Friday, May 4, 2018

Buddy Read Update No. 2: Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation
(Dread Nation, Book 1)
Justina Ireland
Hardcover, 464 pages
Bilzer + Bray
April 3, 2018
African-American Fiction, Alternative History, American History, Diverse Reads, Fantasy, 
Feminist Fiction, Historical Fiction,
Horror, Humor, Paranormal Fiction, Satire,
Social Justice, Southern Gothic,
Young Adult Fiction

Be sure to visit Barb's blog to read her half of our "chat"! You can access her post HERE!

This post, as well as that of my fellow 
buddy reader, may contain spoilers!
Read at your own risk!

So Barb and I are moving right along! This book is AMAZINGLY hard to put down! This means it's not easy for either one of us to slow down so we can keep the same pace. Of course, this kind of thing would be music to any author's ears! This book is VERY well-written, and the characters are SO real..... Barb has mentioned that she was VERY surprised when I told her that I had already finished reading the book! Lol. I think I'm more surprised than she is, though! Lol. This has turned out to be a really enjoyable buddy read experience, too!!

Here's our latest "chat" about our progress!

Barb: Now that we are getting letters from Jane's mom, and know what has happened, has your opinion of her mother softened very much?

Maria: Oh, absolutely! I now see how very wrong I was about Jane's mom! She is in fact very much concerned about her daughter. This becomes even more apparent later on in the book. And now that I know why Jane's mom "wasn't answering" the letters, I have really started to like her (Jane's mom)! At the same time, I now hate you-know-who even more!! I'm SO surprised this person actually returned the unsent letters to Jane, too. It wouldn't have surprised me at all if she had destroyed them.

Barb:How did you feel about that darn Mayor dinner party? I thought Mr. Redfern was a real jerk, and I still want to know what is going on with him. Don't you feel like he and Jane would be better if they worked on the same side? I mean, clearly, he's experienced some of the discrimination.
Maria: I think that party was definitely a setup. Miss A. and Mayor Carr were aware that Jane and her friends -- especially Red --wouldn't be able to resist the chance to find out more about the mystery behind Lily and the Spencers' disappearance, so they made SURE to make it easy for Jane and Red to attempt to get information by digging through the Mayor's desk. That way, they could be caught red-handed. Poor Kate had nothing to do with this, yet she was still included in the group to be punished. VERY unfair! Of course, this was done so that there would be no witnesses. 

This is a GREAT point you've made about Redfern, Barb, and I definitely agree! What the HECK is wrong with this guy? I still can't figure out why he dislikes Jane so much! Justina must have something up her sleeve, something not revealed just yet. He SHOULD be on Jane's side, for Pete's sake! And the reason for that is very clear, as you've pointed out -- he, too, has experienced discrimination.  

Well, I guess we must be patient. Perhaps his story won't be fully revealed in this book, but in the sequel, instead. It SURE is nerve-wracking not to know exactly what this guy is all about, though!

Barb: That train ride -- I'd never have survived it! 

Maria: OMG, I wouldn't have, either!!! The heat in those freight cars must have been INTOLERABLE. And no access to modern plumbing! UGH!! They had to get off the train at certain points to "do their business" in the bushes! I'm SO glad to be living in the 21st century!! Lol.

Barb:I know you love horses (you do, right?) So how do you feel knowing they are scarce because they became zombie lunch when the outbreak happened? (Which in my opinion is so tragic and uncalled for!!!!)

Maria: Yes, I ADORE horses!!!! I guess the author added this to the story in order to make the zombie plague more realistic, unfortunately. And it did provide that touch of realism. To be honest, this was where I was able to distance myself from the story. In other words, I would just tell myself that I was reading FICTION. Lol. Of course I simply could not picture zombies actually devouring a HORSE. No, no, no!!!!! This was just TOO HORRIBLE to even think about! But the mind has a way of blocking out certain unpleasant details, so  that's what happened to me. Thankfully, Justine never actually described zombies attacking horses. If she had, I would have had some SERIOUS issues with her! Lol.

Barb: Finally, Jane loves to read, even though she hides that ability. What three books would you recommend to her? 

