I used to read this aloud to the fourth grade, it was a consistent favorite. These tales are of the Chinese who came to Gold Mountain (California) durI used to read this aloud to the fourth grade, it was a consistent favorite. These tales are of the Chinese who came to Gold Mountain (California) during the gold rush. An anthology of poignant, shocking, gross, vengeful, funny stories that display the Chinese immigrant story in many, many iterations and viewpoints. A number of the stories are truly unforgettable. ...more
A brilliant debut. Set in Shakespeare's London a mystery among the players is a great foil and setting for an intriguing mystery. Super into to ShakesA brilliant debut. Set in Shakespeare's London a mystery among the players is a great foil and setting for an intriguing mystery. Super into to Shakespeare and his times. ...more
********* Set in the frozen north, the King’s children along with a very small band of servants have escaped a war with Gunnlaug that started with a sp********* Set in the frozen north, the King’s children along with a very small band of servants have escaped a war with Gunnlaug that started with a spurned marriage proposal. They are hidden away in a fjord waiting (hopefully) out of harm’s way.
Kirby makes a large bow to the oral tradition of story telling as he relates The king's children's desperate fight for survival against cold, hunger and treachery. Asa is the oldest daughter, she possesses an ethereal and arresting beauty--the kind that launches ships. Herald is the frisky son who will inherit the King’s position. Solveig is the forgotten middle sister, neither beautiful nor male and completely ignored by the King.
Centering on Solveig and the discovery of her hidden talents as a skald; Kirby weaves wisps of old tales into something new and inspiring, showing how the tales we tell define and direct our cultures. Solveig has prophetic dreams, learns the restorative and creative nature of stories, discovers her courage along with something of the nature of love and honor. ...more
The title is great, the repartee fun and there are some twists.
Hadley’s dad got a great opportunity two years ago, Mom urged him to take the opportuniThe title is great, the repartee fun and there are some twists.
Hadley’s dad got a great opportunity two years ago, Mom urged him to take the opportunity to teach four months at Oxford. The unexpected outcome is that Dad fell in love with Charlotte and stayed in England. Mom has come to grips, still Hadley remains furious at Dad and now we find her boarding a plane to Dad’s wedding in London.
Is it the lost cell phone? The quick dress emergency? The traffic? What ever it might be, she misses her plane by 4 minutes and is lucky to find a seat on one that will get her to London just in time for the wedding. Her new seat is next to Oliver. What is the statistical probability that they will fall in love? ...more
To preserve peace in the future US, factions have been set up in the nation. Each focuses on fulfilling a societal function. Abnegation provides selflTo 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. ...more
Chick lit. Brooke has been crushing on Scott for years. At the end of Junior year she finally decides- all or nothing, ‘I am going to walk up to him aChick lit. Brooke has been crushing on Scott for years. At the end of Junior year she finally decides- all or nothing, ‘I am going to walk up to him and tell him.’ When she talks to him, he flirts with her and reveals (so sad) he is moving to New York. The deal is, all is Not Lost! Brooke has an estranged dad that would love to have her come spend Senior year in the City going to school there. This is the story of Brooke chasing Scott with John right under her nose the whole time. Drama Drama Drama until the last couple of chapters that have decent insights on friendship, talent and effort. ...more
Kinda reminds me of Daughter of Smoke and Bone- how often to we root for the demon?
Jael's mom has died, she lives with her dad and has had to move oftKinda reminds me of Daughter of Smoke and Bone- how often to we root for the demon?
Jael's mom has died, she lives with her dad and has had to move often to places all over the world. It is important to leave no trail as she moves. At age 8 her father finally explained that she is half demon and hunted by Belial (uberdemon) who is determined to kill her because he (says, he) hates things unpure.
