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I'm busy figuring out how I want to spend the rest of my life!
Interests: music, knitting, gardening, cooking, reading, photography, sewing, walking, fitness activities, traveling (but not camping)
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Beautiful post, Kim. XO
I agree, Margene. It was a perfect YA romance/fairytale (and especially her "romance" with Connor). I would have loved all the drama and intense "self-reflection" (if you can call it that) as a young reader. I found Julia's voice to be a good representation of a strong, independent-minded teenager -- but it did make me wonder how she developed that voice in the first place.
I agree with you, Sarah. I would imagine that Julia really WOULD be dealing with all those issues in her everyday life. Young adults are dealing with so much these days, and I think Julia's life situation would make that even MORE the case. I think the author did a good job bringing the issues to light in an authentic way without going into too much graphic detail -- keeping it more appropriate for a YA audience.
Thanks, Mary! The book is a pretty fast read. (I only started and finished reading it last week myself!) :-)
It really was quite an "adult" book, wasn't it? 13-year-old me would have been absolutely scandalized! But . . . 13-year-old me would also have loved it! Even thought Julia's life was very different from mine, I know I would have been able to relate to the feelings she had -- the desire to please her parents while also wanting to separate from them; falling in love (kinda sorta maybe), being embarrassed by your family . . . but also proud to be part of them, wanting to grow up in a hurry, not sure how to hold on to secrets. Julia was an annoying character, for sure! Very, very whiney. But I still couldn't help rooting for her and hoping everything works out okay! Thanks so much for reading with us!
There were definitely LOTS of issues! But I imagine numerous, serious issues are not actually a stretch for kids in Julia's life circumstances -- living at the margins of US society. Being poor . . . being an immigrant . . . being a person of color . . . sadly invites layers of complication. I have a feeling Julia's life looks far too much like many kids' lives these days. I didn't really get enough information from my reading about the relationships Julia's friends had with their own mothers. I thought Julia's relationships with her friends were authentic and true. (Except her relationship with Connor. Connor seems like the real outlier in this book to me. . . Not terribly realistic to me at all.)
My 13-year-old self would have been right there with you! (She would also have been completely scandalized by the issues Julia had to deal with . . . but times are very different now.) I agree that Julia was particularly whiney . . . and that was grating. (I find it's so much easier to love the characters I'm reading about. . . ) But I do think the author did a great job with this book -- creating a main character who can connect across generations -- and probably teach a thing or two to adults and teens alike! Thanks so much for reading with us.
Oh . . . you and I shared so many favorite books! The world is so, so very different today than it was when I was a 13-year-old. I would have been totally scandalized by the issues Julia had to deal with. Totally. And yet . . . I would still have been able to relate to her. It's not the situations. For me, it's the feelings. Wanting to be able to grown up and be on my own. Falling in love (maybe kinda sorta). Separating from my parents. Wanting MORE. I am not a fan of YA fiction, but I do think this author did a great job at making the life of a poor daughter of immigrants completely universal. Thanks so much for reading with us!
I agree with you, Becky. I didn't think I'd like this book at all -- but I did! Although Julia really did have to deal with a LOT of issues, I'm pretty sure life looks like this for a lot of teens living on the margins of US society (and probably many who aren't living on the margins!). I think the author presented a balanced picture of life for Julia -- and I found I could relate to her even though I didn't have to face most of those issues when I was her age. I can certainly understand her feelings -- the frustration, the desire, the drive! I haven't read a lot of YA fiction (some, but not a lot), but I think this was really well-done -- universal themes, an authentic voice, and a well-written story. Thanks so much for reading along with us!
Yes -- my 13-year-old self would have been scandalized by the issues that come up in Julia's life! That said, I'm sure I would have been able to relate to Julia anyway. Even though my life was quite different from Julia's - and I never faced the situations she was facing - I still would have understood the feelings. The wanting to please your parents but also wanting to be yourself. The rumblings of love. The wanting to grow up and be on your own. The frustration at being held back or silenced. The embarrassment in your own family. I think the author really did a great job with some universal themes that most teens -- even those not in Julia's specific circumstances -- could understand and relate to. And . . . learn from.
