Tag Archives: friendship

Book Review: All the Wind In the World

11 Oct

11.jpgSynopsis: Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt live in a near future America where much of the land has become harsh desert-like conditions and the only work available is back-breaking harvesting in fields. But, Sarah Jac and James have a plan – they’ll work until they save enough money to purchase their own home near the ocean, but it’s not as easy as it looks when everyone’s out to save themselves at whatever the cost. Sarah Jac and James have to keep their love a secret and when an accident occurs they must run to a ranch that most steer clear of.. Real Marvelous.

It’s here where their dreams are challenged by the possibly cursed ranch and their love might not be strong enough to save them.

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Book Review: Disappeared

22 Sep

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I received this book as an ARC with the white cover. I didn’t read what the story was about but looking at the cover, assumed it was a dystopian science fiction book. Boy, was I wrong – it’s not dystopian or science fiction, but it was really well written. I have enjoyed other books by Francisco X. Stork and I wasn’t disappointed.

This story is set over four days as Sara and her Brother Emiliano have to make the most difficult choices there are – between saving their own lives and serving justice to those who deserve it, between friends and family and holding onto the truth when it doesn’t seem possible. Sara and Emiliano live in Juarez, Mexico, striving to make ends meet and trying to be careful as young woman all around them are disappearing. Sara, a journalist for the local paper receives a threat against herself and her family after researching the missing woman, one of whom is her best friend. Meanwhile, Emiliano is offered a job transporting drugs through some of the handicrafts he sells near the border – the money is more than they ever thought possible and would do wonders in getting him into a position where he could be with his love, Perla Rubi who comes from a well-to-do family.

When the wrong people find out where they live, it’s a split second decision that could mean separating the family, crossing the border and possibly seeking asylum in the United States, but nothing is without consequences as the decisions this sibling pair make will change their lives forever.

This story opened a world to me that I don’t experience or often see. Growing up and living in the Northeastern part of our country separates me from much of the talk of Border Patrol, undocumented immigrants, although now more than ever this is an issue that you not only need to be aware of, but also be educated about. Everyone has their own reality and by reading this book, a window was open for me to see someone else’s experience and isn’t that the point?

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Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): “In the next four days, Sara and Emiliano will each face impossible choices, between life and justice, friends and family, truth and love.”

Title: Disappeared
Author: Francisco X. Stork
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Page Number: 336 pgs.

Book Review: The Painting

9 Aug

33674139The Painting by Charis Cotter is a story of mystery and intrigue, but at its heart its the story of loss and relationships among family. Annie loves painting, drawing and art and is nothing at all like her parents who just can’t seem to understand their daughter. But, when Annie’s mother slips into a coma following a car accident, can Annie help save her?

Annie finds a painting of a lighthouse in the attic and with her artistic eye, is drawn to it right away, but when she falls through the painting and meets young Claire she gets more than she bargained for. Soon she is looking for other paintings by the mysterious Maisie King in order to help Claire understand her own mother, while at the same time trying to understand how Claire’s story is part of her own family’s history and what she can do to help her mother emerge from her coma.

I had a little difficulty following the storyline as each girl had a similar middle grade voice that made it difficult to differeniate, but I loved the mysterious travel through the paintings and really enjoyed how the story came together at the end as Annie learned more about her own family and the how the power of forgiveness saved her mother’s life. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you have a child in your life that likes a little suspense, mystery and is a little bit of an introvert and/or artist – this is the book for them!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Annie’s mother never talks about her childhood & when she falls into a coma, it’s up to Annie’s mysterious travel into paintings to save her

Title: The Painting
Author: Charis Cotter
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Page Number: 288 pgs.

Book Review: Calling My Name

2 Aug

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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.

Book Review: Orphan Island

26 Jul

3How do I even begin? Every year a mysterious boat lands on the island with a young child. The young child gets off the boat, the oldest child on the island gets on the boat and disappears into the midst. The nine children on the island don’t ask questions – it’s always been done. And there’s no need to question, the island takes care of the children, protecting them for getting seriously hurt, providing food and teaching the children how to work together to survive. No one questions, until Jinny becomes the Elder and she knows that she only has a short time to teach her Care (the newest and youngest child on the island) everything she needs to know before Jinny must climb aboard the boat. And so, Jinny begins to question how and why they do things on the island, until one day she makes a decision that affects not only herself, but all the children on the island.

I really enjoyed this story – the island itself was almost like a character and was fully developed to the point where I had a map in my head and could picture each part of the island. My favorite descriptions were that of the sunrise and sunset when beautiful animations lit up the sky. And although some dislike the story as it leaves you with more questions than answers, I really enjoyed it- it leaves so much more to the reader to decide, than what the authors tells us in the text. This was a wonderfully written coming-of-age story when kids straddle the border of childhood and adulthood. It would pair fabulously with Jerry Spinelli’s Hokey Pokey where reality and fantasy combine. Do yourself a favor and definitely grab this book before summer is over (it feels like a summer book).

If you want to learn more about this book, check out Laurel Snyder’s post on the Nerdy Book Club, her interview with Corrine Allen on the Books Between podcast or check out this review by Betsy Bird on School Library Journal’s website. And if you loved The Giver by Lois Lowry, check out this tweet by Harper Childrens!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): “Nine on an island, orphans all/Any more, the sky might fall” What happens if Ginny doesn’t wan to grow up and decides to stay on the island

Title: Orphan Island
Author: Laurel Snyder
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Page Number: 288 pgs.

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