Review: So Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy

So Much Synth first caught my eye back in April with its dynamic last line of the introducing poem titled, I Have a Time Machine“the past is so horribly fast.” I hurried on to request it from the publisher (Copper Canyon Press); and was beyond ecstatic and grateful when my copy finally arrived in my hands at the start of this month.So Much Synth- bookspoilsSubversions of idiom and cliché punctuate Shaughnessy’s fourth collection as she approaches middle age and revisits the memories, romances, and music of adolescence. So Much Synth is a brave and ferocious collection composed of equal parts femininity, pain, pleasure, and synthesizer. While Shaughnessy tenderly winces at her youthful excesses, we humbly catch glimpses of our own.

Though I caught myself feeling a bit over-my-head with some poems at the start, the pace and momentum returned with the piece “Is There Something I Should Know?,” which at a whopping 30 pages never lost me for even one sentence. It succeeds immensely in capturing numerous themes of adolescence over the course of time, including periods (“blood and mess and cramps and hormones”), Judy Blume, books, angst, anxiety, catcalling, body-image and more.

On that note, I think it’s best now if I let the words and pieces speak for themselves with these quote excerpts:

“Adolescence is all absolutes: if bad, one must be the very worst
to avoid being mistaken for average.”

“I’d hide and lose and seek and find myself in every page:
laughing, rereading and then re-rereading out loud, disbelieving the details till my system could absorb them like the nutrients they were.”

“I’m not even sure anything happened to me.
Or to whom everything happened.”

And the fact that I read “Oh god, is there any music as good as what you heard
at fourteen?” the day I rediscovered this emo band I used to listen to at exactly that age was astronomical for me. [gets war flashbacks from the emo days]

I think it goes without saying that So Much Synth was not only beautiful and raw but real and aware of pain.” And I’m eager to continue on with Shaughnessy’s past and future works.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: October 10th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying So Much Synthjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia O’Hara, Lauren O’Hara

Hortense hated her shadow. Everywhere she went, it went. Everything she did, it did. And every time night fell it grew, tall and dark and crooked.

So Hortense decided: the shadow must go! Only later, alone in the wolfish woods, she learned that a girl without a shadow is far smaller… a fairy tale about light and shadows. 

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump this week, so this swift picture book couldn’t have come at a more perfect time to save me. I was even more surprised to discover that not only was it full of brilliant and darkly illustrated pages, I cherished immensely the message it put across to its readers, both young and old. Plus, the rhyming was another key point for my adoration.

And here’s what I mean when I talk about how the art will leave you reeling:

Hortense and the Shadow 1-- bookspoils

Hortense and the Shadow 2-- bookspoils

Hortense and the Shadow 3-- bookspoils

Hortense and the Shadow 4-- bookspoils

Hortense and the Shadow 5-- bookspoils

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: October 5th, 2017

3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Hortense and the Shadow, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up by Adah Nuchi

“The Sisterhood needs to know!”

Exclaimer: As a big sister, but foremost as a female, I’m over the moon excited that guides like Adah Nuchi’s, full of girl power, exist in the world for all to read from young to old.

Based on the lively conceit that it’s written by nine older girls at a fictional summer camp who share their collective been-there, done-that experiences, Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up is a puberty book with a twist, an entertaining, up-to-date, supportive guide that covers the head-to-toe changes that young girls go through as they grow up.

Bunk 9's Guide to Growing Up 1-- bookspoils

I don’t know how, but before starting Bunk 9’s Guide I’d somehow forgotten for a minute there that my little sister is set to go through puberty pretty soon, just like all the youngins, which to be frank still blows my mind. So knowing that I now have the opportunity to share this noteworthy, feminist guide to help even a little in the near future is something that definitely takes the weight off my shoulders.

“One of the best things about womanhood is sharing your experiences with other women…”

This realistic and all-inclusive read feels like a mix for fans and young readers of Judy Blume and Rookie Mag. That is to say: it’s a great way to start the conversation between parents/ guardians and their kids going through puberty. I truly wish I had something similar to rely on in my times of heavy confusion in everything relating my life during puberty. This felt like some much-needed closure. So I’m thankful for the umpteenth time for the existence of Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up with its pun-worthy title chapters and it being out there for readers in need.

Conversations circling the topics of puberty, hygiene, breasts, menstruation and the reproductive system, boys, health, and feelings… We also have mentions of period parties, treating pimples/zits/acne, social media, crushes and hormones, and how to “get through friendships, parents that drive you crazy, and new crushes…” Bunk 9's Guide to Growing Up 2-- bookspoilsI’m beyond excited and grateful with every fiber of my being that this fun, comforting, and enlightening read is out there ready to give you the support you need.

And to end this review, I’d like to share this fitting and hilarious Christine Sydelko vine on puberty:

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: December 19th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!