Mina, by Matthew Forsythe

One star, read in March 2022. What a weird story. The illustrations are pretty, but nothing earth-shattering. The text is fine, but the premise is just bizarre. I’m not a fan of stories that make it look charming and eccentric when incompetent adults endanger their children by being blithe and careless (and I really dislike…

Amazing Peace, by Maya Angelou

One star, read in December 2013. Of course this was gorgeous, and in general, I love Maya Angelou’s . . . everything. But I didn’t love this book’s illustrations, and frankly, if the poem weren’t written by Maya Angelou I would give it negative stars. Because as nice an idea as this “amazing peace” is,…

Jane, Unlimited, by Kristin Cashore

One star, read in October 2017. This did not work for me. Graceling and Bitterblue are two of my all-time favorites, and some of the little YA that I am still able to read, so I was really hopeful for Cashore’s first book outside that series. But, in the first place, I wish I could…

The Boat Rocker, by Ha Jin

One star, read in February 2017. I hated every page of this book. I started hopefully, because I was intrigued by Waiting and have been wanting to read Ha Jin’s other books for a long time. But my hackles went up on the first page—in the second paragraph—and I only got more and more suspicious until…

The Princess and the Three Knights, by Karen Kingsbury

One star, read in June 2013. I hated this for many reasons, and in spite of the almost too beautiful illustrations. (In fact, in the context of the drippy overbearing Christianness of the story, the illustrations were too beautiful, and I scoffed at them even as I liked them.) Typical patriarchal fairy tale storyline: Very white, blonde…

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

One star, read November 2015. Well. I hated this. So cliche, so many stereotypes. Suffocating mother, nagging older sister, listless mid-twenties man living with his mother, flighty and shallow ex-girlfriend, woman obsessed with Marriage supporting the long-term emotionally distant musician boyfriend who just won’t propose. The gentle Midwestern “farm boy” who’s gigantic so all the…

China Dolls, by Lisa See

One star, read in June 2014. I tried to give this two stars, but the more I thought about it, the worse it seemed, and I just don’t think it deserves the second one. I’m a devoted Lisa See fan, and the premise was so intriguing, so I don’t do this lightly. But I really did…

Song of the Silk Road, by Mingmei Yip

One star, read in August 2011. I saw this book at local bookstore a few months ago and fell in love with the cover, and I’ve been dying to read it since then. Now that I have, I regret to inform you that this book is absurdly, laughably, painfully bad. At first I wondered if it was…