Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Title: Monday’s Not Coming
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Series: N/A
Pages: 448
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 22nd 2018

      “Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.
      As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?”

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      “Missing.
      I held my breath until it burned in my chest, the word frightening. Is she missing? Missing from my life, yeah, but is she, like missing for real? She couldn’t be, she has to be home. Right?”

Tiffany D. Jackson’s Monday’s Not Coming is an intricate mystery with characters who come to life and an unforgettable story. Claudia and Monday have been inseparable since they were in first grade. The summer between 7th and 8th grade promises to be agonizing, with Claudia spending the season with her grandma in Georgia and Monday stuck back in D.C. The two girls, however, hatch a plan to stay in touch through letters over the summer. But Claudia doesn’t hear from Monday all summer long. When she gets back home, Monday doesn’t visit. Claudia calls, but Monday’s phone number is disconnected. When the first day of school rolls around, Claudia is sure she’ll see her best friend, but Monday’s not there. Claudia knows something has to be wrong, but as the weeks pass with no Monday in sight, she grows increasingly concerned. Monday’s mother and older sister won’t give Claudia a straight answer and the other adults in her life don’t seem quite as concerned. Claudia will do anything to discover the truth, even if it means putting herself in danger.

Claudia and Monday’s relationship is easily recognizable. It’s the kind of friendship that is all-consuming, in which it feels like your best friend is the most important person in your world. It’s hard to untangle one person’s wants from the other, not just because you’re so in sync, but because having your best friend’s approval is imperative. A single fight can feel devastating one moment and your bond with one another unbreakable the next. Claudia and Monday live very different lives. Claudia has a stable home and loving parents. Monday has always been good at hiding the problems she has at home and perhaps Claudia has always been good at pretending everything was fine with her best friend. For Monday, Claudia and her family are like a refuge from everything that isn’t right at home. For Claudia, Monday is her refuge from everything that isn’t right at school. Both girls are bullied by their peers, on the receiving end of both homophobic and slut-shaming rumors. Claudia feels increasingly isolated at school without Monday and struggles to hide a learning disorder that was always easier to cover up when Monday was around to help her.

Claudia’s story is emotionally charged. It is honest and raw and hard to read at times. Like Claudia, you as a reader can’t help but feel her frustration. The callousness and indifference shown by the adults in her life is hard to swallow, but they are a reflection of how society handles stories like Monday’s. There are some ugly truths to be found in this book including child abuse. And there is a whole lot of culpability to go around. Jackson’s novel is a commentary on the treatment of missing black girls, how easily they are forgotten, sometimes not even acknowledged, and the untold pain their absence leaves behind. Monday’s Not Coming pulls no punches when it points a finger at the community, schools, social workers, and the police. All of whom bear some responsibility when it comes to countless missing children’s stories. Jackson also explores gentrification in her novel, how easy it is for people to take over whole neighborhoods without a second thought because they know these low-income communities do not have the means to fight back, especially financially.

Monday’s Not Coming alternates between different timelines, taking readers on a heartbreaking journey, and whose ending hits you like a freight train.

4/5

★★★★

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Kernels of Nonsense: In Which I Tell You How I Really Feel…

Kernels of Nonsense is now a place for discussion posts and any assortment of other random book & blogging related topics I come up with. This post was inspired by Amber Elise @ Du Livre‘s confession post Blogger Confessions. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read her candid confessions, I encourage you to do so. It’s so refreshing to see another blogger’s unapologetic take on certain subjects. The point of this post is to get a little more honest than I usually am and help you get a better glimpse of who I am as most of these are views are ones I rarely ever share openly.

When I was first inspired by this idea, I started a list of things I wanted to mention on my phone and so much just spilled out of me. I had no idea I felt so strongly about so many things. As it were, I will probably do another post like this one in the future, so this is just a tiny glimpse into some of my opinions.

1. Let’s just dive in. I sometimes wonder if Leigh Bardugo will ever write a book that takes place in a different world than her Grishaverse. I love Six of Crows. It’s one of my favorite books. When everyone was celebrating a Nikolai duology, I was sighing heavily, knowing I would need to go back and finish the Grisha Trilogy, so I’m up to date on the characters (but do I really want to?) when I really just want to see what she can do with a different world. I have all the books in the Grisha Trilogy, but the more time that passes, the less interested I am in having to read them.

