Blog Tour for The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner: Book Review/Giveaway Winner Announcement!

The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner

304 pages

Published on 3/3/20 by Flatiron Books

ISBN: 9781250179760

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Poland, 1941. When the soldiers come to round up the Jewish men for labor duty, only half of them return. Róża knows that she must take her daughter Shira—already full of joy and music—away. The two find shelter in the hay loft of a farmer’s barn, where Shira struggles to stay still and quiet. Notes and melodies pulse inside the young girl, and it’s hard for her to resist the temptation to tap them out with her fingers and her feet. To pass the time, Róża tells Shira a story. There is a little girl who, with the help of her yellow bird, tends an enchanted garden.


With this game of make believe, Róża soothes Shira and shields her from the horrors around them. But then the day comes when their haven is no longer safe and Róża must face an impossible choice: whether to keep Shira by her side, or give her the chance to survive apart. 


Inspired by the true stories of children hidden during World War II, THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS is a novel about the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter, the power of storytelling, and the triumph of hope in even the darkest of times.

Review:

Thank you to Flatiron Books for an early physical copy as well as allowing me to participate in the blog tour! I also received an early digital copy on NetGalley, so thank you to them too.

Trigger Warnings: Animal slaughter, rape, murder, miscarriage.

Story |

The reader follows a Jewish mother and daughter—Roza and Shira—in Poland during WWII. They hide in the loft of a farmer’s barn, but Roza has to pay a disgusting price. Henryk, the farmer, comes up to the loft every night and takes advantage of Roza, even though he is already married to a woman named Krystyna. They are able to feed her daughter and that’s all that matters. Shira is a musical prodigy, and that just might reveal their whereabouts, so Roza tells her stories about a yellow bird that can sing ANY song Shira can think of.

This was probably the hardest and saddest part of the novel to get through. They stay in the barn from 1941 to 1942, eating what the farmer is able to provide, going to the bathroom in a bucket, having to stay quiet and still for TWO years. There is a lot of tension between Roza and Shira. Roza wants them to be safe, but she has a young daughter who struggles to accept and understand what is going on around them. I can’t imagine how hard that would be.

What I liked most about the first part of the novel is how raw and real it is. Roza started to get upset with Shira. Roza became numb to what happens with Henryk. The novel isn’t shy when it comes to showing the reader emotion. The saddest part is when Roza has to let go of Shira. I almost cried in Starbucks while reading that part.

Eventually, Shira is taken away to a convent since Nazis are planning to commandeer Henryk’s barn. The convent renames her Zosia so nobody knows she’s Jewish. Here is where she learns to play the violin. She can finally become that musical prodigy we all knew she’d become.

This may sound heartless, but I really didn’t care for Zosia’s parts in the book. This was one of the main reasons I bumped the rating down to four-stars.

Meanwhile, Roza is forced to roam around the forest to hide from Nazis. She makes it a point to change the direction of her footsteps. When she runs into sisters, Chana and Miri, she begins to question if letting her daughter go was the right thing to do.

In this case, it was the right thing to do. She saved her daughter from a life full of misery and horror. Her daughter went on to be successful, and that’s truly all a mother could ask for.

The ending is very bittersweet. It didn’t end how I expected it to, but I was definitely satisfied with it. I want you all to go read this, so I won’t spoil anything!

Don’t go into this expecting a war novel. It’s the relationship between a mother and a daughter who are trying to escape from the horrors of WWII. It’s life or death, and it’s Roza’s responsibility to decide what’s best for her daughter. I thought the imaginary yellow bird was adorable, and it managed to help Shira/Zosia through many tough situations.

Characters |

There are quite a few side characters, but none of them really stick. This book truly is about the mother and daughter.

Roza is a trooper to say the least. There are so many smart yet devastating decisions she has to make throughout the novel. She is aware of her surroundings, and her only goal is to get back to her daughter. I’m sure there are reasons someone might not like her, but I would tell them to put themselves in her shoes. Would you rather save your daughter at ALL costs, or risk her dying in the forest because you couldn’t provide enough food/water?

