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amycollard

amycollard

Joined April 2016

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amycollard
Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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This is very short and absolutely gorgeous. Set in Ireland - it made me want to learn more about the Magdalen Laundries. So sad and yet hopeful too. Loved this one so much!

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amycollard
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What a fascinating book! Love these kinds of nonfiction books, full of interesting facts. You might think a book about street addresses might be boring, but I loved it. It covers spots all around the world (from the rural U.S., to India, the UK, Ancient Rome) and delves into all sorts of issues about race, class, and culture.

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amycollard
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Such a fun and sweet book! I loved this modern sort of re-telling of Pride & Prejudice set in a Muslim family in Canada. Ayesha is considered “old” for an unmarried woman in her late 20‘s in her community. It covered lots of things, such as how faith/religion intersect with your work and life, as well as the issue of arranged marriages and the struggle of wanting to stay true to your traditions while also wanting a change. A feel-good book for me!

7 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
Olympus, Texas | Stacey Swann
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Loved this one! It‘s full of the messy, dysfunctional families that make for good stories. And it took a turn there that I wasn‘t quite expecting. I‘m sure I missed a lot of the connections with Greek mythology but caught some of them. There were a few parts of it that were a little unrealistic but overall it was really well done and I‘m looking forward to see what this author does next.

8 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
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What an awesome and unique book! I wouldn‘t have thought I would love a book where you read Russian short stories and the have George Saunders analyze them with you but it actually works perfectly! If you‘re a writer I think you would really love this but I‘m not and I still thought it was amazing. Saunders just seems like such a great down to earth person and you can just sense his joy in writing and reading and it‘s infectious (in a good way!)

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amycollard
Standard Deviation | Katherine Heiny
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What a lovely book! I can‘t quite put my finger on why I liked it so much - there‘s not a lot of plot. It‘s a look at at a family mostly through the eyes of Graham (the husband), his wife Audra and their son Matthew who is somewhere on the Autism spectrum. At first Audra drove me crazy but by the end they had all grown on me and I loved them! It‘s a musing on marriage and parenthood that‘s so sweet and funny.

5 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
This Tender Land: A Novel | William Kent Krueger
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Loved this beautiful story of four kids who endure great difficulties and set off on a journey together. Part Huckleberry Finn with some hints of The Odyssey, but set in the 1930‘s Great Depression era. This was my first time reading William Kent Krueger, and I‘m looking forward to reading more. This one really grabbed my heart and showed what that time period was like. I also appreciated the attention to what Native Americans have suffered.

SamAnne Just finished this one too! Had a hard time putting it down. 2y
amycollard @SamAnne Yes! Such a great reading experience! 2y
11 likes2 comments
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amycollard
The Switch | BETH. O'LEARY
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Ok, this is the cutest book ever. I loved reading about Leena and her grandmother switching places for a few months - Leena will head to the Yorkshire village to try to recover and her grandmother will stay in her flat in London and have a little adventure. It‘s light and sweet even though it deals with things like grief and loss. A little predictable but I didn‘t mind at all, it was just so lovely!

15 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
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Loved this book! Sometimes you need something that‘s not too depressing, but not overly light either, no crazy bizarre thriller twists or gimmicks. Just good contemporary fiction, with good writing, and great cast of characters and a story that puts a smile on your face. This story about Bridget and Will, who have been musicians together in the Forsyth Trio for many years, was the perfect read for me. Every time I picked it up it made me happy.

Thousand-Lives I can‘t wait to read this one! Waiting for my library to have an available copy. Great review! 2y
amycollard @Thousand-Lives Yes I got it from my library too. Such a fun read! 2y
5 likes1 stack add2 comments
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amycollard
Sea Wife: A novel | Amity Gaige
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This book was so compelling! It tells the story of a family who heads off on their boat to sail for a year, with their two young children. It‘s told half from the wife Juliet‘s perspective and half from the husband‘s ship log. There‘s so much here - marriage, love, politics, depression, abuse, parenting, and yes, sailing. The ending left me wondering a bit. And it does get dark at times. But it made me want to read more from this author.

