Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summertime

It's summertime and the living is ... busy.

Between work, family obligations, and you know, life ... I'll be taking the summer off from the blog.

Expect me back sometime in August with more book reviews, writing tips, and library stuff.

Have a great summer!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rapture Practice Book Review

Title: Rapture Practice
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0316094658

400 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

Aaron Hartzler is a good kid. He loves Jesus. He honors his mother and father. He doesn't go to movies or listen to rock music. He believes with all his heart that Jesus will return in the Second Coming and the faithful will fly up to heaven to meet Him in the Rapture.

And then Aaron becomes a teenager.

Rapture Practice is a memoir by Aaron Hartzler, the son of a preacher man, who learns that belief needs to come from yourself and not from your parents.

I get Aaron Hartzler. I grew up in a Catholic family that switched to evangelical Christian when I was 12. My parents weren't as strict as Aaron's. We went to movies. We owned a television. But we prayed in restaurants before eating our meals. There was a big family meeting when my parents wanted to throw out my comic book collection, but I eventually convinced them that comics told stories about good defeating evil (and thanks to my sister, Susan, for siding with me).

So I appreciated Aaron's story of growing up in a super-strict religious family who only wants the best for him. Who loves him and wants to him to go to heaven. And if he doesn't do exactly as they believe he should, he's disappointing them. And probably going to hell.

The beliefs that Aaron has a child are tested as he becomes a teenager, and he sneaks to the movies and keeps a secret collection of forbidden music (such as Amy Grant and Wilson Phillips). He keeps pushing the boundaries further and starts drinking and making out with girls. Eventually, he's found out, but it's part of his journey of learning who he is and what he really believes.

Aaron shares his story with humor and love. He doesn't mock his Christian family and friends. He has respect for who they are, even if he may no longer believe everything that they do.

I highly recommend Rapture Practice to readers who are questioning, both their faith and their sexuality. Aaron is gay, although his coming out story is not included in this book. I suspect a second book will cover that. But in Rapture Practice, he is certainly thinking about sexual expectations and what they mean to him.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Reader's Corner - May 2013 Update

"I better start hoarding peanut butter."
And so summer begins!

Again, I haven't had much time to do much reading, but I have started Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler, and that has been so much fun.

On the audiobook side, I listened to The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It's a fantastic audiobook and a good, creepy story about a girl who's the daughter of a psychic and a group of boys at a private school who are looking for the tomb of an ancient king. And it's one of the Sync audiobooks this summer, so you can listen to it for free!

The other audiobook I listened to was The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. It's an end-of-the-world story where the end isn't a bang, but a whimper. The year Julia turns 12, the Earth starts slowing on its axis. The days and nights become longer. Birds die off. Crops fail. Suicide cults form. But the story centers on Julia's perspective as a girl on the brink of adolescence, living in a suburb in California, and how The Slowing affects her world. The best friend who leaves her. The cute boy who finally talks to her. The parents who show more panic and frailty than they mean to.

It's a quiet story, not a disaster of blockbuster proportions, but I liked Julia and her thoughtful, poignant voice.

The Age of Miracles book trailer:


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