Wow! This book has it all when it comes to setting and our reading challenge–geography, history, all the different people who make up Hawaii–and the setting is so integral to the story! So many aspects of the story are uniquely Hawaiian, there’s nowhere else it could be set. I am reading my way across the […]

This was a really nice book, and a great opening for Hawaii! It’s not only the story of Spencer taking care of his dying mother, it also tells the story of how he unexpectedly went from being the middle son to being the only son. The childhood flashbacks take place in the 1950s and 1960s, […]

I love Hawaii! I’ve visited the Big Island twice, and I love it. However, visiting someplace as a tourist can be very different from living there, and that’s very true of Hawaii. Its physical isolation means that the cost of living is very high, and most items are much more expensive than on the mainland. […]

Ugh! I know this book is highly acclaimed and has won awards. All I can say is that either those people geeked over the loveliness of the prose and ignored that it made no sense, or I’m a lot more stupid than I thought. I don’t claim to be a genius, and I actually don’t […]

I associate Idaho with several of my cousins who grew up in Eureka, Montana–the “nearby” mid-sized towns included Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, in the panhandle. But Idaho also makes me think of Craters of the Moon National Monument, a volcanic site near the center of the state. And Picabo Street, the Olympic skier, who grew up […]

This was a last minute addition, and I’m really glad I found it–Casanova does a really nice job with the northern Minnesota setting in her Young Adult novel Frozen. I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books from each state, with an emphasis on setting–books where the setting is really tangible, and […]

Wow! We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge was a really interesting book! The commentary on race and racism were enlightening, and the commentary on families, sisterhood and motherhood were, at times, heart-wrenching. Overall, I’m glad I read it. However, despite a few lovely descriptions of western Massachusetts and less lovely ones of Dorchester, […]

In the early- to mid-1990s, I lived in Massachusetts, outside of Lawrence, along New Hampshire’s tiny coastal strip, and worked for a Girl Scout council on the North Shore, which included Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn, Salem, Marblehead and Gloucester. I also did an internship a bit to the west, around Worcester. What I remember the […]

Between, Georgia has the most Southern stereotypes of any of the Georgia books we’ve read so far. It is also the only Southern Gothic book we’ve read so far. (Though A Cry of Angels by Jeff Fields fits that category as well.) I am reading my way across the USA–5 or so books set in each […]

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones was a great addition to my challenge reading list for Georgia… or Louisiana. The story was split–Roy’s family lives in Louisiana, and that’s where he is wrongfully convicted and serves five years in prison. Celestial grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and she received her childhood home as a wedding […]