Jayne Lee Thompkins is a stellar high school student. She studies 40 hours a week for A’s and she is on her way to becoming valedictorian. She is much...moreJayne Lee Thompkins is a stellar high school student. She studies 40 hours a week for A’s and she is on her way to becoming valedictorian. She is much more responsible than her sister, Ellie, who always needs her help and she has a workaholic mother who expects nothing but the best; an A- isn’t good enough. Jayne isn’t like other teenage girls who spend hours on the phone. Studying takes priority over conversations with friends. But then comes a day when a phone call matters more to her than the safety of others – she runs a red light and her life changes. After the accident, Jayne’s dad told her that she was a bright, pretty girl who got some bad luck thrown her way. No, she was a bright, pretty girl who caused the bad situation she was dealing with when she chose to care more about who was on the other end of her cell phone than she cared about keeping her eyes on the road while driving. After the accident, her dad did seem to be the only one in her family who wasn’t in denial about Jayne’s situation, but still even-tempered Sean Thompkins didn’t know how to deal with what his daughter was going through. Other people around Jayne seemed to go on as if nothing had happened – maybe because they didn’t want to make her feel any worse – but denial wasn’t helping her. And all Jayne’s mother, local celeb Gen Thompkins, seemed to care about was making sure her daughter kept her sights on getting into Harvard. Even when Jayne was feeling bad after sentencing, Mrs. Thompkins brought up college when Jayne needed her mother to comfort her. Jayne made changes – bad choices, in my opinion - and she was supposed to be a new and improved Jayne, but I didn’t see anything she did as an improvement. I felt bad for her, actually. Were the changes she made a way of rebelling against her mother? Possibly. It’s good to be studious and involved in school activities but Jayne had way too much going on, leaving her with very little time for enjoyment and her mother had something to do with that. But it seemed to me there was self-loathing going on because of the accident. She was obviously hurting and feeling guilty about what she had done. And why wouldn’t she be? Six year old Brenda Deavers died because Jayne ran a red light. Although, I believe Jayne was responsible, the child’s mother, Donna Deavers, was also to blame because she had her child in the front seat. Jayne should not have been harassed the way she was. I never like seeing the Name of Jesus taken in vain and it was in this story. And it is another story where a girl doesn’t think the guy she’s known for a while could be more than a friend, but he turns out to be ‘the one’. But I will say it was an interesting read. For anyone who doesn’t take talking on the phone while driving seriously, this book will open your eyes to the dangers of allowing yourself to be distracted behind the wheel. (less)
Jason Green overheard a conversation and soon after he was dead. Terry Novak and Abby Hall are on a mission to find out what happened to Jason. When s...moreJason Green overheard a conversation and soon after he was dead. Terry Novak and Abby Hall are on a mission to find out what happened to Jason. When some of their friends join in to help, they form a spy network and they are very serious about being detectives. But there is an adult who wants to put an end to their investigation and he’s using one of their classmates to keep them from finding out the truth. If he can. Jason: He lost his father and his mother got drunk a lot. He didn’t like sports but he did like old movies and he liked to draw. He was taking the technical arts curriculum at William Dawes Regional and he wanted to be a landscape designer. He was believed to be gay, but his interests were the only reasons given. Those likes and dislikes made this young man gay? I couldn’t see why characters came to this conclusion. Terry and Abby: They worked well together. Some thought they were a couple. They claimed they weren’t but the way they related to each other it seemed as if their close friendship would be more someday. I liked that Abby wanted her ‘first time’ to mean something. George: Terry’s mentor doesn’t just teach him to box (quite a few boxing lessons take place in this story) but he also speaks words of wisdom because he wants Terry to make good choices. Mr. Bullard: The principal of William Dawes Regional high school is not a likeable character. This is the first Robert B. Parker novel I’ve read. The mystery was a page-turner not really because it was exciting or thrilling, but because I wanted to find out who killed Jason. Even though I didn’t get to really know him, I liked him. It was also a quick read; forty-seven of the shortest chapters I have ever seen in a young adult novel. There is a fight scene and the use of steroids is addressed. There is also a bit of profanity and the mention of sexual activity but it isn’t written in detail. Even though there are teenagers of high school age, this story is one I believe mature middle school students would enjoy. (less)
Dylan met Wade during suspension at Downey High. They also spent eight months in juvie together and now, just when Dylan thought life was getting bett...moreDylan met Wade during suspension at Downey High. They also spent eight months in juvie together and now, just when Dylan thought life was getting better, they are fleeing California and heading for Texas.