Julsmarshall I was so impressed by this one, so much going on and I couldn‘t put it down! 2y
amycollard @Julsmarshall Yes! I started it at the end of a vacation and I was so mad when I had to go back to work and put the book down. 2y
9 likes2 comments
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amycollard
The Mirror & the Light | Hilary Mantel
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Wow! An amazing end to this trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and the reign of Henry VIII. I finished this last night. This book has helped me make it through 2 months of lockdown thanks to the Coronavirus. I checked this out from the library right before everything shut down. It‘s VERY long with SO MANY characters, but it‘s so so good. Hilary Mantel has a way of immersing you in the past and making it really feel authentic.

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amycollard
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Really enjoyed this one. It as the tone of a cozy mystery , but the setting (1920‘s Bombay) is fascinating and full of details about the different religions in India, including Hindu, Muslim and particularly Zoroastrianism which is the religion of the main character. The mystery involves a young female lawyer (one of the first in India at that time) who gets involved in a mystery involving the widows of a Muslim man. A fun and different mystery!

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amycollard
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I‘ve been meaning to read this for several years and so glad I did! This deep dive into the friendship of Elena and Lila, two girls growing up in a poor neighborhood of Naples in the 1950‘s, is mesmerizing. It‘s different than so many things I‘ve read. Even though I didn‘t always like Lila or many of the things that went on in their neighborhood, I was pulled in quickly. This is book 1 of the Neapolitan series, and I‘m looking forward to the rest!

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amycollard
Recursion | Blake Crouch
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Wow! This book blew my mind. Really good, really crazy. Mind-boggling trying to follow different timelines and figure out what the heck is happening! Really makes you think about time and memory and what is reality. Plus it‘s just a fast paced thriller.

20 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
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Loved this one! It‘s a great courtroom drama which is full of interesting characters and subjects - including special needs children, parenting issues, alternative treatments to autism, life as an immigrant coming to America and how it affects a family. It‘s told in multiple points of view. I thought the ending/answer to who really did it was a little complicated. But overall this was just a really well done story!

Jenken1998 It was a great read! Loved it ❤ 4y
16 likes1 comment
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amycollard
Golden State | Ben Winters
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Really enjoyed this dystopian-type police procedural. It‘s set in a sort of futuristic California (though that name is never mentioned) where telling the truth is all-important and telling a lie will get you sent to jail. Society is based on confirming facts and keeping strict documentation of what happened. It has echoes of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, but also has a playfulness about it that kept it from getting too dark. Weird ending but I loved it

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amycollard
Eventide | Kent Haruf
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Kent Haruf had a way with words. This is the second book in a series about a community in Holt, Colorado. His writing is simple, almost plain (and no quotation marks!) but somehow it‘s just so beautiful. I didn‘t like this one quite as much as Plainsong; it was so sad, and a bit darker. But there‘s a quiet peace about his books that I just love. I‘m trying to savor them slowly since he passed away and won‘t be writing more.

Tamra He certainly did. 4y
4 likes1 stack add1 comment
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amycollard
The Current: A Novel | Tim Johnston
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Just finished this one and really enjoyed it. It feels a bit like a thriller but more literary, a bit more slow and thoughtful. At first I was a little confused as he started to introduce some different timelines (although he doesn‘t specify , so you‘re trying to figure it out ). But once I kept going it made sense. Well written, well developed characters. Just a great book! (although the ending left some questions unanswered).

7 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
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I‘m enjoying slowly reading through this series. This is number 3, and I continue to love Inspector Gamache and the village of Three Pines. There are some strange elements and weird writing occasionally but I still find it cozy and entertaining. Interesting to get more backstory on Gamache and the scandal at the Surete as well. And I especially love all the descriptions of the food! I hear that the series gets better after #4, so we‘ll see!

