Once Upon a Bookshelf – See You in the Cosmos

See You in the CosmosSee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. His current project involves documenting his life on Earth so he can launch his voice recordings into space with the hopes that an alien life form will find it. With his story starting in Colorado and moving to New Mexico, trekking to Los Angeles and finally ending up back home, he meets new friends and learns new things about the world and himself.

WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

What I love about this book is that it is so much more than an adventure story. Sure, Alex travels by himself and builds a super cool rocket with hopes of it making it to space – that’s quite an adventure by itself. But it also showed that an adventure can lead you to so much more. While he doesn’t know it at first, his trip leads him to uncover the truth about his dad that he thought was dead and meeting his half-sister. It started out as an attempt to share his story with people outside of this world and ended with him learning even more about his own story.

All along, I was worried about Alex. With how his mother is described, I knew that she was battling some type of depression and whether or not Alex actually knew that was heartbreaking. With a kids with as much spunk as Alex and such big dreams, it makes it impossible not to root for him and hope that everything turns out. I was so emotionally involved in this story that I couldn’t even think about what would have happened if things didn’t work out like I wanted them to (you know, when you know what needs to happen better than the author does).

Something that drew me to this book was the title, though. As a amateur astronomer myself, there was no way that I could pass this book up. Seeing a kid that is only 11 and with such a deep interest in something so vast and unknown as the universe made me believe that there is hope for the future. If Alex can be so focused on his life on Earth and learning about people outside of it, the world has nowhere to go but up.

I rated this book 5/5

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Chester and Gus – A book review

Chester and GusChester and Gus by Cammie McGovern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book stole my heart.

I am a firm believer that animals have more capabilities than their people give them credit for. This book shows how a dog that thought of himself as a failure worked hard to find a new purpose in life.

Chester was trained to be a service dog, but after he failed his certification because he hates out noises, he thought he’d never get another chance. When a family comes along in search of a friend for their autistic son, Gus, Chester bring it upon himself to help this boy like he knows he can.

After a lot of time spent observing the boy, Chester learns the dos and don’ts of life with Gus. Don’t make too much noise. Don’t get too close to him. Don’t lick him. Don’t ask too many questions.

That’s right. Chester finds himself bonded to this boy in such a way that he can’t even describe it at first. Gus, who doesn’t talk, seems to understand the things that Chester asks him and he answers back (some of the time). Using this new tool for communication, Chester gets Gus to trust him because he needs him now more than ever. But Chester has just been told he’s not allowed in school anymore because he’s not a certified service dog.

Strange things have been going on with Gus lately and it all comes to a head once the fire alarms go off at school. Being frightened at first, Chester loses track of Gus but forces his way to his boy. He finds Gus passed out in a closet and Gus is taken to the hospital for a few days.

Gus has epilepsy.

Now Chester has a renewed sense of responsibility for the boy and their relationship changes daily.

Can Chester be the dog that Gus needs him to be?

I love that this book is told from the perspective of a dog. He thinks about how hard it is to communicate with humans because they assume they know what’s best. He is also a firm believer that (despite popular opinion) dog cannot read, but he uses other clues to figure out what words mean.

The way that Chester slowly falls in love with Gus is absolutely perfect. As someone on the spectrum myself, when I meet new people or start new relationships, everything has to move very slow. Just ask my boyfriend 🙂

This is a book thatI felt connected to from the beginning. In fact, once I started reading it, I didn’t put it down.

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October 2nd. I love it.

Hooray for Fall!

First up this week, pumpkin spice lattes. I love it. Yesterday was the first day of October which in my book is the start of fall so a pumpkin spice latte from McDonald’s was totally necessary. It was perfect. It made me feel very festive which led me to decorate for Halloween in my apartment, too. Halloween is my favorite!

I love it.

Next up, “Once Upon a Time.” I love it. I actually gave up watching it about midway through last season because they were in the Underworld and I found it kind of dull. But because my sister has a newfound love for this show and kept wanting to talk about it, I used yesterday to catch up. It did get better as the season went on so I’m all caught up to watch the new season now! Besides, I missed staring at Colin O’Donoghue (aka Captain Hook).

I love it.

Finally, working on my book. I love it. I’m dedicating the month of October to finishing a middle grade novel I started writing in 2010. I’ve worked on it sporadically because I’ve been having so much trouble with what the underlying story is and I didn’t have an ending. Thanks to some coffee induced motivation, I finally figured it out! I can’t type for long because my hands start to go numb, but I made some helpful revisions today. Now, I have a month to finish it so I can send it to publishers!

I love it. It’s great. Everything’s great.

I love it.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here: A book review

Patrick Ness is one of those authors that slowly builds up the story to the point where you get emotional because it’s all over the place. I felt that way when I read “A Monster Calls” and this week I read “The Rest of Us Just Live Here.”

This is the kind of book I’ve been waiting for. What goes on in the rest of the town while the heroes are taking care of business?

The story, taking place in Washington State, is the story of a boy, Michael, who has a crush on his best friend, Henna. Throughout the story, strange things happen, like the indie kids dying, zombie dears, car crashes, and blue lights and eyes all over the place. Michael and his friends have no idea what is going on, but they aren’t the heroes in the story.

They just live there.

This book is all about what’s happening behind the scenes in most adventure tales. While the indie kids are fighting the immortals, Michael is trying to speak to the girl he likes. While the indie kids are dying, Michael is studying for finals.

The setup of the book is perfect. The intro blurb at the beginning of each chapter tells you what the hero kids are doing. Like, “Satchel finds Finn laying on the street. She’s afraid to approach him because he might be possessed, but then Dylan comes along and makes her feel more comfortable.” That’s not an actual quote from the book, but it will give you an idea. The summary is of what the chapter should be about, but it’s not.

Patrick Ness is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and next on my list of his is “The Knife of Never Letting Go.” I hear it’s suspenseful and fantastic. I was also warned not to look ahead while I read.

I can’t wait!

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