I like this book for a number of reasons; the characters are appealing and the story seamlessly brings lots of issues that families face into a centraI like this book for a number of reasons; the characters are appealing and the story seamlessly brings lots of issues that families face into a central conflict of young Adrian coming out in a homophobic football crazed Texas town.
Adrian is lucky/unlucky. He has 2 good friends who acknowledge him pretty much the way he is, they have a good friend in that he returns the favor. On the other hand his parents love him but are swamped in their own problems; Dad was in a nasty car wreck and now that insurance has run out (what is that about?) he has abandoned physical rehab and is losing more and more mobility. He cannot work so Mom is working two jobs. They do what they can but Adrian dropped off their radar so to speak. One solace he has is his drawing table, papers and pencils- when Adrian is creating his comic character Graphite his is in his own world. Graphite is a creative superhero, his power is to create, not destroy. As the story progresses, this is the theme and the values that Adrian adheres to.
Adrian, Trent and Audrey know how to stay out of the sights of the local bullies. Doug is a football hero in Rock Hollow, Texas, he brings in the win game after game. His dad, a local police officer can grease any trouble Doug or the team get into if their hi jinks turn into harassment. Between his point score and family connections Doug and his sidekick can do no wrong in their little town.
When Doug violently attacks a gay waiter while Adrian is dining- he just can't help himself and jumps into the fray. The victim is rushed to the hospital, he is truly injured. The ensuing police report paints Doug as a victim acting in self defense. Cell phone video to the contrary is ignored. Adrian's sense of justice is offended even as his life is complicated by coming to the defense of a gay kid in a homophobic town.
The ensuing story is how Adrian figures out how to act justly within his own ethical constraints, be a good friend, show respect, act with empathy and come out of his many closets without undo harm. Well done, with lots to consider. ...more
These loving ramblings of life and history in SF roll right off the tongue and beg to be read aloud. A warm host, a natural raconteur and skilled writThese loving ramblings of life and history in SF roll right off the tongue and beg to be read aloud. A warm host, a natural raconteur and skilled writer Duggan McDonnell shares a love of San Francisco, its checkered history and its deliciously liquid past with lots of stories and cocktail recipes for drinks to share on a friendly evening. ...more
Winnie, Ophelia and Tori have been cruising (somewhat uncomfortably) under the radar of Queen Bee Kylie and her little hive of mean girls. Just as theWinnie, Ophelia and Tori have been cruising (somewhat uncomfortably) under the radar of Queen Bee Kylie and her little hive of mean girls. Just as they seem to be drifting into Kylie's focus - Red-headed Virginia, Ginger, joins the school and deflects the bullying attention to herself.
The bullying is clearly over the top to most every kid in the grade and somehow invisible to the teachers. In science the group project is to answer a question about the body or the mind that puzzles the group. When one of the kids says, "Why are some kids mean?" the teacher jumps on that as a great research question. So bullied Ginger joins the group of Tori, Ophelia, Winnie and Mitch.
Cracks form in life long friendships as Ophelia realizes that addressing this problem will put the trio that just ducked the mean girl treatment squarely in Kylie's sights.
To my mind this book addresses the bullying situation from many angles looks squarely at many of the problems kids face when dealing with bullies.
I think school staff would benefit from reading this book as much as kids.
There are some references to God and praying but it is treated as a 'cafeteria' item that some people choose and that others do not.
All in all, a deftly handled book that addresses the rampant bullying problem faced by kids today in every school. ...more
Mike and his crew are welcoming their junior year of high school exactly the way they expect it to roll: blatted; drunk & stoned to superloud musiMike and his crew are welcoming their junior year of high school exactly the way they expect it to roll: blatted; drunk & stoned to superloud music. It's a party at Cam's, there are a lot of parties at Cam's.
The thing is Mike likes his life; he loves his sister Rosie, his mom is cool, his garage band rocks and his girlfriend Lisa, is just that- his best friend. He would say best friend with benefits but they don't really go that far. Oh yeah, and baseball. Mike is really good hitter its just that he associates baseball with getting beat up by Rook Wallace after Every Single Game when they were 12. He really hated that and since Wallace is always on the baseball team, Mike doesn't play.
"Things" pivot when Lisa breaks up with him. When he wants to know why Lisa tells him that being best friends won't change but her crush on a guy in the drama club and his make out session with J.J. at a party that Mike doesn't really remember makes her want to change their 'status'. What? J.J. is a guy! Mike would not make out with a guy! In fact, he doesn't really make out! When he realizes that a fair number of people can back up Lisa's story things click into place. Like why he is ambivalent about the girls his friends think are hot and why he can appreciate how some of the guys he knows look and to be frank, feel.
Whew! Mike has a lot to think about as he navigates this whole new thing. Not the least of which is that he is halfway out of the closet before he even knows he might have been in one. On top of all this why is Wallace who beat him up day after day when they were younger so darn nice to him now? Its unsettling.
