August 2019 Kawaii Box

August 2019 Kawaii Box

Hello and happy Sunday. Scheduling posts in advance, or even planning to write something with months of anticipation is funny because I always want to say “it’s been a while since I’ve done this” but you’re probably still getting those posts consistently because I wrote them a while before. Anyway, this is a Kawaii Box unboxing and I am always excited to make these, especially since my subscription is over and I will not be unsubscribing. I am a teacher, so most of the items I get, go directly to my classroom because I used to have a “market” every month and my kids could get rewards in exchange of sticker points they earned. I’m clarifying because you might be wondering why I get this box only to leave everything in my classroom.

Kawaii Desserts Erasers

I don’t know why but I love erasers that don’t look like erasers. At some point, I had a chocolate-bar-shaped one, a carrot-shaped one, and yes, I felt very tempted to keep this cute dessert plate with candy-shaped erasers for myself, but I thought my students would enjoy them more.

Nekoni Mini Puffy Stickers

I can’t see clearly which stickers these are, so I don’t know whether they went into my classroom or I kept them for myself. I like having these stickers too, even though nine times out of ten they go to my students.

Mystery Kawaii Snack 

These were matcha/powder milk snacks and let me tell you, the texture is pretty weird. I would advice to get a glass of water or milk or something with these because they’re powdery. I’m not a huge fan of matcha but these were alright.

Shimmery Mt Fuji Pen and Donut Bunny Pen

These pens are the cutest and the ink is amazing. I already have many, so I decided to leave them for my students, even though they’re still in elementary and don’t use pens yet.

Lollipop Highlighter Set

This was the first thing that one of my students got when I did the “market” thing. That is, this set of lollipop-shaped highlighters was the first thing that went, and honestly, had I been a student, these too would have been my first choice.

Shibanban Sticky Notes

In hindsight, I should’ve kept these to myself because I’m running out of ones and I never get around to buying sticky notes. I am sure one of my students is probably enjoying them now.

Fluffy Bunny Dancing Ears Hat

I’ve never worn this and I probably never will, but I’m keeping this just in case in the drawer where I have all sorts of accessories. What if one day I decide to dress up like a bunny for a lesson?

School Girl Aiko Notebook

In my class last school year I had three boys and one girl. The girl got this notebook. She always waited to have enough points to get the “big” items.

Which of these items was your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Sunday!

Love, Miss Camila

Teacher Morning Routine

Teacher Morning Routine

Using Visible thinking Routines

Hello and happy Saturday. I will soon start my fifth year as a teacher and I feel like I’m at a place where I can share with other teachers who are probably starting out or even people who aren’t teachers yet but would like to be. I will always be real with you, okay? Today I’ll start by sharing my morning routine for most of the 2019-2020 school year, to give you an idea of how my schooldays usually start. Since mid-March, we were all sent home, so the routine totally changed. If you want a version of that, let me know in the comments below.

First and foremost, hi, my name is Camila and during the 2019-2020 school year, I taught at a school outside of Bogotá, Colombia. I live in Bogotá, so the journey lasted about an hour and a half or so. I also took the school bus, which I had to pay for, but that’s another story. My stop was actually not very close to my house and my dad took me there in his car because walking before sunrise wouldn’t have been a good idea. Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get started with the routine.

4:50am I woke up, either with my alarm or by myself. I got up immediately after waking up because I’ve always been a morning person even if 4:50am should still be considered nighttime. I would then go downstairs to have breakfast.

5:05am After breakfast, I brushed my teeth and took a shower. I don’t like having breakfast before showering, but I had to because my bathroom, which is downstairs, shares the same water heater or whatever, as my brother’s bathroom upstairs, so I was having breakfast while he showered and vice-versa.

5:15am I would go back to my room upstairs, get dressed, and apply my makeup. I’d get everything ready the night before so that I didn’t waste any time. My makeup looks weren’t super elaborate and consisted mostly of matte eyeshadows, washes of color, and nude lipgloss.