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amycollard
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Loved this book. A Jesuit priest who works with gang members in L.A. tells stories about what he‘s learned and experienced through the process. It‘s a bit rambling, no specific plot. But you get a real feel for the lives of these individuals and how to see them as people, rather than just “gang members”. Beautiful , even funny at times, inspiring.

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amycollard
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A short but excellent book, to help as I continue to try to educate myself more about racial justice issues. This is part memoir, part exploration of being a black woman in America. But particularly from a Christian perspective, and showing how the Church and faith community in general has such difficulty coming to terms with this issue honestly.

9 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe
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Such a short but powerful book. We are dropped into a pre-colonial Igbo tribe (modern day Nigeria?) and through the life of the main character Onkonkwo we become fully immersed in the culture, traditions and every day lives of these people. Of course we have an uneasy feeling that it will not end well, and 3/4 in when the first white men arrive that feeling intensifies. The writing is simple, but the story is complex and forces you to think.

9 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
Peace Like a River | Leif Enger
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This is another one of my favorite reads of 2018. Loved it! Set in the Midwest in the 1960‘s, there‘s just something about it that is so sweet and loving. I know it might not be for everyone but it was the perfect book at the perfect time for me, and I still get happy feelings remembering it even though I finished it a few months ago.

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amycollard
A Place for Us: A Novel | Fatima Farheen Mirza
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So beautiful! I finished this several months ago but this was one of my favorite books I‘ve read this year. Somehow Mirza captured the uniqueness of an immigrant family experience while making them feel so relatable that I felt they could have been part of my family. It‘s so sad, but so beautiful. I loved it.

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amycollard
In the Woods | Tana French
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My first time reading Tana French! It was definitely a success. Loved this crime/detective/thriller. It‘s not perfect (it‘s pretty long and some sections go on a little longer than they really need to, a bit of hokey writing here and there), but I love that it was complex and delved deep into the characters. The ending didn‘t wrap up things in quite the way I hoped but still the last section had me hooked. I‘m impressed that this was her debut!

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amycollard
Anne of Ingleside | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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A peek at my 12-year-old‘s bookshelves. She‘s been reading through the Anne of Green Gables series super fast and she‘s loving them. She‘s currently reading Anne of Ingleside and it‘s making me want to go back and read the series again!

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amycollard
Sunburn | Laura Lippman
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I enjoyed this one, my first time reading any Laura Lippman. Some call it a thriller, but I think it‘s more of a slow burn than that. It‘s got a noir feel to it - with private detectives and people with secrets and dark pasts. Set in Delaware and the outskirts of Baltimore in the 1990‘s. It keeps you guessing, wondering who you can trust. A good read.

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amycollard
The Great Alone | Kristin Hannah
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Leni and her parents move to a remote area of Alaska in the 1970‘s to make a new start. Things don‘t work out quite as they planned. This was beautiful, maddening, a bit sappy at times but I forgave it for that. It‘s sort of a love letter to Alaska itself (although it convinced me that I would never want to move there!)

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amycollard
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Mehso-so

Liked it ok, but didn‘t love it. While I enjoyed the writing, there wasn‘t much of a plot. This doesn‘t always scare me off - I love a long, character driven novel. But it just left something to be desired, I can‘t really put my finger on it. I think some people would love it. I was hoping I would like it a lot more than I did. Love that cover, though !

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amycollard
An American Marriage | Tayari Jones
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This book! So good, but so devastating! I went through every emotion, including becoming so angry and then bawling my eyes out. It made me mad but it was beautiful at the same time. It gives a glimpse into the issues such as the incarceration of black men in America, but really it‘s about a marriage and what happens when it‘s really put to the test. Definitely interested to find out what else Tayari Jones has written. (Beautiful cover too!)

