Review: The Schwa Was Here

Author: Neal Shusterman

Age:  Middle Grade and up

Genre: erm, not sure…

{Click here} to read summary from Goodreads.

Everybody wants to be noticed.  Even the moody emo kids and the lunch table loners.  Unfortunately being noticed was precisely Calvin Schwa’s problem.  Told from the POV of one Anthony Bonabo, is a tale of facing fears (like missing mothers, chainsaw-weilding butchers, and the crazy old kook upstairs), even if they are just founded on rumors, and building unusual friendships, and helping others find their place in the world.

Initially, I will admit, I was drawn to the cover (I can’t help it, I’m an artist), and then to the title.  It took me back to whatever grade I was in, learning phonetics.  The “schwa” is the name for the most common sound in the English language, and is indicated in phonetic spelling as an upsidedown lowercase e, as seen in the author’s name.  Schusterman goes into the importance of all this in the book, but it is a very effective hook! And besides, DOGS!! Now usually dogs on the cover of a book are an instant sign that the dog is going to die. (No More Dead Dogs, Gordon Korman) but fret not! the dogs are fine.

Getting into the story was easy, in fact, I was hooked just reading the jacket flap.  Ever on the hunt for good books from a guy’s POV, I was going in with high hopes.  Our POV character, Anthony, is full of quips and clever comebacks, and I love witty characters.  This, I feel, not only serves the reader with an entertaining dialogue, but it also serves as part of the foundation of Anthony’s personal character.  It evidences a tenacity that he doesn’t realize he has until he needs it, changing the way he views himself and the way he interacts with those who need him.   As the individual characters develop, they each earn their place in the story, each becoming more endearing and the story goes.  There are no extra, unnecessary characters to confuse the plot.  There are, however, some delightful comic relief characters. All in all it was a delightful read, with heart and guts and a bright ending.  In addition to the compelling story line and quick succession of adventures, each chapter ends and the next is titled in a way that makes this an easy ‘up till you finish’ read.

And I don’t mean to oversell here, but I really enjoyed it!


Content Advisory:
Language: 0
Sexual: 1
Minor kissing, hand-holding
Violence: 0
Other: 0

Awesome Content scores means this books gets an * on our Archives list!!  Highly recommend!


>>> Neal Schusterman is the author of the Unwind Dystology, as well as Bruiser (soon to be reviewed) and many other books.  For a full list, here is his website!




Children’s Books Week: My Favorite Dr. Seuss Books

There was no way we could have a children’s books week without talking about Dr. Seuss!

We’ve already shared our love for the doctor (not that doctor) during our Looks From Books week last year.

dr seuss inspired

(click here to see more photos)

Recently, my mom moved and sent me all the Dr. Seuss books she had. The problem? We have three collections—my mom’s, my dad’s, and mine. My collection is the biggest because I was part of some club that sent you a new Dr. Seuss book every month.

Despite the fact that we have boxes and boxes of Dr. Seuss books, I was never a huge fan of them. However, I did have a few favorites that I still love today.

dr seuss collage1) The Cat in the HatCat, hat, in French, chat, chapeau. In Spanish, el gato in a sombrero. Please tell me I’m not the only one who watched this movie! I started singing that song the other day and people looked at me like I was crazy.

2) The Cat in the Hat Comes Back | I like this one even more than the first book. I love Little Cats A through Z!

3) Hop on Pop | I actually have three copies of this book—one was my mom’s, one was my dad’s, one is mine. My dad’s copy is pretty much completely torn up because it was read so many times!

4) One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish | Let’s be honest—I mostly like this one because it has the funnest title.

5) Green Eggs and Ham | I remember my Nana making me green eggs for breakfast, just like she did for my dad when he was little.


What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Behind the Blog: Julianne Goes Abroad

Helloooo beautiful readers!!  Sooo sorry i have been a little invisable the past while… I have been preparing for a extended trip out of town…. wayy out of town.  and as Rachel can attest, blogging while traveling abroad is like peeling a pickle with your toes…  in the dark… it can be done, but it’s not easy.

This past Wednesday I left good ole Shreveport with my sister, and on Friday night (Saturday morning local time) we arrived in Barcelona, Spain!  Since we got here I have done a lot of sleeping (jetlag it dumb), had very yummy food, walked all over the place, had Cheetos shaped like soccer balls, visited the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya (in a really beautiful old building, more pictures of that later), saw a Picasso, watched the Magic Fountain light show… and tomorrow is church and then a full day of going and doing!  Very excited but I’ve got to get to sleep! It’s 3 in the morning here..  o.O





This is a panoramic view of Barcelona from the top of the museum/fort/castle.20140803-025458.jpg