Book Reviews

Read With Us: Justin Olaguivel

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry 

★★★★ 4/5

Solemn, Enigmatic, and Childlike

Although this Dystopian book is a sequel to The Giver and part of a quartet, it can be read as a standalone. A young, crippled girl named Kira has a gift, and this gift catches the attention of the community she lives in. Kira has to live with this newfound attention as she utilizes her gift for the community. However, she discovers some truths that will transform her forever.  

Even though the novel isn’t long nor is its writing complex, readers may enjoy the strange and mysterious atmosphere that Lois Lowry crafted. This atmosphere draws the reader in, not breaking its hold on them. I continually asked why Kira’s community was behaving oddly, and this constant questioning pushed me to continue reading so I can satisfy my curiosity. I liked not only Kira but also Jo and Thomas, and I waited for Kira to push past the doubt and hate she feels so she can value and love herself. In addition, Gathering Blue promotes fighting for what’s right and going against societal expectations. I highly recommend that people who enjoyed The Giver should give this book a try.

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown 

★★★★ 4/5

Brazen, Captivating, and Grim

A woman named Bellamy carries a painful memory that involves her sister’s death and a horrific tornado experience. When she grows up, she writes a book that garners her fame and recognition, but she eventually must confront the tragedy that she carries with her.  

This novel held my attention the moment I read the first few pages, and it became one of my most favorite mystery novels of all time. I would describe the storyline as a whodunit you would find in a drugstore but without the cheesy cover and blurb. In fact, the beautiful cover and intriguing blurb caused me to read the novel. The dialogue and description will keep you on your toes as you try to figure out the reason for Bellamy’s sister’s death. The partnership between Bellamy and a man named Denton can attract readers who want a partnership sprinkled with drama. Actually, I found all the characters to be satisfying in their own right. I didn’t expect the plot twist, and I had to stop and take it in before continuing to read again. I would recommend Low Pressure for readers who want to break from Young-Adult mysteries and step into mysteries aimed towards an older audience.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 

★★★★ 4/5

Melancholic, Amusing, and Inquisitive

A teenager named Lennie deals with her older sister’s death, her grandparents’ attempt to handle this loss, love, and her self-doubt as a musician in her band class.  

This Young-Adult novel has a vulnerable yet heartwarming sentiment. Lennie’s thoughts and emotions can reflect how a teenager feels when confronted with loss. This introspective atmosphere may set readers on their own introspective journeys as well; it’s okay to feel miserable and stuck in whatever trauma you’re in, and you should take the time to sift through it, make sense of it, and come to terms with it. When it comes to creating a female protagonist, Jandy Nelson did not disappoint me; I gave a damn about Lennie and wished the best for her. Besides Lennie, the novel features other characters who will either make you mad, laugh, or take pity on them. One of the novel’s messages to readers is to believe that they can do whatever they plan to do, even if it means jumping into the unknown. I recommend The Sky is Everywhere to someone who would be interested in exploring how grief can not only deter someone but open up new possibilities and opportunities for them too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.