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amycollard
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha | Roddy Doyle
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Bought this book while we were in Dublin. It takes a bit to adjust to the writing - you‘re being told everything from a kid‘s point of view. It‘s not stream of consciousness, but it jumps around, like how a child would tell a story. We see young Patrick Clarke growing up in 1960‘s North Dublin, running with his pack of friends. It‘s not heavy on plot, but gently tells us about his parents‘ marriage through the eyes of a child. Funny, sad, great!

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amycollard
Welcome to Lagos | Chibundu Onuzo
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Really enjoyed this! It‘s not as happy-go-lucky as I thought it might be based on the cover. It has a little more depth to it, but I really liked seeing this random group of people come together as they head to Lagos. It shows a fascinating picture of Nigeria - including the political corruption, the different religions and classes of people and desire for a better life. I grew to love Chike and loved learning about another part of the world.

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amycollard
The Queen of Hearts | Kimmery Martin
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This was super fun. I‘ve heard various people compare it to “Grey‘s Anatomy in book form” and of course I knew I had to read it - I‘m a sucker for a good medical drama. I loved that it was partially set in Charlotte, NC (where I live). The story follows two women physicians who are best friends and had gone to medical school together. It goes back and forth between the present and their past years in medical school as it reveals secrets. Loved it.

Cinfhen Such a gorgeous cover 💜 5y
amycollard @Cinfhen I know, I love it! So pretty. 5y
5 likes2 comments
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amycollard
South of Broad | Pat Conroy
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I bought this book last month when we were on spring break in beautiful Charleston, SC - it was the perfect read because this book is set in Charleston and the city itself is a strong character. This is my first time reading Pat Conroy, and it took me a little bit to get into his writing style (it felt a little overwrought at times, very dramatic, descriptive, the dialogue not quite what I‘m used to). But I adjusted and ended up loving it!

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amycollard
Feel Free: Essays | Zadie Smith
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I love Zadie Smith and will read most anything by her. This is a random collection of essays which seem to be written over the past 5-10 years or so. Sometimes I had no idea what she was talking about (reviewing art I‘ve never heard of, obscure books, or movies I‘ve never seen). But the ones I love the most are when she writes about her family, about culture and race and books. This collection is a bit hit or miss but I enjoyed it anyway!

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amycollard
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I loved Eleanor, and loved this book. At first I was worried it might fall in that cliche of books about “a quirky person set in their ways who finds someone to love and realizes there‘s so much more to life”. There is that element, but I felt it was so much more. It was funny, witty and just a delight. It deals with serious things but with a light tone. However it doesn‘t make light of the issues. A great reading experience.

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amycollard
The Fifth Season | N. K. Jemisin
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I can honestly say I‘ve never read anything quite like this before. I don‘t read a lot of fantasy, so it took me a little bit to get into the world and the characters but then I was hooked. Great world-building, great female character leading the way, diverse characters. Loved it. I already got the second one from the library because I want to keep reading the series.

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amycollard
Kindred | Octavia E. Butler
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Wow! This book was so intense. The main character Dana (a black woman) lives in California in 1976 and suddenly is transported against her will back to early 1800‘s in the South. She experiences life as a slave on a plantation and keeps being drawn from her own time back to the past. The writing is so straightforward and simple, yet so powerful. I felt like I was there - and it was so horrible to see the reality of slavery. Highly recommended.

6 likes1 stack add
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amycollard
Cloud Atlas | David Mitchell
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Wow! David Mitchell is amazing (if sometimes a little too smart for his own good). This one took me a long time to get through but was so interesting. Six stories, told in a structure where each is broken up in two parts (except for the middle one). Each one told in a different time period, often a different method and dialect. That long middle section was hard to get through, and I expected to have more connecting the different sections. But wow.