I had a hard time liking Julia, too. I, too, grew up in a very different environment from Julia's, but I still found I could relate to many of the issues she faced -- maybe not the situations themselves, but certainly the feelings that came out of those situations. YA is not my preferred genre, that's for sure! I usually find it to be a bit dull and superficial. I liked this one more than most, and I was surprised by that.
I really did like the slice-of-life narrative in the book. I think it was very "real" for a teenage narrator to tell the story that way . . . but . . . I think the time jumps were a bit wild. I was actually surprised by how much time elapsed over the course of the novel. I had some of the same thoughts that you did about just where Julia WAS in Chicago. I remember reading (may have been in the narrative, but it may have been in a summary somewhere) that she lived on the South Side, but that doesn't seem right. I think she must have been on the West Side . . . And the back-and-forth to Evanston? No way! The most unbelievable part of the book to me . . . was Connor. I just didn't find Connor - and their whole relationship - to be believable.
There were a LOT of issues in there, that's for sure! I have a feeling, though, that it might be reflective of the reality immigrant families face every day . . . trying to make their way at the margins of US society. I think the world is both more open and more complicated now than it was when I was a teenager, and that weighs on things, too. I ended up liking this book a lot more than I expected to going into it, and I do think it's an excellent example of YA fiction.
Oh, how did I miss this post yesterday!!!! Another swibelling!!!! What BIG AND WONDERFUL NEWS! Congratulations all around. XO
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Yum! I'm really having fun cooking . . . inspired . . . meals these days! It's amazing how much I used to run to the store for missing ingredients before. Not any more! Thanks for these really inspired recipes, Vicki! XO
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2020 on 3TT: Three Recipes at knitorious
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LOVE this, Vicki! That . . . fungus? moss? whatever???? . . . looks like velvet. Or chenille pipe cleaners. What a wonderful excursion! Happy weekend. XO
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2020 on Sk-eye Candy Friday (and more) at knitorious
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What a perfect get-away, Vicki! I always like to think of you . . . just there on the opposite shore of the lake! XO
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2020 on 3TT: Road Trip at knitorious
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I LOVE Cooking with Jun and Gin! Thanks so much for sharing . . . you ALL have just made my day. (And whenever I'm feeling down, I'm going to re-watch Ginny's "wardrobe malfunction.") They are so wonderful, Vicki. And Ali is the ultimate patient mom. XOXO
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This is THE BEST thing!!! Thank you so much for the cheer today. XOXO (I love seeing Malina doing her thing in the background, too.) (And I've been thinking about Ann. Is her move on hold -- or did she move before All This????)
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2020 on Monday morning smiles at knitorious
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We had sunshine yesterday, too! It is SO GLORIOUS to find spring happening in our gardens, isn't it? I just love this time of year. So exciting! Thanks for sharing! XO
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2020 on 3TT: Thar she grows!! at knitorious
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I love your Night Shift, Vicki. It is definitely a smaller shawl than you think it's going to be (when you look at the modeled photos in the pattern). I never did a gauge swatch either, but when it was finished, I did measure my blocked shawl and found that, yep, it was (roughly) the size it was supposed to be. I don't mind the size, myself. But I was surprised at how small it was compared to my own expectations (which, of course, were not based on a measurement check. . . so, duh). :-) It is amazing how much and how quickly life has changed. I'm pretty sure we're all suffering from a serious case of whiplash right now. Enjoy your puzzle! XO
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2020 on Unraveled Wednesday: Nightshift at knitorious
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What charming birdhouses! :-) And the school is a treasure! I'm so glad it's being used STILL -- and that your kids got a chance to go to school there. (That tower!!!!) It's been wet and windy here, too. I'm eager for some sunshine and warmer temperatures . . . XO
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2020 on Scenes from limbo at knitorious
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I needed that lovely break, Vicki! Thank you! (And those turtles. . . ) XOXO
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2020 on Mexico at knitorious
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Oh, how great is that!!! Happy Birthday, Malina! XOXO
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2020 on And now she's 2!! at knitorious
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That Tooth Fairy is so dang flexible! :-) I can't believe Junah is already losing teeth . . . time just flies, doesn't it? Stay well, Vicki. XOXO
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2020 on Well, this happened... at knitorious
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