Dylan: He had feelings for a girl named Jess, but he didn’t think he was worthy of her attention. He was illiterate and he was once a wannabe gangbanger and he’d been in trouble. He also had a father in jail on death row, a mother who was depressed and a grandmother with an attitude. I felt bad for Dylan quite often while reading this story. This young man experienced lots of disappointments and ended up in quite a few bad situations; trouble seemed to follow him wherever he went.
Wade: I blame him for some of Dylan’s troubles. I felt like he was pulling Dylan down. And the position he put Dylan in – the reason why they had to leave town – wasn’t right at all. “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – is the scripture (Romans 12:2) that comes to mind when I think of Wade. He felt like his choices were limited, like there was no good place in the world for him, so he did bad things to fit in with bad people. But then he met someone who helped him to change his negative thinking and I was happy for him. I was disappointed, though, when he believed he’d go to hell if he had sex outside of marriage. The person who told him this should have known that ending up in hell or heaven has nothing to do with works (Ephesians 2:4-10).
Take Me There is a page-turner; there are emotionally intense scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s good movie material, really. There is profanity but it’s not excessive. The ending was disappointing, because I was hoping things were going to turn out differently, but the last poem touched my heart. I believe anyone who reads this book will learn some very important lessons. (less)
Mary Rudine: First it was Mary, then it was M.R. Mister is all anybody calls me now… Mister wears a purity ring. She has made the choice to save herse...moreMary Rudine: First it was Mary, then it was M.R. Mister is all anybody calls me now… Mister wears a purity ring. She has made the choice to save herself for the man she marries, but then she meets Trey and finds out that a commitment to abstain from sex can be more difficult to keep than she thought.
Before Trey, Mister was a good Christian girl. After Trey, she was still a good Christian girl even though she didn’t think so; she just made a bad choice. A few sweet, soft-spoken words and sensual touches from a good-looking guy and Mister compromised her beliefs. A momentary lapse of reason and she allowed herself to be used. She didn’t realize that at the time, because she believed Trey really cared about her. She needed to find a way to move on without guilt or shame. Mary, Mary was a book of poetry about Christ’s mother and it belonged to Mister’s mother. Mister read it faithfully and it was in those pages where she found comfort and answers to her questions.
A Girl Named Mister is written in verse. This format worked better in some chapters than others. What I mean is that certain chapters had more of a poetic feel. SOFT was my favorite.
Mister made a mistake that teenage girls make every day. She regretted her choice and she wasn’t sure how to cope with her pregnancy. She is a very realistic character and there will be readers – Christian or not - who will identify with her. I found out about this story when a FB friend brought the free e-book to my attention (My mobile phone had a Free Amazon Kindle app. I am so amazed at technology these days!) Even though I’m not really into poetry like I used to be many years ago, I enjoyed this book. I liked it so much, in fact, that I purchased the hardcover soon after I read the e-book. It is a must read for teenage girls and their parents. I highly recommend it!
