Roland Merullo has captured a stunning voice- a 'memoir' of a woman who has endured brutally insane parents and creepy small town life. In a narrative...moreRoland Merullo has captured a stunning voice- a 'memoir' of a woman who has endured brutally insane parents and creepy small town life. In a narrative that is compelling and riveting we learn of Marjorie's life with her parents who are enspelled by a crazy preacher who dominates his 'flock' with a cruel and narrow code. Marjorie is allowed to go to school only because the authorities have been alerted to her parents oddities. Still the school turns a blind eye to injuries that are the obvious result of family violence. As readers we wonder, will Marjorie even survive as the peril in her life increases? A ray of hope enters when we meet her Aunt who does everything she can to help Marjorie- she does not know of the punishments meted if Marjorie accepts too much from her aunt. Slowly the violence spins out of control and Marjorie has to risk all to save her life. Amazingly believable book that keeps the reader reeling and hoping for Marjorie's well deserved redemption.(less)
Peter's parents are scientists, Dad has an opportunity to go to Greenland to study glaciers and Mom and Peter are going along. Parallel to Peter's sto...morePeter's parents are scientists, Dad has an opportunity to go to Greenland to study glaciers and Mom and Peter are going along. Parallel to Peter's story is Thea's. She lives in Gracehope under, yes under Greenland's surface. Generations ago Thea's people were persecuted and hunted, Grace devised a way to live under ice and selflessly sent her people on to survive in Greenland. Now the population has hit the limit of what Gracehope can provide and the people of Gracehope must decide what to do.
The story alternates between the two children, they inevitably meet bringing to the surface issues that the population of Gracehope had hoped to ignore.
So, so many issues and themes in this book! Family, trust, transparency, secrets, politcal power, geophysical politics, the effect of global warming on society,interpersonal talents, language .... Bravo!(less)
Walter recommended this highly so I gave it a whirl. After one of the grimmer bullying scenes - I set the book free. Very. Intense. Then Brett offered...moreWalter recommended this highly so I gave it a whirl. After one of the grimmer bullying scenes - I set the book free. Very. Intense. Then Brett offered the audio- I slipped the disk into the car stereo and was completely drawn in. The excellent acting and the distance that I get with the audio helped cope with the violence and sheer injustice at school and the ever creepier nighttime escapades Joey and his dad get up to. Mr. Kraus says the book is Horror, so I believe him. His descriptions are so precise, his words so specific that the book seems like a memoir. Joey describes the things he sees, that he feels, that he smells and experiences in such specific detail - he does not flinch, and so we cannot either. So, the plot. Joey loses everything- his single mother, his friend, his apartment, his life and plans in Chicago and is dumped by a cute Social Worker at the train station to go to Bloughton, (tinytown) Iowa to live with a dad he has never heard of or from. Unmet at the station, Joey walks hours to find his fathers shack beyond the outskirts of town. Unfazed, his father greets him by looking him up and down and leaving for days. Joey starts school and is basically thrown to the wolves by his teachers and fellow students- he is a target for bullies of every ilk. Curious about his father, his father's stench, and his disappearances Joey follows along on an evening ride and is horrified to find that his father is not a thief in the normal sense, Ken Harnett is a grave robber! Once the game is up and Joey knows, well then, Joey has to be in. Joey embarks on a dual life- student by day and grave robber at night. Soon enough the strangeness, the regard Harnett has for the dead, the masterful skill, reels Joey in. He is immersed in the rush, the beauty and the challenge. Enter a crazed former partner of Ken's and the story goes horrible quickly. The themes addressed are grand, this is a book that you will chew on for a while as you sift through the complexity of Joey's coming of age. (less)
Set in a slower era- don't see or hear of any phones ... The airstream is modern.
Portia lives in the bosom of her Gypsy fam...morePossible spoilers follow...
Set in a slower era- don't see or hear of any phones ... The airstream is modern.
Portia lives in the bosom of her Gypsy family. Mom and Dad, aunties, uncles and cousins across the yard with slightly dour Aunt Sophia nearby. Portia revels in the stories that swirl about her and each evening she entertains her father with her reinventions of the tales.
Suddenly the idyll breaks apart- Mom splits, then the cousins all leave, then- this is a low blow- her dad drives off after the circus and leaves her in the care of Sophia. Sophia does her best, but she is the solid unimaginative throwback in the family and really, really cannot abide the effervescent flights of Portia's fancy. In a misguided attempt to do right by Portia, Sophia puts her in the care of the McGreavey Home For Wayward Girls. Managed by the diabolical Mister, Portia clearly sees this place for what it is and has one goal- Leave and find Dad.
