The Dumbledore’s Army Readathon (#DAReadathon) hosted by Aentee at Read at Midnight is now done! The purpose of the readathon was to promote the reading of diverse books. I’m happy to say that I completed all of the books on my TBR (the first I’ve ever done this during a readathon). Yay! You can see my progress as well as book aesthetics in this Twitter thread. I’m slowly in the process of posting all of my reviews. Did you participate in the DA Readathon? How did you do?
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Release date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Graphic novel, memoir
Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.
“Our differences are our superpowers.”
I loved this graphic novel! I’ve been eyeing a copy of it in my Language Arts classroom for sometime now. I’m so glad that I did because it’s hands down one of the best I have ever read.
It transmits such a wonderful story for kids and adults alike. It’s about a young girl named Cece who loses much of her hearing at the age of four. She no longer can communicate or do the things that she used to do. At school she can’t hear the teacher or understand what is happening until she is given the Phonic Ear, a hearing device that enables Cece to hear everything that happens in class. It’s so amazing that it gives her super hearing powers, turning her into the superhero El Deafo! But the story is about so much more. It’s also about growing up, making friendships, peer pressure and crushes.
I just loved everything about El Deafo…the story, the characters, the illustrations. There was a lot of humour and I found myself smiling a lot while reading it. The illustrations were also super adorable. Everyone is represented as bunnies. However, what truly stood out to me was the author’s afterword about living with a hearing impairment. I highly recommend this book at everyone of any age, even if you aren’t usually a fan of graphic novels. The combination of words and images creates a fun but powerful package. A must read!
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Release date: February 1st, 2002
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside.
Now she’s at Sea Pines, a “residential treatment facility” filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. She won’t even speak.
But Callie can only stay silent for so long…
“Sometimes when we’re in situations where we feel we’re not in control, we do things, especially things that take a lot of energy, as a way of making ourselves feel we have some power.”
This book wasn’t what I expected it to be. I picked the book up because I thought it had a very interesting concept. It is told in first person perspective and is about how Callie (the narrator) is seeking treatment at a rehabilitation facility after it was discovered that she was cutting herself. The book is written as if Callie is speaking or writing to her therapist.
Self harm is a very complex subject and I just feel that the book didn’t go into enough depth about it. It just skimmed the surface offering the reading a very basic explanation as to why someone would self harm. It’s too short and too vague. There’s so much that could have been discussed. The story doesn’t really inform the readier about cutting, which I thought was the whole point.
Also, since the book was so short, character development was pretty much nonexistent. I found myself wondering who all of the secondary characters were. I couldn’t keep their names or back stories straight. Callie’s own development was hard to track because her thoughts bounced back and forth between the present and the past. The reader learned about the pressures in her life and the reasons behind her cutting. That said, the light bulb moment about why she needs to open up and stop cutting was extremely rushed. I had a difficult time believing it. After weeks of refusing to open up or agree to help she all of a sudden is alright? I don’t know…at least that’s how I saw the ending. Maybe others interpreted differently?
I originally rated the book a 3 out 5, but have since then changed it to a 2. The more and more I thought about it the more annoyed I became. I’m looking for other books on the topic, especially for teenagers. Any recommendations?