A new fairy tale for a new generation of readers, The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder will charm you with its big heart, sweet story, and enchantiA new fairy tale for a new generation of readers, The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder will charm you with its big heart, sweet story, and enchanting writing.
Full embracing the classic ingredients of a good fairy tale, Schroeder weaves a lovely and charming story about a small girl with a big spirit, and how her kindness and courage help her to change her fate and save a kingdom.
Remember that beautiful quote from Disney’s live action Cinderella movie last year? “Have courage & be kind.” I think that’s the kind of message that Violet’s mother would pass onto her, just as Cinderella’s mother did.
Schroeder has lovingly captured the spirit and heart that makes so many classic fairy tales so beloved after all these years. The Girl in the Tower is sure to become a classic for future generations of readers.Nicoletta Ceccoli’s beautiful illustrations help bring Schroeder’s story to life. The truly enchanting result of this combination is that not only does The Girl in the Tower make for an excellent book for middle grade readers on their own — it’s also an excellent read aloud story for younger readers and their parents to share together.
Clearly a labor of love, Schroeder’s passion for this story shines through every page....more
An irreverent and compellingly unique story about death, grieving, and moving on, I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan successfully mixes the maAn irreverent and compellingly unique story about death, grieving, and moving on, I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan successfully mixes the macabre and morose with a lighthearted twist on the afterlife.
Most books that deal with death and grieving tend to be on the dark, serious side. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is a unique — and quite frankly, brilliant — combination of that dark, serious side with an uplifting, lighthearted twist. The result is an optimistic outlook on this macabre theme. What’s more, Sheehan does so without ever getting into that murkiest of subjects: religion.
I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is more about coming to terms with a great loss — in this case, the characters’ own human lives — and finding peace to move on. It’s a backwards way of looking at grief, and that’s what makes this book work so brilliantly!
Sheehan cleverly turns the subject upside down, and narrates her story from the perspective of the deceased, rather than the bereaved. The twist still portrays the challenge and heartache of grief and loss, but leaves room for some irreverence, tasteful humor, and lightness. The combination is an easy to read, accessible book about death that is enjoyable.
Also, Sheehan’s afterlife limbo for murdered teens is the freaking Mall of America. The humor and writing in this book is just so damn witty. It adds an unexpected but delightful spice to a book about an otherwise very serious subject: death, and solving a murder. I mean, the smarts involved just in thinking up such a wildly unexpected combination deserves some applause.
I Woke Up Dead at the Mall may inspire a few tears — but more likely, it will inspire a smile, a few laughs, and a warm, fuzzy feeling....more
A no-holds-barred look at the intense world that has created a series of real-life suicide clusters in one upscale California town, Heidi Kling’s PainA no-holds-barred look at the intense world that has created a series of real-life suicide clusters in one upscale California town, Heidi Kling’s Paint My Body Red is as much a deeply thought-out critique of the circumstances contributing to these tragedies, as it as an ultimately uplifting story about hope and renewal.
Paint My Body Red strips away any pretense and tackles these issues head-on. But make no mistake; this book is beautifully written and intricately plotted. As in life, the book is about more than just one thing. The character is also coping with the aftermath of a failed relationship and her father’s failing health. She’s about to go off to college, and is uncertain about her future and what she wants from it. Many of her friends (and frenemies) have killed themselves in the last year, and she wonders both is she (at least partly) to blame, and could she be next?
Kling has commented that editors told her this book had “too much” to be contained within a single novel. That these issues covered multiple books. But Kling — rightly so — insisted it was one book. Because even though these many multi-faceted issues make for a complicated story, it offers the most honest reflection of real life. It’s messy. It’s complicated. And we can’t limit our lives to just one issue. We have to deal with a lot of crap, often all at once — and that is where Kling’s talent truly shines. Deftly maneuvering her story to show all of life’s messes and complications and its beauty in one, stunning novel....more
I am obsessed with this gorgeous & inventive transgender teen love story, inspired by "Beauty & the Beast." Brie Spangler's BEAST is a brilliaI am obsessed with this gorgeous & inventive transgender teen love story, inspired by "Beauty & the Beast." Brie Spangler's BEAST is a brilliantly conceived and beautifully written story of triumph and unconditional love....more
A gritty story about one troubled teen, and the extreme measures he’ll take to find happiness and success in life — and the consequences of those actiA gritty story about one troubled teen, and the extreme measures he’ll take to find happiness and success in life — and the consequences of those actions, are the highlights of Betting Blind by Stephanie Guerra.
Guerra has a real knack for capturing the gritty details of her teen protagonist’s life, and giving plausible, realistic reasons for his not-so-great choices. The book takes unexpected and daring turns, so even if you think you know where this is going, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised.
The story is left without a final resolution — so readers will have to wait for the sequel (due out sometime next year) to find out the rest of the story. But Betting Blind is certainly compelling enough to warrant that next book — and readers will want to know what happens next, and see how the rest of Gabe’s story unfolds....more
Peter Pan is kind of a jerk, and there’s no one better to let you know why than Jocelyn Hook, the daring (and, let’s admit it, much more kind-hearted)Peter Pan is kind of a jerk, and there’s no one better to let you know why than Jocelyn Hook, the daring (and, let’s admit it, much more kind-hearted) daughter of none other can Captain Hook. Her saga of surviving (and escaping) finishing school, and her quest to avenge her father’s death against the Neverland’s tick-tocking crocodile make up the rollicking adventure, Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz.
Schulz has captured all the joy and magic of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan story, and reconfigured Neverland for an all new set of adventures through Jocelyn. Schulz writes with a witty tone, her cantankerous narrator imbuing the story periodically with even more color and humor — as Jocelyn navigates the trials and tribulations of finishing school, pirating, and revenge.
There is much to say about Hook’s Revenge, but I’ll start with this: it’s a delightful story, filled with charm and wit, endearing characters, imaginative plot twists, and plenty of humor. Schulz’s charming storm is lovingly enhanced by John Hendrix’s wonderful illustrations — each one filled with action, emotions, life, and all the tiny details that bring moments from the text to life.
Hook’s Revenge is simply a delight to read. Funny and charming and magical — everything a book should be....more