‘Infinite Country’ Book Review

Elena and Mauro grow up in a world full of violence in Colombia. Once they are married and have a child, Mauro thinks that it would be best for the family to move to a safer environment: the United States. They stay past the date of their visas and continue to move and have children, that is until Mauro is deported and Elena is left in this new country to raise their children, Karina, Nando, and Talia. She must make a decision that will even divide her family more than it already is.

Talia was my favorite character and her chapters really stood out from the rest. I was quite bored as there was not a lot of dialogue coming from the others, just descriptions and a lot of showing but not telling. I did like Elena’s chapters, but we should have got her perspective and the other two siblings’ perspectives earlier in the story as well. Talia’s chapters were enjoyable to read from, but it was harder to connect with the other characters of the story.

I have not read that many books with a South American setting, so I enjoyed getting introduced to a new country and setting. The reader gets great descriptions of Bogota and Colombia as a whole. I will be looking at pictures and reading about the culture and history of the city of Bogota now that I have had an introduction to it.

The writing is where this gets confusing and messy for me. I do think that this story was beautifully told and powerful. Some points have me questioning. As stated before, there was a lot of description rather than dialogue, I would prefer getting to be in the character’s head or having them speak their thoughts and feelings. Randomly, at sixty-four percent of the way into the book we go from third person perspective to second, and then to first. This was random and took me away from the story. The writing is the reason that I am not giving this a four star.

This was a very moving story, and I am glad that I just this as my BOTM pick back in February of last year. The main theme here is immigration but I also think there is a theme of is The United States better than any of the other countries in the world? Countries that the west sees as less than. It really makes the reader think of the violence that we see in the states and how it is civilians while in countries like Colombia it’s militias or other kinds of groups. There are a lot of interesting points to take away from this novel and it really has me thinking. I encourage you to do your own research if you are one of the people to say something like ‘send them back’, think about the families and think about these people as people.

Talia’s chapters were enjoyable to read from, but it was harder to connect with the other characters of the story. I have not read that many books with a South American setting, so I enjoyed getting introduced to a new country and setting. The writing is the reason that I am not giving this a four star. There are a lot of interesting points to take away from this novel and it really has me thinking. ‘Infinite Country’, might not be a five star but it is definitely a memorable read that I will hold with me.

3.75 out of 5 stars.

‘The Death of Vivek Oji’ Book Review

The body of Vivek Oji is left on his mother’s doorstep in southern Nigeria. After that our story unfolds, of who Vivek was and what lead to his death. A family, who is not certain if they are raising their son properly. Friends, who want to support their friend but do not know if they should speak up. It all leads to the death of Vivek Oji.

Each character in this is well developed and they do not all feel like the same person. We are seeing Vivek’s life from those around him. I was particularly drawn to the characters of Juju and Osita, I think they were the most developed of the lot. The parents were well written as well but I did not connect with them as much as I did the younger characters.

The Nigerian atmosphere was interesting as it is one that I have not read before. This year I have read more books set in Africa and I have enjoyed getting to learn about another culture even if it is not always through pleasant events but that is history and society.

The writing was flowy, easy to read, and it was quick paced. However, this book has no real set time line. I usually like that in stories but I do not think that it was executed properly in, ‘The Death of Vivek Oji’. I was was often getting confused of when a scene was taking place as it was all within a short time frame. The book would also randomly change from first to third person with no real rhyme of reason.

Our main themes in this book were coming of age and dealing with grief. We follow Vivek and his friends as they go from teens to young adults. Those are crucial years for finding out who you are. Sometimes we are not always pleased with who we are because of the society around us and want to change but sometimes we just want to stop caring what others think and just live, I think that is so important to do what is best for you even if it is putting a lot at the line. The other side of things is the dealing with the grief of losing someone. Chika, Vivek’s father, wants to forget that all of it happened, burry it deep inside himself. He goes and does things he has never done before, things he is not proud of doing. While Kavita, the mother, wants to dive head first into it and find out why this happened. She wants to find out what went wrong and why her son died because of it. It is interesting how we all, as humans, handle different situations differently.

This is a coming of age story, finding out who someone is as they do as well. We see where this path takes them, and those around them, as a person. The characters were all well developed. The setting was interesting in seeing a non westernized culture. This was a quick read and did not take a lot of time and I never felt bored while reading it. The themes were hard hitting and important to read about it. This book was an average read. It was not bad but it did not really hook me either.