2. I get really anxious about authors following me on Twitter for several reasons. First, if I haven’t read their book and end up hating it, chances are much higher they’ll see my negative review even when I don’t tag them in it. Second, what if they stop following me for whatever reason and I happen to click on their Twitter bio only to discover that they have in fact unfollowed me? Now I’m left to wonder why…what did I do?…what did I not do?…is it me?…is it them?…why????!!!!

3. This has happened on several occasions. I interact regularly with another blogger, but then they end up going on a long hiatus or just drop off the face of the earth without notice. They are gone for like a year. I then clean out my feed, unfollowing these inactive bloggers, thinking they’re never coming back. And then BAM. They come back. And I feel really awkward following them again because maybe they’ll think I never followed them in the first place or that I unfollowed them at some point because I was annoyed by them. What do I do?

4. I once won a book through a giveaway and never received it in the mail. I didn’t contact the blogger because it wasn’t her responsibility, it was the publisher’s, but I’m still really bitter about it. Here’s the kicker. I don’t actually remember the name of the book. I know I added it on Goodreads when I won, but off the top of my head, I just remember it was about a friendship between two girls. Yet, I still remain bitter. I will take this bitterness to the grave.

5. I love the idea of having a coblogger. I think if I found the right person, we’d do incredible things together. A weight would also be lifted off my shoulders and I wouldn’t have to worry about the blog being sparse because this perfect coblogger would carry her weight. Her reviews would always be thoughtful and put together nicely. We could play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses and create incredible content. In reality, I trust nearly no one. My philosophy is if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. The only way it would be possible to have a coblogger is to have some kind of trial run where I could cut the strings at the end without feeling guilty (I will feel guilty because I want to be nice) because inevitably you’ll probably going to let me down (I know this because I’m really not nice).

6. Who decided enamel pins were the new thing? I have nowhere to put them and no real use for them. I think they’re okay, but I haven’t been caught up in the trend like everyone else. If I was a kid with a backpack, I could totally see the appeal, but as an adult, I don’t get it. Also, funko pops. I mean, they can be cute, but I can’t see myself spending money on them.

7. There is a really popular blogger who I see on my TL all the time and who rubs me the wrong way. I confess that the main reason is because they blocked someone in the community that I really respect and every time I see someone retweet them or like one of their tweets, I think about this. I should probably just mute them. Does this make me a horrible person that I just don’t think we’d get along well? I’m sure this person is nice enough, but I’m always thinking of how they blocked this other blogger because she asked them a question they didn’t like. Coward. That’s too harsh, isn’t it? I still think it though.

Have you ever made a confession post? Do you agree or relate to any of my views? Let’s discuss and feel free to share an opinion in the comments that you rarely ever talk about. I will only judge you a little bit.

The Friday 56: The Poet X

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

Mami leans down: “Mira, muchacha, go take God.
Thank him for the fact that you’re breathing.”

She has a way of guilting me compliant.
Usually it works.

But today, I feel the question
sticking to the roof of my mouth like a wafer:

what’s the point of God giving me life
if I can’t live it as my own?

I’m delighted to share with you today one of my favorite reads of the year. Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X is a novel in verse that is equal parts lovely and heartbreaking. My mini-review can be read hereCover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “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.”

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share which upcoming releases they’re most looking forward to. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

I loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and cannot express how stoked I am for Spinning Silver. I feel like I haven’t picked up as many fairy tale retellings as I have in the past, but I really enjoy them and can’t wait to see what Novik does with Rumpelstiltskin.

 width=Title: Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Series: N/A
Pages: 480
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 10, 2018

      “Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
      But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.”

Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!

Signups for the Summer 2018 Comment Challenge for the month of July are now open! Join us and meet a new blogging friend. Every month we pair bloggers and they spend the month getting to know one another through comments on each other’s blog. Sign-ups for July are open through June 25th. Click the image to the left for all the info.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Want to Travel In Unconventional Ways

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Books That Awaken the Travel Bug In Me.” I…am not a big fan of airports and when I think of traveling, I think of airports and customs and all that hassle. Ideally, I wish you could travel somewhere without having to deal with jetlag and uncomfortable airplane chairs. This is why this week’s travel-themed post is inspired by books that involve magic/science and traveling instead of world-renowned locations. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – Where does one book a seat on a time-traveling ship because yes, please.

