Tag Archives: secrets

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: Just Fly Away

31 May


Fifteen-year-old Lucy learns a family secret that not only devastates her, but separates her from her friends, family and even her boyfriend. Her father has an eight-year-son from a brief affair that he’s kept hidden from Lucy and her sister and although her sister seems unfazed, Lucy feel as though a rug has been pulled out from under her and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to get her feet under her.

Soon it’s too much for Lucy and without truly realizing it, she escapes from the world she thought she knew so well to Maine, to spend some time with her estranged grandfather. It is there where Lucy begins learning more about her family as she spends time getting to know her grandfather.

This is a coming-of-age story with the voice of a teenage girl desperately trying to figure out her world and where she fits in it. I felt at some places that the author tried to fit in a little too much – parent betrayal – check, brother she never knew she had – check, new friends after old friends diss her – check, new mysterious boyfriend – check, extended family drama – check. I felt as through there was a little more focus the characters and plot could have developed more naturally that feeling like the plot points were getting checked off a list.

My favorite part of the story was when Lucy comes in contact with her grandfather (whom she has only met once). Their time together and the development of their friendship was the truest part of this novel and I believe is what kept me reading to the end. As a side note, the author – Andrew McCarthy is not usually a YA author, he’s an actor (Pretty In Pink, Weekend at Bernie’s, etc.), director and has written a memoir, but writing YA does not come easily to everyone.  I think he shows promise and would definitely pick up another title if he published anything else in this genre.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): 15yo Lucy’s world is crumbling around her, so she visits Maine and her estranged grandfather to learn more about herself and her family.

Title: Just Fly Away
Author: Andrew McCarthy
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: April 2017
Page Number: 258 pgs.

Secret Pizza Party

25 Sep

9780803739475_p0_v1_s260x420If you love pizza, then you’ll love this book!  Poor Raccoon, he loves pizza so much!  But no one will give him even one little slice, so the narrator helps out by suggesting a secret pizza party where Raccoon can eat all the pizza he wants!  The party involves Raccoon dressing in a disguise to pick up pizza (because you definitely don’t want to let the delivery man to know where you live!), a chase all around town, and in the end… a pizza party fit for the hungriest of raccoons!

This is an adorable book with a narrator who really tries to help out his friends as best as he can.  The narrator is also a pretty funny character as he explains how much better secrets are than regular things like handshakes and stairs.  The illustrator has done a wonderful job with the illustrations adding little touches here and there that only the most observant readers will catch, but when they do, they’ll be delighted!  This story was so great, it’s making me hungry for a nice piping-hot slice of cheese pizza…. yum!

For more information about Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri, check out their website!  And if you haven’t experienced, Those Darn Squirrels!, it too is a must-read!

Title: Secret Pizza Party
Author: Adam Rubin
Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2013

The Tragedy Paper

12 Aug

TRAGEDY PAPER coverI’m back!  After a week with extended family in the beautiful states of Tennessee and North Carolina, I’m back at work and reeling at how much I need to get done in the next couple of weeks!

Over vacation I was able to read a handful of books that I’ll be reviewing over the next week – I definitely thought I’d have time to read more, but with 15 people in one house, it’s hard to find quiet time!

This book was suggested to me by one of the bookworms, who is always looking for a new book to read and often leaves the library with an armload of 10+ books to take home.  I’ve been steering away from a lot of YA literature because so much of it is “heavy” reading.

Although this book definitely hits on the “heavy” topics, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and writing style.  Duncan heads back to boarding school the fall of his senior year with The Tragedy Paper heavy on his mind – the biggest assignment in his high school years.  Soon, he is wrapped up in the tragedy of a another – a former student has left his story for Duncan to read including his own part in the fateful night last year.

Written in the perspective of two students, this book hits on friendship, school stress, romance, tragedy, secrets and their consequences with a strong protagonist and strong supporting characters as well.  I was also excited to find that Elizabeth LaBan, a first-time author, lives in Philadelphia – a local author!  Check out her website for a little more info!  Check out YouTube for a book trailer too!

Title: The Tragedy Paper
Author: Elizabeth LaBan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2013
Page Number: 320 pgs.

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

13 May

9780061964206_zoomSara Pennypacker’s Summer of the Gypsy Moths is a story of belonging, of finding a family in an unexpected place, and of dreams.  Stella is living with her Great-Aunt Louise on the Cape Cod coast with another foster girl, named Angel.  The two girls are complete opposites and have no interest in being friends or even friendly with each other.  But when the unthinkable happens, Stella and Angel must band together to make everything work out for the better.

I enjoyed the coming of age aspect of this story, but the author went about the plot line in a way that was a little too farfetched for me to believe.  But, in reality, something like this could easily happen, where children are forced to take care of themselves with little or no parental supervision and often people just look the other way.  What I really liked about the story was how you learned more and more about the characters as the story unfolded.  It was as if you kept peeling away layers learning a little more each time.

The story also provides a look into the foster care system and the sad truth that older children are often bounced from home to home without any hope of being adopted into a family.  This story has a number of discussion points for children and adults to discuss making it a great book for a book discussion choice.  Learn more about Sara Pennypacker, by visiting her website.

Title: Summer of the Gypsy Moths
Author: Sara Pennypacker
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Publication Date: 2012
Page Number: 275 pgs.

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