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2016 Hub Challenge Check-In # 8

20 Mar

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I have made it to 24 books, finishing Shadowshaper,  by Daniel José Older.

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Goodreads Summary: Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

I really like the gritty urban setting. In some ways, everything is ordinary: mom is a teacher, the teens are smart and artistic. Some mild racism is presented when Sierra ventures out of her usual hangouts. Although a Shadowshaper, Sierra also has body issues like so many teen girls. This stand alone is what I hoped the later Mortal Instruments books would have been.

Spring Break Rendezvous

20 Mar

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We’re coming to Portland for part of Spring Break again. My kids fell madly, deeply in love last time. We are there from March 15 – 19 and we’d love to see you.

I read the message and smiled. It was from a high school friend, Heather.

I changed high schools for grade thirteen, after spending 1982-83 as an exchange student in Denmark. At my new school, I fell in with a fun group of like-minded friends, but as we all went of to different colleges and universities, we lost touch. Heather was one of them, as was her husband, Wilson. He and I worked together at our local pool. They didn’t start dating until after high school and we had lost touch long before they married. A few years ago, we reconnected on Facebook and I discovered they’d moved to Vancouver B.C. Funny how we’d all ended up on the West Coast. They were in Portland in 2013 for Spring Break and  we saw each other for the first time since 1984.

Today, we met up at Portland Saturday Market and, despite rain in the forecast, it was a perfect Spring day. We started as a large group, then wandered around the market for a while in smaller groups. Heather and I wandered looking at the various artisan booths, sharing stories of being 50-year-old women looking for jobs and books we love. We regrouped after wandering and purchasing what needed to be purchased, then walked to Karam’s, a Lebanese/Syrian restaurant. In true Portland fashion, they offered gluten free pita, but we didn’t order it.

After lunch, I was ready for a nap so I returned home and they went on to explore more of Portland. All in all, it was a great start to Spring Break.

 

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