2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – I feel like the title says it all.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – Why yes, I’d love to travel to alternate Londons using blood magic. Well, hopefully not my own blood.

4. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Can’t quite decide if I’ve like to travel by broom, thestral, floo powder, or just Apparate.

5. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – Read a few words and be instantly transported into a novel? Sign me up now.

6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – Why, yes, I would love to travel the universe by tessering. I just saw the recent movie adaptation of this and it was so charming.

7. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda – Despite the fact that space kind of creeps me out and this book does this nothing to alleviate this fear, I wouldn’t mind traveling on a spaceship at least once.

8. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo – I’m not sure if I’m prone to sea sickness, but traveling to different countries via a pirate ship doesn’t sound all that bad.

9. The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh – No one who grew up watching Aladdin didn’t immediately want a magic carpet of their own.

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Black’s descriptions of traveling by ragwort steed is one of my favorite things about this novel.

Would you be interested in traveling in any of these unconventional ways? Has any book made you want to travel in a unique or odd way? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own TTT post in the comments, so I can visit.

Signups for the Summer 2018 Comment Challenge for the month of July are now open! Join us and meet a new blogging friend. Every month we pair bloggers and they spend the month getting to know one another through comments on each other’s blog. Sign-ups for July are open through June 25th. Click the image to the left for all the info.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maurene Goo
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books
Release Date: May 8th 2018

      “Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?
      With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.”

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“I felt at home here, not only because I’m Korean American, but because it was a blend of old and new L.A. I related to this future version of America that wasn’t tidy but layered, improvised, and complicated.”

Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel is the perfect lighthearted and fun summer read you should be reaching for in the coming months. Clara Shin has cultivated a reputation for trouble and high jinks. Not one to take anything too seriously, Clara loves making a game out of anything. Pissing off Rose Carver, all-around know-it-all and overachiever, is just the icing on the cake. When Clara’s plan to have a little fun at prom ends with her and Rose wrestling over a tiara, resulting in accidental fire, Clara’s dad concocts an plan for the two of them to work on his food truck over the summer to avoid suspension. It’s the worst punishment Clara could ever imagine. But with each passing day, Clara begins to realize there’s more to Rose than the pristine facade she shows everyone. And as Clara begins to take a more serious interest in her dad’s business, Clara begins to realize there may be more to her than her own frivolous facade.

Clara is the kind of character who might rub some readers the wrong way, but I loved her nonetheless. This is a novel for those of us who will never be mistaken for being the nice one. For those more comfortable making snarky comments than accepting compliments. Clara has no problem letting people know what she thinks. She terrible when it comes to taking responsibility for her actions. Clara thrives off of attention and is the kind of teen that thinks caring too much would make her uncool. She’s stubborn and difficult and sometimes obnoxious. There were moments where I though Clara was being a real brat, but I was less interested in this and more invested in her growth over the course of the summer. I loved seeing a female friendship blossom and grow. Though Clara and Rose could not be more different, they eventually manage to find common ground. They find something in each other that they never had in another female friend. Their rivalry has always brought the worst out in each other, but their friendship ends up allowing each girl to mature and embrace a different side of herself.

I loved Clara’s budding romance with Hamlet, who is very different from Clara, but whose geekiness she finds nonetheless endearing. Hamlet was thoughtful and sincere; unlike Clara, he was all in from the beginning and his warm personality made it hard for her to resist for long. While I enjoyed both these relationships, the highlight of the novel is Clara’s relationship with her father. Their rapport is sweet and genuine. Clara is used to her dad being easy-going with her, so when he buckles down after her prank, it throws the harmony between the two out of sync. They eventually find their footing again with one another. Clara begins to understand how important a step her dad’s food truck is in his dream to eventual run a restaurant. Clara comes to appreciate just how much he cares about her and to recognize the small sacrifices he’s made to make her happy.

The Way You Make Me Feel a fun, quick read that is undeniable adorable and may have you unexpectedly tearing up at its warmhearted ending.

4/5

★★★★