Parents: There is a bit of profanity and sexual content (less)
It’s a cold February day and Mia is in the car with her mom and dad and her little brother, Teddy. One minute they’re enjoying each other’s company, a...moreIt’s a cold February day and Mia is in the car with her mom and dad and her little brother, Teddy. One minute they’re enjoying each other’s company, and the next Mia’s spirit is eyeing her body in a ditch. I buy most of my books from Amazon, but I saw this one in a Target store and remembered seeing the cover on a blog or somewhere. If I would have noticed the “Will appeal to fans of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight” blurb I wouldn’t have purchased it, because I’m not into anything that has to do with vampires. But this was not that type of story. If I Stay is about a girl who is in a coma after a car accident and her spirit is trying to decide whether to stay or leave. In Mia’s words: If I stay. If I live. It’s up to me. I didn’t agree with Mia’s words at all; it wasn’t up to just her. She – or her spirit - spoke as if her staying alive wasn’t also up to the doctors; the professionals with the knowledge and equipment to keep her heart pumping and to help her body heal while her spirit was roaming around the hospital. And Mia’s view on God: In a flashback, she saw her brother in a devil suit for Halloween and heard her boyfriend, Adam, make a remark about eternal damnation. She didn’t question if Satan or hell was real or not, yet she thought angels and God were non-existent. That was disappointing along with a few other things: Too much profanity - the F word was overused, not that it was necessary at all. The way Kim disrespected her mother. And the choice Mia’s mother made when she found out her daughter had a boyfriend. The way it was written, I had no problem visualizing the automobile accident that claimed lives, but as tragic as it was I wasn’t moved. The family is in the car, and then all of a sudden Mia is viewing the aftermath of the accident. If the characters reactions while the accident was taking place would have been included, I could have really felt something. And then there was Mia– or her spirit- who watched as a sheet was being placed over her dad and her mom was being zipped up in a plastic bag, but didn’t react. She should have responded in a way that brought tears to her eyes and I’m sure I would have felt her pain. I could feel the love she had for her parents and brother in the beginning, but when she lost them she lacked emotion. I could understand her being concerned about what was going on with her body, but she dismissed her family’s deaths so easily. Why? Because she couldn’t think about it? She lost her parents and her little brother. How could she not think about it? The passersby showed more emotion than she did. I thought I’d have a good reading experience with this book because of so many five star reviews, but I didn’t. A story where a teenage girl’s spirit is hanging around in the hospital listening to the conversations of family and friends didn’t grab me at all. Mia was in a coma, I know, and I sympathized, but, I’m sorry to say, the story bored me. Even with the flashbacks there was nothing riveting. I put the book down a few times, but I kept coming back to it because I was hoping something would happen to make me change my opinion. It didn’t. This was just an okay read. On the cover it looks like Mia is lying on the ground and that reminded me of the movie The Invisible, starring Justin Chatwin. If I Stay would have been interesting if more had been going on with Mia’s spirit instead of reading about what happened before the accident. (less)
Delijah (Dellie) is thirteen years old and she’s in the seventh grade. She is her mother and father’s only child, but that wasn’t always the case. Her...moreDelijah (Dellie) is thirteen years old and she’s in the seventh grade. She is her mother and father’s only child, but that wasn’t always the case. Her parents had a son, she had a little brother, his name was Louis, but now he’s gone; died at the young age of five.
Corey just moved into the building where Dellie lives. His father isn’t around and his mother treats him badly. He is a little boy in need of a friend.
Diana (Dellie’s Mother): She had a fear of losing the only child she had left, and I could understand that. I don’t believe it was her intention to make her daughter feel like a prisoner in her own home. Diana was dealing with her own grief the only way she knew how and she couldn’t see how much she was hurting Dellie. I want to say she thought she was helping her daughter, but keeping Dellie under lock and key the way she did was for her sake, not Dellie’s.
Miss Shirley: When this Jamaican woman came on the scene, I have to admit that, because of the way she was described, my first thought was conjure woman, and I was not sure I wanted to read on. Voodoo is not my thing. I do not want to hear about it. I do not want to read about it. But I gave Miss Shirley a chance, and my ‘spiritual eyes’ didn’t see any black magic. (God’s healing power is something I believe in, and who’s to say what person He’ll use to get His work done). It turned out Miss Shirley was a colorful woman with a uniqueness that I found strange and delightful at the same time. She was caring, and she was a woman of wisdom, knowing just the right words to speak to those she came in contact with.
Kayla (Dellie’s friend): This girl went from friendly to downright hateful and spiteful toward Dellie, and I did not like her attitude. The way she changed out of the blue was bothersome, but insecurities can make a person do and say things that aren’t coming from the heart.
Bryan: He was not a likable character. Not at all. He was immature and what he did to Dellie was so uncalled for.
Michael: He was a likable character.
Mr. Dumbrewski (Substitute Math Teacher): He was the kind of educator every student needs. I liked him. Alexa Rodriguez: A girl not to be trusted.
Corey’s mom: There was no more peace from the time she moved into the building. She was an angry woman taking her frustrations out on her child. She needed help, but she was too proud to accept it. But then again, maybe she was trying to hide shame and insecurities or even past hurts. Whatever the case, she most certainly needed counseling and parenting classes. And better taste in men.
Corey: His story was heartbreaking. He had problems no seven year old should have, but, unfortunately, many do. He was a neglected, abused child. It was obvious that he was used to being hit for the slightest mistake, so I certainly understood why he was such a nervous little boy. I wasn’t sure I wanted to turn the page after Chapter eleven, thinking something terrible was about to happen to this poor child.
