: Erin Entrada Kelly

Audience: Middle Grade

Genre: Realistic

Goodreads Summary:Funny and poignant, You Go First by 2018 Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly is an engaging exploration of family, spelling, art, bullying, and the ever-complicated world of middle school friendships. Erin Entrada Kelly’s perfectly pitched tween voice will resonate with fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale and Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again.

Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch.

Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben—online friends connected only by a Scrabble game—will intersect in unexpected ways as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. You Go First reminds us that no matter how hard it is to keep our heads above troubled water, we never struggle alone.

The acclaimed author of Blackbird Fly, The Land of Forgotten Girls, and Hello, Universe writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible voice. This engaging and character-driven story about growing up and finding your place in the world will appeal to fans of Rebecca Stead and Rita Williams-Garcia.”

What Attracted Me to Pick Up This Book: The colors of the book. I liked the blue-ish green hue of it.

Thoughts Based on the Cover: From the very first look I assumed, from the scattered Scrabble tiles, the main character is going to be smart – possibly super smart. I also assumed that this book’s main character is a girl because the girl on the cover appears slightly bigger than the boy.   After taking a good, hard look at the cover, I get a sense that this book is going to be an emotionally heavy one since both characters seem like they are trying to stay afloat.

Thoughts Based On First Chapter: From the first page my guess that the main character – Charlotte – is smart, super smart. The chapter opens with a definition and while as an adult I already knew what the word meant, I think kids will get the chance to learn more from this book. It’s told from third person perspective which is slightly off-putting to me as a reader since I always feel books from this perspective seem to move slower and are generally harder for me to relate to. While it’s hard to judge from reading just one chapter, it felt like this wouldn’t be the case.  I liked that Charlotte was smart, and uses her brains as a way to understand and cope with a tough situation. And not to gloat, but I was right: from this one chapter, I can tell this is going to be an emotionally heavy book.

Is This a Book I’d Add To My TBR List: As much as I enjoyed the first chapter, I’m on the fence. But I’m leaning more towards a yes to adding it to the list.

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Dear readers, have you read either of these books? I’d love to hear if you have and your thoughts! More importantly than that: do you think I should take a chance and read either (or both) of these books in the near future?

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