Shira/Zosia was interesting, but if I’m being honest, I didn’t care for her parts of the novel as much. I loved that she was finally able to become that musical prodigy, but I have no interest/knowledge about that. She’s tough and smart for a young girl during this time period. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say about her.

Writing |

The writing style can be easily digested. Simple and straightforward. I liked that it wasn’t convoluted, but I wish it had a little more “oomph”. It did have its whimsical/lyrical moments that I absolutely loved. I can appreciate the writing is what I’m trying to say. It was able to tell a beautiful story.

Overall |

I would highly recommend this! It has its gritty, heartbreaking moments, but in the end, you won’t be disappointed. The mother/daughter relationship is interesting to watch while under that kind of strain. There are moments that Roza breaks—she’s not a robot. Shira just wants to be a kid. There is so much tension and fear that comes from these two characters, but there is also A LOT of love.
It’s pretty incredible, and I’m telling you right now to read it when it comes out.

About the Author |

Jennifer Rosner is the author the memoir If A Tree Falls: A Family’s Quest to Hear and Be Heard. Her children’s book, The Mitten String, is a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable. Jennifer’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, The ForwardGood Housekeeping, and elsewhere. She lives in western Massachusetts with her family.

Giveaway Winner Announcement |

Winner: Wonderland.books

Congratulations to her! Thank you to everyone who participated! 🙂


If you enjoyed this, then give it a like and follow my blog. Be respectful and happy reading!

**GIVEAWAY** The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner – Blog Tour: 3/4/20

Hello, friends!

I’m participating in a blog tour for The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner. I’m doing two different things—a giveaway and a review. I want the giveaway to be long enough for people to see it and enter, so I’m starting it one month in advance. It will be here on my blog and I’m able to cross promote on Instagram as well! If you have an Instagram and want to enter over there, then go right ahead.

When I choose the winner on 3/4, I will message you for a mailing address. Flatiron will actually be sending out the one galley, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, then don’t enter the giveaway!

My review will also be up for this novel on 3/4! Keep your eyes open for that.

The rules for entering on Instagram will be over there.

Rules:

  • You must be following my blog, but please don’t follow just to unfollow. It’s rude!
  • Go follow Flatiron Books on Instagram! (I will be checking once I pick a winner.)
  • Tell me in the comments what your favorite bird is and why it’s your favorite. If you don’t have a favorite bird, then explain why that is, too.

About THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS

Poland, 1941. When the soldiers come to round up the Jewish men for labor duty, only half of them return. Róża knows that she must take her daughter Shira—already full of joy and music—away. The two find shelter in the hay loft of a farmer’s barn, where Shira struggles to stay still and quiet. Notes and melodies pulse inside the young girl, and it’s hard for her to resist the temptation to tap them out with her fingers and her feet. To pass the time, Róża tells Shira a story. There is a little girl who, with the help of her yellow bird, tends an enchanted garden… 

With this game of make believe, Róża soothes Shira and shields her from the horrors around them. But then the day comes when their haven is no longer safe and Róża must face an impossible choice: whether to keep Shira by her side, or give her the chance to survive apart. 

Inspired by the true stories of children hidden during World War II, THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS is a novel about the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter, the power of storytelling, and the triumph of hope in even the darkest of times.

About the Author

Jennifer Rosner is the author the memoir If A Tree Falls: A Family’s Quest to Hear and Be Heard. Her children’s book, The Mitten String, is a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable. Jennifer’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, The Forward, Good Housekeeping, and elsewhere. She lives in western Massachusetts with her family.


If you enjoyed this, then give it a like and follow my blog. Be respectful and happy reading!

Blog Tour: Dig by A.S. King – Author Q&A!!

