Home Home (A book review)

My first thought after reading this book is that nothing is better than a cute boy, the cutest boy you ever saw to produce serotonin to combat depression. It’s so simple it should be patented.

Home Home is a quick read, that addresses so many important issues. The most important is that it brings depression to the fore through the eyes of a teenager. It’s a glimpse into a world most of us do not know about and the sensory descriptions are excellent.

This book was equally wonderful and frustrating for me to read at times.

The book looks at homosexuality through the foreign lesbian aunt who is in a permanent relationship and takes on the care of her niece. It looks at migration as the book is set in Canada, Trinidad is portrayed as a backyard minded small island as opposed to the first country beliefs of Canada, for which I cringed, but I had to remind myself that it was from a bias teenage perspective. The book looks at parenting, bad parenting from a mother who never understands, but who understands enough to give up her role in difficult times despite her prejudices. I felt sad for the mother and daughter who were destined to never reconnect. The only two people in the book whom parenting seemed to come naturally to, are the ones who had no children. I read almost in horror the onset of a relationship for a boy whose mother has already influenced his dating preferences. The book takes a look at what depression does to families, friendships and relationship and it’s a vicious cycle.

Our protagonist lives in a reality one day at a time, that’s either too blissful or too sad. The chaos of the book poignantly depicts the affect of depression on a mind and lends itself to be placed among the few meaningful books on the subject matter.

Home Home

I received this book through Caribbean Books Foundation R2R initiative.

2017 Finalist Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature
When a depressed Trinidadian Teenager gets sent to Canada, she is helped to recover by her lesbian aunt, a gorgeous looking boy, and her best friend back home. Home, Home brilliantly describes the pain of mental illness and how loving families can come in unexpected shapes and sizes.
Publisher: Papillote Press

Do you have a great novel, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18?

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions is now open.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. You can be the next winner.

 

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The Art of White Roses (A Book Review)

This book jumps off the page at you. It’s colorful, nearly real life depictions of that village and city stays with you. Wow!

The setting is old Cuba before Fidel Castro gets into power, the government is shady, the rebels have heighten their activities and university students from the village are disappearing and being found suspiciously dead or never to be heard from again.

The leading family is a mixture of personalities, Pinquino is the son who hates school while Adela hopes that school will bring her a better life. The grandfather listens to the news constantly while his children cope with their marriage and family who tethers on the edge of involvement. The parents especially the father, grapple with their life decisions which eventually has a irreconcilably affect on their existence.

The darkness of family relationships is exposed in this small group as the story looks openly at adultery, prostitution, crooked policing, murder and rape as they try to stay together and alive despite the betrayal of their own and the increasingly dangerous environment around them.

The book is rich with hope which envelopes its darkness and leads the reader on a journey of new beginnings.

The art of roses

I received this book through Caribbean Books Foundation R2R initiative.

The Art of White Roses is the 2017 Winner Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature
It is 1957, in a quiet Havana suburb. Adela Santiago is thirteen and lives in a small blue house with her family. But something is amiss. Students on her street are disappearing, her parents’ marriage seems to be disintegrating and a cousin is caught up in a bombing at a luxury hotel. Welcome to the revolution. Welcome to Cuba.
Publisher: Papillote Press

Do you have a great novel, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18?

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions is now open.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. You can be the next winner.

 

 

Book Review: The Protectors’ Pledge: Secrets of Oscuros

Another great review.

The Protectors’ Pledge: Secrets of Oscuros by Danielle Y.C. McClean is the 2016 third place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

JV is an adventurous eleven-year-old boy on vacation from school. He lives with his grandmother who is the quintessential Caribbean granny; she loves to feed everyone who comes to her house. She is also the ‘medicine woman’ in their village.

JV has plans of exploring the forest for the vacation, he is very excited, but his grandmother and other villagers discourage him from doing so because of their suspicions and beliefs that the forest is the home of mythical/folklore creatures.

JV defies his grandmother and goes further into the forest that she has instructed him to. On his first visit, he goes with two friends, but they leave separately, and JV sees a strange woman in a river that makes him curious about who or what she was. He suspects that…

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Book Review: Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell

#CaribbeanBookReview #BurtAward

Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell is the 2016 second place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Fifteen year old Desma could not be more excited about her upcoming sweet sixteen birthday plans. She has also recently won a very prestigious scholarship that would give her the opportunity to become an Actuary.  Everyone is happy for her and her life is seemingly perfect until a boycott threatens to disrupt, even cancel her birthday lime at the local cinema.

A group named the Progressive Group has initiated opposition to segregation in Bermuda. At first, Desma is very annoyed at the disruption until several unsavoury incidents happen to her and her family. She changes her view and decides to do something about it.

This is another deserving book from the Burt Awards. This book can be of interest to children in primary and secondary schools. It shows the growth in Desma’s mindset when she…

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Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis

A BOOK REVIEW

Inner city girl

The strange thing about dialect is that it isn’t universal. It enriches a book for a particular market but sets it apart for another. Whenever I try to figure out what a “slang/colloquial” word may mean, it usually isn’t what it means. Months after in conversation I get that enlightened look and have to go back to the book.

Inner City girl started with heavy dialect. The conversation was rich enough to have me regretting I ever lent out my copy of “Cote ci Cote la.”

The book however would be nothing without it. The heavy dialect did more to frame the poverty than any other words. I could almost hear Martina’s mother’s slurs and understood Martina’s need to be different. The book outgrew the dialect as Martina grew: simple and subtle. The story was unique, a passionate advocate for overcoming life obstacles with determination. Another good read.

This review was completed through Caribbean Books Foundation review programme contact marsha(a)caribbeanbook.org.

Musical Youth by Joanne HillHouse

A BOOK REVIEW

musicalyouth

This was a sweet coming of age romance and I found myself saying awwww way too often.

Shaka is the guy who falls hard for his girl and his animated crew lives the romance with him. Zahara is complicated but the music frees her, each cord brings her to herself. Many times in Caribbean books you reminisce about how your childhood compared and Pappy was it for me: holding everyone and everything together with simple finesse that you didn’t even notice it. Grandparents are wonderful.

I have to admit that I was once weary of reading Caribbean fiction because they tend to get dark quickly and I don’t read book to be depressed. I am pleased to say that Joanne’s Musical Youth was refreshing and uplifting. Write on Joanne, write on.

This in no way takes away from the book but after reading the skin tone of the girl on the cover seemed off.

This review was completed through Caribbean Books Foundation review programme contact marsha(a)caribbeanbook.org.

All Over Again by A-dziko Simba Gegele

A BOOK REVIEW

alloveragain-fronthr

Growing up there must have been someone in your life to make you understand A-dziko’s words … “That is what he says and you wonder how that happens, how talking means you are a big man and not talking means you are a big man. And just as you are trying to figure out if you should keep quiet, or if you should talk or if you should run, out comes more unreasonableness.”

All over again captivated me and took me back years.

I laughed out loud and fell in love with each one of the characters. I will recommend this book to everyone not just Caribbean nationals because the theme is universal.

Growing up is a journey that is all yours and no one can live it for you.

Cheers!

This review was completed through Caribbean Books Foundation review programme contact marsha(a)caribbeanbook.org.