To this end the story takes a fantastical turn when Portia follows her father's footsteps to the Circus looking and hoping for a dad who is seeking her.
Portia's story is delightful in a dark sense- almost to the last page there is a ominous cloud threatening just over her shoulder. Ultimately this is pushed back by true family who find her.
So many wonderful themes- interesting metaphor, and a magnificent plot that keeps us eagerly flipping the pages.(less)
So beautifully written. The characters shine, the setting is conveyed vividly and the plot is tight, compressed into that magical night just after gra...moreSo beautifully written. The characters shine, the setting is conveyed vividly and the plot is tight, compressed into that magical night just after graduation and before the next day. The stretch of time that is carved from the rest of our lives.
Six year twelves meet after graduation for a pivotal night. The word collide comes up in a passage- This is a cinematic, multi-layered description of collisions in the lives of these kids as they make and remake decisions that will resonate in their futures.
Shadow and Poet are a graffiti presence in their Australian city- never seen, virtually unknown and stalked by Lucy who believes that Shadow may be the One for her. Jazz is coming off months of intense study and is ready for a party. Daisy and Dylan have been a couple for years and to Dylan's to his complete dismay sees that Daisy is disenchanted and poised for a leap. Ed and Leo have been friends from grade school- tighter than brothers, they help each other in deep and necessary ways. Daisy brings Jazz and Lucy along for the evening; Dylan brings Leo and Ed and the six embark on a quest to find the elusive Shadow that Lucy pines for. Swirling under the surface are agendas, sub-agendas, dreams, hopes, despair and a touch of lust. A sweet story of decent people choosing to be decent. Lovely.
I love how free verse distills ideas and images. So succinct. Kim Ha tells us in clipped phrase vivid impressions of her life in Viet Nam after her dad...moreI love how free verse distills ideas and images. So succinct. Kim Ha tells us in clipped phrase vivid impressions of her life in Viet Nam after her dad disappears in the war, when the Americans leave, her family's flight from Viet Nam, her mother's grief, adjusting in Alabama, and finally settling.
To preserve peace in the future US, factions have been set up in the nation. Each focuses on fulfilling a societal function. Abnegation provides selfl...moreTo preserve peace in the future US, factions have been set up in the nation. Each focuses on fulfilling a societal function. Abnegation provides selfless public servants for the administrators of the government. Amity are caregivers and farmers; they are willing to preserve peaceful relations. Erudite is what it sounds like, scholarly explanations and analysis. Candor can be trusted to say exactly what they think. Dauntless provides the military and police; these are people who are trained to face their fears and to react to physical challenges successfully. There are also the factionless, those who are cast out or chose out for individual reasons. These are people who have extremely limited resources in this brave new world.
Each group is completely segregated and has been for generations fostering some derision between the factions. Children are raised in their family factions and at age 16 choose to stay or move to a different faction. If they choose a different faction, they will give up their family.
The fabric is beginning to fray and to the sharp observer there is trouble in paradise. In this situation Beatrice comes of age. She does not fit in her family of Abnegation- she knows she must choose a new faction, and she doesn’t know what to do. On the eve of choosing day each 16 year old is tested privately to help discover their suitable faction. Beatrice finds as she finishes the test that she is Divergent; a person who can think from different points of view. The test is not going to help her, and more than that, she must Never disclose that she is Divergent, Divergent is Dangerous, Divergent are eliminated.
Ultimately Beatrice chooses Dauntless and is literally tossed into a violent struggle for survival amid the merely random and the truly sadistic members of Dauntless. She is small and has to use wits, verve and speed to succeed. She is befriended by Four, one of the leaders who helps her and for the first time in her life she has friends and unfortunately, enemies.
As her initiation passes Tris notices evidence of a nefarious plot to upset the power balance in the land. All her divergent creativity will be needed to endure this new challenge.
This is certainly action / adventure with some interesting bits about the nature of friendship, xenophobia, and the manipulation of information to control populations. (less)
In this beautifully written story Ms Sutcliff tells us of the stealing away of Helen and the pursuit by her outraged husband to the shores of Troy. A...moreIn this beautifully written story Ms Sutcliff tells us of the stealing away of Helen and the pursuit by her outraged husband to the shores of Troy. A compelling read aloud.(less)