We’re Moving Where?! Glen Blackwell

As a member of Goodreads, I am afforded the opportunity to meet individuals who, like me, love reading books. This is how I met Glen Blackwell. He sent me a message to ask me if I would review his preview copy of We’re Moving Where?! Because the synopsis sounded interesting, I agreed to read and review it.

Harry and his parents, Mark and Jess Jones, reside in England. Harry is living the fun life of a ten-year-old, watching cartoons, playing with his toys, and spending time with his friends. However, unbeknownst to Harry, his life is going to change in a major way. 

This change focuses on Harry’s dad. When his father receives an offer for a new job, one that he should not turn down, Harry will have to relocate with his family. This new job is in Canada, and Mark and Jess are concerned with how Harry will react toward this news. At first, like most children, Harry does not want to leave his friends. But once he learns that they will be living adventurously in the woods and that he will be able to keep in touch with his friends, Harry warms up to the idea. Hence, moving to and living somewhere in the middle of the woods in Canada gives this novel its title, We’re Moving Where?!

While reading this novel, I also noticed the British spelling of certain words, such as mum, whilst, coloured, pyjamas, and favourite. I do not know if this strategy was intentional, but I liked it. It teaches children that the same words used in different countries have different spellings. This is a great way to allow students to learn about different countries. At the end of the novel, I did not want to stop reading, so I hope that Blackwell writes another book to give this story some closure.

I enjoyed reading this novel, as it was full of positivity. Page after page, I kept waiting for something terrible to happen. But with each page, I did not find anything negative. Moreover, this novel is full of adventure, and the events make this novel fun for students to read.

I was curious about the readability level of this novel, that is the appropriate grade level of it. To determine the grade level, I used two popular readability formulas to see if the grade levels of this novel were consistent. The first formula that I used was the Fry Graph Readability Formula. I randomly selected three 100-word passages. Then, I counted the number of sentences and syllables in the these passages. Next, I calculated the average sentence length and syllables; after calculating the average sentence length and syllables, the determined readability level of this novel is for students in the 7th grade. 

The SMOG Readability Formula is the second method that I used to determine this novel’s readability level. With this formula, I randomly selected three passages consisting of ten sentences. Next, I found all the polysyllabic words, words with three or more syllables, in each passage. Then, I totaled the number of polysyllabic words in each set of three passages and found the closest perfect square of the sum. For the next step, I found the square root of the number closest to the perfect square. After finding the square root, I added three to the calculated square root; this will be the readability level. According to the SMOG Readability Formula, this novel is for students in the eighth grade. Therefore, I recommend that this novel, We’re Moving Where?!, is for for middle school students. It is a clean, appropriate novel that is full of much imagery, which will allow readers to use their imagination as they read.

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Protostar Love Sheopatra Smith

Do you have a love of your life? A soulmate? A ride or die boyfriend or girlfriend? Nia Nayeli Badi and Boyden “Bizzy Boy” Miller have this kind of relationship, one that is undeniably  strong. Nia will not allow anyone to disrespect Boyden, and it is the same for Boyden. When it comes to one another, they are loyal to the soil. 

Everything is going great until one particular day. Nia’s decision to become a single woman does not sit well with Boyden. In fact, Nia does not even like her decision, but she has made a choice, and she is going to see it to the end. However, Boyden is not going to allow the end of “Noyden” (Nia and Boyden) to be a reality. 

One thing that Smith does well is bring her characters to life. While reading this novel, you will feel like you know these characters. In fact, you might find yourself thinking, for example, Nia  reminds me of _____; Boyden reminds me of _____; Halima reminds me of _____.  While reading Protostar Love, I felt like I personally knew the characters, and I was able to experience their every thought and emotion.

In Protostar Love, Smith examines the dynamics of relationships. She focuses on the good and the bad of them. When reading this novel, you may be reminded of or you may be familiar with some of the aspects of these relationships. Hence, this is what makes Smith’s book extremely real.

Although I did notice a few spelling errors, they did not distort the meaning of the sentences; I was still able to follow the storyline. Overall, this is a great novel to read, so I recommend reading Protostar Love.

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New Book Review

Through Goodreads, I am a member of the Black Coffee community. In January 2021, our group read Deesha Philyaw’s novel, The Secrets Lives of Church Ladies. I was really excited to read this collection of short stories. Although there were a few short stories that I enjoyed reading, I am not able to say that I loved the book. Therefore, I encourage you to read the book to determine your feelings about it.

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Slavery in 1921?

This book focuses on a piece of history that Freeman’s friend found and shared with him. “A friend had been looking through some historical material on his family in the area of middle Georgia where these events took place, and he found a brief account of the killings in a local history book” (Freeman 92). Deeply affected by this story, it was one Morgan knew he had to tell. Read this story to learn about the concealed system of slavery. 

The year is 1921, and the places are Jasper and Newton Counties in central Georgia. These two counties become widely known due to the horrific murders of eleven plantation slaves. The accused, John S. Williams and Clyde Manning, are on trial for these horrendous murders. This loss of human life occurred as the result of peonage.

In 1865, the institution of slavery officially ended in the United States, but unofficially, it did not.  This unofficial form of slavery was known as peonage. Peonage was a system in which “blacks were fined for vagrancy or other supposed crimes and then forced to work off the debt on local farms for what often became a lifetime of brutal conditions” (Freeman 60). This was the situation for Clyde Manning and other African-Americans on the Williams’ plantation. For whatever “crime” they committed, these individuals wound up on the plantation and never left. 

Freeman allows his readers to clearly understand the racial dynamics between whites and blacks during the time in which these murders occurred. Also, the way Freeman describes these murders are quite vivid but not in a good way. The details are horrific, and heartbreaking. As a reader, this is what made this novel extremely difficult for me to read. In fact, I almost stopped reading this novel, but I was determined to finish reading it because I wanted to know the fate of these two men after the jury rendered its verdict. If you want to learn about a hidden piece of history, then this novel is for you.

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The Book of David

Always Forever Reading’s Rating = 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I read the inside cover of this book. I read the back of this book. I immediately knew that I had to read this book. David is a high school senior at Hillside High School, and he is living a great life. He is the running back turned explosive quarterback on the football team. He has to make a decision about offers from Division I universities. He is well-liked by his classmates and teammates. He has a popular girlfriend.

Unfortunately this wonderful life could come to an end due to a secret that he harbors in the depths of his soul. No one knows this secret, not even his family, Tyler, his best friend, or Monica, his girlfriend. He knows that if this secret is revealed, his whole world will change forever.

He is doing an excellent job concealing his secret until Jon comes into the picture. Jon, a new student from Chicago, Illinois, captures his attention and has a profound effect on him. He is the one guy with whom David can see himself, but he has much at stake should he decide to explore a relationship with him; therefore, he has much to think about. What would his family say if they knew? Would they still love him? What kind of effect would this have on Monica? Would Tyler still be his best friend? Would Mrs. Harrison, his English teacher, no longer respect him? How would his church congregation feel? What would they say? Would he lose his scholarship offers? Read this book to find out the answers to these questions and more, should they arise. This is a novel worth reading.