Cover

Synopsis

Acclaimed master of the YA novel A.S. King’s eleventh book is a surreal and searing dive into the tangled secrets of a wealthy white family in suburban Pennsylvania and the terrible cost the family’s children pay to maintain the family name.

The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account–wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. “Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says. What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a double-wide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings’ precious suburban respectability begins to spread, the far-flung grandchildren gradually find their ways back to one another, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.

With her inimitable surrealism and insight into teenage experience, A.S. King explores how a corrosive culture of polite, affluent white supremacy tears a family apart and how one determined generation can save themselves.

Author Bio

Capture

A.S. King is the critically acclaimed author of many novels for young adults and middle readers, including Still Life with Tornado. Her fiction has earned numerous awards, including an L.A. Times Book Prize, a Printz Honor, and over fifty starred reviews.The New York Times called her “one of the best YA writers working today.” She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

Author Q&A

All of the characters in this novel are vastly different from one another. Do you take inspiration from people in your life, or are the characters strictly imaginative?

“All the main characters in Dig are imaginative, but I think every writer uses part of their personal experience in order to create their characters. Character is where I feel most comfortable. I have to be, because I have to trust them to tell me their stories. This is how I write all my books—by the seat of my pants and with full trust in my characters to tell me what they need me to say.
Ideas for character traits and action can come from real life. Bill and Jake Marks, for example, are strictly from imagination, however what they do outside schools is based on a pair of brothers I knew and who came to my school (and others) to do that. (Sorry to be vague on that one…spoilers!)
That said, there are a few characters in this novel who come directly from real life. The cashew nut milk lady is a good friend of mine who makes and sells…cashew nut milk. I love the stuff. (But like Gottfried, only the chocolate flavor.) Also, the Shoveler’s neighbor was based on a real neighbor I had in 1991 who loaned me his snow shovel when I didn’t have one. I only saw the tattoo on his arm in summer. There’s a note in the acknowledgements about that.”

Dig does not shy away from societal commentary. This is one of the many reasons I enjoyed this book so much. Did you hesitate to write a book with such a strong opinion like this one?

“I didn’t so much hesitate to write it. When you write by the seat of your pants, the subject matter comes from the characters, and with nine characters it took me a while to figure out how the whole thing would piece together. But I always knew what I was writing about.
I knew I was writing about whiteness, because I set out to write about it, and the Marks bothers showed up right there in the beginning, so I knew I’d be tackling some edgy subject matter. Did it scare me sometimes? Sure. Am I aware that it’s going to make some people uncomfortable? Yeah. Do I care? Not really. If a truthful portrayal of casual, “acceptable” racism based on sound history is something anyone is willing to argue with me about, then I probably have no use in arguing with them. Kelly Sue DeConnick said something once—in response to a question about her work making certain people uncomfortable. She answered, “I am willing to make people uncomfortable so that my daughter doesn’t have to!” I agree with this. I’ve never hesitated to write books about the truth. I know the truth scares people most of the time, but for me, it’s just the truth.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to pick up young adult novels when you’re almost in your mid twenties. What advice do you have for all the readers that don’t gravitate toward young adult novels? Is there anything that you find important that people may not know or understand about young adult fiction?