Dellie: I felt for her because she was having the bad dreams and suffering from panic attacks. She could have been getting help, though, but no longer attending grief counseling was a choice she made. She hid her pain well, so I don’t blame her parents for not realizing how much she was still hurting. Dellie was good with Corey and I’m glad she took an interest in him. She did what she could do to help him and she even put herself in harm’s way at one point. That was admirable, mostly because of her young age.
The Trouble with Half a Moon caught my attention while visiting a blog; I didn’t realize it was a middle grade book. From the moment I read the synopsis, I wanted to know what happened to Dellie’s little brother. Why did he die so young? I made a few guesses as I read the story, but I never guessed correctly. One incident on Bellmore Avenue tore Dellie’s world apart, and another incident on that same street was a beginning to putting the pieces back together.
This is a well-written story with quite a few clever sentences. I was so into the goings on in Dellie’s world that I felt like I was part of it. When I finished reading and closed the book, I had to get my bearings! Kudos to Danette Vigilante. She did a good job!
Born in Mexico, Ana Dominguez was a baby when her parents left and moved to San Jose, a `real' city as she called it. They lived there for years and A...moreBorn in Mexico, Ana Dominguez was a baby when her parents left and moved to San Jose, a `real' city as she called it. They lived there for years and Ana was happy with her friends in her old school. Now, since her dad decided to move the family to Half Moon Bay, California she's feeling like an outcast at this new school. And if that's not bad enough, things aren't any better at home because her parents are very strict. She's not allowed to ride in cars with boys. She's not allowed to have a cell phone. She's not allowed to go to school dances. How's a teenage girl supposed to make friends with so many rules? Or make friends after she snitches on the most popular girl in school?
Ana chose to speak up in class when she should have remained silent and her choice got her into trouble. During detention she and the other students were given an assignment and she found out that she had something in common with some of the girls in her class. One of the girl's, Zoe, didn't think it was a coincidence that they shared similar experiences; she felt that she, Ana, Christine and Riley had been thrown together for a reason. Soon after, Ana, Zoe and Christine called themselves 'The Miracle Girls' - they are here for purpose; they just needed to figure out what that purpose was. Zoe also had to figure out how she was going to get Riley to join. Not that Ana was sure she wanted the most popular girl in school to be included.
Ana: She's a freshman in high school, wears Christian T-shirts and some students call her `God Girl'. She's an intelligent girl and hopes to become class valedictorian. Because of something she went through when she was a baby, she believes that God called her to save others so she wants to go to Princeton and eventually become a doctor. Even though I felt she was too critical of others at times in her thinking, I liked Ana. She was insightful, honest and witty. I especially liked how she thought of just the right Scripture when she was worried about something, because she knew it would bring her peace.
Ana's parents: They wanted the best for their daughter. I liked how much they cared about her education - not just high school, but looking ahead to college; they wanted to see to it that Ana had a good future. Although they were too strict in some cases, I liked that they didn't want her to have a boyfriend at her age. Fourteen is not grown and boyfriends can be a distraction. But then again, since, according to their culture, she would be seen as a woman at age fifteen, I was a bit confused about some of the decisions they made.
Riley: A cheerleader with a super genius math brain. This girl is intelligent enough to be accepted into an Ivy League school. I liked that because it seems most times cheerleaders are seen as airheads.
Christine: She wasn't concerned about appearances and she certainly wasn't out to impress anyone. She kept me wondering what hair color she was going to choose next.
Zoe: She's into music, plays the piccolo. She has a love for God and the color lavender, she's not quick to speak unkindly of others and she loves to eat snacks. Her parents seemed to be a little `out there' spiritually and in other ways, so I was glad that she joined in on Ana's church youth group.
Amongst The Miracle Girls, I found Christine to be the one I was most interested in; I felt for her because of her home life. However, the story as a whole - Dave Brecht stood out more than any other. He was a nice guy, caring and full of life. He's a Christian teen who knows The Word and, when the need arose, he would explain Scripture to other teens without one bit of shame. No, he doesn't tote a Bible wherever he goes or quote Scripture to his peers uninvited, but anyone in his presence would know He loves God, because he let his light shine. He had a thing for ties, which I thought was unique and cute. He cared about people and it seemed he had a special place in his heart for the elderly. And he doesn't hold a grudge. Dave is an extremely likable character. It's always nice to be introduced to a guy like him in young adult fiction.
