10. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott, 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/08/2014

Oh Elizabeth Scott, how you break my heart every time I read one of your books. They are almost always books that make me think and make me want to cry. Heartbeat definitely falls into that category. Emma is a teenager living with her stepfather. Her mother is in the hospital dead, but being kept alive for the baby she carries. Emma blames her stepfather Dan for only thinking about the baby and not about what her mom would have wanted. She believes her mom was scared to be pregnant and knew something was going to happen to her. She doesn’t believe her mom would ever have wanted to be kept in a vegetative state like she is. Emma is mad at the world and has given up on all the things she had before her mom died. She was a straight A student on track to become valedictorian and attending a top 10 school. Now she is failing all her classes because she can’t be bothered to do homework. Every day she goes to the hospital and sits with her mom because even though she is dead she is still here. It is at the hospital where Emma meets Caleb Harrison, the local bad boy. Caleb knows what it is like to lose someone because his little sister died. His parents blame him for her death and he blames himself. In the three years since she died he has fallen into trouble through taking drugs and stealing cars. His latest escapade was driving his father’s car into the lake. Emma and Caleb bond over their shared grief and the relationship helps Emma come to terms with her situation and start to move forward.

I usually hate weepy books, but there is something so compelling about the stories Scott tells that I can’t help but devour them all. I loved the fact that this story seemed ripped from the headlines even though she had to have started writing it long before the Texas case became a story. This story of course ends differently than that one did, but I thought Scott did a fantastic job of portraying the realities of the situation. Emma was also a fantastic character. You could feel her rage and grief oozing out of the pages. You wanted to help her stop self-destructing, but there was no way. I want to be sucked into a story I read and not want to come up for air. This was one of those stories.

05. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags: ,

The Saturday Boy by David Fleming, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 02/04/2014

Derek’s father has been deployed to Afghanistan for months. Derek’s only communication with him is through letters. He keeps all of his dad’s letters in a Knight Rider lunchbox and reads them whenever he needs his dad. Derek is also having a tough time at school. His friend Budgie is only nice to him when they are alone. At school he makes fun of Derek and is very mean to him. Derek lives a lonely life filled with superhero comics and cartoons. Then one day he finds out that his father’s helicopter has been shot down and he did not survive. Derek’s world turns upside down and he and his mom have to figure out how to cope.

I really enjoyed this story. II thought it was touching and sad and funny and all the things you would want from this type of book. However, it wasn’t perfect. Derek seems to be a bit immature for his age (5th grade). He still believes in Santa Claus and is obsessed with his favorite cartoons. Derek also seems to have some behavioral problems where he acts out without thought. I thought the bullying from Budgie was well done and showed just how insecure kids are at this age. It is the time where they are growing out of being a child and becoming young adults. This is the period when they become more aware of what others think of them and how they are perceived. Budgie isn’t a bad kid, but he doesn’t have a lot going for him. So he bullies Derek and others to make it seem like he is more secure than he is. Derek tries to deflect the bullying, but can only take so much. This is a story about a boy trying to become a man without his father around, but it is also the story of a boy just trying to be himself. Great message and a great read.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Graphic Novel, History, Memoirs, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

American Widow by Alissa Torres, 209 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/14/2012

A moving story of one woman’s day to day life after losing her husband in the 9/11 attacks. This graphic novel backs the events of September 11th a personal tragedy rather than just a national tragedy. Gripping and beautifully told but difficult to read at times. But how could any true story accurately depicting that day not move one to tears?

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Multicultural Fiction · Tags: ,

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, 280 pages, read by Angie, on 01/07/2012

This is a wonderful book about a young girl (Sal) coming to terms with her mother leaving her and her father. She relives her mother’s journey through a roadtrip with her grandparents and comes to terms with it through the story of her friend Phoebe. Phoebe is a bit crazy and overdramatic but I liked her as I liked all the characters in this book. It is a beautiful story about sorrow and loss and forgiveness. The language just flows so beautifully as you read it; you can almost hear someone telling the story to you as you travel. Very enjoyable.

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags:

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LeFleur, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 01/18/2012

Love, AubreyThis was an amazing book about a young girl dealing with the loss of her family. Not only does she have to deal with the loss of her dad and sister but she has to deal with her mom’s abandonment as well. I thought it was beautifully written and accurately portrayed. I thought all the characters were so real; they could be anyone you know. I found all the situations and the feelings real to life; nothing seemed forced or faked to me. I especially thought that Aubrey’s reactions and actions all seemed very genuine. I have never had to deal with her situation but I imagine that her feelings are pretty typical. She is feeling grief at the loss of her family, she doesn’t want her mom to get in trouble yet she is angry at her mom for abandoning her, she isn’t sure if she can be happy in her new life or if she wants to go back to her mom. I thought this book was wonderful…definitely a must read. this is a 2011-12 Missouri Mark Twain Award nominee.