Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Julia Gillian (And The Art of Knowing)


Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee. 2008. Scholastic. 290 pages.

Julia Gillian, her parents, and her dog, Bigfoot, all lived together in a third-floor apartment in south Minneapolis.

Julia Gillian is a kindred spirit in many ways. She's a quirky nine year old. Sensitive too. She's good at many things, but not so good at others. One of Julia Gillian's weaknesses is fear and anxiety. What does Julia Gillian fear? Well, in this first book in the series, she fears a green book. You should probably know that Julia Gillian is not a big reader. So the fact that she picked out a book and asked her parents to buy it for her, well, it's a big deal. But there is a problem. About forty pages into it, Julia Gillian gets worried. The book is about a dog, you see, and she has a bad feeling, a very bad feeling about where the book is heading. So she doesn't want to finish the book. So what's the big deal? She can't stop thinking about the book. She wraps two ponytail holders around the book, but she still doesn't feel "safe." And that's just the first step. Her parents think she needs to finish the book. That finishing the book would be good for their daughter. Can Julia Gillian find the courage to read a sad book?

I mentioned that Julia Gillian is quirky. That is one of the reasons why I loved her so much.

Julia Gillian loved lamination. Someday she hoped to master the art of lamination. She pictured all the things that she could then laminate if she wanted to: birthday cards, abstract portraits, excellent spelling quizzes, and all manner of signs. Lamination was a wonderful thing. Sometimes, when Julia Gillian's parents were sighing over their newspaper, she wanted to remind them that there were many good things in the world, such as lamination. (75)
I enjoyed this one. I enjoyed getting to know Julia Gillian, her friends and family. I enjoyed the writing too. I thought Julia Gillian made a great narrator!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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