The Miracle Girls was an okay read that I began to like more somewhere around the middle, and I learned a bit. For instance, when a Latino girl turns fifteen, there is a big celebration that acknowledges her transition from childhood to womanhood; it's called a quinceanera. The planning and shopping for the quinceanera dress and the discussions Ana had with her mother, it was all interesting.
There is nothing preachy about this Christian teen novel. The story is realistic and the characters are believable. Like I mentioned before, I liked Miracle Girl Ana, however, I plan to buy the next book because I want to learn more about Miracle Girl Christine.(less)
Lacey Anne Byer is the daughter of Pastor Ted and Theresa Byer. She loves the small town she lives in, a tight knit community where everybody sees her...moreLacey Anne Byer is the daughter of Pastor Ted and Theresa Byer. She loves the small town she lives in, a tight knit community where everybody sees her as the `good girl' who would never break the rules. She has had two close friends since pre-school, Starla Joy and Dean and they all worship at the House of Enlightenment. Lacey was raised by Christian parents who taught her to study the Word and look to the Word in times of trouble. She also wears the purity ring her father got for her when she turned fifteen. When a new guy comes to town, Lacey begins to question what she always believed to be Truth.
Lacey has been a Christian for years. She grew up with a dad who is a Pastor. She was an okay character, but it was surprising to me how certain incidents bothered her to the point where she began to question her faith. And a couple situations were really none of her business, so, at those times, I found her a bit judgmental. It seems she didn't question her faith at all until Ty came along. This young man had a problem with Lacey quoting Scripture, he planted seeds of doubt in her mind about what she believed and he confused her about things that never even crossed her mind before she spoke with him. And he was the reason she began to make certain bad choices she never thought to make before. Spiritually speaking, Ty had no clue he was allowing Satan to use him... For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of the darkness who rule this world and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. - Ephesians 6:12 (New Living Translation) Again, Ty had no clue he was allowing Satan to use him.
Are teens being frightened into surrendering their lives to the Lord? That was the question I asked myself as soon as I saw the words `Hell House', so I had to buy the book to find out. As characters described scenes for Hell House, an outreach that would bring people to God, my question was answered. The issues being addressed were Abortion, Drunk Driving, Gay Marriage, Domestic Abuse, Cyber-porn and Suicide, and there was excitement expressed by these Christian people as they planned the tragic scenes. I'm not sure if that was because they were happy about the people who would get saved, or if they were desensitized by it all... I was at least glad to see that Lacey's mom got the seriousness of the Abortion Girl scene from the beginning. Lacey had to witness the consequences of a choice made by a friend, before she realized playing Abortion Girl wasn't something to be excited about. According to Pastor Byer, "You gotta shake `em to wake `em." But getting saved is about believing in Jesus Christ and what he did for us at Calvary. For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son... scare tactics are not the way to lead the lost to Christ. Most of them probably backslide soon after they shake off the fear of Hell House, because their hearts weren't in it in the first place.
Thoughts that came to mind as I read this book:
1. Some people will live a certain way not because they believe it's who they are, but because someone else convinced them it's who they are. 2. As Christians, it's okay to have questions when it comes to the Bible. That's one way to learn. But it's not good to look so deep in between the lines that we stop believing because we don't understand or can't explain certain Scripture in a way that will satisfy someone who is challenging it. 3. Certain Christian characters suggested that a person would go to hell because of a sin committed. It does not work that way. And it's not about `feeling heaven bound'. Those who are going to heaven when they leave this world have received Jesus as Lord and Savior and those who aren't didn't. It is not about `feelings' and it is not about `works'. 4. Some people convince themselves a choice they've made is in `God's plan' when God didn't have a thing to do with it.
This is the first time I've read Melissa Walker's work. I gave `Small Town Sinners' three stars because it was interesting, realistic, and well-written. I gave it another star because of Walker's bravery. She touched on delicate controversial topics that have caused many heated discussions. Any book club might have to meet late into the night or may even have to schedule another day before every thought and opinion from its members can be expressed. Or they may have to agree to disagree about certain topics and move on to the next book.
