I loved this book! Laurie Halse Anderson has a real knack for creating characters you can love and putting them in difficult circumstances. I can't gi...moreI loved this book! Laurie Halse Anderson has a real knack for creating characters you can love and putting them in difficult circumstances. I can't give it five stars because there was one plot line that just dropped about two-thirds through. (less)
America is in the midst of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, and Turtle's mom just got a new job as a maid. Unfortunately, her new boss doesn't...moreAmerica is in the midst of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, and Turtle's mom just got a new job as a maid. Unfortunately, her new boss doesn't like children, so Turtle has to leave New Jersey to live with relatives in Key West. To make matters worse, her aunt and cousins are not happy to see her because they are struggling financially, too.
The boys won't let her join the Diaper Gang (no girls allowed), but Turtle is determined to prove she's just as clever and tough as any boy. She'll also discover some truths about the past and her family that will change the way she sees herself.
Like Penny From Heaven, Turtle in Paradise is filled with quirky but believable characters and bizarre but believable events. One of the things I found most interesting about this book is the way Holm reveals mysteries and presents information that the reader can easily comprehend but to which Turtle remains oblivious. For example, Turtle has no idea who her biological father is, but the answer is quite obvious to the reader from fairly early in the book. It's an interesting choice, and I felt a little frustrated that Turtle still didn't know the truth at the end of the story. Holm has created a character who is believable and sympathetic, and I wanted her to get the big revelation at the end. Maybe there will be a sequel? (Grades 4-7)(less)
Gen Welsh is looking forward to spending summer before beginning high school with her two best friends, alternating her time between soccer camp and t...moreGen Welsh is looking forward to spending summer before beginning high school with her two best friends, alternating her time between soccer camp and the pool. Her plans are destroyed when her mother decides to sign the family up for an entire summer at Camp Frontier where, for all intents and purposes, it's 1890.
From her first experience using the outhouse to the heavy and overwhelming clothing, Gen is not having fun. To top it all off, all technology had to be surrendered for the entire summer, but Gen has a secret. She took the cell phone that was supposed to be her reward for having a positive attitude at Camp Frontier and is secretly texting her two best friends.
Gen hates Camp Frontier in the beginning, but she quickly begins to realize that her family have all been wrapped up in their own worlds instead of connecting to each other. She's the worst of all of them because she doesn't really notice anything outside herself. The Walsh family struggles and has a few tense moments where the future of the family is in jeopardy under the stress of frontier life, but they eventually learn to work to together and discover that they actually like each other.
The story has a villain in the shape of Nora, daughter of the Betsy and Ron, the camp owners, who tries to make Gen's life miserable. This includes fighting for the affections of Caleb, the cute blonde with the southern accent.
This is a fun, quick read, and I enjoyed reading about the specifics of Gen's adventures in frontier life. It even has a little depth in the end about identity and self respect. (Grades 6-10) (less)
This is definitely a more grown up darker version of "Little Red Riding Hood." I know, you may be thinking, "It's a story about a girl and her grandmo...moreThis is definitely a more grown up darker version of "Little Red Riding Hood." I know, you may be thinking, "It's a story about a girl and her grandmoter who are devoured by a wolf. How much darker can it get?" I know this, but we all know that the woodsman will be along to cut the wolf open and rescue them. Anyway. Sisters Red is part fairy tale and part Buffy with a lot more scarring. Scarlett and her younger sister Rosie have been pretty much on their own since the day they were attacked by a Fenris who killed their grandmother. Scarlett protected Rosie, and she has the scars to prove it. That day the wolf took her right eye, but she's been hunting Fenris ever since, and her body is covered with scars, but she is still protecting Rosie. Part of her feels frustrated when Rosie doesn't think about hunting all day and all night, but she is also reluctant to let Rosie hunt on her own. She wants to protect Rosie, who she sees as an undamaged version of herself, but she is also sometimes jealous of Rosie's beauty. Rosie barely remembers life before the day of the first Fenris attack, and she knows she owes her life to Scarlett. She might be tempted from time to time to imagine a different life, but she will dedicate her life to hunting if that is what Scarlett wants. To confuse things even more, Scarlett's old hunting partner, Silas, is back in Georgia after an extended stay in San Fransisco. Silas and Rosie feel a new attraction for each other, but both try to suppress it. The wolf population seems to be increasing, but they aren't hunting like normal. This is perplexing until Scarlett overhears them talking about a new potential. A potential is a man who will turn to a Fenris when he is bitten during a particular moon phase. This leads our trio of hunters from their homes in the forest of rural Georgia to Atlanta where they know they can get more hunting action, but things don't go as planned, and relationships and lives are threatened. This book is filled with nods to the original Grimm version of the tale. The girls were red cloaks because the color attracts the wolves, and several Fenris use versions of the wolf dialgue from the original story. Silas is a woodsman whose father and brothers are also woodsmen. This means they are excellent carpenters and trackers. The romantic anlge of the story is important as a catalyst for change, but this story is really about the love between two sisters who feel as if they share a single heart and the pain caused by disagreements and difficult choices. The sibling bond is emphasized even more by Silas who does not have a good relationship with his siblings and encourages Rosie to try to understand her sister. My only real complaint about this book is that we leave Scarlett still convinced that hunting Fenris is her only purpose in life. Her aggression and anger are at times dark and verge on abusive. The listing on Amazon now says this is volume one, so I'm hoping this issue is addressed in the next volume. Sisters Red has a great deal of violence, as you might expect from a book about fighting wolves and has some profanity. (Grades 9 and up)(less)
"Big Stone Gap" is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and I was expecting more of the same from the sequel, but this book has a more serious to...more"Big Stone Gap" is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and I was expecting more of the same from the sequel, but this book has a more serious tone. All the crazy characters are back, but Ave Maria's marriage to Jack Mack has gone stale in the midst of day to day life and the death of their son. Will thier marriage survive, stronger than it ever was, or will Ave Maria's love story end early? (less)
It's been a while since I read "Little Women," and I was surprised by how preachy is it. The characters and story are as wonderful as always, but I fo...moreIt's been a while since I read "Little Women," and I was surprised by how preachy is it. The characters and story are as wonderful as always, but I found the moralizing a bit heavy-handed and dated. Anyone who truly needs a morality lesson in modern times would learn it better from subtlety. Still, it gets me in the end and tugs at my heart just like I remembered.(less)
I was reluctant to read this book, but I'm glad I finally did. This is the first offering from a new series by the author of the Gallagher Girls books...moreI was reluctant to read this book, but I'm glad I finally did. This is the first offering from a new series by the author of the Gallagher Girls books (I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You). This book is more mature in subject matter and themes than Carter's other series, and the plot takes a twist half-way through that adds extra depth to the story.
Kat is a fifteen year-old girl who wants to quit the family business. The only problem is she comes from a long line of illustrious thieves who don't want her to go "straight." Kat has faked her way into an impressive American boarding school, but someone has framed her for a destructive prank on campus. When she is expelled, she learns that a long-time friend, wanna-be thief, and potential love interest, Hale, framed her because he has a message for Kat from Uncle Eddie.
This message sends Kat and Hale on a globe crossing adventure to save her father, who has been falsley accused of stealing some valuable paintings from a very bad guy. As Kat discovers the truth about the stolen paintings, she begins to discover herself and maybe a new mission for her life. She isn't a thief, but she isn't cut out for the "straight" life either.
This book is one part spy novel, one part mystery, and one part heist, but the relationships are at its core making it a thrilling adventure with heart and depth.(less)