Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

May 31, 2011

This book wins for awesome title, awesome cover, but more importantly – awesome story! The fact that Donna is a grieving teen,  trying to live her life is the real pull into the emotional heart of this story. And it’s not her sadness, but how she finds her own way despite everyone else’s strong opinions about her feelings and their idea of grief that make the story interesting.  Despite her loss, she has choices to make – this boy or that one; this school or the one where you learn to put makeup on dead people that dominate her growth.  I just loved this book.  It’s the difference between finding a book you should read and one you want to read; the difference between a book about death and one where it’s a part of life. Put it on your list; I know you want to read it.

Notes from the Blender by Brendan Halprin

May 31, 2011

Getting the voice of a teen boy and a teen girl to read true is no small accomplishment.  Declan and Neilly are soon to be step siblings, and this look at their lives is fresh, smart and funny.  It’s also a happy ending story, sweet but not treacly.  This will be a great beach read for your romance fans.

Mercy by Rebecca Lim

May 31, 2011

This take on an angel story is a good one; and you’ll be left wanting to see which body Mercy ends up in next –  her own or someone elses. Mercy has her own challenges, but is able to inhabit the body of someone in a coma to help them sort out their lives.  The acutal stories are predicatable, but the premise is fun, and this will be often requested by fans of the light paranormal.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

February 3, 2011

This is a sad, delicious story full of magical realism, and I’m not surprised it was a 2011 Alex award winner. Rose has a gift — or a curse that brings the emotion of whoever prepared her food  into her mouth. We get a taste of Rose’s feelings as well as her mom or others who cook for her. As we learn about her family through her experiences we also learn about other “gifts” that her brother and father struggle with. I can’t praise this book highly enough! “It’s sad and it’s sweet, and I knew it complete…” Have a taste. Tell me what you think, and offer it to your teens who are coping with their emotions like never before.

The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen

June 18, 2010


This is a beautiful book about loss; understanding that help might come where you least expect it, and that we are all just doing the best we can. It’s my new favorite book. And I’m reading it again.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

December 23, 2008

knife
Patrick Ness is a masterful storyteller surrounding us with the Noise of Todd’s Prentisstown and the silence of Viola in a quest for a true new world. We follow by turns hopeful and hopeless, as madness and lies pursue Todd and Viola. Sometimes I enjoy a book so very much and hope for a sequel. This time I must have it! You must read this one – share it with your fans of dystopias, coming-of-age, sci-fi, fantasy and everyone who loves a good story!

Headlong by Kathe Koja

December 15, 2008

headlongKathe Koja’s latest is a great story of the lifecycle of  a friendship.  The fact that Hazel is a scholarship student & that Lily lives outside the life of the Vaughn Virgins, and their romantic interests become the background story as their friendship propels them deeper into their own lives. I loved this look at how intense and encompassing friendships are to teens in the present and throughout a life.  I loved the honest portrayal complete with the loss that ripples with a splash onto a life well lived.

What~the~dickens by Gregory Maguire

October 30, 2008

If you want a lighter story to pair with Life as We Knew it, Maguire’s book is it.  Wicked fans will also want this one.  And I’m sure a few friends of The Wee Free Men will enjoy the skibereen.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Maguire takes a storm and a story, three children, Dinah, Zeke, and Rebecca Ruth, one almost adult, Gage; leaves them on their own at night and tells a  wild tale of tooth faires.  The adventures of Pepper and What~the~Dickens as they try to become, “agents of change,”  will delight readers of fantasy, cat books, survival, adventure and orphan stories.  They will all find a home with this one.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

September 30, 2008

When I first read Bloom, I thought that Elizabeth Scott had an incredible talent for getting the teen voice right.  I had no idea how talented she was until I heard Alice, and scarier, Ray.  “Words are just letters, A-L-I-C-E, and I know the ones he wants to hear,”  we hear in Alice’s head.  And we don’t want to hear this story; the story of Alice, an abducted and sexually abused girl.  But it’s a story that deserves to be told, and I can only imagine that if Alice’s story was one you knew, you would have to find the words to tell it, to find hope, to want grace.  Death is the only respite imaginable for Alice, but anyone reading this story will be forced to find the truth and another girl’s story, the story Alice can’t even see through to the end.  This book is a must read for all of us who cannot imagine how this happens. For those who may be living these lies, we must learn to listen.

The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett

September 2, 2008

There is just enough magic in Sonya Hartnett’s writing to connect with the young adult reader I once was…  The Ghost’s Child is a wistful blend of Maddy’s looking back and exploring her love for the mysterious Feather and of course, her bond to her fay.  Reading Hartnett reminds me of reading Ruth M. Arthur’s books way back when.  I was caught up in this book trying to place the right reader when I realized that reader was me!  And I’d like to believe that there are girls today who would take a look at this quiet love story and find themselves too.


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