5:35am My dad, my brother and I left for the bus stop. My dad would leave my brother first at his so that he could go to university and then he’d leave me at mine.

I’m sharing this routine with you because I want to give you a reference point as to what your mornings can look like. Of course, each person is unique and they have different lifestyles. What is your morning routine? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: Prairie Fever

NetGalley Reads: Prairie Fever

NetGalley (2).pngBefore you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello again. Long time no see. Thank the Camila of the past for agreeing to write two reviews as part of blog tours on the same day. This book I’m going to talk about is Prairie Fever by Michael Parker, and I’d like to thank the author and Algonquin Books for inviting me to read and review it.

I started reading this book on June 22nd, and after a page, I put it down and kept reading other books because I wasn’t really interested in this one. I gave it another chance, though and I’ve been making some progress. I will say that this is not the type of book I can read in one sitting or spend hours reading. Here’s an update: on July 5th, having read a whopping 15% of the book, I DNF’ed it because I knew it wasn’t going to get less boring and I was going to struggle a whole lot to stay awake while reading it.

I need my breaks with this one. It is historical fiction and it features two sisters, Lorena and Elise, although it centers mostly on Elise. They are seventeen and fifteen years old, respectively and they live in what seems like the countryside and are farmers.

I’m not sure if there’s a point to this book, like something will happen that will make an impact on the characters’ lives. From what I read, it’s more like a slice-of-life kind of story. We read about the main characters going to school and the conversations they have, but not much. Prairie fever is a euphemism for typhoid fever, so maybe one of the characters gets sick. Oh, did I mention this is historical fiction?

After what seemed like a hundred-page-long chapter we do get a change of perspective and even a different timeline. Did that make the book any better for me? Not at all, which is why I DNF’ed it.

Does this story sound appealing to you? What do you think is going to happen? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

NetGalley Reads: In the Role of Brie Hutchens

NetGalley Reads: In the Role of Brie Hutchens

NetGalley (1).pngBefore you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. I woke up early today after a very bad night, did my makeup inspired by the bisexual flag and now I’m here to tell you about a book you need to read, especially if you’re looking to read more queer books. I’m talking about In The Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby, which was sent to me by Algonquin Books as part of a blog tour. I’d like to thank them, the author, and NetGalley for this opportunity.

I read this book between June 19th and June 22nd, 2020, and gave it four stars, but it’s more like a 4.5 rating. At the beginning of every chapter, we get these headers which are sort of like commentary in soap opera scenes. This makes sense as one progresses with the reading because Brie, the main character is obsessed with soap operas and wants to become an actress. She is thirteen years old and about to graduate middle school (is that even a thing?) and she wants to go to a performing arts high school, but her family is struggling with money, so Brie is not sure whether she could attend if she gets admitted.

There are many things I like about this novel, and even from the previous paragraph, you can sort of deduce some of them. I like Brie’s age because I think it makes the book attractive both for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. To me, this would be great for someone who has outgrown Middle Grade and wants to start reading Young Adult. There are also so many layers to the story, like the fact that Brie’s parents are having financial issues because her dad had recently lost his job and is now working in Brie’s school. This also poses a conversation on the guilt and helplessness that children might feel when their parents are having problems of any sort.

Brie studies in a Catholic school and the depiction of her school life was spot-on. I should know because I studied in one and then worked at another. That means that I’ve been in Catholic schools for around sixteen years of my life. Religion is also an important aspect of this story because Brie is coming to terms with the fact that she likes women, but she is afraid and almost ashamed to tell her mom because she might not accept her. Brie even lies about this school event and her participation in it to hide the fact that she was looking at pictures of an actress online, all this so that her mom does not find out about what is going through Brie’s mind.

