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Month in review

Reviews
Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson
Black Hammer Volume 2: The Event by Jeff Lemire
The Dark Lady by Irene Adler
A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong
Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening
Habibi by Craig Thompson
If You Find This by Matthew Baker
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
Koko Be Good by Jen Wang
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant
Locke & Key, Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
The Magician's Secret by Carolyn Keene
Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long
Patina by Jason Reynolds
Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone by Hiro Kamigaki
A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
Sabotage at Willow Woods by Carolyn Keene
Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 by N. Griffin
Speedy in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker by Molly B. Burnham
The Terrible Two Go Wild by Mac Barnett, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught
Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala
The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks
Welcome to the Real World by Angela Melick
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

Miscellaneous
December 2017 Sources
December 2017 Summary
Five stars in 2017
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 01)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 08)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 15)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 22)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 29)

Road Essays
The transformative power of the cornfield: magic in the Marvelous Land of Oz

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish


Now That You Mention It: 01/06/18

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins is about a doctor returning to her island home in Maine to recuperate after she's been hit by a van. Nora needs time to regroup after she overhears her boyfriend flirting with a nurse while she's in the emergency room. She suddenly feels the need to see her family and her home town even though she hasn't been home for seventeen years.

Emotionally Dr. Nora Stuart reminds me of Hattie Troutman, the protagonist and narrator of The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews. Like Hattie, Nora has a sister who is in trouble (in jail in Seattle) and a niece who needs her. Poe, though, isn't on her own like Thebes and Logan; she has her taciturn, self-reliant grandmother. Wrapped up in Nora's ambivalence is the story of why she left in the first place and why she hasn't been back. It involves a missing father, a college scholarship, horrific bullying, and a deteriorating relationship between sisters.

The novel is set in Boston and fictional Scupper Island. The island contains a small, self contained village that's big enough to have it's own high school but small enough to be reliant on the summer tourist trade. It sits among the other Calendar islands in Casco Bay. For convenient plot reasons, the island offers ferry service both to Portland, ME, and Boston, MA.

The island, though, could be any small, rural community within reach of a large, metropolitan area. This is the type of place at the heart of the road not taken road narrative, even though it's located on an island. Here, the water is the source of the isolation, with extra effort being needed to come to or leave the island.

Higgins populates her book (and the island) with some wonderful characters. There's Nora's mother who is the sentimental owner of a bird (Tweetie) who she treats better than her children, but could easily butcher a deer. There's Poe, Nora's blue haired, sullen teenaged niece who has a thing for sewing. There's Sullivan, who runs the docks where Nora is living; he's, the mostly deaf, potential love interest (if Nora can figure out her Boston boyfriend). There's Audrey, Sullivan's daughter who desperately wants to be Poe's friend.

All in all, it was a fun two-day read. It was one of those rare books that actually left me with a bit of a hangover, feeling like I wanted more book.

Five stars

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