Posted in Reviews

How to Become a Planet Review

How to Become a Planet by [Nicole Melleby]


Named after a planet, Pluto for summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium to see her namesake planet. The trip is the launch of her favorite season into her favorite season which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.
A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.
Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.
She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.


This book was a great representation for anxiety and depression. It also did a good time showing recovery from a mental break down, the fact that recovery isn’t linear and that some times things have to change not because you had a breakdown but because they were wrong in the first place. My absolutely favorite character is Pluto ‘friend’ Fallon. I also think that Pluto helping them completing their list. Really helped Pluto with her depression and in the end helped Pluto ask some hard questions she needed to ask of her parents.

Finally I love how certain things were just accepted and nothing was said about it and I wish we lived in a world like that.

Amazon: How to Become a Planet

Posted in Uncategorized

This one for the Girls: Summer New Releases

Almost Flying

Almost Flying by [Jake Maia Arlow]

Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But when her dad suddenly announces that he’s engaged, Dalia’s schemes come to a screeching halt. With Dalia’s future stepsister Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the girls to spend the last weeks of summer bonding–meaning Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months. Luckily Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she joins Alexa on her trip and brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani

Amazon: Almost Flying

Samira Surfs

Samira Surfs by [Rukhsanna Guidroz, Fahmida Azim]

Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There’s before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama, baba, and brother, there’s before Samira saw the Bengali surfer girls of Cox’s Bazar, and after, when she decides she’ll become one.

Samira Surfs, written by Rukhsanna Guidroz with illustrations by Fahmida Azim, is a tender novel in verse about a young Rohingya girl’s journey from isolation and persecution to sisterhood, and from fear to power.

Amazon: Samira Surfs

To Tell You the Truth

Trixy needs a story, fast, or she’s going to fail the fourth grade—that’s a fact. But every time she sits down to write, her mind is a blank. The only stories she can think of are Gran’s, the ones no one else ever believed but Trixy gulped down like sweet tea. Gran is gone now, buried under the lilac bush in the family plot, so it’s not like Trixy’s hurting anybody to claim one of those stories as her own, is she?

That stolen story turns out to be a huge success, and soon everybody in town wants Trixy to tell them a tale. Before long, the only one left is the story she vowed never to share, the one that made Gran’s face cloud up with sadness. Trying to find a way out of this tangled mess, Trixy and her friend Raymond hit the road to follow the twists and turns of Gran’s past. Maybe then Trixy can write a story that’s all her own, one that’s the straight-up truth.

Amazon: To Tell You the Truth

Check out these great books featuring cool girls and other great heroines coming out this week!

Posted in Recommendations

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Review

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by [Cynthia Leitich Smith]


Ancestor Approved was a delightful collection that wove stories from talented storytellers and poets. It was edited by the wonderful award-winning and bestselling Cynthia Leitich Smith it shows hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. The event of Ancestor approved are all shown at the events at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.

Featuring stories and poems by:
Joseph Bruchac
Art Coulson
Christine Day
Eric Gansworth
Carole Lindstrom
Dawn Quigley
Rebecca Roanhorse
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Kim Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell,
Tim Tingle
Erika T. Wurth
Brian Young

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.


Ancestor Approved was woven together masterfully. I realized the book was an anthology, but once I caught on they were all happening at the same place (at about Rez Dog) it was magical now I want to go back and reread it to go back and spot the characters I missed in the earlier stories that I pick up in the later ones. There were so many good stories in here, but I think my favorite was the one about Bad Dog and Big Loon, because of the ending. Other favorites include the boy who couldn’t ‘read’ and the boy and girl at the raffle. Truly there wasn’t a story I didn’t like in the bunch and sped through this book in a few days.

Five stars loved the book and I would totally add it to my personal collection. Great book for your brain and your cultural understanding.

Amazon: Ancestor Approved

Posted in Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-ups

Cats, New RPGs, Pride Month

Sorry I didn’t post this weekend cats were the reason I was busy or should I say one cat specifically. My Sweet albeit very feral cat Cinnamon is sick. I thought I could catch her yesterday, and I didn’t and felt like a real failure afterward, now I’m realizing this is going to have to be a long game. I guess I just thought I had a good enough bond with her I could do it easily, but now I know I was being unrealistic. But never fear it’s not all bad news, the cat is getting to the vet one way or the other we are just going to have to be tricky, and stubborn just like cats are.

I was also just kind of depressed about Cinnamon and what happens if we don’t catch her in time to treat her condition. We are going to get a feral trap today, so hopefully we are headed in the right direction still I worry about my sweet little feral baby.