BibliophileMomma I just got this the other day for $2.99 on kindle. Can‘t wait to read it. 👍🏼 5y
amycollard @Tiffy_Reads It‘s not an easy book, but it‘s great!! 5y
3 likes2 comments
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amycollard
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What a delightful book!! I remember this from when I was young but I can‘t remember if I had read the book back then or if I‘m just remembering the old BBC TV series from the 70‘s. This is a memoir of a veterinarian in northern England ( in the Yorkshire Dales) in the 1930‘s. It‘s mostly told in different vignettes about all the animals he treated and the various characters he runs into on the farms in the area. It‘s sweet and funny and wonderful.

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amycollard
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I read this book over Christmas holiday after finding it on my Mom‘s bookshelf. It was so fascinating! I had never read any non-fiction by Steinbeck and really enjoyed his travels across America in 1960 (I think it was). His musings are so interesting when you‘re looking back at it from 2017/18 point of view. And since I‘m originally from California, one of my favorite parts was when he arrived in CA and wrote about the redwoods and Monterey. ❤️

Suet624 I really enjoyed this book too 5y
7 likes1 stack add1 comment
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amycollard
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I stayed up late last night finishing this - so good! My first time ever reading through the whole series, and I‘m so glad. Sad it‘s over though! My 11-year-old got this book as one of her Christmas presents this year, so she could finish the series and finish off her collection. She loves them all of course!

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amycollard
Wonder | Raquel J. Palacio
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What a great one! My daughters both loved it. My 11-year-old read it before me. Then I read it with my 9-year-old and she raced ahead of me again to finish it before me. The story of Auggie is heartbreaking but also so joyful and life-affirming. “Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.” 💗

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amycollard
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Really enjoyed this one (although not quite as much as I had hoped). It‘s not fair because I had just come off finishing a book I completely loved, and it was hard for this one to live up to it. But even so, I thought Celeste Ng did a fabulous job, I loved the character development and the slow build. I felt she handled the adoption subplot really well, showing all sides of the issue. Would definitely recommend.

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amycollard
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How have I never heard of John Boyne before?? I️ loved this book so much. As Cyril Avery grows up in Dublin, we follow him and learn about his life every step of the way. I️ did not expect to love the book so much. I️ loved the writing, the font and feel of the book and everything. It‘s the story of a gay man from Ireland but somehow it‘s so much more also. It‘s funny, it‘s heartbreaking, and although it‘s really long it goes by so fast. 💘

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amycollard
Young Jane Young | Gabrielle Zevin
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Loved this one! Light and fun reading but clever and funny. Each section is told from the perspective of a different character, in some creative ways. It made me want to keep reading. Makes you think about some serious issues but in a fun way.

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amycollard
The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas
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I don't read a lot of YA but I'm glad I listened to all the hype on this one. It's simple but powerful. A way to really put yourselves in the shoes of someone who experiences race related violence - right in front of them. A young black man shot by a police officer - the reality, the repercussions, the real life of a teenage girl (who was at the scene) trying to navigate all of this. I loved Starr so much, and her family too. ❤️

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amycollard
Stay With Me | Ayobami Adebayo
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This book! 😍 It ripped out my heart, then threw it on the floor and stomped on it. 😭 (in a good way?) The writing is so good, and it stirred up so many emotions. I was so angry, I was happy, and I cried. Set in Nigeria, it tells the story of a marriage - well, I don't want to say too much. You just have to read it and see.

mrozzz Yessss excited for this one 5y
8 likes1 comment
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amycollard
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I was born and raised in California, but I didn't live near the ocean and have never surfed. Didn't know what to expect from this surfing memoir. It's a fascinating look at one person's life as they travel the world to remote places in decades past, chasing waves. LOTS of details about waves and tides (maybe too much for me?), and was sometimes annoyed with him during his angsty years. But also beautiful writing about his obsession with surfing.

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amycollard
Space Case | Stuart Gibbs
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My 9 year old daughter's current favorite author is Stuart Gibbs. She finished his whole "Spy School" series and loved them! Now she's on to his "Moon Base Alpha" series. I haven't read them yet so I can't say how good they are, but I do love the graphic design on all his covers.