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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Resolutions for 2017

My sister and I are all about reaching goals. Every Sunday, we text each other what our goals for the week are. Usually it involves how many times we want to work out and making sure we wait until Friday to get fancy coffee from Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme before work. I am usually one to write down my yearly resolutions, but this year I want to make it public so people can call me on it.

Here are my resolutions for 2017:

  1. I’m going to read at least 25 books.
  2. I’m going to work out at least 3 times per week.
  3. I’m going to get back to the weight that I was when Bud and I started dating.
  4. I will not buy things impulsively and I’ll save all the money I can.
  5. I will not eat out unless I’m with friends for special occasions.
  6. I will write in my blog at least twice a week.
  7. I will finish editing “Henry Halpert vs. Darkness” and “Jake and the Search for a Hero”
  8. I’m going to pass my PLT and also my Praxis II in English.
  9. I’m going to read or finish the following book series:
    • The Chronicles of Narnia
    • Star Wars: The Original Trilogy
    • The Lord of the Rings
  10. I will create a habit of happiness.

What are your resolutions?

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Day 3: Ways to Win My Heart

I missed yesterday, but I’m writing it today, so get off my back, people!

Just kidding.

Today is all about how to win my heart. Do you want me to like you? Love you? Totally ignore you? Here are the 5 things you should do if you want to be my friend.

  1. Read. I read a ton of books and I love being able to talk to other people about them. This year already, I’ve read 15 books. 10 more to reach my goal of 25. How many books have you read?
  2. Like baseball. Or at least understand it. I grew up in ballparks and around baseball and it’s a huge part of my identity.
  3. Bake. I am a master baker and even though it isn’t entirely necessary for you to be, I really like having taste testers. And what do I love more than taste testers? Someone to help me bake (and then do the dishes later). I love company in the kitchen.
  4. Watch movies. And lots of them. I go to the movies at least once a week, so if you want to hang out, let’s buy some popcorn and sit in the good seats.
  5. Have pets. I’m an animal lover and the quickest way for me to trust you is to have an animal that I love. Simple as that.

Do you have what it takes to be my new best friend?