Now Jael is 16, for the first time She and her dad have been in the same place for 2 years, she has a best friend and possibly a boy friend. But her demon side has risen and wants the attention it demands. Set in a Catholic school and steeped in Catholicism, the book touches on many enduring themes, family, sacrifice, hypocrisy, self worth, emerging adulthood, respect, power, fear, self sacrifice… ...more
Dirt Road Home If you read Alabama Moon you will remember Hal, he left Pinson with Moon and their friend. He went home to Daddy; they have decided to g Dirt Road Home If you read Alabama Moon you will remember Hal, he left Pinson with Moon and their friend. He went home to Daddy; they have decided to go straight. Daddy will stop drinking and 14 year old Hal will get through Hellenweiler Boys Home with a clean record and they can both start over. Mr Wellington is a lawyer they know who is trying to help Hal get out of Hellenweiler before he is 18. If the justice system was just, this would be a piece of cake.
Hal arrives at Hellenweiler and swiftly comes to realize that he has entered Hell. This is a place of evil intent; getting out with a clean record will be impossible because the guards and warden at Hellenweiler write false records for all the boys in their ‘care’. They are the career criminals at that jail. Their hypocrisy sets the cruel and violent tone of the place. The staff is so cynical that they are not prepared for Hal’s unwavering dedication to turning his life around.
A gritty story of Hal's decision to stick to his ideals at any cost and the impact it has on those around him. Who is it that wrote the line? "An ounce of truth benefits like ripples on a pond."...more
A "moment" in time. Young Southern California skaters in the late 70's caught in technicolor. Hugh certainly captured the culture - there is a poignanA "moment" in time. Young Southern California skaters in the late 70's caught in technicolor. Hugh certainly captured the culture - there is a poignancy in the expressions that is touching. A bittersweet trip down memory lane....more
McKinley does a wonderful job of engaging us with her characters. The theme I took away from this was empathy, and thinking beyond the mythologies thaMcKinley does a wonderful job of engaging us with her characters. The theme I took away from this was empathy, and thinking beyond the mythologies that underpin cultures to seek justice. ...more
It is tempting to put this on the dystopian shelf, I have wondered on occasion if high school isn't just that. This anthology is an outpouring of expeIt is tempting to put this on the dystopian shelf, I have wondered on occasion if high school isn't just that. This anthology is an outpouring of experience that we all have shared in some way or another. The authors are conducting panels and interviews all over the country. I am sure podcasts are available if you have an interest in the conversations this book is engendering. This book will certainly foster conversations and written pieces....more
As realistic high school fiction I almost put this on the 'modern dystopia' shelf - I listened to the excellent audio performance and have not read theAs realistic high school fiction I almost put this on the 'modern dystopia' shelf - I listened to the excellent audio performance and have not read the print version.
As many people already know this is the story of Hannah and to some extent Clay. Hannah committed suicide two weeks ago and Clay has been reeling, trying to figure out what happened and why when a box addressed to him appears on his doorstep.
When he opens the box there is a note from Hannah and audiotapes. He is instructed to listen to the tapes and follow a map that appeared in his locker weeks ago. The tapes lay out thirteen reasons why Hannah found her life unendurable as the result of gossip, innuendo and assault. This is all about the perpetrators using Hannah to enhance their self image at her expense. The narrative swings between Hannah's voice and Clay's reactions and thoughts.
It is beautifully done.
I think it would be a great performance to listen to over a number of weeks in a classroom to use as discussion points...
So I just read some of the complaints about the book- I think that the point that Clay was wussy and Hannah whiny is well taken. I also think that is part of the point. Clay was wussy for the same reason that the other boy's lied about Hannah, image preservation.
Hannah focused on the negatives. She had good things in her life- but as she said to Potter, she never knew when the innuendo was going to pop up and for whatever reason never called BS. It is rare that friends, relatives or strangers will find another's reason for suicide acceptable- I think that is part of the point. Hannah knew her reasons were not acceptable- they were what they were. It seems almost impossible that the gossip etc could have continued in such a relentless way- but I see situations like this waaaay too much and wonder what was the person who kicked this off thinking? Why did they do this? What benefit?... I am very sorry that Hannah's situation is actually plausible. ...more