This is becoming a sub-genre; crime family kid running away to 'go good'. See, the thing is when you have been trained as a criminal you can survive oThis is becoming a sub-genre; crime family kid running away to 'go good'. See, the thing is when you have been trained as a criminal you can survive on your own with your acquired skills. The catch is-the family does not always want to let you go. In one recent book a girl is called back to the family to release her beloved dad who is kidnapped. In another Dad needs his kid's skills because he is just not a very good criminal. In another the dad is a psychopath and just wants his own back. In Thieving Weasels the reason is revenge, pure and simple. Skip has ditched his family. At age 13 he found Grandpa's storage locker and took all the money stored there. He knew his family would think he did it, but really they are thieving weasels and any of them could have taken it. What they would not believe is that it was as little as 100K. Did Grandpa really waste That Much gambling? At any rate, at age 13 Skip gets out a clean identity and becomes Cameron Smith and uses the money to enter an extremely tony private academy. He scrimps and works and saves to stay there. For the first time in his life he can excel; grifters cannot get As, cannot win races, Cannot in any way stand out. Finally he can be himself, just not with his given name. He gets excellent grades, kicks it at Lacrosse, gets into Princeton with a full scholarship and even gets a girl. He does look over his shoulder to make sure he is not made, but all in all the frame is holding. Until graduation when he looks out and sees his uncle and cousins in the 3rd row. Yikes. They want him back; his mother is so devastated that her baby is gone she has attempted suicide. She need money for care and they need Skip back for one last job. Skip/Cameron has to play along- his bank account, his phone and his Princeton acceptance have been hacked, his new life has been hijacked by Uncle. Skip has to out think the family and fast or the con will be on him.
I put this in my ‘important book’ stack. Definitely for teens and adults [content!] the story addresses wounded warriors and encourages us to think loI put this in my ‘important book’ stack. Definitely for teens and adults [content!] the story addresses wounded warriors and encourages us to think long and hard about the human cost of war and our responsibilities as individuals to step up and do something. Even in the case of an all “volunteer” army those of us who allow our neighbors, friends and countrymen to go to war need to really think about how our fellows are faring when they come home.
The story is hard to describe, a lot is going on; some of the bones are this: Josh and Skylar live in a ‘blink’ town in the central valley of California. A blink town is so small that when rolling down the freeway you will miss it if you blink. There is not a lot of opportunity in this little town and Skylar and her friend Chris have been on a mission to get full scholarships and blow out of town upon graduation. They succeed. Chris is headed to Boston U and Skylar to an Art Institute in San Francisco. A couple of years ago Josh Mitchell joined the Marines, before he left he told Skylar that the Marines were his only hope to leave their tiny town.
The book opens on Grad Night- Pretty much everyone under 20 is getting blatted at the Mitchell’s. This would have been Josh’s native land and his kingdom before leaving for Afghanistan but tonight when Skylar looks around, even though he is supposed be home on leave he is nowhere to be seen. When he does appear, it is obvious to her that he is emotionally shattered and has a gleaming steel prosthetic leg.
Skylar’s life goes sideways from here. For years she has been the adult in her family; Dad died when she was little (drunk driving) and her mom dove right into the bottle to cope. For a few years Mom has been sober and between Mom and Skylar’s jobs they have been solvent. Now Mom has lost her job, Skylar is leaving and that bottle looks great to Mom! Skylar freaks as her mom slides back into drunken self-pity and unstated stark fear about how she will get on when Skylar moves on. Add to that Skylar’s concern about Josh’s reaction to his injury and his time in Afghanistan and Skylar sees her move to San Francisco slip into the realm of the impossible. How can she leave Mom and Josh in the messes they are in? Why does Sky think this is her responsibility?
For years Sky has worked at the Paradise Motel with the indomitable, big-hearted Marge. Josh had been the Paradise’s handyman before leaving; now he is back as pool whisperer and general fixit guy. This summer their shifts occasionally overlap and a romance develops. Because of Josh’s PTSD and phantom leg he runs a confusing hot and cold with Skylar. Mix Josh’s situation with her mom’s craziness and impending college… Skylar is at a loss.
