Tag Archives: coming-of-age

A Rambler Steals Home (and My Heart)

19 Jan

24680250.jpgSynopsis: Derby Christmas Clark is a rambler – she travels around the country selling Christmas trees and hot cocoa in the winter and hot dogs and sweet potato fries in the summer with her father and brother in their RV. Derby loves summertime because it means parking in one spot – a small town called Ridge Creek where she spends her days at the creak, hanging out with her best friend, watching the Rockskippers’ baseball games and getting grease stains in the food truck.

But this year, sadness plagues the small town after the death of a well-loved townsperson. Derby learns what it means to be a friend, how to help those she loves and a few secrets along the way.

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Book Review: The Ghosts of Greenglass House

27 Sep

12Synopsis: Milo is hoping for a quiet holiday vacation, especially after last year when a number of unwanted guests showed up at his parent’s inn, but that wish disappears into the cold when a number of intentional (yet unexpected) and unintentional guests appear just before Christmas. Will Milo be able to crack the case (with the help of his mysterious friend Meddy) before the culprit leaves with stole goods? Fans of the first book, The Greenglass House will enjoy settling in near the fire for the next installment of Milo’s adventures.

Review: This is the second book about Milo and his family’s bed and breakfast and I fell in love with the setting, characters and the plot the first time and I’m excited to say, I enjoyed this title just as much. I really enjoy Milo’s search to better understand who he is as the Chinese adopted son of a white couple and what that means in a town where people assume certain things because of his ethnicity. It’s definitely part of the story, but I think that the author weaves this aspect into the story in a very believable way and helps Milo to grow as a young man.

Meddy is back in this story and her tale is heart-wrenching as the only thing she wants is to see her father and talk with him again. Milo and Meddy’s friendship is something to be shared and this would make a great book discussion for kids around the holidays as Meddy always seems to show up during this time.

The other characters are created with deep backgrounds and histories that emerge as Milo digs into the mystery at foot and although I was able to guess at some aspects of the ending, I was still surprised and delighted with the result. This is the perfect story for a middle grade reader who loves a good mystery, curling up next to the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and possibly a ghost or two.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Milo’s back and this Christmas he’ll need to keep his wits about him as he searches for a mysterious map with friends old and new.

Title: The Ghosts of Greenglass House
Author: Kate Milford
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Page Number: 464 pgs.

Book Review: Calling My Name

2 Aug


Calling My Name by Liara Tamani is the story of Taja a young teen growing up in Houston, Texas with her family and friends. Taja knows what her parents expect of her – spend quality time with the family, get good grades, go to church every Sunday and abstinence is the only option. Taja is trying to keep up with her classmates as the talk ranges from first kisses to first relationships and beyond, while also being the daughter she is expected to be. She also has high hopes of going to college in California to follow her dream and to find her own relationship with God, separately from what her parents expect that relationship to look like.

I really liked this story, much closer to my own in many ways than much of the young adult literature being published today. I took my grades seriously, wasn’t too interested it boys, but struggled in some ways to figure out where my relationship with God fit into my world as a teenager living in today’s society. This is not the type of story you see written very often and I felt that Taja’s voice rang true to a young teen searching for herself in the midst of family and friends.

The writing was a bit confusing and it’s easier to think of the chapters as short stories spanning Taja’s teen years rather than a specific day-to-day account. But I felt that this was a voice that many teens will be able to relate with and understand. Taja struggles with her family’s conservative view on abstinence while also realizing that her brother always has more freedom than she does and dealing with peers who bully/body shame her at times. It’s a very real story that needed to be told and I truly enjoyed it. I’ll say this – it is a young adult story in that although Taja begins as a middle school student in the beginning, there are intimate scenes as she grows up that will firmly plant this book in the young adult department. Give this to teens searching for themselves – especially those who are spiritual/religious as they navigate high school.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): High schooler, Taja Brown is searching for her own relationship with God as she navigates family, friends, romance and dreams.

Title: Calling My Name
Author: Liara Tamani
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Page Number: 384 pgs.

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