Sarah is the odd man out on a field trip to the Everglades. She is a scholarship student at her preppy school and doesn’t fit in with the other kids. So it is no surprise when she pretends to be sick to get out of an outing. Instead she accepts the invitation of Andy, camp owners son, to take an airboat ride. The ride is exhilarating and scary, but even more scary is finding the boat sunk after their picnic lunch. Seems Andy forgot to put the plug back in after washing the boat. Now he and Sarah are stuck 10 miles from camp and no one knows where they are. They have to trek through the Everglades and evade alligators, wild boars, snakes and tons of bugs all with no food or water.
This was a very good, realistic survival story. Andy and Sarah are world’s apart. He is a redneck hick and she is a city girl scared of everything in the wild. She starts off pretty whiny with a chip on her shoulder. We don’t realize until the end what the chip is and I wasn’t sure why it was saved that long; it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. However, throughout their days in the swamp both Andy and Sarah learn how to survive and how to trust each other. Very entertaining and engaging read.
2013-14 Missouri Truman Award nominee.
Lost in a River of Grass is in the tradition of survival stories like Hatchet or On My Side of the Mountain, where the young protagonist finds herself as she struggles to survive in an unforgiving wilderness. In this case, the setting is the Everglades, and Sarah, the 13-year-old narrator, sneaks away from an overnight school field trip for what was supposed to be a quick airboat ride with Andy, a boy who lives in the preserve. Naturally, disaster strikes and they’re forced to walk out of the Everglades (they’ve got a knife, a small amount of Gatorade and some suspicious Spam). The author also skillfully layers in a story about overcoming prejudice. Sarah is black and Andy is the son of a Confederate-flag waving self-described redneck.
Meet Pat. He believes in “silver linings”. That everything in life will turn out all right and have it’s silver lining. This is a moving story of two people emotionally damaged by their early choices in life and the loss of someone close to them. This novel tells how they deal with loss and betrayal, how it affects their friends and family and finally how they are able to move on.
The protagonist Tara Martin disappeared 20 years ago. When she returns she claims she spent 6 months in Faery. Her family and boyfriend have been devastated by her disappearance and respond in various ways to her tale. I’m Not sure this really belongs in SciFi, since the focus is more on the internal psychological world than the magical aspects.
So I liked a lot of the book, but unlike many other reviewers could see the ending from a mile away (well not the epilogue part). Perhaps, it reminded me of the book “Giants of the Frost” by Kim Wilkins.
Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given.
Piper Lee’s mama is getting married. She is going to marry Ben. Piper Lee isn’t real happy about this. Her daddy disappeared in a plane crash several years ago and she still hopes that one day he will come home. Ben’s daughter Ginger is happier about the marriage. Her mama left when she was a baby and she really likes Piper’s mom, Heather. Piper decides that something must be done. She tracks down Ginger’s mama, which causes all kinds of excitement. She also has a plan to find out more about her daddy’s disappearance. Piper gets into all kinds of trouble and causes problems in the family, but it isn’t until tragedy strikes that she realizes what she really wants.
I enjoyed this story. I thought Piper was pretty realistic for a ten year old. She doesn’t always do the smart thing and she is often selfish, but she is definitely real. I liked the relationship between Ben and Heather and between Ginger and Piper. I thought everything was pretty realistic and could easily happen (and probably does happen). I did think there was a lot of extras thrown in. I am not sure we needed the whole stranger danger episode; sure it isn’t out of the realm of possibility but it didn’t seem necessary. Overall, this was a fun, quick read and I would recommend it for middle grades.
If you are enjoy cooking and eating you will love this book. Lillian owns a restaurant and also teaches cooking classes. The students learn more about the senses than about essential ingredients. You can follow a recipe but it’s not just about measurements. We all eat for different reasons and after reading this your reasons might change.