Leah Mandeville is a junior in high school. She’s on the basketball team and wants to go onto college to play for UCLA. Leah’s mother, Veronica, is a...moreLeah Mandeville is a junior in high school. She’s on the basketball team and wants to go onto college to play for UCLA. Leah’s mother, Veronica, is a model and she wants her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Modeling isn’t Leah’s thing and even if it was, she doesn’t have the slim frame necessary to make it in the business. But then there’s Jay, Leah’s next door neighbor and best friend for three years. Leah has feelings for him, but he likes someone else; one of her skinny friend’s. Will Leah get his attention if she loses weight?
I liked Leah, but I did not like the way she spoke to Victoria. Even if she was fed up with Victoria caring so much about appearances, this woman was still her mother. She never went too far with her disrespect, though. She knew when to hold her tongue.
I did feel for Leah, wanting to fit in so badly. When she began to lose the weight I was glad she felt better about herself, but then she went to the extreme, losing way more weight than she should have. As the numbers on the scale went lower and lower, it was like she was living in a dream world. While everyone around her could clearly see what she was doing to herself, she actually thought she was becoming more attractive when what she was doing was risking her life. And when she ignored the signs her body sent to let her know something was wrong, that she was abusing her body, I was so sad for her.
I liked Jay, who was a true friend to Leah. And Shazan, Leah’s friend since the second grade, was a good girl, but, unfortunately, she had her own ‘weight issues’. It would have been great if she could have seen her problem as clearly she could see Leah’s.
Nibbles of food or days of starvation, strenuous workouts, diet pills, and purging led to excessive weight loss for Leah. She became dangerously thin way too fast and no matter how much friends and family pointed that out, she ignored their concerns. Anorexia and Bulimia are the eating disorders Sarkar addresses in Shrink to Fit, and she did a very good job writing this story. The psychological illnesses that can be found in those suffering from eating disorders is so clear, and as for the physical effects, when Leah dropped pounds, I was able to get a visual of the changes in her body and it was not pretty. While the story was entertaining to a certain degree, it is most importantly a cautionary tale. The story warns against the danger of depriving oneself of the proper nourishment necessary to stay healthy… and alive. Shrink To Fit is a must read.
Parents: There is profanity, but it’s not pervasive. There was one word in particular, though, that I grew very tired of reading. (less)
Z is different because he has a great imagination. Ella is different because she’s the only black student in the school. All they have is each other,...moreZ is different because he has a great imagination. Ella is different because she’s the only black student in the school. All they have is each other, the only two at a table in the cafeteria and no other kids to walk with after school. There used to be three of them, but, Millie, the girl they grew up with, went her own way after grade school and found a place among the popular crowd in middle school. Z doesn’t care about being popular, but Ella wouldn’t mind sitting with the popular kids at lunch or socializing with them outside of school. Will wanting to become part of a group become so important to her that she abandons Z? Bailey James is used to being the new kid at school because his family moves around a lot. He’s accepted by the popular crowd with no problem, but he’s nothing like the ones who bully Z and Ella. He likes Ella and wants to be her friend, but that might be difficult, seeing that Z has claimed her as his own. Ella’s friend, Z, spent most of his time in a fantasy world, using his imagination to escape reality and this made him look strange in the eyes of everyone else at school. I liked that he had a great imagination; actually, a gift is what I’d call it. And it’s okay to pretend, but escaping reality all together, that has to be a sign that a serious problem needs to be addressed. I was scared for Z sometimes, expecting someone to do more than throw food on him. Ella quickly came to his rescue when others bullied him and she joined him in his fantasy world because that was what he needed from her. She’d answer to milady and pretend to ride a horse because she truly cared about Z. And even when she was frustrated by the way he’d withdraw into his imaginary world when it was important to her that he deals with reality, she couldn’t stay angry at him for long. Ella knew what it meant to be a true friend to Z, and I loved that. It’s a shame, though, that it took a big scare before his issues were taken seriously. Ella was the only black student in the school before Bailey came along, but I don’t think that’s the reason she was bullied (not that anything justifies such cruel behavior). And I don’t think it was only because she was Z’s friend. I think the discoloration of her skin was what made her a target, because that was what really made her appear different to other students. Her face was described as dark brown in some places and light brown in others. I figured this discoloration made her feel bad the way a case of acne would affect a teenage girl’s self-esteem, but after reading chapter four, I could see that it was much more serious than that for Ella. She was so disgusted by her face that she could barely look in the mirror, and I hurt for her. I’m not sure she would have wanted to leave the house if it wasn’t for her mother and her Grammie. She received lots of hugs and encouraging words from these two strong, hardworking women. She knew she was loved unconditionally and that was beautiful. Bailey was a likable guy. He was there for Ella the way she was there for Z. Even though he was the popular basketball player, he was dealing with his own issues and in the end it turned out that all three – two unpopular, one popular – had more in common than they thought. Camo Girl is a well-written story with short chapters and clever sentences. There are parts that saddened me and parts that made me smile. It is entertaining and insightful. (less)
Christine Lee is a Sophomore in high school. This young lady has a love of art and she wants to be a famous painter one day. It's been a year since Ch...moreChristine Lee is a Sophomore in high school. This young lady has a love of art and she wants to be a famous painter one day. It's been a year since Christine Lee's mother died in an automobile accident and even though she no longer acts out by dyeing her hair bold colors she is still grieving. Christine's dad is about to marry Candace and the last thing Christine wants is for another woman to take her mother's place.