With persistence and time things resolve. Perfectly? No.
In the afterword Heather Demetrios gives us some numbers and anecdotes to ponder. In 2014 we lost 2,000 Americans in Afghanistan, 20,000 came home wounded. In one year. More GIs died of suicide than combat. That is American loss literally countless Afghanis died. Heather’s hope is that we seriously consider this plight and do something to help the Josh’s and Marge’s son in our communities.
I agree with Vicki, there is a point when the story sags a bit- but plow through, it's worth it. ...more
I am perhaps one of the few readers who have read Far More adaptations than original Jane Austen titles. What I know about Jane's books come from adapI am perhaps one of the few readers who have read Far More adaptations than original Jane Austen titles. What I know about Jane's books come from adaptations. This book would be a charming and stimulating story no matter what, but as I read I kept asking my roommate- remind me again about Pride and Prejudice. Mrs Sittenfeld's book rolls exuberantly along with the story in a modern setting with all the characters and motifs firmly in place. I especially like that a number of engaging themes wend through this book. Of course, family, love, accepting adulthood, gender identities, false impressions abound, and pride must go, lest we fall....more
Beautiful illustrations invoke memories of the many kindnesses the denizens of the sea remember when they think of old Turtle. A gentle approach to thBeautiful illustrations invoke memories of the many kindnesses the denizens of the sea remember when they think of old Turtle. A gentle approach to the idea of death. ...more
Lifelong friends Maggie and Hope are now retired. They have come to tiny Bergen, Maine to see if they can be travel partners in their retirement. WhatLifelong friends Maggie and Hope are now retired. They have come to tiny Bergen, Maine to see if they can be travel partners in their retirement. What draws them to Bergen is Hope's son, a local deputy that she wants to visit. They are staying in a luxurious hotel on the coast. The visit is interrupted by a fire in the hotel, resulting in the death of a guest. Obviously a 'smoking in bed' accident, but as the body is readied for the coroner the corpse of a timber rattler in the bedding sheds confusing light on the incident.
What is going on? Who done it? Official investigators see a possible scenario and roll with it. Hope's son is a bit more cautious in his analysis and Hope and Maggie have questions as well...
Really could develop into a Hope and Maggie series as the companionable travelers wend their way around the world....more
I could hardly put this down. Set in 1969, first person verse (perhaps a journal assignment in English) brings us along as Mimi writes of her first yeI could hardly put this down. Set in 1969, first person verse (perhaps a journal assignment in English) brings us along as Mimi writes of her first year in Vermont. She is more than new to town; to this small town she is a new thing altogether- half Japanese and half Black. What are you supersedes the normal question of who are you. Add to this that she is a Girl with great math, science and spatial talents who wants to visit the moon and the uncharted territory she is treading causes a ripple or two. Beautifully written and evocative of a transitional time when concepts outside the accepted norm challenged the status quo and brought on sea change in our collective world view. ...more
Craig spent his "year-abroad" in Paris, at the end of the year he extended his stay for another year. He returned stateside a committed Francophile. ACraig spent his "year-abroad" in Paris, at the end of the year he extended his stay for another year. He returned stateside a committed Francophile. At some point a few years after coming home he had an epiphany in a diner-- a real American breakfast is what he had missed most when in Paris. In Pancakes in Paris Craig takes us through the bumpy journey from LA to Paris as he brings his dream to life. Extremely vivid, there are unforgettable scenes in this book. Check out Craig's Breakfast in America website!...more
My favorite book of the year so far! I loved this book from cover to cover and read chunks of it out loud to Robbie.
Nine year old Benny, the youngestMy favorite book of the year so far! I loved this book from cover to cover and read chunks of it out loud to Robbie.
Nine year old Benny, the youngest member of his family narrates a deceptively complex story. He is a decent kid- he has been raised to think of others by lesson and example. Loosely quoted his mom counsels- If you are struggling with a problem look around for some who could use a hand.
