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Azalea, Unschooled by Liza Kleinman
Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear
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Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye
Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller
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The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein
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Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
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Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
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The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
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Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

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January inclusivity reading and shortening the gap in reviewing
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Because of the Sun: 01/20/17

Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez is a slim volume that takes The Stranger by Albert Camus as a starting point and weaves it into a quiet tale of a teenager who is lost after her mother is mauled to death by a bear.

Both books begin with the death of the main character's mothers. Both go on to explore their disassociation from reality, though Meursault's actions turn outwards and he ends up murdering a man on a beach for no reason. Dani's actions, though turn inwards, becoming potentially self destructive.

As she has no relatives in Florida and only a neighbor to stay with, Dani is taken to Columbus, New Mexico to live with an aunt she has never heard of. Her aunt lives is a too large house a town that is mostly desert and mobile homes.

In the background of Dani's life is the bear. He's always there watching her, waiting for her. She has internalized everything wrong with her life into the bear, made him something more than he ever was in that moment of mauling her mother. Perhaps, it is the bear who is Meursault.

Dani copes by walking in the heat of the summer sun until she faints. She's fortunate to have neighbors who care. It is on her first outing that she meets Paulo and his grandmother. They have direct experience with loss, violent death, and grief. Paulo says of his grandmother that she can help a person grow a new heart.

Because the Sun is a quiet but compelling story — one that can be read over the course of a weekend, or in one very intense sitting.

Five stars

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