This is the second book in The Miracle Girls series. In the first book, Zoe was the one who thought it was important to start The Miracle Girls, but in this book it's Christine who seems to care most about the group. She sees them as the only family she has since her mother died. It's the first day of school when the story begins. The Miracle Girls enjoyed each other's company over the summer (So here are the Miracle Girls, after an incredible summer together, parked under the big "Sophomores" sign/pg 1), and, according to Christine, they were close then. But since the authors didn't let me in on what happened with Ana, Zoe, Christine and Riley during those months, I couldn't really get how The Miracle Girls became closer since the first book. It would have been nice to know exactly what it was that made their relationship `special' as Christine called it. In the first book they had just become The Miracle girls. In this one they don't spend as much time together as I thought they would.
When Christine referred to Candace as a `Bimbo' in the first book, I thought that was unkind but then I figured she must have had her reasons; maybe she was being mistreated. That wasn't the case at all. The madness at home seemed to be in her own mind, because she didn't like that Candace was there. But Candace seemed to be doing what she could to get along with Christine. Now, I did understand the pain Christine was feeling because she had lost her mother. And I could understand that she didn't want another woman to marry her father, but Christine could be so cruel. What she talked Emma into helping her with when they were at Bloomingdales, for instance. Christine thought it was funny but I was not amused. All I could think of was how hurt Candace was going to be when she found out what they had done and I felt so bad for this woman. It seemed Christine wasn't clear how her actions affected other people. I didn't think I'd feel this way, but I liked Christine better in the first book when she wasn't talking much. She wasn't putting up with Candace in this story; Candace was putting up with her. Christine claimed to be an adult, but she was acting like a child. She needed to learn that everything is not about her.
Christine used to go to church regularly, but after her mother passed she had a problem believing in God. Or did she? At one point she wished she believed in God and about one-hundred fifty pages later she says that God enjoys watching us suffer. First of all, that's not true. But didn't she say she didn't believe in God? She also said she hates church. It seemed she was angry at God and that happens. This too shall pass, I hope. I also hope that she will stop calling herself a freak and that she will work on her relationships with her father and her new mother and her new sister, Emma, and not keep believing The Miracle Girls is her only chance at having some kind of life. It's great to have friends -even though I really didn't see the closeness of these four girls until the end of the story - but Christine will never need The Miracle Girls the way she'll need her family; particularly her father. No, James Lee didn't have a clue about what his daughter needed for a while there but he's working on it.