“Young adult fiction has so many different genres within it. Just like adult fiction. Non-readers of YA often talk about YA as if it’s cookie-cutter stuff. It’s not.
My books are often referred to as crossover novels, and I think that’s accurate. I set out 25 years ago to write books that would help adults and teens understand each other and themselves a bit better. And most would agree that my novels are for both audiences. Since the first published book, half my fans have been adults. Dig certainly has massive adult reader appeal. But that’s not what you asked.
The misunderstanding of YA lit may lie in how we undermine teenagers (and anything they like) in this culture. You mentioned ‘almost-mid-twenties’ in your question. I am nearly 50, so to me almost-mid-twenties and 18 are really not that different. But I know that it’s very different when you are there. All to say: our culture promotes often underestimating and disrespecting those younger than us. The eye rolls are audible. It’s expected, then—the minute your age doesn’t start with the number 1 anymore—to be “grown up” or adult…and to look down on teens (and the things teens like, or narratives about teens) the same way as “adults” do. But maturity has nothing to do with age. I know a lot of kids who are still in high school that are more mature than some 50-something-year-olds I know.
Maybe there’s a “I won’t relate to that teen story” problem. I say: so you only read books about people your own age/gender/race/religion that reflect only similar experiences to yourself? That’s probably not good for your brain. What’s wrong with seeing the real lives of teenagers? It’s pretty interesting stuff, and if you ask me, crucial. Maybe if lawmakers (and voters) read more about what it’s really like to be a teen these days, they’d have greater decency in their votes when it comes to things like common sense gun laws, adolescent mental health, and education in general. Otherwise kids are still seen and not heard, right?
But most of all, I think quality young adult literature can be a sort of way to look back at our own childhoods and teen lives and figure out some stuff. You do know that takes a whole lifetime, right? Why not speed up the process by revisiting it? Are we too embarrassed to admit we were once teens? Isn’t that what the eye-rolling does to us? So maybe reading quality YA lit can actually help you live a more fulfilling life as an adult. I truly believe it does. If that isn’t incentive, I don’t know what is.”

The potato is definitely a mascot for this book. What came first when writing the novel, the symbolism of the potato, the characters, or the plot?

“Characters first, potatoes second (because the characters kept mentioning them), and plot always comes dead last, but somehow magically unfolds itself often without me knowing.”

Thank you again for answering my questions! I really appreciate it. These are the last two that I have for you. Have you ever considered writing non fiction? Has it ever crossed your mind when thinking of what to write next?

“Yes, I think about writing non-fiction in weird ways all the time. Never straight-up non-fiction. Usually it’s a kind of memoir/think piece combo about one specific idea/theme. Much like the way Dig works out. I’ve been [veeerrrrry slowly] working on a graphic-format project in this vein, but I haven’t had much time to write outside of my contracted work. Contracted work pays the bills, so it’s a priority. But one day, I will make time and space to branch out in the ways I’ve wanted to for decades.”

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today and for reading Dig. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. You rock! –Amy


This was such an honor to be part of. I’ve never done anything like this, or even had the chance to take part in something like this. I loved learning about what she thought about the Young Adult genre, and how she came up with some of her characters. Thank you to her for taking time out of her day to answer my questions. I really do appreciate it. Also, a big thank you to Penguin Random House for allowing me to read the book, and participate in this blog tour. It’s been such a great experience!

Down below is the schedule for the other participants in the blog tour! Definitely go check out their content. I’m looking forward to seeing all of it.

Blog Tour Schedule: 

Week One:

March 25 – @ramblingandreading – Creative Instagram Picture

March 26 – Mel to the Any – Author Guest Post: Who was her favorite character and why?

March 27 – We Live and Breathe Books – Review + Other

March 28 – Ex Libris – Review

Week Two:

April 1 – Lorrimagination – Creative Instagram Picture

April 2 – Passionately Perusing – Author Q&A

April 3 – Gladiator Glory – Playlist + Creative Instagram Picture

April 4 – Just About Write – Author Q&A


If you want to see my thoughts on this novel, head on over to my Goodreads!

If you enjoyed this, then give it a like, and follow my blog. Be respectful, and happy reading!

imageedit_6_4530722059

Review: All We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson (Blog Tour)

Title: All We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson

By Richard Lawson

Publication date: February 6, 2018 by Razorbill

Rating 3.5/5 stars

all we can do is wait

Synopsis:

Debut author and Twitter darling Richard Lawson makes your heart stop and time stand still in his extraordinary and life-affirming novel that’s If I Stay meets We All Looked Up.

