Girl In The Blue Coat | Mirror In The Sky | The Memory Of Light

I actually genuinely loved Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse. A quick glance over at goodreads shows that it got mixed reviews. I am the black sheep on this, but it really spoke to me. It also definitely had me craving some more historical fiction in my life. I should mention that I listened to the audiobook and it included an interview with the author at the end and the narration really did shape my view of this book.

The Girl In The Blue Coat is set during the Holocaust in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. It’s narrated by this Danish, Aryan looking girl named Hanneke. Hanneke contributes to her family by ostensibly working as a receptionist at a funeral parlor, but really she works on the black market.

Her main aim is to stay alive during the occupation and keep her family alive. She’s distant from her one good friend. Her boyfriend, Bas died very early on in the war and so, he haunts her memories. Hanneke finds herself drawn into the resistance when she receives a request from a customer to help her find a Jew who was kept hidden – Mirjam or, the girl in the blue coat.

I felt like The Girl In The Blue Coat read as very authentic to me. I felt like this made World War II seem more relatable. People did what they had to, in order to get by. Yet, there were some very extreme acts of bravery. Hanneke basically has to be convinced to be brave, she doesn’t immediately join the resistance. She doesn’t immediately want to help out her customer, Mrs. Janssen. I just think that many ordinary people don’t take risks to help others very often until provoked or until they reach a turning point.

The audiobook is narrated by Natalia Payne. It is 9 hours and 42 minutes long. I listened to it sped up to 1.5x speed, as I always do. I felt like Payne did a wonderful job with accents and with infusing the narration with a sense of urgency and place. Then, the interview at the end really just cemented my enjoyment overall of The Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse.

Other reviews of Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse:

Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of Girl In The Blue Coat:

Prior to reading, I was actually really looking forward to Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana. First, I am trying to read more #ownvoices. Second, I do enjoy science fiction themed books from time to time. Third, the blurbs on the book especially via Nina Lacour really caught my attention. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Mirror In The Sky as much as I had anticipated.

Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana is about what happens when we receive knowledge that there is a parallel Earth and we happen to get just a few glimpses of that parallel Earth. Would you be overwhelmed knowing that there’s a possibility that based on your choices and the choices you didn’t make, everything would be different on the parallel Earth. Mirror In The Sky features Tara Krishnan.

Tara is the only brown person at her posh private school in her hometown in Connecticut. Her dad owns the local Indian restaurant, but he went to Columbia for physics. Her mom is white and was a ballerina. Tara’s best friend is leaving for a semester abroad. She thinks it’s going to be an awful year, but then somehow she ends up getting close with the popular kids.

The parallel universe does play a role in Mirror In The Sky, but not as huge of a role as I had expected. Really this book is about minute things. Sure, there’s some moments where Tara wonders about what Parallel Tara’s life is like. There’s also a part that affects her parents. Otherwise, it’s all life with the cool kids and what that is like, plus some very minor hooking up. Like, one scene, that’s it.

I’ll admit, I came very close to DNFing Mirror In The Sky. However, I wanted to give it a chance. The chapters were short and I was kind of close to halfway through. So, I pushed on and read in three chapter increments per day. Ultimately, I was bored by Mirror In The Sky. I thought the concept was so cool. I just had a very hard time actually caring. There’s definitely an audience for this book, but it is not me.

Other reviews of Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana:

Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of Mirror In The Sky:

The Memory Of Light by Francisco X. Stork actually is about a subject that I have been wanting to read more YA about for awhile. It’s about adolescent mental health and chronicles what happens when a teenager goes inpatient for longer than observation hours. Of course, I listened to the audiobook and again, really gelled with what I had listened to.

The Memory Of Light is a book about a girl named Vicky Cruz who lives in Texas. She tries to kill herself and so, she goes inpatient for recovery. Now, if you aren’t working in the mental health field, you might not know what this is. Going inpatient means that she’s staying at either a hospital or a treatment center for more than just a quick in and out procedure. She receives medication and therapy and just really works toward recovery.

Now, this book follows Vicky’s journey toward recovery. She leads a pretty privileged life, at least from the outside looking in. However, there’s immense pressure from her father. Her mother died of cancer. Vicky holds a lot of blame due to something that involves her mother. Vicky felt so distant from others after her mom died. However, when she goes inpatient and becomes friendly with Mona and receives treatment from Dr. Desai, she really feels acceptance and begins her healing.

I think that I genuinely liked this book because it did not stigmatize therapy. It didn’t stigmatize medication. The book didn’t make mental illness out to be this alluring, sexy thing. It also puts a very realistic face on what mental health treatment for teens looks like. I mean, it did not get to the point of case managers or waiver wrap around services post inpatient treatment, but it’s still very realistic. I say that as someone who currently is working in the field both in my current job and the one I am about to take on. Stork just brings this to life without feeling preachy or overwrought. I cannot praise The Memory Of Light’s portrayal highly enough.

As for the audiobook, of course I borrowed it from the library. The book is narrated by Frankie Corzo. The audiobook is a little over 9 hours long. As always, I listened to it at 1.5x speed. It was my first time listening to an audiobook narrated by Corzo. She’s a decent narrator with good character variations and accents as well. I would definitely recommend this via audiobook as well as just reading a physical or ebook edition. The Memory Of Light by Francisco X. Stork is a good book in general.

Other reviews of The Memory Of Light by Francisco X. Stork:

Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of The Memory Of Light:

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

%d bloggers like this: