Comics

Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted Review

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I like it. Not sure if I love it yet. I love seeing a version of Gwen Stacy shine. During this first volume, there are some split-offs. Like the Spider-verse comic happens in the middle. So I felt like a bit of development was missing I think as I haven’t seen her have to deal with that. Seeing another Peter Parker in Spider-verse does affect her visibly, though. In Spider-Gwen’s universe, Peter Parker dies trying to be a hero like Gwen and it is something that you can see will affect her for a long time. Loved the conversations she has in this with May and Ben. They are really a part of her life here.

This is all pre this comic starting which I appreciated. Didn’t feel like I needed a big origin story for her. She got bit by a radioactive spider. We get it. You know the story now move on. I liked that a lot. I feel like it worked for this. The Miles Morales comic I read recently was the same way. I think I’m starting to prefer things in media res for my heroes.

Gwen’s dad is a cop. In this volume, she struggles with her father because she is the vigilante he is supposed to be hunting. I think this will be really interesting going forward.

Spider-Pig exists and it throws me off so much. Like wow. Matt Murdock is a bad guy in this universe. Vulture is pretty hideous. Mary Jane Watson has a band called The Mary Jane’s with a song called Face it, Tiger.She also has such a mean girl attitude, to be honest. Earth 65 is so strange man.

Daredevil as a bad guy is sort of the best thing ever, though, like still blind, Same abilities. Just a total bad guy and I kind of loved it. It was amazing. Like lawyer for the Kingpin. Not to be messed with. Vulture was shaking in his boots. This is not a guy you should cross.

I think I love every Felicia Hardy but this one is so strange and an international star. I love it. Felicia and The Black Cats. I was rooting for her in this one.

Gwen gets many likeability points. Has a cat named murder-face. Is a drummer in a girl band. Like yes. The Mary Jane’s has more drama than One Direction but still. She hallucinates other Spider people. I don’t know how I liked that part but I think I did. It’s a good start. Excited to read more.

 

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Comics

Supernormal Step Vol. 2

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Everyone wants a piece of Fiona. Her heroic deeds in the last volume did not go unnoticed and now she has all the unwanted attention. Including two opposing groups that want Fiona on their side. The volume starts off with Fiona reluctantly having to change into her hero outfit and stop a robot while all she wants to do is get to work.

We learn a bit more about how Fiona learned her magic. It was a really quick flashback. I enjoy the way this comic does flashbacks. Here’s a little info. Now let’s get back to the now.

I still like Hall and Eva. Their boss probably has some ulterior motives but I’d likely take his offer if in Fiona’s shoes. If he really could maybe get me back home at some point. I really like Hall. Like the way he approaches things with Fiona is great. I think Hall is my new comic crush tbh. Can’t help it. It’s probably the hair. I love green.

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We get introduced to a new character. We see her first in a flashback helping Fiona learn magic. Cecelia comes with a lot more going on than I first thought. Em is an interesting character too. We learn more about them in this volume sort of.

The way Vampires talk in this book may be the most annoying thing ever. Like so hard to read. I got past it, though. Plus the result of that story cracked me up. Like I don’t even understand. The vamp saga in the last chapter was intense. A little more bloody than any of the other combat or story lines have been. Was a bit of a shock but fine. This was a big mission for the group to deal with.

Jim can only be the kickass human he likes to be when he’s nice to people. He’s a bunny a lot. It shouldn’t be that hard. He really does kick some major butt when he gets his human form together and can show how great he is at magic. He was a resourceful guy in the real world and it shows.

We learn quite a bit about Fiona, Van, and Jim in a pretty organic way. It made sense for the information to come out then. The team needed to understand each other better in order to work together. I was just happy to see more about her lessons from her father. It’s what I wanted to know about the most and it gave me so many more questions. Well, not questions. Just theories. Lots of theories. It’s also really interesting. So I need to keep reading.

So this volume gave me more badass female characters. Van and Jim have more to them than I thought. Hal’s plot is going somewhere interesting. I’m going to need to get used to this vampire speech maybe. Omg, I hope not. Fiona has more decisions to make. I’m excited to see more.