Dani and her mother are thieves. They have been for as long as Dani can remember. They move from place to place, ending up wherever the next job is. The current job is in Heaven. Heaven is a small beach town with a very wealthy neighborhood. Dani and her mom are going to rob one of the houses. Problems begin when Dani starts to realize she likes Heaven; she likes the house they are staying in; she likes the people she is meeting. She becomes friends with Allison, who just happens to be the daughter of the house they are targeting. She also captures the interest of local cop Greg, who is as interested in Dani as she is in him. All of this makes Dani question her lifestyle and realize everything she has been missing.
I adore Elizabeth Scott. I think her books are wonderful and tragic and fascinating. This is not your typical Elizabeth Scott book. It isn’t tragic even though it is a little bit sad. It has the snappy dialogue and interesting story of her other books, but the entire time I was reading it I felt like something was missing. I wanted the sadness and the tragedy and the loss. Scott always uses those things to help you realize there is hope. I think without them this book was lacking the power of her other books. It isn’t a bad story, but it is not what I was expecting from Elizabeth Scott.
Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia, named for Shakespearean characters by their father a Shakespearean professor, each struggles with their individual weaknesses and limitations. The adult sisters find themselves at home together for a summer, helping their mother with breast cancer. Rosalind, the oldest, has always been the solid responsible one, never venturing far from home. Bianca, the middle child, always outshone by her sisters, carved a niche for herself within fashion and looks. Unfortunately, her expensive habits caught up with her in New York, and she has returned home after her employers discovered Bianca’s embezzling of the company. Cordelia, the youngest, never expected to be responsible, has followed the gypsy life, couch-surfing, until she gets pregnant, and also returns home.
The story is told from an interesting perspective, from the omniscient we of the sisters, sometimes its from all three sisters, sometimes its from 2 sisters perspectives.
I also liked the way stories from the past were interwoven, with the current issues. If you like Anne Tyler, you’d probably like this book
Grow is a novel in verse. Twelve-year-old Katie tells the story of the summer she helped Berneetha start a garden in their urban community. The poems describe how they cleaned up a vacant lot, how they planted their garden, how they got other members of the community involved and how friendships developed over the summer. It is a beautiful story not just about Katie and Berneetha, but about Harlan. Harlan is a young boy with an abusive father who finds his place in the garden with Katie and Berneetha. It is also the story of how the community came together to create a green space in the middle of the concrete jungle.
Sunny’s best friend and cousin Shiri commits suicide. Her family does not know how to cope with it. Sunny’s hippy parents seem lost and the tension between her Aunt Miri and Uncle Raymond just keeps getting worse. In the wake of the tragedy, Sunny starts experiencing weird flashes where she hears voices. It turns out she is hearing the thoughts of others and she learns Shiri had the same power/affliction from her journal. With this power, Sunny learns what her friends really think of her and that her Uncle Raymond is abusive. She finds a new group of friends but they just seem to want to exploit her powers. It doesn’t seem like anyone is on Sunny’s side.
I felt like this book had two different personalities. On one hand it was a moving story about a family coming to terms with a tragedy. How do you cope with your loved one taking their own life? You start questioning everything and you discover things you never knew. On the other hand it is about a girl with a secret power to hear thoughts. She has to learn to handle her power and she has to figure out who she can trust with the knowledge. I really thought the suicide storyline was the stronger story. I am intrigued by how the family copes with the tragedy and everything that came about because of it. I thought the underhearing, as Sunny calls it, was a bit of a stretch. We are given no reason for Sunny getting this power. Did she inherit it from Shiri when she died? How did Shiri get it? Why did it seem to come about during the late teens? Why does no one else have secret powers? If this was a world where the paranormal was more normal I think this part of the story might have been more believable. As it is, it seems like the author kind of thought “hey paranormal is really hot right now, I should throw it in my book”. I really liked the realistic aspects of the story and I think the author should have stuck to that.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Addie is tall, loud, outspoken and socially conscious. This does not make her popular. In fact, her tendency to always say what she thinks makes her decidedly unpopular. But Addie has a great supportive family and group of friends. She is dating a popular boy, but they keep breaking up and getting back together. This book covers the trials and tribulations and triumphs of Addie’s seventh grade year. The story is told through a variety of poems in different styles each depicting a different moment in the life of Addie.