I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about Christine and, even though I didn't like some of the things she did, I can't say she's an unlikable character. She's a teenage girl with issues and I hope she'll be able to work through them. Now, Ana. I don't know about this one. There's a time to speak and a time to be quiet. Ana wasn't clear on that in the first book and she still doesn't get it. And does being a part of The Miracle Girls mean that one can run another's life? In the first book Ana had problems with her mother, but she seems to be just as controlling. I'll have to buy the next book to see what happens next with these girls.(less)
David Albacore is a young man forced to grow up too fast. He’s a high school senior and he also has an after-school job in construction. He feels resp...moreDavid Albacore is a young man forced to grow up too fast. He’s a high school senior and he also has an after-school job in construction. He feels responsible for his sisters’ material and emotional needs since his mother died and he’s more like a parent to them than an older brother. When David’s mother was alive she made him promise to get a high school diploma. With so much going on in his life, will he make it to graduation? I liked David. He was wise beyond his years and a decent guy. I felt bad for him whenever he blamed himself for things that weren’t his fault. And the way he longed for his mother to still be around saddened me. I liked that he was sensitive to females needs and I’m sure that was because of what he experienced with his mom and sisters. He did remind me of a playa –something he said he used to be- for a moment there, but then the David I liked was back again. And I understood why David would question God about what happened to his mother, but here’s the thing: There is God and there is also Satan. Satan is the one who comes to kill, steal and destroy and his voice is the one David’s dad was listening to when he killed David’s mother. The author clearly shows the emotional damage that comes from losing a loved one to domestic violence and I hurt for David and his sisters, Barnetta (Barney) and Linda. David’s sister, Barney, was looking for someone to make her important and she thought she’d find that in a guy, but what she needed was a true friend. I was concerned for her when she started hanging with the wrong group of students. Her brother had her back, though, which was admirable. But the game she and David were playing; there was something too weird about that. Malik Kaplan wasn’t a likeable character at all. He’s the kind of guy girls need to stay away from… far away. And Yolanda Dare: Her choice of friends wasn’t the best, but she had more common sense than anyone would think. It’s respect for herself that she was lacking. Even though she was strong enough to speak her mind she didn’t seem to care enough about herself to not allow Malik to use her. She also had very little confidence in her creative abilities and that was a shame, because she was talented. When I think of this character I think of how appearances can be deceiving and I don’t mean in a bad way. David had his reasons for taking The Sociology of Marriage and Family class and, again, I felt for him. I liked the assignment the teacher, Mr. Martin, gave David and Yolanda to work on together. And I really liked something Mr. Martin said to the class: “You guys keep wanting to grow up too soon. Slow down; be glad you live in a time and place where you’re allowed to still be young. Adulthood will catch up to you soon enough.” B.A. Binns wrote an interesting story that made me shake my head with disbelief at some of the things certain teen characters chose to do; the main thing being the mention of a threesome. It was disappointing to even think something like that is happening with teenagers today; I was glad there were no vivid details. The story did get me to laugh a bit, but it would have been more entertaining for me if there hadn’t been so much profanity. I was surprised that David used profanity as much as he did. He was a responsible, intelligent young man; certainly smart enough to express himself without using vulgar words. And I was surprised and disappointed when Coach Kasili used profanity while speaking to David. Does that happen in the real world? If members of school faculty are cussing when they talk to students, they shouldn’t be. Thinking about quite a bit of the dialogue: Pull is too gritty for my taste, but once I started the story I wanted to finish because I liked David and I had to know how things turned out for him. I’m not sure how I feel about the choice he made in the end. (less)
Since fifth grade Sunday Tolliver knew she wanted to attend Spelman College, and the money she'd need took years for her mother to save. But then her...moreSince fifth grade Sunday Tolliver knew she wanted to attend Spelman College, and the money she'd need took years for her mother to save. But then her mother's boyfriend needs a loan and Sunday's college fund is depleted. Will she be able to earn enough money so she won't miss out on a higher education?
Sunday is a likeable character and I felt bad for her when she found out about her college fund. She mentioned a `hood existence', making it clear that she wasn't happy where she was. Looking at her family situation I was glad that college was on Sunday's agenda. I'm not sure how she knew since fifth grade that she wanted to go, though, because - unless I missed something - I didn't see anyone in her life that would encourage such an important goal. Yes, her mother saved the money, but then she put a so-called man before her daughter and gave it all away. It didn't matter if it was supposed to be a loan and she expected to get it back. It was money to ensure her daughter could study entertainment law and she should have told Carlos to find another way or given him her retirement money instead if she was so concerned about his troubles.
Dreya (aka Drama) is something else! She needs all of the attention and she doesn't seem to care about anybody else. She can be loud and seemingly in control, but insecurity is what I noticed most. I won't say I didn't like her, but her presence was bothersome at times.
I'm not sure what's going on with Bethany - why she makes certain choices. I did notice the envy and jealousy towards Sunday, but I felt like something more was going on with this girl.
Sam was a good guy; talented and respectful of females. I liked him.
Music: I listen to different genres, but I know nothing about the music industry. Not a Good Look gave me a behind the scenes look; some of it was good and some of it was not. As I closed the book all I could think of was that I hope Sunday doesn't allow certain people to keep her from living her dreams. I plan to read All The Wrong Moves and Doing My Own Thing to find out what happens with this gifted young lady, and I'd also like to get to know Bethany better.(less)