Julian is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love
This was really cute. Julian sees three mermaids on the train and decides he’s a mermaid, too. Instead of punishing him for taking down the curtains for his mermaid tail, his abuela takes him to the parade where the mermaids were going.
The art is very lush, full of color and movement. Most of the story is told through the art, but the writing is solid, too. Definitely a good book for kids.
Undead Girl Gang
by Lily Anderson
The fat Latinx witch tale I never knew I wanted. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a solid mystery with a genuinely warranted twist. The friendships are solid and form naturally, and the dialogue is well done. There’s a bit of romance for those who like that, and a lot of zombies (well, three, but that’s three more than most YA novels), and a good murder mystery to be solved. Definitely check it out if you’re looking for a fun, fast read.
Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
I’ve now read two books by Barbara Ehrenreich and I’ve enjoyed both of them immensely. Not one to pull punches, she takes on the “positive psychology” and “positivity” world with wit and a good dose of skepticism. She talks about the history of positivity as an opposite of Calvinism, its rise through the middle and upper-classes as a way to win over illnesses, and its inevitable destruction of the economy (the housing bubble and crash of the mid-’00s). She tackles the megachurches and The Secret, the faulty science behind “positive psychology”, and the almost cult-like approach to positivity among breast cancer patients.
There’s a dark side to positivity, with its brand of “cutting out the negative” in your life and its shaky claims to give you all you want, which leads to victim blaming once things don’t go as planned. This is a brilliant book I think everyone should read. I know it’s going on my shelf.
I Really Didn’t Think This Through
by Beth Evans
In the style of Hyperbole and a Half, Beth Evans takes us through the process of adulthood, with all its fears, trials, and strengths. From not knowing exactly how to be an adult to working through mental illness, Evans intersperses her writing with comics to illustrate her points. It’s a good little book. I found it similar to a lot of that kind (particularly Everyone’s an Aliebn when You’re an Aliebn Too), but it’s unique to Evans’ experiences. Worth a read, especially if you are someone who deals with anxiety.