 

 

 

Comics, LGBTQIA+

Supernormal Step Vol. 1 Review

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Supernormal Step is about a girl named Fiona who one day gets sucked into another dimension or the parallel world. This world has mutants, talking animals, and magic users. I was really happy to find out this story starts off in media res. Fiona has been in this world for a while. She has some allies and has learned to use the magic of the world. Her allies are trying to help Fiona find a way back home and hide that she is the alien the government has been hunting down. Seeing her origins would have been good but I’ve seen a lot of stories with all the beginning parts like this. It was nice to just fall into it with this story. I also have heard that the character is Aro/Ace. It was my original reason for picking up the comic and I’m glad that I have.

The first volume covers the first three chapters. I wasn’t sure what type of journey Fiona would be going on but I’m starting to see remnants of a hero journey by the end of this volume. Fiona still wants to find her way home but while she’s stuck she starts to go against some of the teachings of her father. Fiona’s father and his teachings may be a big element going further. Fiona was homeschooled and I’m really wondering about her teachings. She knows things that honestly make her a good candidate for being dropped in another realm and on the run. She has some survival instincts. I’m excited to see more about her background.

I’m starting to like our main possible villains. Not sure if that is what the Hendersons will be in the end. Evan and her brother are fun characters. Their dynamics are really great. There are other quirky possible villain characters that I can see myself enjoying as well.

Fiona’s allies, in the beginning, are Val and Jim. They may be why she got sucked into this dimension in the first place. I don’t really get much from Val but he does seem to really want to help Fiona. He helps her figure out the world and I think he must have helped her figure out magic when she got there. Jim is a guy who is usually a talking bunny. It’s some kind of curse. I just loved the little angry bunny being around, to be honest.

This is a really solid intro to this world. I’m so excited to keep reading. Fiona is really intriguing. I wanna see what she has to face next and how she handles it. I want to see what happens with Jim and Val. I want to figure out how much Jim knows. I think that bunny is hiding some things.  Just excited for more Supernormal Step. Let me know if you’ve read the comic and what you thought of it below.

Comics, diverse books

Spider-Man: Miles Morales Vol 1

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I feel like this is a great introduction to Miles Morales if you don’t want to start at the ultimate version.This version is really different with some big character changes but similar in some ways as well. I have only read one other comic Miles is featured in before. It was a team comic and the focus wasn’t really on Miles. It was great seeing more of Miles world. Brian Michael Bendis has been doing great things with the character.

Miles’ best friend Ganke reminds me so much of Ned from Spider-Man Homecoming. I feel like that made me like him automatically. Ganke does things in this story that made me want to see more of his and Miles friendship before this book. I had a moment where I was really questioning the choices Ganke made but I’m interested in seeing more of his and Miles friendship in future volumes of the comic.

Black Cat is one of my all time favorite Spider-Man characters. I was pretty happy to see her in this comic.  She’s so great. I need more Black Cat honestly. I wasn’t sure if Miles would be ready to face her in this. Even after facing down a demon that almost took out a large portion of the Avengers.

That was such a cool beginning to the comic by the way. Miles really showed that he holds his own as a hero. Then we got to see him interact with Peter Parker. Loved seeing the two Spider-Man together. I feel like Miles is really at a point where Peter was when he first started being Spider- Man. it’s great seeing Peter be the one to give someone that guidance they need.

I also really loved seeing Miles family in this. Miles is Black and Hispanic. His father knows that he is Spider-Man prior to the start of this comic which I really like. Don’t have to do a big reveal. Plus, it’s interesting to see how his father handles knowing his son is a superhero out putting himself in danger.

His mother, on the other hand, wants to know why his grades are slipping. Why he keeps missing classes. She calls her mother to come straighten him out and I don’t know if this family could be more relatable. like his grandma goes off and I was sitting there like I’ve seen this before. Why is this familiar? Hopefully, Miles can figure something out to explain his hero disappearances so that he doesn’t have to deal with his grandma coming down on him.

This comic also had an appearance from the wonderful Ms. Marvel a.k.a Kamala Khan. She is on a team with Miles so I hope that means we will get to see more of her in future volumes. Miles might also have a  bit of a crush on her. Very understandable I think. Don’t think that will really go anywhere knowing Kamala from her solo series but it will be fun to see him pining a little bit.

The art is really great too. A friend pointed that out first when I let them check out the comic. I feel like I’m really excited to get to the next volume. Hoping it arrives at my library soon. Going to pick it up right away. Pretty great set up for the next few volumes. I need to see what happens next.

 

Comics, diverse books, LGBTQIA+

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 Review

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Goldie Vance has some pretty great artwork. I really like the character design. The art is really colorful and Bold. I need to check out more comics that Brittney Williams has done illustrations for. Kind of want to do a post highlighting some artist of color from the comics I’ve enjoyed in the past. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing that.

From the first issue, I was intrigued. Goldie is a pretty great character. She’s a 16-year-old girl solving crimes and helping people out at the hotel in Florida that her father manages. It seems like she’s basically grown up in the hotel. She knows the language the staff uses and other things that it seemed like the private investigator (Charles) she works with didn’t know.

It seems like Goldie puts herself into the cases Charles gets sometimes. Charles trains her and in turn he gets use of her skills and to use her familiarity with the staff. Gave me a Veronica Mars vibe but much lighter in tone. I love Veronica Mars. It was fun to see Goldie’s process. She’s a good detective.  Goldie takes some risk s that pay off but also some that don’t. She takes some that she really shouldn’t take when she has a nemesis like Sugar Maple hanging around.

Sugar Maple reminds me a little too much of Cheryl Blossom. I was having flashes of the Archie comics when she was introduced. She’s going to be a thorn in Goldie’s side for a while. I can already tell.

The main cast is filled with people of color.  Our main character Goldie is biracial. We get to meet both of her parents in this story. They are divorced before the story starts and I wonder how often we will get to see her with each of them. Goldie’s best friend Cheryl wants to be an astronaut. She loves Alan Shepard. She’s a great asset to this little team. She has a wide knowledge set. I just love her character so much already so far.

Goldie Vance also has some LGBT representation. Goldie is queer. We see her crushing on a girl in the second issue in this volume. I really love when the comics give me gay.  I am so here for the gay that happens at the end of this volume too. It made me happy.  Don’t know if Goldie is a lesbian or bisexual yet but I’m just happy we have a queer person of color as the main character of this story.

 

 

Book Reviews, LGBTQIA+, Nonfiction

Note To Self by Connor Franta

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When I read A Work in progress I was surprised by how much I was able to get out of it. I’m always skeptical with memoirs written by younger people. Especially someone younger than I am if only by one or two years. I was again impressed by Connor Franta with this second book.

I like the way Connor tells a story. He has an open and honest feel to him. He states his opinions without them feeling like he’s trying to force you to agree with what he feels. He can look at moments of his life and in reflecting on them pull out a lesson that he gained or wish he knew at the time. He has a wiseness that is beyond his years.

Plus there is the photography. The photos in this book were extra striking. Like I wish I could take photos as good as the ones Connor takes. In some books with photography. The photos are glanced at and you move right on to the writing. I really stopped to look at the photos here. Especially when they linked in really well to the prose or poetry Connor had with it. By the way, Connor’s poetry was excellent in this book.I would read an entire poetry book from him. I was so there for it.

A lot of what Connor talks about in this book is really relatable for me too. I’ve talked about an experience that many queer people have in common in the past that Connor also addresses here. Having your first relationships, romantic or otherwise, in much later years than your straight peers. Possibly because you weren’t out or because you weren’t in an environment with anyone else to start those relationships with in your high school or college years.

Connor talks about experiencing that here and I could definitely relate to the way he talked about it. He wasn’t out in high school. He came out in the last few years. It’s a different experience just because of where you are in your life.  The emotions involved in those first relationships and the way you approach people you are interested in changes for people over time.Plus the way you experience break ups and heartbreaks. Connor experiences a major breakup while writing this book.

Connor experiences a major breakup while writing this book. The emotional devastation he experiences is written about in such a grabbing way. He’s just honest about what he was feeling and you can tell he hoped writing something would help him. I think anyone who has experienced a breakup that really affected them can relate. The poetry and photos in that section shined even more. This is a book where I could not contain my emotions as I read. I let out a bit of a scream at one point because I was relating and empathizing too much with what was happening.