In the hours after a bridge collapse rocks their city, a group of Boston teenagers meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital:

Siblings Jason and Alexa have already experienced enough grief for a lifetime, so in this moment of confusion and despair, Alexa hopes that she can look to her brother for support. But a secret Jason has been keeping from his sister threatens to tear the siblings apart…right when they need each other most.

Scott is waiting to hear about his girlfriend, Aimee, who was on a bus with her theater group when the bridge went down. Their relationship has been rocky, but Scott knows that if he can just see Aimee one more time, if she can just make it through this ordeal and he can tell her he loves her, everything will be all right.

And then there’s Skyler, whose sister Kate–the sister who is more like a mother, the sister who is basically Skyler’s everything–was crossing the bridge when it collapsed. As the minutes tick by without word from the hospital staff, Skyler is left to wonder how she can possibly move through life without the one person who makes her feel strong when she’s at her weakest.

In his riveting, achingly beautiful debut, Richard Lawson guides readers through an emotional and life-changing night as these teens are forced to face the reality of their pasts–and the prospect of very different futures.

Author Bio:

Richard Lawson (blog tour)

Richard Lawson is the film critic for Vanity Fair and a co-host of V.F.’s Little Gold Men podcast. He has written for The Guardian, The Atlantic Wire, Gawker, and Out magazine, and has contributed to the Dinner Party Download radio show. Though currently living in New York City, Richard was born and raised in Boston.

Pros:

  1. The characters were very well-developed, even though we meet them all in a hospital. We learn a lot about their back stories and what happened prior to the bridge collapse.
  2. The relationships between all the characters felt very real. I could almost picture myself in that waiting room with them, observing them react to all that is happening around them. Observing them as all their individual little worlds slowly fall apart. It’s actually quite heartbreaking.
  3. The story line of this novel is one of the main reasons I wanted to participate in this blog tour. I’ve always been interested in reading about disasters like that and how characters handle it. It would definitely be tough for me if I knew someone who was involved in a bridge collapse. If you enjoy books more about character development, then this book is for you.
  4. I loved that Lawson included aspects of sexuality and different ethnicities. It really helped open the novel to new realms of possibilities. Different ways the story could go. I definitely appreciate that about this novel.

Cons:

  1. I’m not sure if it was because I received an ARC, but I wasn’t a fan of the style of writing. Some of the sentences felt like they dragged on when they didn’t necessarily have to. I dropped a half a star because of this. I’m sure if I got the finished copy, I might have a different opinion.
  2. I know this doesn’t really have to do with anything but I was very disappointed with how it ended. It definitely wasn’t what I had in mind. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but I wanted to know what happened to all the characters after the tragedy. It just wasn’t a satisfying ending and that was one of the big reasons I dropped the rating down. I feel like the story could have gone on may 30 more pages.

I couldn’t choose which character was my favorite. Scott was definitely very low on the totem pole. I didn’t like his attitude towards his girlfriend, Aimee. Skyler was a character you wanted to help. You wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything was going to be okay. She was probably my favorite out of all of them. If I had to choose of course!

I’m truly amazed that this is Lawson’s debut novel. It was very well thought out, and definitely an emotional journey. It dealt a lot with growing up, and knowing what is important. It is very important to take care of the people around you, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Know your limits. There were only a few things I didn’t really like, but overall it was a solid read. I recommend when it comes out that you give this book a try.

Disclaimer: This story does deal a little bit with abuse. It also deals with death and grief.

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to take part in this blog tour. It was my first time ever participating in one, and it was loads of fun!

Blog Tour Schedule: 

2/1 – Read Chapter 20 – Review
2/5 – Book Princess – Author Guest Post: what book characters would you want to be stuck in a waiting room with
2/6 – Book Ventures – Review
2/7 – The Desert Bibliophile – Review
Go check out all their posts when they come out!
If you enjoyed reading this review give it a like and follow me for future blog posts. Be respectful and happy reading!
imageedit_6_4530722059

 

%d bloggers like this: