Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Alice Kuipers

Alice Kuipers is a new author for me. She is a Canadian author which surprised me because this book is not only set in England and has a real English feel to it. You can check out her website at
Sophie is a 17 year old girl who is trying to forget what happened last summer. Things are really hard for her at school because people- mostly strangers- keep asking her how she is doing. But her mom and her best friend don't really seem to know how to deal with her at all. Their silence really hurts Sophie- and yet when they do try to talk to her, she pushes them away. Sophie figures if she just tries to forget everything, it will all go away.
However, one thing that we learn through this book and Sophie's story is that you can't just ignore events or feelings. Sophie's story is told through a journal that was given to her by her therapist. She writes about her present life at school and home and also flashes back to the summer before. Slowly, we learn about what happened in her past that has left her such an emotional wreck.
As we learn about Sophie, we also learn about her friends and the struggles they have with life as well. There is lots in this book. It is an emotionally tough one to read, but has really left me thinking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Special Edward by Eric Walters

Special Edward is an ORCA current book. That means it is high interest low vocabulary. I love these books. They are always so good, and when it is written by Eric Walters - even better.
In this book, Walters looks at kids in high school who are part of the special education stream.
The main character Edward is a smart, popular kid, who can't be bothered to work or try at school. When he realizes that when you are considered 'spec ed' you get extra time, scribing and all sorts of other 'bonuses' Edward decides this is what he needs. He starts the process to have himself identified. The thing is, he works harder at tricking the system than he does if he was just to do his school work. Edward learns a lot about himself as a person and as a learner by the end of this book.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sort of Forever by Sally Warner

It's taken me a while to write about this book. It was a pretty emotional read and when I was finished- I just couldn't write about it.
Sort of Forever is about two best friends. Cady and Nana have been best friends since they were babies. They live at each other's homes, share hobbies and school together. When Nana's cancer returns, it is clear to Cady that she has to be there to support her friend, she doesn't want to be anywhere else. Her family however worry about how Cady is dealing with all of the changes. Cady is also confused about how to go on and experience new things without Nana. As Nana changes as a result of her illness, Cady is unsure of their friendship. All of these changes take place during the summer before seventh grade when for everyone things start changing. Watching Cady and Nana stumble through keeping their friendship strong is emotional, funny and honest.
This book is a very simple read, but also very powerful!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

I just picked this book up last night at Titles, and started it immediately. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a small part of the Twilight novels.
This story is told from the perspective of Bree Tanner-a character who is easily overlooked in the Eclipse Story, but once you get to know her, you will gain a whole new perspective to Eclipse.

Bree Tanner is a newborn vampire. She lives with a dangerous group of other newborns. The others she lives with are reckless, violent and hungry. They only seek human blood. Even though they have been warned to be careful, many of this group don't listen and only want to hunt humans.
Bree is different, she is more cautious than the rest. Bree looks to blend in with the group and above all not get noticed. When she becomes friends with Diego, the two of them start to share their thoughts and ideas and slowly piece together what the purpose of the group is. Bree and Diego now realize they must stick together in order to survive.
It's interesting to read about these newborn vampires who aren't trained by kind, patient Carlisle. It is also intriguing to learn about vampires outside of Bella's limited perspective. I found myself really liking and rooting for Bree, even when I knew how it was all going to end for her.
This is well worth the read- all Twilight fans will love this added bonus to the story. Check out the website too:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth

Yet another book sitting on my shelf from who knows where! It is a pretty slim book, I usually like my books nice and big- but I liked this one too. On the outside it is pretty simple. Two best friends, a new girl comes to town and all of a sudden three is a crowd. However, there is lots of great stuff in between all of that.

Violet has lived her whole life in a part of Florida referred to as 'lightning alley'. Her best friend Lottie is just like her sister. They spend all of their time together, finish each other's sentences and just enjoy doing the same sort of things. When Melissa moves to town, things start to change. Melissa is from the big city and this is very appealing to Lottie, who longs for something different from her busy, crowded household. For Violet though, she hates change and wants things to stay the same. Violet instantly dislikes Melissa and resents every minute that Lottie is with her. Through lightning storm after lightning storm, Lottie and Violet need to learn how to expand a friendship to include someone new, but at the same time staying true to themselves.

I think this book would make a really nice literature circle. It is simple, but there is lots of great stuff to discuss and mull about. I think many girls will see themselves in Lottie, Violet and Melissa.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What I Call Life by Jill Wolfson

I'm not really sure where this book came from- I just found it sitting on my shelf of YA books, but I'm glad I found it. Similar to the story, Pictures of Hollis Woods, What I Call Life deals with girls in the foster care system.

Eleven year old Cal Lavender is taken away from her mother after an 'episode' at the local library. Cal has spent many years looking after her mother. She likes order, rules and routine. Cal puts on a very brave face to ensure that nobody knows that her life is in chaos. After the 'episode', Cal finds herself in a group home, where she doesn't make the rules and she is powerless to help her mother.
In the group home, Cal meets some very interesting girls. They are all there for a variety of reasons, but they all have one thing in common- they are looking for love and acceptance from those around them. The older women running the group home the "Knitting Lady' gives these girls what they need. She often tells wonderful stories to teach them life lessons.
As Cal listens to the stories and gets to know the other girls, she learns things about herself, her mother and the world around her. Watching Cal deal with the different situations and learning how it feels to be helpless in controlling your own life is painful at times, yet rewarding to watch at the same time.
I'm going to look for more books by Wolfson- she seems to write books about a childhood that not many children experience, but more people need to know about.