Addie is an interesting girl and very realistic and the poems really work for telling her story. Addie seems like your average middle school girl, maybe a little more aware of what is happening in the world and a little more outspoken than most, but still your average girl going through what all middle school girls go through. I really enjoyed the sections on her grandma; they were fun and touching. I think Addie is a girl lots of girls will enjoy reading about.
Ben Bright is about to graduate from high school. He’s an accomplished student, a talented actor/singer, dedicated boyfriend and brother. He’s got everything going for him, except for the fact that he has yet to explain to all his loved ones that he’s about enlist in the US Army.
Boot camp gives way to deployment, everyone’s worst fear. While on a routine mission, Ben’s vehicle rolls over an IED, leaving all of its passengers with life-threatening injuries. Ben receives a massive brain injury that essentially re-wires his entire brain. Everything must be relearned. Ben doesn’t remember or recognize anyone from his past, making his homecoming more bitter than sweet. Hope seems elusive until Ben finally recognizes someone: his autistic brother, Chris.
This is an extremely fast-paced read. Ben is not the typical soldier type. He’s really altruistic about the whole enlisting thing and genuinely believes he can make a difference. His best friend and girlfriend take a considerable amount of convincing before they feel they can support his decision. Ben’s brother, Chris, is underdeveloped in the first half of the book, but makes more of a showing post-deployment. I can’t help but feel that more development of Chris’s character would have greatly benefited the trajectory of the story. We see very little of Chris and Ben interacting before Ben leaves. A lot of focus is placed on Ben’s best friend, Niko, and his girlfriend, Ariela. All three of the older kids are too good to be true and come across as a bit two-dimensional. The issues, however, are very timely, which makes this a good choice for book discussions, particularly where reluctant readers are involved.
Devon is your typical teen girl. She is a star soccer player and a good student. Her home life isn’t the best with a single mom who acts more like a child than a parent. Devon has strict rules for herself so she won’t turn out like her mom. One summer day she goes on a date and ends up having sex with the boy. Then she gets pregnant. Devon is so steeped in denial that she denies the sexual experience and the pregnancy. She even denies giving birth and throwing her baby in the trashcan. But she can’t live in denial forever. Devon is sent to jail for her crime and must face up to the legal consequences of her decisions.
I’m not sure if it was listening to this book instead of reading it, but I did not find Devon to be a sympathetic character at all. I found her delusions and denial hard to swallow. Of course, I can’t imagine ever being pregnant and hiding it or not realizing you are giving birth until the baby pops out but that is just me. Devon spends the majority of the book not really present. She doesn’t get why she is in jail and she blocks out the events that led up to her incarceration. We find out what happened through a series of flashbacks. We learn about Devon’s date and how she hid her pregnancy and what happened the night she had the baby. It isn’t until the very end of the book that Devon actually quits fighting her lawyer and owns up to her actions. I have to say that the legal processes in the book seemed spot on. I really enjoyed Devon’s lawyer Dom and her eternal patience for Devon’s bad attitude. Not sure how I feel about the end of the book, but in a way I thought it was justified; stupid but justified.
Eleanor is having a very bad summer. Her babysitter, Bibi, has moved away. Her parents force her to get another babysitter, Natalie. Natalie is not Bibi, but she understands what Eleanor is going through. By the end of the summer, Eleanor has accepted Natalie and had a letter from Bibi so things are looking up.
This is a fun little book. I really enjoyed Eleanor’s story. The verse works really well and definitely translates what Eleanor is going through. I also enjoyed the illustrations. They are fun and silly.
Silver Linings Playbook is a first time novel by Matthew Quick. The story centers around, Pat, a man who has mental issues [who doesn't], who recently returns home after a lengthy stay at the mental hospital. Pat thinks his life is like a movie and in the end will reunite with his estranged wife, Nikki. On his way to recovery, Pat meets Tiffany another odd individual who is dealing with her husband’s death. This is a story of a mom who loves her son, a dad who is ashamed of her son, family and friends trying to support, the Philadelphia Eagles and two odd individuals trying make their way through life. The book will make you laugh, cry and become a part of you.