Connor also talks about his experience with depression. He talks about his first time going to therapy. I love seeing people talking about these experiences and letting people know it is okay to do that. I think a lot of people don’t like the stigma associated with things and are afraid to talk about their problems. Some people are afraid to try therapy because of some of that stigma. I always appreciate seeing this in books. Loved seeing a real person talk about their experiences with it.

This was another excellent book from Connor. Excited to see what he does next. Just started listening to his curated music playlists on Spotify. They are so good. Plus, I am now checking out his Instagram whenever I can because those photos are just too good. Wishing him the best in his next few years. I hope he is able to keep growing and learning from life.

 

LGBTQIA+, YA

Girl Mans Up by M.E Girard

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I feel like this is an important book. I don’t think I was ready for how heavy the book would be. There is sexual assault (non-consensual kissing) and mention of sexual harassment that happened earlier in Pen’s life. There is Colby and all of his mess that happened in the story. The turmoil Pen goes through because of her family was so stressful to follow at times.

Johnny isn’t perfect but he does the right thing when he can. He’s a good brother. He’s really the only one in the family who constantly supports Pen being who they are. I appreciated his character. He was a hard worker who didn’t take anyone’s mess.

Blake is amazing.  I thought of Blake is pretty cool. Love how much of a gamer she is. I could ship Blake and Pen for sure. She supports Blake. She genuinely supports Blake. Then she surprised me by doing the right thing even when it would make Pen a little upset. She did something that would keep her safe.

She also supports Olivia without even knowing exactly what happened to Olivia. I love girls supporting other girls in stories. There are just great female friendships presented here. It made me so happy to see.

Blake’s parents are also pretty amazing. There is one particular scene where I loved seeing the way they interacted with her and the way they interacted with Pen. It was a great contrast to Pen’s family.

The story talked a lot about other’s expectations when it came to gender expression. Pen’s parents worry because of what other people will think constantly. Pen worries at the time. At the end, I feel like Pen is able to start focusing on who she is and not on who other people want her to be or thinks she should be. It made me think about those expectations as well.

 

 

 

Shakespeare

Richard II – Shakespeare Review

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I really don’t talk about classics enough so I think it’s time to talk about some of the Shakespeare I’ve read this year. First my most recent read. Richard II. I’m gonna be honest with you. I picked up my Complete Pelican Shakespeare just because I wanted to read Richard Ii this time around. I knew I wanted to see the movie because one of my favorite actors play Richard II. I’m obsessed with Ben Whishaw and so I needed to get through the play before watching the film.

I have to say the play did make me pretty excited to see the film. Richard II was another ruler who became too focused on the things that ruling brought him.  He makes some decisions that seem unjust. These actions ultimately lead to him being usurped of his throne. I didn’t fully see Richard as a bad guy in this. He seemed misguided by his notions. The belief that God chose him to rule affects things.

I love Shakespeare’s morally gray characters. Richard makes decisions that don’t really seem at all planned. I really don’t think Richard thinks ahead to the consequences his actions could have or cares. All his decisions are the right ones to him. He sees himself as God’s chosen king. God can’t be wrong so neigh can any of Richard’s actions. It’s probably a fun way to rule. Richard definitely seemed to enjoy it while it lasted. I feel like He’s such a complex character. I really enjoyed following him in this story.

When he banishes Bolingbroke he is somewhat backed into a corner with not many options. I was really rooting for Bolingbroke, though. I love a good revenge story. Take back your fortune and the crown too since everyone is backing you for that now.  he just wanted what was rightfully his. I find it ironic that Richard uses this ideology to convince himself of all the decisions he makes being righteous in order to take away what is rightfully someone else.

I have to question why the people are so quick to rally to Bolingbroke’s side. There are the unjust decisions to look at but I wonder about other things with Richard. He is a King that shies away from violence or sentencing people to death. Instead, he will banish people. At times where it would be best for him to kill them outright. He would have kept his throne much longer if he got rid of Bolingbroke instead of letting him flee for instance. I don’t even fully know where I’m going with this but I just would love to see more theories about Richard and his council.

I love Shakespeare’s language. This play was not an exception. Really nice sounding lines. I can’t wait to watch thew movie and see what the actors do with this play. Especially excited for some of the speeches. The last monologue we get of Richard in particular. So excited to see Ben Whishaw’s delivery.

