#5Books: Book recs and the Climate Strike

I had a day off on Friday, one of those where over here if you work overtime, you collect hours and can take a day off — which Friday.

I ended up going to the Climate Strike in Sydney and followed a Uniting Church Group of grandmothers and grandfathers which some great signs to the march. There were so many kids with signs, and parents with kids and just a mix of people that was heartening to see. 

The Nobody People

When a group of outcasts with extraordinary abilities comes out of hiding, their clash with a violent society will spark a revolution—or an apocalypse..

Avi Hirsch has always known his daughter was different. But when others with incredible, otherworldly gifts reveal themselves to the world, Avi realizes that her oddness is something more—that she is something more. With this, he has a terrifying revelation: Emmeline is now entering a society where her unique abilities unfairly mark her as a potential threat. And even though he is her father, Avi cannot keep her safe forever.

Emmeline soon meets others just like her: Carrie Norris, a teenage girl who can turn invisible . . . but just wants to be seen. Fahima Deeb, a woman with an uncanny knack for machinery . . . but it’s her Muslim faith that makes the U.S. government suspicious of her.

They are the nobody people—ordinary individuals with extraordinary gifts who want one only thing: to live as equals in an America that is gripped by fear and hatred. But the government is passing discriminatory laws. Violent mobs are taking to the streets. And one of their own—an angry young man seething with self-loathing—has used his power in an act of mass violence that has put a new target on the community. The nobody people must now stand together and fight for their future, or risk falling apart.

The first book of a timely two-part series, The Nobody People is a powerful novel of love and hope in the face of bigotry that uses a world touched by the fantastic to explore our current reality. It is a story of family and community. It is a story of continuing to fight for one another, no matter the odds. It is the story of us.

A more contemporary version of the X-Men, without need to use Erik and World War 2 to highlight just how effed up we currently treat anyone that is other? I’d like to see an endless series of movies about people like this. 

Some Places More than Others 

Newbery Honor author Renée Watson explores a family’s relationships and Harlem—its history, culture, arts, and people.

All Amara wants is to visit her father’s family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can’t wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes’s home.

But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family.

This is a powerful story about family, the places that make us who we are, and how we find ways to connect to our history across time and distance.

For me, Harlem has never been separate from New York, not like this. As a result, its culture has never been distinct, has never been filled with the history that this story promises it will be.

The Women of Primrose Square

When Frank Woods at number seventy-nine Primrose Square comes home to a surprise birthday party thrown by his wife and adoring children, it is his guests who get the real surprise.

Finding himself alone, he befriends the cantankerous Miss Hardcastle, who hasn’t left her home for decades, and Emily Dunne – fresh out of rehab and desperate to make amends.

As gossip spreads through Primrose Square, every relationship is tested, and nothing in this close-knit community will ever be the same again . . .

I recently read a review of this book, and this blurb really does not do it justice. Everything Frank is going through, the decisions he’s made and the consequences of them to his family and having already read a bit of it, I can’t help but feel sorry for him, and admire him at the same time. Sort of.

Your House Will Pay

“With Your House Will Pay, Steph Cha has taken a dark moment in Los Angeles’s violent history and cracked it wide open, creating a prism of understanding—of the pull of generational violence and its enduring devastation, but also of the power of human grace against all odds. It’s a touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision that tore a hole through an entire city.” —Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts.

Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out.

Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same.

When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.

Complex characters and a complex situation, and you know how some books just make you pause and go woah? That’s this book for me.

The House of Brides

Jane Cockram makes her thrilling debut with this page-turning tale of psychological suspense in which a young woman whose life is in tatters flees to the safety of a family estate in England, but instead of comfort finds chilling secrets and lies.

Miranda’s life and career has been a roller-coaster ride. Her successful rise to the top of the booming lifestyle industry as a social media influencer led to a humiliating fall after a controversial product she endorsed flopped. Desperate to get away from the hate-spewing trolls shaming her on the internet, she receives a mysterious letter from a young cousin in England that plunges her into a dark family mystery.

Miranda’s mother Tessa Summers, a famous author, died when Miranda was a child. The young woman’s only connection to the Summers family is through Tessa’s famous book The House of Brides—a chronicle of the generations of women who married into the infamous Summers family and made their home in the rambling Barnsley House, the family’s estate. From Gertrude Summers, a famed crime novelist, to Miranda’s grandmother Beatrice, who killed herself after setting fire to Barnsley while her children slept, each woman in The House of Brides is more notorious than the next. The house’s current “bride” is the beautiful, effervescent Daphne, her Uncle Max’s wife—a famed celebrity chef who saved Barnsley from ruin turning the estate into an exclusive culinary destination and hotel.

Curious about this legendary family she has never met, Miranda arrives at Barnsley posing as a prospective nanny answering an advertisement. She’s greeted by the compelling yet cold housekeeper Mrs. Mins, and meets the children and her Uncle Max—none of whom know her true identity. But Barnsley is not what Miranda expected. The luxury destination and award-winning restaurant is gone, and Daphne is nowhere to be found. Most disturbing, one of the children is in a wheelchair after a mysterious accident. What happened in this house? Where is Daphne? What darkness lies hidden in Barnsley?

Does anyone else have a Bluebeard (?) Blackbeard(?) [The one who collects and kills his wives?] vibe from this? What secrets are in this house? And why are women who come here always more notorious than the previous one? Can I also just add, that I am also gleeful there is a book about women at the centre of this! 

What’s caught your eye this week??

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