Loyalty is Chosen: Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi


Thank you to Delacorte Press for providing me with an advanced reader copy for review. Receiving this galley does not impact my opinion of the book.

"I sank into a deep curtsy. Then I rose, a lady."

The Culper Spy Ring was an American espionage network that conducted intelligence operations against the British in New York City during the Revolutionary War. Records hold the identities of a few members of this organization, including Hercules Mulligan, Robert Townsend, and Anna Strong. However, the identity of one female member, referred to only by the code name "Agent 355" or "Lady" remains unknown. In Rebel Spy, Agent 355 is Francisca "Frannie" Tasker, a young immigrant desiring to fulfill her deceased mother's dreams of a safer world. Frannie already leads a double life: to escape her abusive stepfather, she took on the identity of Emmeline Coates, a wealthy 19-year-old socialite who died in a shipwreck. For Frannie, spying for the Americans represents a way to use her newfound status and connections to serve a greater purpose. Veronica Rossi's exploration of Frannie's life highlights the role of women in the American Revolution and asserts that loyalty, whether to a country, ideal, or person, must be chosen to be true.

Dear White Classmates


Dear white classmates,

I am writing to you for two reasons. The first is selfish. I am frustrated and writing often provides me with a needed outlet to process and reflect upon my experiences. The second is for the both of us. I hope that maybe together we can reach a new understanding and become better citizens and advocates. We have learned a lot from each other, after all.

Happy May + An Update from a Student During COVID-19


“We might give it our all and crash and burn. But we might win. We might actually change things. And that maybe makes it still worth going for, don't you think?” 
- Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed, Yes, No, Maybe So

Happy May, all! A lot has changed since my last post. Today marks nearly two months that I have lived at home in Pennsylvania-- my university closed in mid-March due to COVID-19-- and the conclusion of my freshman year of college, which seems surreal. I took my last final exam on Monday. I am relieved to be done with the semester, but I am left with a lack of closure. I still feel young and new to the college experience. (However, I recognize the importance of staying home during this period and urge you to adhere to social distancing practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19). 


Blog Tour, Book Review & Giveaway: The Silence of Bones by June Hur


Thank you to Feiwel & Friends for providing me with an advanced reader copy for review. Receiving this galley does not impact my opinion of the book.

"Everyone dies. What is difficult is a meaningful death."

Set during the 1800s in the Joseon dyansty of Korea, The Silence of Bones follows 16-year-old Seol's journey to solve the murder of aristocrat Lady O and discover her own definition of family. A classist society confines Seol to indentured servitude to a police bureau as a damo until she is forty-one years old. The girl takes advantage of her position of her seemingly quiet work to analyze the interactions of the powerful and collect evidence for the case. Seol's observations strengthen her relationship with Inspector Han, one of the police department's top detectives. But when she uncovers new clues that point to the inspector's potential involvement in the killing, Seol must move forward with the investigation alone and resist authorities to expose the truth.

Thoughts on "The Lucky Ones" by Liz Lawson


Thank you to Random House for providing me with an advanced reader copy for review. Receiving this galley does not impact my opinion of the book.

"I want to say the exact right thing, the thing that will take away all her pain and her grief and her guilt, but I know those words don't exist."

In The Lucky Ones, teenagers May and Zach struggle with the aftermath of a school shooting. For May, attending a new high school not even a year after her twin brother Jordan was killed in the band classroom where she hid feels impossible. For Zach, social isolation and family problems abound when his mother, a lawyer, decides to defend the school shooter. A chance meeting unites the two, and together they grieve, learn, and heal. Liz Lawson's debut novel explores the consequences of school shootings, too often forgotten after the cameras leave and the news quiets, on young survivors.

There is Hope: Interview with Debut Author Liz Lawson on "The Lucky Ones"


For those who have made their way through painful, heartbreaking times and managed to find their way through to the other side. I wanted to show them that there is hope.

America has experienced 2,412 mass shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 (Vox). After the cameras leave and the spotlight disappears, survivors of these events are left to grapple with the consequences: anger; grief; sometimes legal proceedings; always lives altered. In her debut novel The Lucky Ones, author Liz Lawson tackles the stories of survivors through dual perspectives. May, whose twin brother Jordan died in a school shooting, struggles to adjust to a new school. Zach, whose mother is the lawyer defending Jordan's killer, faces isolation at school for a choice that was not his own. After a chance meeting, the two discover that they can empathize with each other's loneliness.

Today, I am excited to welcome Ms. Lawson to the blog to discuss The Lucky Ones and writing for a young adult audience. My questions will be in blue, and Ms. Lawson's responses will be in standard text.

I'm 19 (!!) + 19 Things I'm Grateful For


“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
- Michelle Obama, Becoming

Happy Friday all! I write to you now as a 19-year-old. I feel exactly the same, but I can't believe that I'm now living through my last year of being a teenager (aah!). Although I remained at home for social distancing, I am fortunate that my loved ones made me feel celebrated all the same. My younger sister is crafty, and made me a DIY chapstick of her own design. While still on campus, some of my college hallmates had planned to surprise me with a UN-themed murder mystery dinner. Even though we are now at home, my friends still insisted on holding the mystery over Zoom. I was so happy to reunite with my hall, even if for a moment over a computer screen.

Announcing the Soshelf Distancing Book Club!


Hi all! I hope you are doing well. I just finished my first three days of online classes and it's certainly been a transition.

On COVID-19 and Racism Toward Asian-Americans


I don't remember the first time that I knew I was Asian, but my mom tells me it went something like this: I emerged smiling from my kindergarten classroom, equipped with my hot pink Hello Kitty backpack. Parents clustered outside, waiting to pick up their kids after a day of counting by tens and drawing potato-heads we thought were portraits. My mom greeted me in Korean, her native tongue. Suddenly aware of my classmates and the stares of their parents, I declared to the eyes around me, "I don't know what she's saying."

I don't remember this moment. But I know now that it made me feel other. I thought that rejecting my mother's tongue and making sure that these strangers knew that I spoke English would dye my hair and bleach my skin. I could claim the whiteness of my dad, and my mom could be other.

Boston, Birthdays, & Byes: a Belated Recap of February 2020


“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something you own.”
- Michelle Obama, Becoming

Hi all! I hope you are home safe and healthy. I am writing this post from my bedroom at home, surrounded by photos and posters I plastered on my wall during my sophomore year of high school. Things are bittersweet: I am enjoying the extra time with my younger sister, but my spring break was extended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Because the college called the decision after I had already left for break, I am equipped with about a week and a half's worth of clothes. Like many of my peers, I am still processing that the next time I step foot on campus, I may very well be a sophomore in college. But, I am grateful that schools across the country are striving to put the health of students and staff first and seek alternative methods of learning.