In happier news, I’m just starting Horizon Zero Dawn so I can play the new one when it comes out. The puzzles are a little tougher than what I’m used to so I’m using guides. Also, I’m just not a very talented gamer, I’m more there for the story. But I ended up loving the combat system in Dragon Age 3, so I could love the combat system once I get into it a bit more. The puzzles so far have just been tough and I’m only at the beginning lol. However, it is the newest RPG I’ve played so SO pretty.

Also if you are listening universe Dragon Age 4 release date like before I turn 35.

Last but not least I’m trying to read as many books as I can for Pride Month, and I’m also doing the Read Your Gays readathon. I’m trying to read about a little bit of everyone and stories I’m not familiar with. For example, I haven’t read a lot of books on non-binary folx, so I’m trying to make that one of my goals this month.

Posted in Feature

Pride Month Readathon

Happy Pride Month! I try to read diverse books and as I’ve said before I’m not the hugest fan of Pride for various reasons, however, I do enjoy books with LGBTQIA+ characters especially with a happy ending.

This year I’m doing the Read Your Gay Challenges: Their theme this year is Queer Scouts. Which is ironic because I work at a camp for Queer Youth in July.

Prompts include: Camping Badge A book that takes place in the woods

Art badge: A book will an illustrated cover.

Bird watching badge: A Book with a Bird on the cover

Emergency preparedness badge: A dystopian or survival story

Nature Badge: A book that takes place in nature.

Posted in Book Festivals

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block, in a Book Festival panel you’re bound to find at least one panel on the topic. The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival had a few of them, the one I attended were with panelists Rachelle Delaney famous for her book, The Circus Dogs of Prague. Alex de Campi, famous for her large bibliography in comics. Finally Jen Calonita famous for her work on Disney’s Twisted Tales as well as

Moderator: Do you have any rituals when it comes to writing/writer’s block?

de Campi: Don’t be precious. Write when and where you can. Don’t think you just have to write on your sofa at a certain time. If you can find time to write use it.

Calonita; Some days you just have to make it work. Some day once you’re a professional writer you just have to sit down and write even if you don’t want to because it’s your job.

Delaney: Accepting that some days you just can’t make writing work.

de Campi: Get to it when you get it, but the starring out the window is always important too don’t be afraid to do other things to keep your brain inspired.

Moderator: Do you keep notes to help with writer’s block?

de Campi: Yes

Calonita: Post its.

Delaney: Paper notebook notes app.

Moderator: How do you get to a place where things need to be but the story won’t go there?

de Campi: Outline messy sketchy but don’t get stuck in it. You can always fix it later.

Moderator: How do you discover the end of the book as you are writing the book?

Delany: Outline, reoutline as you are writing

Calonita: Think about the saggy middle and how you are going to solve that problem.

de Campi: Plot is what happens. Story is why it happens. Also spend more time in the emotional life of the characters.

Calonita: Write straight through.

de Campi For the first draft of your story.

  1. Forgive yourself and move on.
  2. Don’t make the beginning perfect.
  3. Get used to ending your story.
  4. Put your first book in a drawer for three months and leave it alone.

Calonita: I describe too much in the first draft

Delaney: Everything in you’re writing needs to serve the story.

Calonita: To be a writer you don’t have to write every day.

de Campi: Revise on paper it forces you to pay attention.

Calonita: How do big moments help story progress sometimes you have a big idea and small events and scenes come out from it.

de Campi: Have fun, do your own thing write to your own style, don’t write to the trend.

Calonita: Not every idea you have is going to be turned into a book.

Moderator: Do you find your writing influenced by readers?

de Campi: Your book is not for everyone. Never complain, never explain.

The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival

Posted in TBR

June TBR

What is everyone planning on reading for June? I’m going to put 4 books up here since that seems to be what I’m consistently reading. At this point, I’m aiming low and being happily surprised if I come out higher.

1)That Thing About Bollywood.

That Thing about Bollywood by [Supriya Kelkar]

Not sure if this counts because I’m already reading it but I’m going to count it anyway.

Amazon: That Thing About Bollywood

2) The Memory Thief

The Memory Thief (Blink) by [Lauren Mansy]

I’m really enjoying this book so far because of the magic system and political intrigue. I can’t wait to see what’s up next.

Amazon: The Memory Thief

3) The Sun Will Come Out

I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile so I’m going to try to find time for it in June

Amazon: The Sun Will Come Out

4) The Greystone Secrets: The Messengers

Greystone Secrets #3: The Messengers by [Margaret Peterson Haddix]

I’ve been a huge fan of this series and I can’t wait to read the conclusion.