The story starts with the beginning of the school year, clearly Benny is processing guilt over a mysterious ailment of his dad’s but also all kinds of thoughts about finding a friend, coming to grips with his reading and math struggles, his clumsiness, he sorts through all this with his generally good, thoughtful world view.
Reading Benny’s observations can be laugh out loud funny; he is unsparing in his perceptions of what is going on around him. He has two older brothers, George is 12 who the family thinks of as medium-functioning autistic and Martin who is 14 and has gone from klutz, like all the Barrows, to tall enough for the basketball team and dating A-list Lisa. Benny has unvarnished thoughts about all of this, tempered with love and acceptance that resonate as an authentic nine year old world view.
Themes of ability, disability, perceptions, subtle bullying, understanding, misunderstanding, applying perspective to little as well as huge problems, along with the supportive love of family and friends make this a must read. ...more
I have no TV- I have no idea who Satdie is; the is a Duck something (Commander?) in the south? This is cowritten with Cindy Coloma- A quick read: AJ haI have no TV- I have no idea who Satdie is; the is a Duck something (Commander?) in the south? This is cowritten with Cindy Coloma- A quick read: AJ has been swiftly transplanted from Louisana to Nashville, unbeknownst to the kids- Mom has reconnected with her high school sweetheart after her beloved husband has died. The kids are grieving but even tho Mom misses Dad, she really does need to move on. Hence this new life for everyone. AJ is to start a new school- a ritzy private school- she can handle the academics- but the social scene is crazy. Add to this a film crew looking for an angle to a new reality show. If AJ's life was a challenge before- now it is just plain complicated! Ultimately decency and honor prevail....more
An amazing bit of research on the history of the heist from the framework of an architect turned criminal. A man who saw buildings as porous (think woAn amazing bit of research on the history of the heist from the framework of an architect turned criminal. A man who saw buildings as porous (think wormhole) venues for grand theft. The book opens with a profile of George Leslie, a charismatic architect who used his architectural skills to mastermind amazing, artful heists that took years to plan and execute until he was murdered by an associate mid heist.
Mr Manaugh says 'burglers reveal ... [brutally] how buildings can be used, misued, abused and turned against themselves' perforated, cut, misconnected, and reverse engineered for theft.
He delights in sharing extensive research in this crazy subculture of burglers who never think to walk through a door if a slit, crevice or perforation is available.
With their signature repartee, the amusing duo of crime fighters con man Nick Fox and FBI agent O'Hare are back to sting a multinational money launderWith their signature repartee, the amusing duo of crime fighters con man Nick Fox and FBI agent O'Hare are back to sting a multinational money launderer (supporting terrorists). As always the scam is fragile and perilous with the usual wack-a-doo supporting cast. ...more
I am so curious about what other English version readers think! Karlsson has crafted a provocative notion- what if we were billed for the sum of our exI am so curious about what other English version readers think! Karlsson has crafted a provocative notion- what if we were billed for the sum of our experiences in life? What would that amount to? How in heaven's name would we pay and really, who would be qualified to do the accounting? Who gets the funds and what do they do with it? Our protagonist is a genial guy, he goes with the flow; but this bill- This Bill is just too much! So we go along with him through voice mail hell and bureaucratic non sense as he settles up. I imagine book clubs could have a lively discussion about the concepts proposed in the book.
A quick read centering on the angst of young Rosie (Rosemeade, daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White) as she navigates finding a date for her firA quick read centering on the angst of young Rosie (Rosemeade, daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White) as she navigates finding a date for her first school dance. Advice swirls around her as Rosie contends with a mom-instigated makeover that produces a 'fairest in the land' new Rosie, a mouthy and not just a little bit nasty Mirror- remember the one that sent grand-mama into a jealous spin? And well meaning friends, girls at school, Harold the Huntsman, and a number of height challenged fellows who love Rosie to death. Amusing as ultimately Rosie must 'to her own self be true' to find her very own type of 'prince'....more