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In Ghost Boys Jewell Parker Rhodes weaves the story of 12-year-old Jerome, a young black boy who is murdered by a white police officer while playing with a toy gun, invoking Tamir Rice and so many other young black boys who are shot down, choked, or beaten because they are perceived as a threat. The story is told from the point of view of Jerome’s ghost as he recalls the events leading up to his death and befriends Sarah, the daughter of his murderer and the only living person who can see him. Confronting racism and police violence is not easy and Ghost Boys doesn’t seek to make it so. Instead, it open space for conversations about power, privilege, and pain that are much needed. ~Kinsey
I'll be honest-- its' going to take a long time for you to get through this. Unless you're a speed reader or a robot, you'll spend a not-insignificant amount of your life holding this brick of a book. So is it worth it? In a word, yes. I can't overstate the sheer power that comes with being with characters-- hearing their thoughts, seeing their joys and sorrows, worrying about the outcomes of their decisions-- for over 1,000 pages. Hugo creates a world that is filled with people whose motivations, beliefs, and goals sometimes support each other, sometimes drastically conflict, and are always beautifully rendered through his prose. Although set in a particular historical moment, the novel's real focus is on human experiences. This is a brick that is guaranteed to move you.
Ever wonder what it's really like to be one of the nineteen Duggar children on the reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting? When Essie, the youngest daughter of a famous evangelical family, discovers that she's pregnant, she decides to put a plan in action that will dramatically alter the course of her life and the lives of everyone around her. Weir has crafted an engaging page-turner which explores the way faith, family, and social expectation can affect people in all walks of life, but especially young people. Her narrative weaves together the stories of Essie, a closeted boy who goes to school with her, and a reporter who as a child was a member of an extremist religious group. By the time you reach the heartwarming end of this book, you'll discover that each of these characters has found a way to live a life that is more true to themselves while still acknowledging the lessons of their pasts.
Hazel thought she was in for a 50 Shades level romance when she met tech titan Byron only to find her every move post-marriage monitored by cameras, sleep helmets, and other privacy-invading machinery. The last straw is Byron’s request that she install a chip in her brain, causing Hazel to flee his compound for the (relative) safety of her father’s trailer, moving in with him and his roommate - a recently purchased sex doll named Diane. In her quest to escape Byron, Hazel’s path eventually crosses with Jasper’s, a con artist with a disturbing affinity for dolphins. Made For Love is a weird and wonderful story that will make you laugh out loud, side-eye your smartphone, and reconsider the future of the human race all in an instant. -Kinsey