Year 15, Book 15

15. A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII by Sonia Purnell

Virginia Hall was born to a well-to-do family in Baltimore and was groomed by her mother to be a socialite who married a rich husband. She however had other ideas for her future. Despite an accident that left her with a prosthetic leg she became a well-known and feared spy in France under Churchill’s Special Operations Executive.

Hall is definitely a fascinating and impressive woman. While I did enjoy the story for me personally it was one of those things where I feel like I could have gotten the same thing out of a well written New Yorker article. All the war strategy stuff was not that interesting to me and there was understandably a lot of that. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 15, Book 14

14. It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo

Adelaida has just buried her mother and is now living through a very violent night in Caracas that she is not sure she’s going to escape alive. The book shifts back and forth between that single night and earlier times in her life. This was a quick read that I was engaged in while I was reading it, but I’m not sure much about the book will stick with me in the long term. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 15, Book 13

13. Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins grew up in New Jersey as a descendent of people who migrated north as part of the Great Migration. She seeks to explore her family’s roots and the cultures of those who remain in the lands she came from. I was much more interested in the beginning of the book and the very end where she seemed to concentrate more on broader societal things than when she delved into her own genealogy on her father’s side in the middle of the book. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 15, Book 12

12. Wayside School: Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar

I adored the Wayside School books when I was a kid so I couldn’t resist reading the newest book in the series. It’s been 25 years since the last book and these characters came right back to me as I was reading. It was a fun trip down memory lane for me. It fights right in with the original books, and I can see it being popular with kids today. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 15, Book 11

11. Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen

Jennie Allen creator of the popular Christian ministry for women known as IF: Gathering writes about her own experiences losing faith and getting lost in anxiety and doubt. She uses the Bible and neuroscience to talk about ways to break the cycle of anxiety and spiraling thoughts. I think it has some useful information for people struggling and offers a nice combination of Biblical truths and techniques from psychology and neuroscience for people who want to lean on their religion in addition to therapeutic techniques to help ease their anxious thoughts. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 15, Book 10

10. Breathe Out Slow by A.D. Lawless

During Ryan’s senior year of high school his boyfriend Chris dies in a tragic accident that Ryan blames himself for. Now in his sophomore year of college he meets Liam whose friendship might just help him finally pull his life back together. This book is probably what would be considered a new adult novel as its characters are mostly in college during the book and it’s definitely aimed at a younger audience, but the sex scenes are definitely too graphic for it to be a young adult novel. It was a decent enough book. Liam is probably a little bit too much of an unrealistic knight in shining armor, but I enjoyed their relationship so I’m okay with it. I give it a 6 out of 10.