I have a lot more notes about this story, but I want you to read it first so that we can have a conversation in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

I’m Kind of Scared of Writing This Review

I’m Kind of Scared of Writing This Review

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Wednesday. I absolutely despise disclaimers because I am a firm believer that we should be unapologetic about our opinions, especially if they’re related to something as unimportant as a book. Now, I say “unimportant” when compared to more controversial issues, considering that for me books are no more than a form of entertainment and that I am not really big on having passionate debates on a book. I’ll share my thoughts, for sure, but I don’t expect you to agree with me just like I don’t want you to expect me to agree with you. Basically, we’re all entitled to our opinion and I really don’t want my comments section to become a forum in which you try to convince me to like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli because it is just not going to happen.

I read this book between July 17th and July 19th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Now, in this post, I’ll discuss both the book and the movie because I watched the movie before reading the novel and I think it might have negatively influenced my thoughts. I don’t know whether I wrote a separate review of it in the past, but whatever. Watching the movie meant that I already knew the plot beforehand. I knew in general what the story was about, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because by already having some information on the story and the characters, I read the book at a quicker pace, which is something I like, especially if I’m not liking what I’m reading. You already know that I didn’t like the book, but you should also know that the movie didn’t do it for me. I felt that, as time went by and I was able to process it and reflect upon it, I disliked it even more, and then of course after reading the book (how many times have I written the word ‘book’?) I felt that it missed the point on some key aspects.

I understand where the title change came from when the novel was adapted to a movie because the line “love, Simon” is present, but I think there was a bit of propaganda behind it as well. I mean, think about it, why would “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” be changed to a two-word title when we have “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and nobody said “let’s change it to “Harry and the Goblet”? Is it maybe the word ‘Homo’? (trust me, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but what do I know? I’m a liberal feminist who wants all babies to be aborted or adopted by the gays). It could’ve also been the word “agenda” because we all know how that’s used around. I’m sure there are many theories going around, and if you know about them, share them with me.

Another thing that bothered me was the token diverse love interest. I mean, yes, you have your gay character, and your black character and your Jewish character, and I think that representation was on point, but then you have the white gay guy’s love interest and he’s a black, half-Jewish gay guy? What? What that character did to me was pretty much forget about the seemingly authentic representation and diversity that I’d been given. And yes, I know there are black, half-Jewish gay teens out there, but seriously? Seriously?

I think that you’ve been able to appreciate the changes I’ve made in my reading. At least I’ve noticed that I am reading more intense contemporary YA fiction, even if there’s romance involved, and that my characters aren’t all white and straight. When reading about white and straight characters, I’m more critical about them than I was before because I understand that the world is a diverse one. This, however, has come with the knowledge that representation really occurs when I’m reading an own-voices novel. What I mean by this is that the author is actually part of an underrepresented group, like David Levithan or Nina LaCour, who write about gay and lesbian characters, respectively and Julie Murphy, who’s written novels featuring a fat main character. As cool as it is to see another book about a male gay teen, it wasn’t own-voices because Becky Albertalli is not a gay man. I just think that there are some really awesome authors who’ve come up with really awesome novels about male gay teens that we should give more recognition to, at least the same amount of hype as Simon got.

The story itself didn’t knock my socks off for many reasons. I didn’t think it was original at all. I think the coming-out plot is not for me because I want to see more queer characters who are out and about, you know? I want to see more of that person’s identity and story than their coming out. I’m not saying that’s not important or relevant or that these plots shouldn’t be written anymore, but that it’s not what I’m looking for and I’m grateful to have a wide selection of queer reads to choose from. The blackmailing thing and the online romance tropes have been done before, so I don’t feel like I was reading anything new.

I have so many more things to say, but I’m tired after a long day at work and I feel like I’ve ranted enough. Recommend me good queer reads please and thank you.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

Using Visible Thinking Routines in the Classroom (1/2)

Using Visible Thinking Routines in the Classroom (1/2)

Using Visible thinking RoutinesBefore you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Saturday. Today I’m excited because this is a topic I really like to talk about and recommend to other teachers. I’m talking about visible thinking routines, and let me tell you, they are game-changers. I learned about them because I worked at a school that followed the Teaching for Understanding model, which uses thinking routines. I’m going to talk about a few that I’ve tried and I’ll tell you how I’ve used them, but if you want to explore this a bit further, click here.

Visible thinking routines (or VTR’s) are exactly what they sound like; they are ways in which you and your students can visibly represent their understanding or appropriation of a topic. I love them for many reasons. First, they are a way in which students can condense and organize information. Many of these VTR’s use graphic organizers that you’re already familiar with, like T-charts. I also love them because you can structure an entire lesson around them. They are easily adaptable and modifiable to suit the needs and learning strategies of virtually any group of students.

Think, Pair, Share

I’m sure you already do this in class because it’s a really simple way to get students to talk about a topic. First, you prompt them by asking a question and giving them time to think about an answer. When I tell you this VTR works in any context, I mean it. After the students have thought of their answer, they will turn to their “elbow partner” and share it with them. Then, you’ll let students share with the class, but instead of saying their own answer, they will talk about their partner’s answer. They can simply retell it or they can go beyond that and say what they thought was interesting about that answer or whether they agree with it and why. I prefer it as a warm-up activity when I’m introducing a new topic.

KWL

KWL charts are awesome, especially if your students are conducting some type of research or inquiry project. I’ve worked at IB schools and it perfectly aligns with the PYP. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you about working at an IB school some other time. A KWL chart is divided int three columns: What I Know, What I Want to Know, and What I Learned. I start by introducing a topic to the students, one that is broad enough for them to each come up with different questions about it. I give them some time to complete their K column with things they know about the topic. I then allow a few kids to share their ideas. If I have a small class and enough time, I’ll let each kid tell me one thing they wrote. I have my own version of the chart on the board, so I copy their ideas as they share them. You can follow the same steps for the W column, or you can simply have students share their questions and fill that column collaboratively. Then, it’s time for the students to do independent research. If you have a school library or a media center, take them there. If you have iPads or tablets in your classroom, I’m jealous, but use them. Students will write their findings in the L column. And there you have it, a beautiful lesson that revolves around research.

See, Think, Wonder

I’ve used this one with my third graders, and it was sort of chaotic but also sort of awesome. I did this when we were working on daily routines around the world and the conditions in which some people live. For this, I showed them a video. First, we went through the video, once without stopping and then another time pausing after each step of the routine was depicted. The video showed many women and their morning routines. We would all take notes on what the children saw. It was a bit tough for them because they would say things like “I think that…” and of course, this was another step of the routine. I reminded them to focus on what they could see with their eyes without imagining other things. Then, we moved on to “I think,” and here the students had to be more reflective. They would say things like “I think some women have more resources than others.” Finally, for the “I wonder” part, the students asked questions. They then wrote a text in which they answered one of the questions they asked, based on what they had seen and their own reflections.

I’ll bring you part two some other time. Which of these routines do you use or are you interested in using? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: Miracle Country

NetGalley Reads: Miracle Country

 

NetGalley

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. I barely slept last night and then woke up and did a full face of makeup, held a fun Instagram contest to celebrate Pride, recorded and drafted like six different TikToks, so it feels like I’ve already been up for a full day. I also continued to read Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework, and I couldn’t help but imagine that I was in the middle of a desert, surrounded by nothing by nature. Let me tell you, that’s a nice break, especially considering I have barely left my house since March.

I read this book between June 15th and July 1st, 2020 as part of a blog tour I was invited to participate in by Algonquin and gave it three stars, but it’s more like 3.5, really. I’d like to thank them, the author, and NetGalley for this opportunity. Now, this is nonfiction but it is nothing like what I’ve read before. I say this because it seems as if the main character in this book, other than being Atleewood herself or her family, is the place where they all live. I might be wrong, and if I am, please correct me, but the author is from Bishop, which is a desertic land in California.

To me, it was interesting to read about the weather, and the elements, and nature itself as characters, especially in an autobiographical book. It is especially interesting considering I have only lived in the city, and Colombia is a tropical country so the climate, biodiversity, and pretty much all other natural factors are very different from what the author experienced growing up. I think for that reason it took me a bit to get into the book, to really connect with what Atleework was narrating and describing, but I’ve hit that point and now I feel like everything is flowing.