Maria: She's already reading one of my favorite childhood books -- "Tom Sawyer"! Since she seems to like Mark Twain, I would recommend "Huckleberry Finn" (especially since one of the major characters is a young African-American boy), and "The Prince and the Pauper". I'm sure she would have enjoyed the switch these two boys engaged in  -- the prince became a poor boy, and the poor boy, a prince. 

I would also recommend "The Scarlet Letter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne, since Jane is obviously very much aware of social hypocrisy, and is quick to point it out and satirize it.

Well, folks, stay tuned for next week's update! This project was a TERRIFIC idea on Barb's part, and  I'm SO glad she suggested it!! This just goes to show that sometimes, reading outside one's comfort zone (although I do enjoy PNR and UF, guys!) can bring some incredibly rewarding surprises!

What do you all think?
Have we piqued your curiosity
about this book?
Be sure to let us know!
Don't forget to visit Barb's blog
to get her side of the "chat"!



  1. This is a very interesting discussion. This book sounds like it goes off in all sorts of intriguing directions. Amoung other things
    I usually like it she a character of a book is a reader. Thinking of books to recamend to that character is a neat idea.

    I look forward to your next chat on this book. I think that this is a good format for a read along.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      I'm glad you're enjoying this discussion! Yes, this book does indeed go "in all sorts of interesting directions"! Very well put! So it's not that much of a horror novel, which I'm VERY happy about! Lol. It's actually more of a feminist and social justice statement. Justina Ireland uses a lot of satire in this novel. Her spokesperson is, of course, the female protagonist, Jane McKeene.

      Oh, I LOVE that Jane is a reader!! And she treasures one of my favorite childhood classics, "Tom Sawyer", too! Like you, I am very happy when a character in a novel is a reader! It not only makes that character even MORE interesting, but also makes me like them more.

      What Barb and I are doing is similar to what you and I did in the "Jane Eyre" read along. Remember? Michelle @ A Belle's Tales has done something like this, too, whenever she's done buddy reads with Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives. In our case, it's more of a "chat" format. Glad you like it!

      I think we'll have one more of these posts, and then we will each review this book on our blogs.

      Thanks for the great comment!! <3 :)

  2. Seems like our commentaries are a hit - we're both getting awesome responses. I'll admit, it's the first time I've done a buddy read in this manner and it has worked out well. I agree with the books you chose. I would kind of like to get Jane's impression on "Dead Martin" or "The Hate You Give" (although I still need to read this one). I think she would have some things to say about the racism that still exists today. I can see Jane being a modern-day activist!

    Yes, I am also glad we did not have to witness horse carnage. My Mom raised Quarter Horses before I was born and when she was a teen so I've always loved horses as well. My husband, who is a zombie freak, assures me it is odd for zombies to attack animals. Also, he assures me most zombies would have short a short life expectancy because once they change, they continue to rot, so they couldn't possible go on forever. Gee, you think they actually exist with all the information and speculation on them!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Yes, we are!! We really gotta do more of these things in the future! :) :) I think this "chat" format has worked out VERY well!

      The books I chose for Jane to read are obviously from the 19th century. However, if she were to suddenly be transported to our century, then I would DEFINITELY recommend "Dear Martin" and "The Hate U Give"! Those are two books I have on my Goodreads shelves. Since you haven't read "The Hate U Give" yet, and I haven't, either, we could plan a buddy read of this book!

      Oh, ABSOLUTELY Jane would be a modern-day activist!! I can see her joining "Black Lives Matter" protests!

      Yeah, reading about horses being devoured by zombies would have been too much for me, as well!! Especially since I LOVE these animals so much!! How I wish I could have a horse..... :(

      So your mom raised Quarter Horses? You got to be around them at a young age, then! LUCKY YOU!!!! I wanted to get horse riding lessons when I was a kid, but my parents were too scared I'd fall off the horse, so I never got them...... :(

      I don't know much about zombies, and really don't want to know more. They are the only paranormal creatures I totally DETEST!! Lol. Vamps and werewolves are fine, though, as long as they fall in love with humans, instead of hurting them. Hee, hee!! :) :) It's really funny, the way your husband talks about zombies! Yeah, you'd think they really DO exist, the way he goes on about them. I'm SO FREAKING GLAD they don't!! :) :)

      Thanks for the AWESOME comment!! HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUS, AND WOOF, WOOF TO THEM!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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