Lots of internal dialog as Mike sorts all this out with himself, his friends and his family. ...more
Since reading the Scholastic biography of Nellie Bly back in the 60's I have been fascinated with Nellie and by extension the evolving possibilities fSince reading the Scholastic biography of Nellie Bly back in the 60's I have been fascinated with Nellie and by extension the evolving possibilities for women in US society. This is a carefully researched bio with wonderful period photos of Nellie's life and pictures of the times she lived in. There is a lot to like in this book, but many times I was jarred from the flow of the story by interspersed 'factoids' that ultimately enhance understanding even if they do interrupt the narrative of the story. ...more
I liked Vampire Academy, but it is- you know- certainly Teen. Soundless can go younger. I think even to 5th grade. This is fantasy with an Asian twist.I liked Vampire Academy, but it is- you know- certainly Teen. Soundless can go younger. I think even to 5th grade. This is fantasy with an Asian twist. Fei lives on a mountaintop that for many generations has been completely cut off from the outside world by a avalanche. All members of the community are deaf and communicate in this seemingly silent world with hand gestures. There are strict social boundaries in this land and Fei with her artistic talent is one of the lucky few at the top. There are miners and servants... All associate only with their own class.
The conflict starts when Fei realizes that she can hear- forgive me but this is unheard of- she tells no one- how would she even describe the experience to others? In fact she must study old scrolls to gather a vocabulary for sounds. While she is mysteriously enhancing her sensory life others in her community are just as mysteriously losing their sight. They face a limited life of begging, blind and deaf. Many of the miners are facing this terrible fate. Thinking people like Fei and her childhood friend Li Wei wonder what is happening. Li Wei goes a step further and wonders what can be done.
The mines are the only source of income for the mountaintop village. The miners send gold and silver to the land below via a pulley and receive vegetables in return. When the food is withdrawn by the people at the base of the mountain confusion reigns and Li Wei and Fei attempt a perilous descent to the base of the mountain to seek justice.
What I like about this book is what I like about fantasy. A person can enjoy the story or delve into social issues or cultural assumptions. In this case the story is rich with issues to ponder. Social strata, complacency, injustice between workers and 'owners', fair compensation, greed, power imbalances and the role of soldiers and neighbors in maintaining the power structure. Lots to think about. Thanks Richelle.
Olav senses, if a hired killer (ok, that might be blunt, he calls himself a fixer) - so if a fixer trust his senses, what does he have? Olav senses thaOlav senses, if a hired killer (ok, that might be blunt, he calls himself a fixer) - so if a fixer trust his senses, what does he have? Olav senses that his run may be coming to an end. When he must fix a little woman problem that his boss's son has everything gets a little close to the bone. As the story spins out Olav takes the time to share his musings on life and death and his opinions of the situations and people around him. A little book about a small life expanded only by love and guilt. ...more
A riveting memoir of a life in science. Interleaving Hope Jahren's life story with fascinating plant biology I view the book as a love letter. This isA riveting memoir of a life in science. Interleaving Hope Jahren's life story with fascinating plant biology I view the book as a love letter. This is a warm, self deprecating tale of Hope's path to her passion for paleobotany, her research partnership with Bill, her marriage and motherhood with all the ups, downs, turnarounds and flips that entails. I learned so much about friendship, constancy, steadfastness, grant procuring, science, love plants and important things about manic depression. Every little while I would stop everything and read a bit out loud to my housemate. This memoir is bighearted and altogether charming....more
I am not a baseball fan by any stretch, but with this book Joan Bauer hits a home run!
Walt found infant Jeremiah in the break room of the computer coI am not a baseball fan by any stretch, but with this book Joan Bauer hits a home run!
Walt found infant Jeremiah in the break room of the computer company where he worked. It took time, but Walt adopted Jeremiah and has taught him a loooove of all things baseball.
Living a slightly itinerant life following Walt's consulting gigs as a robotic guru the pair live and breathe baseball as they move town to town. From the moment he could hold a ball Jer and Walt have played catch and talked baseball strategy. Jeremiah is a prodigy in skill and knowledge.
When a virus attacks his heart mortally, the 'men' settle in Arizona so Walt's sister Charity can help care for Jer as he waits for a donor heart, receives one and commences the lifelong recovery from transplant surgery. A recovery that requires 12 year old Jeremiah to reconfigure his baseball goals; he will coach, not play.
The book really starts when Walt gets a short gig in a baseball crazy Ohio town. Jeremiah really wants to go and see a town that has had non stop winning seasons for years. When they arrive many things are not what they seem and as the story progresses incidents occur that have the town reeling in shock and dismay. Jeremiah has to pull all his coaching talent and know how to help his new friends and the town reassess, grow, and move forward.
So many themes, sportsmanship, ethics, being new in town, being a friend, accepting change, betrayed trust, grief, divorce, honoring talent, disability.......more
The Last Word , the latest installment in the Spellman saga serves up the snark, wit and heart we have come to love in this series. I sincerely hope tThe Last Word , the latest installment in the Spellman saga serves up the snark, wit and heart we have come to love in this series. I sincerely hope that Lisa keeps these coming- we want to know about this next generation of Spellmans....more