Posted in Uncategorized, Young Adult Lit

Out of Darkness, by Ashley Hope Perez

25256386Out of Darkness
Ashley Hope Perez
2015 by Carolrhoda Lab
ISBN – 9781467742023
Genre – Historical Fiction
Age – High School
4 Stars

A new romance is budding in New London, Texas in 1937. The romance may cross the lines of interracial dating, but for Naomi and Wash it brings them happiness, no matter what any one else thinks. Still they must keep it a secret as it could be dangerous for both of them if anyone finds out. In the midst of the two forming plans to escape the harsh life in their current home, a tragedy strikes. The 1937 New London School explosion, a real event, was one of the worst school disasters in history. Will their love be able to survive such an atrocious event?

Oh my Gosh, this book. It was so close to getting that five star review, but then after finishing, I just couldn’t and it broke my heart. The writing was so beautiful, and the emotions were so raw. It was hard to feel like I was there in the same place, because it was so completely different from anything I have ever known. But I felt the joys, and I felt the sorrows like no other. Then I felt the massive punch to my gut. Thinking about it still makes me feel sick to my stomach. I know that a book must be amazing to make me feel so strongly, however, I also feel like it might have gone overboard. Honestly, I am so undecided about the end of this book. I finished it about two months ago, and feel like now I am just barely able to talk about it. In some respects I feel like it was just right, but in others, I kind of hate it and what it did to me. Seriously, whoa. But, on another note, don’t read this book if you are not comfortable with all sorts of racist, violent, and sexually explicit scenes.

Posted in Professional

New Beginning


Recently, I was offered and accepted a new position at work! Starting in February, I will be the new Teen Librarian at the Johnson City Public Library! While I will miss doing storytimes, dancing, singing, and playing with the kiddos from 0-5 years old, this is a good and maybe even great thing!


While going through school, I focused on YA lit and services in the public library, so this is essentially what I have been wanting for the last 5 years. Alas, I am still quite nervous. But here we go anyway. This shouldn’t have much of a change in the blog…EXCEPT…My attempt to post my storytime plans will end, as I won’t be making new ones. I may try to add in some of my teen programming, but for the most part this will probably remain book reviews. Hopefully, my very few and faithful followers will be okay with this.
So here’s to something new! Wish me luck!

Posted in Uncategorized, Young Adult Lit

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys

25614492Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys
2016 by Philomel Books
ISBN – 9780399160301
Genre – Historical Fiction
Age – High School
4.5 Stars

Nearing the end of World War II, thousands of refugees gather to flee East Prussia. An unlikely group meets on the way and decides to continue their travels together. A young girl who was raped by Russian soldiers, and is at full term pregnancy, a German Soldier gone AWOL, young nurse, a young boy, and a shoe peddler are among them. As they struggle to make it to the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship traveling across the Baltic Sea towards Kiel, they learn to trust one another, and draw strength from each other. They learn that their strength comes from the group not the individual. As more than one tragedy strikes, they fight for each other, as much as for themselves.

This book will break your heart more than once, put it back together, and then smash it to pieces again. It is a beautifully written historical fiction novel that addresses an event that many people have never heard about. Sepetys builds characters and relationships masterfully. She expresses feelings and emotions deeper than most any young adult novels. She shows us that love can be beyond physical attraction and lust, but sometimes that’s included. She paints her story with emotions that somehow seem to go beyond the words that she writes. Its as if I am there, feeling all the feelings. The story behind the book is one of the most tragic of WWII, and she describes it with sensitivity and seeming accuracy (I am not an expert on the subject.) This is my new favorite by this author, and if you have read her other books, you will know that this means a lot. Also, if you haven’t read her books, you should.