In this Unabridged Book Club episode, Jen, Sara, and Ashley discuss Aiden Thomas's Cemetery Boys, which has also been our buddy read for the month! We share our pairings for this one including Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After, Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy (trilogy), and Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite’s Dear Haiti, Love Alaine. We had such a great time discussing this one on Instagram and for the episode!
Jen - Emily Henry’s The Love that Split the World (Amazon)
Main Segment - October Book Club
Mentioned in Episode
The film Coco
Give Me One - One Book Character You’d Dress Up as for Halloween
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Ashley was reading . . .
Jasmine Warga’s Other Words for Home (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed.
"Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of 'Middle Eastern,' an identity she’s never known before.
"But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
"This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself."
Jen was reading . . .
Emily Henry’s The Love that Split the World (Amazon)
"Emily Henry's stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler's Wife and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we've left untaken.
"Natalie's last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start . . . until she starts seeing the 'wrong things.' They're just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a preschool where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn't right.
"Then there are the visits from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls 'Grandmother,' who tells her, 'You have three months to save him.' The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it's as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau."
Sara was reading . . .
Danielle Walker’s Food Saved Me: My Journey of Finding Health and Hope through the Power of Food (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"When doctors told Danielle Walker that food didn’t cause her autoimmune disease and couldn’t help control it, she set out to prove them wrong.
"Diagnosed with an extreme form of ulcerative colitis at 22, Danielle was terrified she’d never be able to eat all the wonderful, great-tasting foods she loved growing up or host warm, welcoming gatherings with family and friends. So when the medicine she was prescribed became almost as debilitating as the disease itself, Danielle took matters into her own hands, turned her kitchen into a laboratory, and set to work creating gut-healthy versions of the foods she thought she’d never be able to enjoy again. Three New York Times bestselling cookbooks later, Danielle has become a beacon of hope for millions around the world suffering from autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and chronic ailments.
"Now for the first time, with stunning transparency about the personal toll her illness took on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, Danielle reflects on everything she’s learned during her decade-long journey toward healing―including the connection between gut health and overall well-being, the development of her favorite recipes, and the keys for not simply surviving her autoimmune disease but thriving despite it. Through her resilience, Danielle tells a story that provides hope―hope that despite your ailments or hardships, you can live a full, happy, and healthy life without ever feeling excluded or deprived.
"Food saved Danielle Walker. And it can save you, too."
Main Segment - October Book Club
Our Book Club book this month is . . .
Aiden Thomas's Cemetery Boys (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
"When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
"However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave."
Ashley recommends . . .
Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"From Stonewall and Lambda Award–winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.
"Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
"When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle....
"But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve."
Jen recommends . . .
Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy (trilogy) (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"From the illustrator of the web comic Strong Female Protagonist comes a debut middle-grade graphic novel about family, identity, courage -- and magic.
"In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself. "
Sara recommends . . .
Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite’s Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"Alaine Beauparlant has heard about Haiti all her life…
"But the stories were always passed down from her dad—and her mom, when she wasn’t too busy with her high-profile newscaster gig. But when Alaine’s life goes a bit sideways, it’s time to finally visit Haiti herself.
"What she learns about Haiti’s proud history as the world’s first black republic (with its even prouder people) is one thing, but what she learns about her own family is another. Suddenly, the secrets Alaine’s mom has been keeping, including a family curse that has spanned generations, can no longer be avoided.
"It’s a lot to handle, without even mentioning that Alaine is also working for her aunt’s nonprofit, which sends underprivileged kids to school and boasts one annoyingly charming intern.
"But if anyone can do it all, it’s Alaine."
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