I would call myself a casual Harry Potter fan. I have memories of the books and movies from when I was younger. So when I saw This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano, a book about Quidditch in real life, I was curious.
Ellen Lopez-Rourke just graduated high school, and she has one summer left until she’s off for college. Her plans are thrown out the window, however, when her step-mom grounds her for the whole summer. Her only out is begging to join the local Quidditch team with her friend, Melissa. Ellen expects a bunch of Harry Potter nerds, but what she finds are committed, loyal team members playing a super athletic game. Quidditch is just the distraction Ellen needs from her drama with family and friends, but she’ll find she can’t outrun them for long.
I enjoyed this story about finding yourself and finding community. This book captures the feelings of a teenager moving on to adulthood, and of someone finding a supportive place where they feel they belong. There are plenty of aspects of Ellen’s life, such as her struggles with identity and social activism, that succeed in rounding her character. There was growth from each character presented, I just wish the book had better handled Ellen’s relationship with her step-mom. Overall, an interesting read.
Though I’d like to admit otherwise, what first drew me in to this book was the cute cover design. I was expecting a standard cheesy YA romance, but the story surprised me with it’s realistic characters and layered story.
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer stars Prudence, “Pru” to her friends, over the course of her summer before junior year of high school. After a freak karaoke accident, Pru finds the universe has gifted her the ability to control karma. People she finds doing good are rewarded, and those who are mean or disrespectful are punished accordingly. Now she has the perfect opportunity to seek justice with her lazy, uncaring lab partner Quint, who’s responsible for her terrible biology grade.
What she can’t figure out is why he never seems to be brought to justice, no matter how many times she tries using her power. Forced together again as a last attempt to bring up her grade, Pru finds the more time she spends with Quint outside of class, the less unbearable he becomes. Even worse, his work and devotion to the local Sea Animal Rescue might even make him…cute.
Personally I was pleasantly surprised with Pru’s growth as a person over the months we follow her. I loved how the author managed to capture Pru’s thoughts and opinions. The reader may be able to see through her assumptions at times, but it’s easy to see why Pru herself thinks that way. Above all, her “karmatic insights” serve as a great way to illustrate the blurred line between justice and revenge, and the downfalls of quick judgments.