3 out of 5 stars

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‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Book Review

Lara Jean wrote a letter to each boy that she has fallen in love with, she never had the guts to actually confess her feelings to any of these guys. One day. the letters all get sent out, Lara Jean has no idea who sent them. All the guys from her past start to confront her about her feelings and the letters they received.

This book might have the most relatable characters that I have ever read. I could see a piece of me, especially in my teens, in each of these characters. Lara Jean just reminded me so much of myself, being a sentimental person and being too afraid to actually get into a relationship (cue the sweating emoji). She definitely has to be an INFP personality type, a little dreamer. Out of the guys, Peter was my favorite. I just like he had more depth to him and was built better as a character. He was not perfect, he had his flaws. Josh, I felt like was a Gary Sue. He was just too perfect that it annoyed me. I felt like he had zero flaws and was just every girl’s dream guy.

The atmosphere was like any other contemporary romance. I liked that it was set in Virginia as that is a state that I am quite familiar with.

The writing was once again like any romance novel. Some of the things that the character’s said, I think were too childish and not what sixteen year olds would say but that isn’t too big of a deal. Just a small thing to either laugh or roll your eyes at.

Short chapters and relatable characters. That is basically all I need for a book to intrigue me to pick it up and read the next handful of chapters in one sitting.

Logic wise, I think this was all fine. Nothing really stood out as being too totally unrealistic. I think this book is very believable and could happen at any high school. I’m just glad that I never had the idea to write letters to my crushes.

Oops. I just realized that I forgot to leave in what I thought about the plot. This is such a cool plot with the letters and then the guys finding out about the feelings. I think that is very creative and I cannot think of any other novel with that kind of premise. I will admit though, I did predict who sent the letters out and the reasoning behind why they did it.

This book was a surprise for me. It falls under almost all the categories of tropes and genres that I do not like. However, I LOVED it. Going in with low expectations really did me well this time and I am so glad about that. This book and its movie counterpart were really popular, my senior year of high school, so I was nervous that the hype would kill it for me but it didn’t. I will be continuing this series but I don’t think that I will watch the movie but who knows!

4 out of 5 stars.

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‘Game Seven’ Review

Game Seven tells us the story of Julio Ramírez Jr., a teenage shortstop from Cuba. His father has already defected the country by playing in an exhibition game in Baltimore and leaving the team to get signed by the Miami Marlins. Julio is given the choice to leave Cuba like his father, to find freedom in the United States or stay in Cuba with his mother and sister. It is the hardest choice that he will ever have to make.

Let’s start out with the characters. At first, Julio really annoyed me and I felt like all he did was complain. I had to remind myself that he is sixteen years old and going through crazy life changes. That really put it into perspective for me. I think the characters in this book are greatly realistic and relatable even though they are not all likeable. I really liked Luis, Julio’s cousin, though! Characters get a four out of five.

The atmosphere was like nothing I had ever read before. It was very fascinating and different. I would give it once again a four out of five.

The writing in this novel was not anything great. First off, I am not a huge fan of first person perspective, please keep it in third person. The next thing, I felt like it was very much, “I did this and then I did that.” Just telling and not showing. The writing gets a three out of five.

A story of baseball in Cuba and how difficult it is to go from there to play in the MLB in America? The perfect plot. So many of the players we love and watch have gone through quite similar situations. I just cannot imagine being in a refugee situation. I think more people need to see how hard it is to come into this country, especially from one like Cuba. The plot makes this very much worth the read. That being said the plot gets a five out of five.

There is a downfall in this book though and that is the logic. I find it unrealistic a player around the age of forty would get a contract in MLB and be one of the great pitchers. There were a few other things but I won’t go into all of them here. The logic gets a two out of five.

Intrigue, definitely important. ‘Game Seven’, had me like most baseball series, wanting to know what was going to happen next. Maybe there was a little too much intrigue though. I was not really satisfied with the ending of the book. I think there should have been maybe another thirty to forty pages. Intrigue gets a four out of five.

I did enjoy Game Seven and I think that most fans of the game will too. However, I think you should at least be a casual fan of the sport so that you have a better understanding of what you are reading and know all the calls and positions on the diamond. What is your favorite sports book?

3.5 out of 5 stars.