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Give Me Shelter 

Set against the backdrop of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, this emotional story follows the lives of Willie and Denny, two boys who live with their grandfather after the mysterious death of their parents. Their lives are separated when Denny heads off to college, and Willie’s friend tells him about “The man in the suit.” This sends them on a journey that will have them cross paths with a whole host of others, all trying to live, survive and figure out a world on the brink of collapse. And if they can’t do it alone, could they do it together?

Give Me Shelter by David B. Seaburn is a beautiful story about human connection and condition. It follows the story of Willie, a sixth-grade schoolboy. His life changes after his parents mysteriously die, and he and his brother are sent to live with his grandfather. Things change when his brother leaves for college and then change again when a mysterious character arouses the suspicion of his friend. Together, they embark on a journey to find answers to some very strange questions. They must rely on themselves and others to prevail.

I liked this story. It was a simple read but engaging. Seaburn’s character development was outstanding. I was able to relate to all the characters and form an attachment to each one’s story and plight. The settings were all described with enough detail I felt I was there with the characters but not overwhelmed with minute information. What I particularly liked about it was that it was such a humorous story told in such a turbulent time. The characters in this story could be obliterated by a nuclear warhead at any moment, but yet, there is still joy there. I think this is achieved through the use of good writing and clever character development. Each character stood out and added something to the story. There was no waste. A good book that will fill you with emotion throughout.

Give Me Shelter is a well-written coming-of-age story that will have readers of family life fiction turning the pages to see what happens to all the memorable characters. This is one of those books that will leave the reader thinking about the characters after the book is finished, remembering things they have done or said, just like an old friend.

Pages: 350 | ASIN : B0B99F72SD

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Missed Calls

In Missed Calls by author Zachary Ryan, Cheyenne and Vanessa have been friends for nearly their entire lives. Although life’s circumstances have taken them in different directions, their friendship remains. While both friends appear to have it perfect on the outside, Cheyenne and Vanessa envy what the other has. Cheyenne longs for a family and stability, while Vanessa feels as if she had settled when she gave up her dreams of becoming a dancer. Full of emotion and heartache, Vanessa and Cheyenne have to learn that everybody comes with their own baggage, and sometimes the person who seems to have it all just needs a friend to lean on.

Author Zachary Ryan has done an excellent job of expressing the emotions of his characters. As a reader, I could empathize with Cheyenne and what he was going through in life, feeling as if he’s never been enough in his relationships. He really did keep getting one raw deal after another, although he did bring some of it on himself. Still, although he was full of drama, he was very likable.

Cheyenne and Vanessa’s relationship was one that I feel many people can relate to. They’ve been friends since childhood, high school, and adulthood. So, the ups and downs they face are realistic, as is the lingering question of whether they are still really that close or holding on to the nostalgia they once shared. 

I had mixed feelings about Skylar’s character. At first glance, she appears to be a villain and is rather dislikable. However, upon further inspection, I can sympathize with her in a way. How many of us can honestly say that we’ve never acted irrationally out of fear of losing somebody important to us? Skylar was just reacting the best way she knew how, even if it came off in a negative light.

One aspect that I enjoyed was the flashbacks that Vanessa and Cheyenne had. It shed light on each of their backstories and why they are the way they are. Both had suffered their own traumas along the way but felt they were alone in dealing with them. Part of their problems stemmed from just not being completely honest about their past. Readers will enjoy seeing the characters grow and learn along the way.

Missed Calls is a heartwarming family life fiction novel that focuses on friendship and the struggles that can build over time. This is the kind of lighthearted story you want to take with you on vacation and just relax as you follow the characters through their own self-discovery.

Pages: 268 | ASIN : B09SM2Y6TJ

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Just Arrived

Just Arrived: A Different World by Bona Udeze is the informative and detailed account of a young man from Africa on his journey towards living in another country. It is a fantastic representation of what immigrants experience and the people they meet as they travel to start their lives somewhere else, in this case the protagonist Emeka Mmadunebo is beginning his life in America.

The first person narrative allows the reader to gain an insight into the main characters thoughts and feelings towards his brand new adventure, as well as how he explores his emotions towards his life back home. Almost written in the style of a diary, you follow each challenge he faces and experience the joys and turbulence of his entire journey.

Highlighting the contrasts between the two very different cultures of Africa and America is done excellently, especially when the narrator questions some of the tales he is told by others who have been to the U.S. through one of the many flashbacks of his life in Africa. This thought-provoking saga emphasizes to the reader some of the things taken for granted and how these may be seen by those from a different background.

Another way Emeka’s culture is threaded throughout is with the clever use of dialect, phrases such as ‘akara and akamu’ draw the readers attention to the cultural origin of the main character. In some places this can become a little harder to read, for example ‘You wan changi dalla, or you wan buy American dalla or Britis poun?’ by writing this phonetically it can sometimes become difficult for the reader to imagine the voice of a character.

Just Arrived: A Different World by Bona Udeze, highlights cultural differences from several perspectives. Written in the style of a diary or a biographical account rather than in the style of a novel readers will be immersed in the characters lives and emotions. This engrossing book is a great fit for readers that enjoy cultural fiction and family life fiction.

Pages: 310 | ASIN : B09GX9K453

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