Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs is full of, well, peculiar characters that make a fun and lasting impression. Although honestly, the stories were a little too ‘young adult’ for my tastes, the storyline was highly creative and an overall enjoyable read. The use of real pictures was a fun connection to the real world to the fictional world.
Riggs was true to his audience, instead of writing a young adult novel that seems to be written to appeal to all he actually focused on the young adult. He deals with young love respectfully and isn’t afraid of all the insecurities that often come along with it. Riggs makes the characters relatable even though they have peculiar abilities. Similar to J.K. Rowling, he creates a ‘magical’ world that exists in secret. I would recommend this series to anyone who has enjoyed Harry Potter.
This peculiar tale is on the darker side and is greatly complimented by the equally peculiar and dark black cherry tea. If you are looking for a spooky tale to enjoy as Halloween approaches pick up this quick reading series.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is a moving tale about a lasting, possibly misguided, love. As one of the most complicated emotions or decisions, love is nearly impossible to truly grasp. The confusing nature of love is even more difficult for the young and unfortunately, they are the most affected by its sting. Gabriel García Márquez weaves for us a complicated tale that shows us many faces of love and its enduring power.
In a culture where divorce is common and a truly lasting love often seems of make-believe Love in the Time of Cholera is a weird source of hope. A love formed in youth and based on idealized notions manages to stand the test of time (for at least one of the parties involved). A very non-traditional love story is the center of this tale, but unforgettable characters make it all the more moving.
Don’t miss this Nobel Prize winner and while wrapped in a world dominated by love enjoy a warm cup of orange spice tea. The sweet and spicy citrus brings you nicely into the Caribbean coast and blends well with the sweet and spicy natures of love.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a beautiful read. Cisneros writes in the introduction that she believes stories to be beautiful but that they should be a beauty that anyone can enjoy. She relates well to the world of the tired and overworked.
Each chapter or story is independent so that it doesn’t isolate the reader or leave them dependent on having time to read continuously. As a mother of a busy young boy, this format was a blessing. It was such a quick read that I nearly engulfed the book whole.
Her words are a simple beauty that provide a breath of fresh air in a difficult and cluttered world. Cisneros provides a unique clarity to life with lines like,
“You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky.”
Here writing style is surprisingly moving in its terse and easy language.
Please if you are only going to read one book this year, read The House on Mango Street. I think that nearly any artist can relate to Cisneros and will instantly fall in love with her and her writing style. I foresee many many readings of this book in my future.
As a fun twist on a funny read, I enjoyed iced mango green tea while reading The House on Mango Street. The wordplay is fun, but the refreshing nature of the tea is a nice complement to this equally refreshing book.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch is a uniquely powerful story that shows how circumstances can ruin the chances of even those with the most potential. Janet Fitch weaves the tale of a young girl who idolizes her mother until her mother is arrested and the young girl is bounced from foster home to foster home. Fitch manages to tell the story with language that reads like the most interesting poetry you have encountered. One powerful line from White Oleander comes from Astrid’s mother,
“Always learn poems by heart…They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they’ll make your soul impervious to the world’s soft decay.”
Lines like these add a gentle beauty to an otherwise dark and painful story.
Astrid, the main character, is touching and easily relatable. Even when she responds to life in desperate ways, it is impossible to not understand her perspective and feel a deep empathy for her. Life is certainly not kind to Astrid and as she is pushed from one dark situation to the next her mood and attitude are understandably changed. You are a silent bystander as you watch a character who simultaneously love and yet see yourself in become beaten and weathered by the harshness of the world.
White Oleander is a moving and painful read but worth every tear that you are guaranteed to shed. Be prepared to need to put the book down for a second to breathe, but be sure to always pick it back up again. When you are taking a moment for a deep breath, brew yourself a cup of lavender tea. Honey and lemon go well with lavender tea and the flowery scent balanced by sweet honey and a shot of acidity from the lemon fit the complex emotions of White Oleander. Grab some tissues, a steaming cup of lavender tea, and Janet Fitch’s masterpiece White Oleander.