Tag Archives: friendship

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.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/24/17

24 Jul

I’m not doing too bad with middle grade fiction lately!  Over the past week, I read Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder and Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk. I just started Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood yesterday, so I’m working my way through that story and have Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever. edited by Betsy Bird, which I’m super excited to read. With family coming into town this weekend, I don’t expect I’ll have a lot of time to read, so anything else at this point is extra! I still have a bunch of ARCs from BookExpo America that I’d like to get to before the fall, so I might try and pick up another one of those, maybe bounce over to YA for a little while after the large amount of middle grade fiction I’ve been reading lately! Have a great week!


imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/17/17

17 Jul

I read a lot this week, which probably equates to my stress level! We’re in the midst of hiring two full-time employees and making sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed is enough to make anyone crazy. I also finished shifting the entire adult fiction section (all I have left is Large Print!) which was exhausting and pair all of that with additional meetings and short-staffed – it was a heck of a week.

This week I read:

  • Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane
  • The Castle in the Midst by Amy Ephron
  • The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli
  • Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

I have a small stack to finish up this week:

  • Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
  • Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

Have a great week!


imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

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