 

 

diverse books, YA

One of Us is Lying Book Thoughts

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I read the concept and immediately thought Breakfast club but with murder. It’s the murder club. I was so excited. It’s on my most anticipated reads list for the year. The Breakfast Club is my favorite movie that contains no queer characters. My top 10 films consisted of all LGBT films and The Breakfast Club. it’s been like that since I first saw the film. I also have really enjoyed YA mysteries and thrillers recently So I was so very excited for this book and I gotta say I wasn’t disappointed.

Sure there were cliches. I kind of expected that with the Jock, criminal, brain, and princess walk into detention thing.The bookish tropes were more of a giveaway of things. On the back, it says Everyone has a secret right? These characters have many. There were also so many layers to these characters.  Yeah, I could guess some of them. Likely before I should have been able to but I still enjoyed it a lot.

The mystery was good. Simon’s killer didn’t elude me forever. The killer was one of my theories. I just had a lot of theories, though. I suspected all of the main four at some point. Even though I love our murder club they are sketchy. I suspected the teacher. I suspected side characters we meet for only small amounts of time. I had a lot of suspects with this one. One of them was right but I gotta say the result was still surprising. This book went in ways I didn’t expect. The way their peers and the media reacted to them was surprising at times. The information is laid out in a nice way. I felt like the pacing was great.

Cooper’s big secret was the only one that was a bit of a letdown. Only because I guessed it about 20 pages into the book. The big secret of his doesn’t get revealed until the very end of the second part. He has some secrets before that but it’s his big one. I genuinely think it was supposed to be a big twist/turn and it was kind of like yeah I’ve known this for over 200 pages. What’s next? I will say that I think me guessing that had more to do with my particularly reading taste. It’s a trope I’ve seen a lot of so I saw the signs even when they were really small and so much else was going on. I do like Cooper. I see the pressure his father put on him with athletics. The only reason I’m not talking about the secret is that I really am not sure that others were able to guess as early as me or if I was supposed to be able to. It was a nice touch really so I can’t even fault the story on that.

Nate’s story was also a bit more cliche than I thought the girls were but It’s fine. Nate’s cool. He has a pet lizard named Stan, which is awesome. So I can ignore cliche book tropes.  I kind of felt like we didn’t get as much time with Nate as we did the others. I feel like, for the most part, we know what the others were thinking or wanted us to think. I also gave him an accent in my head and I have no clue where that came from. I realized it halfway through the book and I just rolled with it.

I don’t usually talk in depth about covers for YA books but I might need to. The cover was one of the things that made this book stand out when I was looking at new releases for the year. I like the paper cutouts. The red writing on front and back. Everyone has a secret right? It all looks goo until I get into the story and have to questions the people used. Bronwyn is half Columbian and the girl representing her on the cover is not how she is described at all. They made a point to contrast Bronwyn and her sister Maeve. It just felt like an odd choice. I also started reading g up more about whitewashing in covers. It’s something I’ve noticed before in M/M romance but never saw how prominent it was elsewhere. It just bothered me a bit. I’ll add that don’t think the other characters are good choices either from their descriptions in the book.

Seeing Bronwyn shift as she gets more wrapped up in this case, was great. I really liked her character from the get-go. The way that her race played into things made sense. I think the reactions from other people, the way the media treats her family as the case gets more buzz, and the way her father is all made a lot of sense. I also like that Maeve and Bronwyn were supposed to speak Spanish when they were at home. We get a bit of that. I would not have minded seeing that a little more.

Addy arguably changes the most. I feel like she is able to become who she should have been all along over the course of this book. At first, she was my least favorite of the murder club but I gotta say my opinion about her really changed as we went through the book. I was actually rooting for her to not be the killer after the second part. At page 100 I wouldn’t have totally been okay with her being the killer. Like I didn’t care but the turn around was fast. I was in her corner after a while.

I really thought this was fantastic. It’s honestly a book I’d read again even knowing who the killer is. I read this from the library but it’s definitely going on my books to buy list. Hope I can get myself a copy of it somewhere down the line. Check out the playlist I put together with songs that reminded me of the book or I listened to while reading.

Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/123126892/playlist/6DiAeGF9fAeiCOPoVaNVGJ

 

LGBTQIA+, YA

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

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I’m in love with this book. It’s definitely my favorite read of the month right now. We follow three characters on the day of the terrorist attack on the two towers in New York. These are three teenagers that live in New York and all experience this event in different ways. I always think Levithan does an amazing job with alternating chapters. These three characters seem like they have no connection at first but all know each other in some way. Gave me Realm of Possibility feels. I liked it. It was able to take you through their experiences on the day of the event then go on to inspire the reader and lift them up.

Claire is a great character. From the first chapter in her perspective, I knew her experience with everything would be different. Claire’s personal journey is really well written. You know that her experiences on 9/11 are going to change her but I didn’t expect the extent that it does. She has some of the more intense passages in this book for me as she’s trying to figure out what to do. How do you move on as a city after something like this? As a country?

There is a moment in the opening of the book where I realize how strong Claire can be. She really holds it together for her younger brother and the kids in his classroom. When she lets herself feel and these intense moments come later and when she lets herself say what all she is feeling to one of the other characters it’s really wonderful. Claire puts in whatever effort she can to make things better in the world. I honestly love this character so much. Claire finds a connection to other people. She seeks out others who are affected in the way that she is.

Two of the three main characters in this book are gay. I didn’t know that going in but it’s a David Levithan book so I should have expected a little gay. Was very happy to have it.  Peter and Jasper are both great characters. They both change a lot because of the events of 9/11 like Claire do. Even if they are in completely different ways.

Peter is so hopeful and innocent in the beginning to me.I really get that impression.He’s the type of character I root for in books. He’s a gay guy who was just super excited about going on a date with a guy he met at a party. He was just hoping for a great experience with someone he’d awkwardly flirted with at a party. Then he runs down the street from his favorite store and sees the first tower of the World Trade Building collapse. His immediate disconnect from what is his norm there was poignant. He isn’t able to play his music when he walks toward school. I loved that part of Peter’s process. His grieving or finding a way to move on process involved music. Music can really help people get through things. I find that so relatable. Music is a big part of my life. His experience at a concert a few days after 9/11 was so nicely written. The camaraderie of the people who still showed up to this show was beautiful.

Jasper wakes up on the day of 9/11 to a phone call from his parents who are visiting his grandmother in Korea. I feel like Jasper is in some ways the most lost of the three characters. I feel like Jasper isn’t sure of his place in things before 9/11 happens. He seems like he’s waded through life. He hasn’t lived much or decided who he is or wants to be. I feel like thinking about all the lives lost really impacts him. Jasper even feels separate from what other people around him are feeling because his experience on 9/11 was very different from most of the people that he knows. It’s definitely different from Peter and Claire. Even though he lives in New York he experiences a lot of the after effect.he doesn’t see the planes hit. He’s not on the streets trying to get away from the wreckage or worrying about where his family is. He’s safe. His parents are away. He doesn’t know what to do or how to feel. As the story goes on I really started to like Jasper and the changes I saw in him.

I can’t even explain what I felt about Jasper and Peter fully. I shipped it so hard but also so hesitantly. Having a first date the day after 9/11 is not the best sign. I still wanted it to work so bad. I love both of the characters. I said before that I could see all these characters were somewhat lost after what happened. Jasper and Peter needed different things in order to find themselves again.Things they needed to find separately. Still, they are able to help each other in small ways. They are so different at the end of the book than they are at the beginning and I love them.

Claire bridges the gap between the three main characters of this book. I feel like she brings the group together. They all know each other in passing small ways. I feel like Claire ultimately is the force that brings three people who need each other together. They find something special. All three of these characters gain something from each other. Something they need to help them along on their journey. Claire really is able to glue them together over time. She keeps that connection to both of them because it’s something she needs. These are two people who have helped her by just listening and understanding. All three characters are different people by the end of the book.

This book left me in a light mood. It was so hopeful. It made you have faith in people. It’s truly excellent. Really happy I finally got around to reading it. I was hesitant because of the topic and I had taken out from the library once in the past without ever picking it up. I’m so glad that I did not do that this time. I definitely recommend you give this book a chance.