Friday, January 30, 2009

Reaching for Sun

I love the cover of this new book by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. The yellow dandelions make me think of warm summer days...days that currently seem a long way off!

Josie has a disability - cerebral palsy. As the story begins she is struggling. No one wants to be her friend because she is different. Her mom is going back to college and busy with her job. No dad is in the picture. Grandma is there to provide stability.

Through the free verse poem format Josie really shares her feelings. Mom wants Josie to be successful -- be a doctor or a lawyer. Josie feels weighed down by her mom's expectations and describes it "like wearing a heavy wool coat in summer."

Jordan, a "geeky" science-loving kid moves into the neighborhood --- finally a friend! Josie has lots of challenges ahead of her. Read the book for the beautiful language she uses.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When I Crossed No-Bob

What in the world is No-Bob? That was my thought when I looked at the title of this book. No-Bob is a hollow in the Mississippi woods. Addy O'Donnell lived there -- until she was abandoned by her mother. The O'Donnell family...and extended family... don't have very good reputations. They are poor, they are fighters and they are involved with the Ku Klux Klan.

The story takes place after the Civil War. After Addy's mom leaves, she is taken in by the Russell's. Finally, Addy is raised in a comfortable, loving home. She goes to school, makes friends and tries to overcome the bad reputation of her last name. Things happen though..... a new friend, Jess Still, a black boy, is killed in a fire. Addy knows her father, a member of the KKK was responsible. She feels a loyalty to family, but reaches a point where she thinks, "Pappy? You are a killer and a thief. You have stolen from so many. You have taken lives." What decisions does Addy make about her future? Read the book!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Declaration

It seems like many books being published, or at least ones that I am reading, are about the future. This sci-fi book fits that description - but it is a scary future.

Do you want to live forever? In the year 2140 you have that opportunity. Gemma Malley writes about a future where you have the choice to take longevity drugs. Have you read Turnabout or Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix? Both books reminded me of this one.

Anna is 14 years old and should never have been born. She is known as "Surplus Anna". Both her parents signed "the declaration" when they made the decision to take the drugs and live forever. The declaration states that you will never have children. Children would create more competition for resources -- food and shelter. Peter comes to Grange Hall where Anna lives with others like herself, and tells her she is more than a "valuable asset". She has parents that love her and want to be with her. Peter tries to convince Anna to escape with him. Does she? You will have to read the book to find out!

The Other Side of the Island

Did you ever read The Giver by Lois Lowry? This book by Allegra Goodman really reminded me of it. The Other Side of the Island takes place in the future, but it feels like it could be tomorrow.

The future world is peaceful, in part because Earth Mother and the Corporation control everything....even the weather! Honor and Helix are the main characters. Both live on the climate-controlled Island 365. Both sets of parents disappear. Is it because they are secretly working against the Corporation? Is it because Honor's parents had a forbidden second child?

Honor and Helix band together to find their kidnapped and zombie-like parents. Do they find them on the other side of the island? You will have to read the book to find out!

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Graveyard Book

Bod - short for "Nobody" Owens lives in a graveyard! Yes -- he is alive and is cared for by the ghostly inhabitants of the graveyard.

How did Bod come to have such an unusual upbringing? The first line of the story, "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." begins the story. Bod's parents and sister are murdered by the intruder. Somehow 2-year old "Bod" toddles out of his crib, through the front door, down the street and crawls through the gate of the old graveyard. Bod is adopted by the ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Owens who raise him as their own child. He is given "Freedom of the Graveyard" which allows him to do things normal humans can.

The killer is still out there looking for Bod. Read the story if you like a fantasy/suspense story filled with magic and ghouls!

Neil Gaiman is also the author of Coraline, which has just been turned into a movie. It comes out February 6, 2009. To be honest, I liked this book a lot more!!