A coming of age story of a 14-year-old California girl, it is happy and sad alternately, much like teen life itself. With an older sister who is angryA coming of age story of a 14-year-old California girl, it is happy and sad alternately, much like teen life itself. With an older sister who is angry with the fact that young Jamie has developed early, leaving Renee far behind, and hippy parents who throw wild swim parties complete with booze, pot, and naked adults, Jamie is confused and embarrassed most of the time. She is also fearful. Earthquakes, fires, broken glass, poisonous snakes, death..., and worst of all, that the police will come while her parents are swimming naked or smoking pot. Her mother never wears a bra and cooks with only an apron and shorts with her pendulous breasts clearly seen around the apron. All these things make up what is Jamie at the start of the story.
It is summer of 1976, and Jamie’s parents and her sister are all away. When her friends come to stay with her, pizza is ordered for pick-up and from there life begins to change with the encounter of 3 college boys from the pizza parlour who come back to the house with them. Although the girls never see the boys again, they have begun their journey to ‘put away childish things’ and meet the world on a different level.
The book is well written for young adults, it carries all the angst, new discoveries, hurts, hard lessons that all must go through. Jamie’s & Renee’s conflicts are a part of that, a tragedy coupled with another couple of hard knocks sends Jamie into depression, and life changes again. It covers the many confused feelings of youth coming of age. It does have vivid descriptions of the naked swim parties (remember, these are naked parents and their friends) that are sometimes quite funny but obviously a total embarrassment to their daughters. Their mother talks sex to them in a way that makes them uncomfortable, too personal, but actual sex is probably more true to reality than sensationalized in the newly awakened young friends, and the book actually sends good messages without appearing to do so. I would recommend this book to young teens, but not to pre-teens unless they are particularly mature. It’s a quick read and somewhat different due to its decade....more
This book is Young Adult Fiction and I have rated it from that point of view.
Arthur Slade has given us a story about a 14-year old boy with a very unuThis book is Young Adult Fiction and I have rated it from that point of view.
Arthur Slade has given us a story about a 14-year old boy with a very unusual heritage. For over 200 years the Starker family have all been killed by lightning. Newton is the last male descendant and as such is extremely restricted in his lifestyle, something a lot of young people will relate to. His home is equivalent to living in a bunker.
I really enjoyed this book, and I’m sure it will appeal to this age-group. Every chapter is short, every episode is a chapter. Aside from the constant fear of lightning, “always check the weather before going out”, when Newton enrolls in the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Living and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he learns about friendship, trust, overcoming fear, and above all patience, although it takes the whole book to teach him the last.
Newton’s Survival List is the filler and the glue that joins the chapters. The book is very easy to read, each short chapter a different part of his learning. There are some good survival tips for anyone in the book, as well. I would recommend this book for children and teens 8-14, but not exclusively. A fascinating, entirely different type of style and storyline to enjoy....more
This is the final book in the Notherland Journeys Trilogy. My misfortune is that I have not read either of the fiThe Songweavers by Kathleen McDonnell
This is the final book in the Notherland Journeys Trilogy. My misfortune is that I have not read either of the first two. I say “my misfortune” because this is a lovely, lyrical fantasy and my review will necessarily be restricted to one part only. This is exactly the kind of story I would have wanted to read when I was young. Notherland came into being through the imagination of Peggy, or Pay-gee as the Nordlings call her. At seven years old she is the Creator of this world. The characters are beautifully written and well-thought out. The world is simple with a beauty and clarity that makes imagination so wonderful. But what happens when a child grows older and puts away their childhood? That is exactly what the reader will learn when he/she reads this book.
Something feels strangely wrong in Notherland. Inhabitants, including Molly, Peggy’s doll, who in this world is alive, start to disappear, the land disappears and all is darkness. Molly finds herself back in the bedroom which was once Peggy’s, but Peggy is now in her late ‘teens and doesn’t live there anymore. She is unable to move, talk, or close her eyes anymore. She is totally unaware of what has happened, and is shocked to find a stranger who obviously thinks she is too old for dolls is in Peggy’s bedroom. Krista is very unlike Peggy, but perhaps not as much as one would first imagine. She tosses Molly into a closet and leaves the room again.
In fact, Peggy has moved on with her mother after the family breaks up and has reached the decision that she is too old for things that occupied a seven-year-old, including imagination. She also gives up music and sells her flute which unknowingly has played a very large part in her life, real and imagined. The consequence of her actions begin thick and fast. This is the point at which Notherland disappears. Only one Nordling, Mi, has the special ability to try to fix things. She is rescued and brought to the Songweavers and is taught how to spin stories & music into thread, how to weave this thread and sew it into a Story Cloth. I found this part of the story magical and imparting wisdom. The book has bits and pieces of historical references very quietly inserted throughout the text, and the author has done an excellent job of placing life-lessons unobtrusively into a very smooth flow. I am certain that children will enjoy this book as much as I did. The first book in the trilogy is “The Nordlings”, followed by “The Shining World” and as mentioned, “The Songweavers” is the end of the trilogy. I definitely recommend it and am sure this pertains to the entire trilogy, I can’t imagine otherwise after reading this final book....more
Wickedly entertaining, an imaginative first novel for Marie Phillips. Gods Behaving Badly is a unique take on what happens when belief in the Greek goWickedly entertaining, an imaginative first novel for Marie Phillips. Gods Behaving Badly is a unique take on what happens when belief in the Greek gods no longer exists. They move to London. They become bored and disrupt the lives of mortals. Immortal and immoral, Apollo is a TV psychic and all-around tomcat, Aphrodite is a telephone sex operator, and Dionysus owns the Bacchanalia nightclub. A little too much promiscuity for my personal taste, but what else are you going to do with the characters of Apollo and Aphrodite? They and almost all of the gods and goddesses live in a crumbling, ancient house that barely contains them. Artemis, goddess of hunting and chastity, and currently professional dog-walker, appears to be somewhat more rational than the others. Eros has taken up Christianity to the disgust of his mother, Aphrodite. It appears that most of the family do some type of work.
Enter two mortals, probably the most non-intimidating and ordinary of the species, attending Apollo’s TV show, the very time that Aphrodite has ordered her son Eros to shoot a love arrow at Apollo so that he will fall in love with the first mortal woman he sees, and a hate arrow into the one his eyes alight on. Eros is extremely unhappy about this, and when Apollo spots Alice in the audience he immediately falls irrevocably in love with her, as only the god of the sun could, Eros does not send the hate arrow. When the program is aired, Alice, who is the cleaner at the TV station and not allowed to be in the audience, is spotted and fired.
Neil, who attended the show with Alice, convinces her to freelance as a cleaner and as luck or the gods would have it, she arrives at the door of their house, and Artemis hires her as their cleaner, the gods being slovenly for the most part much to Artemis’ disgust. And now, with all the players in place, the story really begins to unfold. This extremely dysfunctional family is hilarious with their antics, Apollo in particular with his oversized ego and undersized thought processes. This book is certainly a rare breed, vastly different from any other book I’ve read. The journey to the underworld is quite fascinating, and the interaction of the family, and the two mortals, is well-done. A fantasy of fun, life and death, and a wealth of imagination. ...more