January and February Recap

My reviewing has been a bit slow recently and I’m sorry, but I have now made a goal to publish at least two book reviews a week. Also, my January reviewing list was quite poor so I’ve decided to do a January and February recap this time.

My favorites in these two months were definitely Wheels Of Change and Girl On A Wire. Below is the list of books that I have reviewed in January and February.

I was also really excited because Darlene Beck Jacobson, author of Girl On A Wire, sent me bookmarks and a signed bookplate as a gift for reviewing her book! For those of you who don’t know what a bookplate is, it is a sticker that says, “presented to ____ by Darlene Beck Jacobson” and then a personalized note at the bottom. This sticker is put on the very first page of a book which is the usually the blank one.

dgonzale_book cover_revised45 pounds, more or lessWhen You Reach MeWheels Of ChangeGirl On A WireNorth Of Beautiful


Hopefully, I can publish my Q & A of the Iliad soon!

Book Review: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (A Companion novel to Smile by Raina Telgemeier)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Graphic Novel

Age Recommended: 12 and up

I felt that this book perfectly shows the relationship between siblings and how their interactions affect their whole family. Raina Telgemeier also shows the feelings that involve four people living in an apartment, who are soon joined by a baby.

This book goes between “present time” and flashbacks a lot which may seem confusing but the flashbacks are illustrated on yellow paper and they are there at the most appropriate of times.



Raina and her sister, Amara, have always wanted pets. However, when they do finally end up getting pets, everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Three fishes die, and when the family realizes fishes are too sensitive, they get a chameleon. However, the crickets in the chameleon’s cage that are kept as food for the chameleon end up eating the chameleon instead!

Amara wants a pet snake but Raina plainly refuses because of her past experience of stepping on a dead snake. Soon after, Will, their baby brother, is born. The family no longer feels like they need a pet. Moreover, the three siblings have to share a room, and their parents soon decide that this arrangement won’t work.

The family doesn’t move out of the apartment but instead gives Raina a bedroom to herself, the smallest bedroom, and Amara and Will share the master bedroom, while the parents sleep on a pullout couch in the living room. Amara complains that this arrangement is unfair as Raina gets her own room and as a consolation, Amara gets that pet snake she wanted.

However, the snake refuses to eat frozen mice, and one day, after nearly biting Amara’s finger off, Amara and her mom decide to return the snake. The snake gets loose in the car, and the family can’t find it. Raina refuses to ride in her mom’s car until the snake is found.

One day, their mom is taking them on a road trip to visit their cousins. Raina puts up a huge fight not wanting to ride in her mom’s car as the snake hasn’t been found yet. She eventually agrees to go because it has been two months and without food, the snake would probably be dead anyway. The kids learn on the road trip that their parents are very close to getting a divorce.

Will Raina’s parents get divorced? Will the snake be found?

If you would like to read this book, you can buy it here: Sisters

Book Review: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Graphic Novel

Age Recommended: 11 and up

This book was very comical and beautifully explained the pain of orthodontia and the experiences associated with it- both good and bad. This book is also based on the author’s own experiences and I am surprised that someone’s life could be so eventful in (judging by number of orthodontic procedures Raina Telgemeier had to go through.)

This book also fit my 2015 Reading Challenge category of: “A book set in high school.”



Raina Telgemeier is a seventh grader who doesn’t really fit the ideal definition of “cool” and when she is running outside after a Girl Scout meeting, she trips and breaks her two front teeth. Raina visits an orthodontist who informs her that they must perform surgery as one of her permanent teeth has fallen out from the fall but her other tooth has actually been pushed up into her mouth.

When Raina has the surgery performed, she is not given the proper amount of anesthesia which leads to her feeling immense pain. She also has to get headgear to fix her teeth and goes through a deep gum cleaning which leaves her gums inflamed and swollen.

Later, Raina develops a crush on a boy in sixth grade. She doesn’t know however, that he is a sixth grader and when she tells her friend that she likes this boy, her friend then makes fun of her and tells the whole school that Raina likes a sixth grader. Raina eventually gets her headgear off but has to get braces and a retainer to push her teeth together so that the gap of the two missing teeth is no longer visible. Raina’s friends also make fun of her for having braces and “fake teeth” to cover up the gap in her mouth.

All is going well until Raina develops a crush on Sean, a kid in their grade, and realizes that she no longer likes the sixth grader. The sixth grader is heartbroken while Sean has no idea that Raina likes him.

Will Raina get the courage to tell Sean she likes him? Will she learn to stand up for herself?

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Smile