That’s something important I want to say to potential readers of this book: it is slow and, honestly, kind of boring at first, but once you get past that, the author narrates more of her family life and history and focuses less on describing the landscape with excuciating detail. She still does, but I think by that point, the readers are used to that.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll explain it a little bit better because I think that way you’ll understand my three-star rating. Although I didn’t find anything particularly *wrong* with this book, I didn’t think it was my type of book at all, so I didn’t connect with it in ways other people would. That’s why I gave it the rating that I did. I didn’t think it was really fair to give it four stars because, other than entertaining me and teaching me about another place’s geography, it didn’t do much for me.

There are a few content warnings that I think you should consider before reading this book. You can perfectly skip the sections where they are mentioned, so it’s not like you can’t read the entire book because of them. There are mentions of self-harm and attempted sexual assault, both, I think, in the same chapter. If you can, get someone else to read it before and let you know what to skip.

What have you been reading? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

 

NetGalley Reads: Clancy of the Undertow

NetGalley Reads: Clancy of the Undertow

NETFLIX TALK_.png

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. I have so ARCs from NetGalley to read that I feel that sometimes I get to a point in which everything I’m reading is sort of the same, and you can totally tell by my two or three-star ratings. Sometimes, though, a book will come along that is nothing like what I’ve read and that makes me super excited to read and review. An example of this is Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie. I’d like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

I read Clancy of the Undertow between September 29th and October 5th, 2019 and gave it three stars. Yes, I know it is my usual rating, but this book really grew on me and I think that more people should know about it. Is it life-changing? Not at all. Do I think it needs to go through a revision process? Yes, but that being said, the story that it tells is one that more people need in their life.

I’ll be honest and say that right from the start I didn’t like it; I thought the language was too flowery and there were many sentence fragments. However, I think that the author reconsidered his choices and we get a more straightforward writing style throughout the book. Part of why I thought I wouldn’t like the book was my own preconceived notions. For example, at first, when the main character was describing a woman, I thought it was a man talking because in my mind it made more sense that it was a guy having a crush on a woman. I then understood the main character was a female, and I was also a bit confused until she straight up said she was into women. When I understood all these and realize I was the one with silly ideas and not the author, I enjoyed the book a lot more.

Yes, this features a lesbian main character, and I really appreciated the fact that this wasn’t a coming-out/figuring-out-my-sexuality kind of story. She did tell her family and friends that she liked women, but she was sure about her sexual orientation and didn’t make a big fuss about liking women. I think that kind of openness with herself is what more young adult books featuring queer main characters need.

The story features what could develop as a romance, although that is pretty much left to the reader’s imagination but it doesn’t revolve around it. I think that people who read and liked Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen will feel compelled to read this one, with the added bonus that the main character is not straight and the story is set in Australia. There are family issues that tend to be the center of the plot at times, although the book manages to be an exploration of the main character and her identity.

There is a suicide attempt scene, so be weary of that, and there are a few “jokes” here and there regarding a man who’s deemed a pedophile because he never got married or had kids. Other than that, the typos and general lack of editing, this is a solid book that I think more people should read.

Do you have any recommendations for books featuring lesbian main characters? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

I’ve Been Dying to Tell You About This

I’ve Been Dying to Tell You About This

 

 

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Wednesday. For some beautiful reason, the universe and my TBR list have conspired to have me read pretty much only LGBTQ* novels for a few weeks now. I think that’s awesome because for me there are still many people who are unaware of the amount of amazing YA stories that are out (no pun intended) and that feature a main character who is not straight. I also believe that part of my “job” as a book blogger is to raise awareness of all those beautiful stories that have yet to be discovered.

You know that I am always late to the party, so maybe No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace was a hit a few years ago and I totally missed it. I hope that was the case because I honestly don’t think I’d heard anyone talking about this book and I am not even sure how I found out about it. I’m glad that I did find it because after reading it between April 3rd and 4th, 2019, I gave it five stars.

