Gypsy Boy (Review)
reviews* / October 10, 2012

Title: Gypsy Boy Author: Mikey Walsh Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 288 Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Source: Purchased from the bookstore in Gatwick Airport From the cover: Mikey Walsh was born into a Romany Gypsy family. They live in a secluded community, and little is known about their way of life. After centuries of persecution, Gypsies are wary of outsiders, and if you choose to leave you can never come back. This is something Mikey knows only too well. Growing up, he didn’t go to school, he seldom mixed with non-Gypsies, and the caravan became his world. It was a rich and unusual upbringing, but although Mikey inherited a vibrant and loyal culture, his family’s legacy was bittersweet, with a hidden history of violence and grief. Eventually Mikey was forced to make an agonizing decision — to stay and keep secrets, or escape and find somewhere to belong. Gypsy Boy shows, for the first time, what life is really like among the Romany Gypsies. A surprise #1 bestseller in Great Britain, this is a one-of-a-kind memoir of a little-seen world, one both fascinating and heartbreaking. I have to admit that, as a Canadian who had never been to Europe until last year, I know next to nothing about…

Rebels by Accident (Review)
reviews* / September 10, 2012

Title: Rebels by Accident Author: Patricia Dunn Publication Year: 2012 Pages: 274 Genre: Fiction, Young Adult Source: E-review copy from the publisher, through NetGalley From the cover: A troubled teen sent to Cairo finds that revolution is everywhere — including in herself. When her first party ends in jail, Mariam thinks things can’t possibly get worse. But when her parents send her to her grandmother in Cairo, she is sure her life is over. Her Sittu is Darth Vader’s evil sister, and Mariam is convinced that the only sights she’ll get to see in Egypt are the rooms in her grandmother’s apartment. It turns out her Sittu’s not so bad. They ride camels by the pyramids and ice skate at a mall. “Sometimes a moment can change your life,” her Sittu says, but it can change the life of a country too. When a girl named Asmaa calls the people of Egypt to protest, Mariam finds herself in the middle of a revolution, running from tear gas and guns. Oh yeah, and meeting the cutest guy she’s ever seen. Falling in love for the first time. And having her first kiss! When I went to Egypt back in the spring,…

Push (Review)
reviews* / April 9, 2012

Title: Push (later changed to Precious) Author: Sapphire Narrator: Bahni Turpin Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 192 (audio length: 5 hours 8 minutes) Genre: Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: For Precious Jones, 16 and pregnant with her father’s child, miraculous hope appears and the world begins to open up for her when a courageous, determined teacher bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings and set them down in a diary. Like most other people, I noticed the hype surrounding this book shortly before the movie version, Precious, was released. It seemed interesting at the time, though over-publicized, so I waited. And a few months ago, I finally stopped waiting and read it. Push absolutely sucked me in from the first sentence. The way that Precious just lays everything out there right from the beginning was enthralling and horrifying at the same time; I couldn’t even begin to fathom the anguish that the character had gone through before the point where the book picks up. The language in the book is raw and honest, which gives an even better indication of the narrator’s mindset than anything else could. There’s something…

The Thirteenth Tale (Review)
reviews* / March 22, 2012

Title: The Thirteenth Tale Author: Diane Setterfield Narrators: Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner Publication Year: 2006 Pages: 432 (audio length: 15 hours 41 minutes) Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction Source: Purchased audiobook version from Audible.com From the cover: All children mythologize their birth…So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain. Disinterring the life she meant to bury for good, Vida mesmerizes Margaret with the power of her storytelling. Hers is a tale of gothic strangeness, featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, and a devastating fire. Struck by a curious parallel between their stories, Margaret demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them. The Thirteenth Tale is a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and…