One thing I loved about it was that it was told from multiple perspectives. Just by seeing the cover we can tell that there is some sort of hidden romance going on, and having the people involved tell their version makes the story more believable and it makes it richer. It also makes it seem more objective if that makes any sense because in a way we can confront what one character is saying by reading that same part of the story according to another character.

You know that I’m not really a fan of love triangles, but I had never read about one like this. Yes, I’ve read about triangles featuring two female characters and one male, but they are always about the two women “fighting” over the guy. This is an LGBTQ* story, so I guess you can figure out how this triangle works. (Hint: it involves a female-female romance). The main character’s love interest is also romantically involved with the main character’s brother, and just to clarify, yes, the main character is a woman. But we don’t get that sibling rivalry which I find annoying in YA because the main character and her brother are actually best friends. I know that this sounds like the biggest, most obnoxious trope of all, but the author had a way of twisting everything and make it healthy and positive, which sadly is rare for YA. Oh, there’s also hate-to-love, but again, it’s super sweet.

My only con is that there were some editing issues. I’m not sure what I meant by that when I wrote it down because it’s been a while, but it doesn’t affect the story or make it any less powerful, so there’s that. If you have any recommendations for LGBTQ* books that you find underrated, tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

Edelweiss Reads: Orpheus Girl

Edelweiss Reads: Orpheus Girl

NETFLIX TALK_.png

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better  to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Friday. Today I’m reviewing Orpheus Girl by Brynne-Rebele Henry. This ARC was provided to me for reading and reviewing purposes so I would like to thank Edelweiss and the author for the opportunity.

I read this book between May 10th and May 11th, 2019, although I could have read it all in a single day, I just really didn’t want to binge read it, and gave it three stars. Again, I could have gone for a lower rating because this book was plain bad.

This story is about a lesbian girl who has a dysfunctional family life and lives with a very conservative and religious grandmother in a very conservative and religious town in Texas. Now the first thing that bothered me was the misuse of the word “queer.” At times it was used as an insult, and at others, it wasn’t. It’s fine if you find the word insulting and you don’t want to use it, but honestly, if that’s the case, remove it from your mental dictionary. I think in this novel it had an overall negative connotation, but since the main character identified as such, I couldn’t really tell.

I know by the title and the references thrown in throughout the book that this is based on Greek mythology, but I honestly had no idea about the myth of Orpheus. It would have been cool to have more context on the story. I could have done a Google research, but I didn’t feel compelled to.

The plot itself was nothing special. You have your two lesbian girls in an ultra-conservative town who get find out and then get sent to conversion camp. Yes, I’ve read versions of that same story, and I can recommend them to you right now because they’re way better than Orpheus Girl. You can read, for example, The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth or The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi. They aren’t exactly like Orpheus Girl, but the plot is similar enough and you’ll get more from these novels.

Another problem I had with this novel was the writing style. The main character is also the narrator, but she doesn’t talk like a teenager from a small town in the slightest. Even if she were well-read and super educated, which isn’t something I could have inferred from reading the novel (I only knew she liked mythology), the way she spoke was forced. When I think about the author, who’s like twenty years old, I think that even if she talked like that in real life, in the book it appears snobby and pretentious to me. She could have toned it down and made it more natural.

One of the notes I took was “I’m not impressed.” The plot and the writing were not original and didn’t attract my attention. I could have finished this novel in a single day and the reason why I didn’t was that I seriously could not think of spending three more hours reading it. I preferred to leave it for the next day. Look, I’ve read all sorts of love stories, and I think Orpheus Girl didn’t have a solid one. We get snapshots, moments when the main character and her love interest might have shown or expressed their love, but we didn’t have a clear beginning. I don’t know, other than spending a lot of time together, what caused them to fall in love.

Do you know any novels based on mythology that I could be interested in? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Friday!

Love, Miss Camila