Liliah can hear dead people, but this really isn't a ghost story. This is a story about a girl trying to get through those rough middle school years wLiliah can hear dead people, but this really isn't a ghost story. This is a story about a girl trying to get through those rough middle school years who just happens to get some pretty excellent advice from dead people. Namely, her grandmother and a once uber famous fashion designer. What I wouldn't do to talk to my grandmothers again! Lilah goes through the normal ups and downs of 7th grade - snotty girls & cute boys -and in my opinion, she is one lucky girl to have her ghost sidekicks. They are witty, smart, and truly want the best for Lilah and her father. This is just a good ole fashion coming of age story with a twist.
For me, Small Medium at Large is a stand out MG for 2012. I loved the interactions between Lilah and her grandmother and I especially loved the relationship between Lilah's father and grandmother. Even beyond the grave she loves her son (Lilah's father). It's great to read about positive grand/parent relationships for young readers. So often the parents come off as stupid or out of touch, but not in this case. The relationships are what make this story special. This would be a fun book for parents and teens to read together - highly recommend!...more
Looking For Me is based on the authors mother when she was eleven-years old, and touches on all those emotions that go-hand-in-hand with growing up inLooking For Me is based on the authors mother when she was eleven-years old, and touches on all those emotions that go-hand-in-hand with growing up in a "way-too big family." Jealousy, annoyance, joy, love, and anger. I recognize some of those emotions, I am one of those kids. Edith is child number 4 in a family of 12 - I am number 6 in...let's say a family of 8. Edith day dreams of being an only child and not having to share her clothes, her parents attention, and the air she breathes. She even has a bout of jealousy after her brother breaks his leg because he gets to spend the night alone in the hospital. Poor girl, you just feel for her. Here is one of my favorite passages:
I Wish I Had New Back-To-School Clothes But in my family we wear hand-me-down down down down downs.
You really get the sense that her family pinches pennies and makes every dollar stretch. I loved her families rich Jewish history and the way the author wove in traditions, language, and customs in this short novel in verse. There is even a Glossary in the back to help us with some Yiddish words. Every time we see Edith struggle with her family, we see another scene filled with love and understanding. Just terrific!...more
I picked up this little book, less than 100 pages, at Midwinter and read it on the bus ride back to the hotel. Okay, more than one trip. I wa4.5 Stars
I picked up this little book, less than 100 pages, at Midwinter and read it on the bus ride back to the hotel. Okay, more than one trip. I wasn't sure what to expect, my copy had no cover art and I don't read the back of books. Turns out, this book contains 23 classic fairy tales we all know and love. This time, they are written in free verse and often paired with paper cut silhouettes that will blow you away. Look at the cover above, you get what I'm saying. My favorite story was the very first one, The Stepsisters. It is a dark, violent, and fractured version of Cinderella through the eyes of one of the stepsisters. She describes 'You-Know-Who' coming out of the kitchen and the Prince falling on his knees practically sucking on her perfect toes at the site of her. Like the original tale, the ball doesn't go well for the sisters, but in this version they go blind due to some rogue birds.
I was pleasantly surprised with this short read and the hilarious 'yo mama joke' was icing on the cake. Slightly sick, sarcastic, and twisted in an unforgettable way. Perfect for an older teen who doesn't want to sit still for a full length novel and who loves dark humor. Heck, that is all of us at one time or another. I want *need* the cover art in a print!...more
I am on an MG kick right now! I've been waiting on this book for a long long time. When I got my galley, I wanted others to jump on a chance to read sI am on an MG kick right now! I've been waiting on this book for a long long time. When I got my galley, I wanted others to jump on a chance to read so it made its way around for several months. I kept hearing great things about it and was happy to see it come home for me to read.
Sinister is a book with oodles of mystery, kid friendly horror, and tons of evil women! In the library I am always being asked for a spooky read that isn't too frightening, and now I have a go-to book. There isn't something right about Lorelei's new school. It's too perfect. The teachers are too nice, the food too good, and what the heck is 'candy math?' Lorelei is a smart girl, and from the get-go she knows something isn't right. There is only one other kid in the whole school who seems to notice that something is off, Andrew. The others are far too busy stuffing Skittles in their mouths. Before long, the two begin to unravel the mysteries that Splendid Academy holds. This brings on a whole new set of problems for the two - at home and at school. Lorelei's wretched step-mother gives that poor girl so much grief! I was beyond frustrated with this woman and was hoping someone would whop her upside the head. Joking...maybe. Regardless, when Lorelei and Andrew need the support of their family, they realize they have no one but each other.
Sinister has numerous themes that are all important or familiar with this age group. Loss, friendship, sibling relationships, blended family relationships, love, acceptance, forgiveness, etc. I could go and on. The characters are vivid and believable, the plot is balanced with meaningful and serious tones paired with silly, spooky fun. This little middle grade honestly has it all. Highly recommend!...more
Freshman year will be the start of something new for Kelsey Finklestein. She is determined to make her mark and get herself noticed. Try out for the sFreshman year will be the start of something new for Kelsey Finklestein. She is determined to make her mark and get herself noticed. Try out for the school musical, grab a starting spot on the soccer team, nail down the cutest boy in her class, whatever it takes...Kelsey is going for it! Within just a few days into the new school year, Kelsey has gotten some attention, all right. Only, not in a good way! She is the target of a scary (and quite large) soccer team captain and gets a lot of neg publicity from the school newspaper. Why is her picture always plastered on the front page when she is looking her worst? She decides to take the bull by the horns and find out who keeps snapping bad photos of her. Just as soon as she tracks down The Crush and gets fitted with a fat suit and beard? Wait, what?
I must say, I really loved this story! At the time I read FRESHMAN YEAR, I was looking for a light and easy peasy read. Not every book needs to be packed with vital life lessons or tearful realizations about life. Sometimes, a classic tale of teen angst is on the menu. Kelsey's humor is right up my alley. She has a smart tongue and a sarcastic edge that I totally appreciate. Kelsey isn't whiny or have this continuous "poor me" attitude about all of her mishaps. She takes it all in stride and does her best to right any situation.
The relationship between Kelsey and her mother was the icing on the cake! I literally laughed out loud when those two but heads. They have a constant tug-of-war going on and neither one comes off looking dumb and degraded. Just hilarious dialogue between a mother that reads into everything, and a girl that just needs some space. I can totally relate. I was a teenager back in the black and white days and I have a 16-year-old now. I swear some of those scenes came from right here in my house.
When you're talking about girls in high school, you know there are boys in the picture. Kelsey has had the hots for the same boy since she came out of her mother's womb. Now that his too-perfect ex is out of the picture, Kelsey pounces on the opportunity. Like everything else in Kelsey's life, that doesn't exactly go according to plan. Friendships are more than tested and the claws come out. Kelsey has a pretty cool crew made up of three best friends. They all have very distinct personalities and voice. When The Crush comes in between the two friends, the other girls stay neutral. Each girl stays friends with opposing sides and refuses to pit people against one another. Well isn't that refreshing! Maybe there is a little lesson in this book afterall.
A perfect sarcasmatic book packed full of laughs and mishaps! Definite must read!...more
After being homeschooled her entire life by her now estranged mother, Maggie starts her first day of 9th grade at a public highGIVEAWAY ends 3/1/2012
After being homeschooled her entire life by her now estranged mother, Maggie starts her first day of 9th grade at a public high school. As she walks through the cemetery on the way to school, she meets up with an old acquaintance...a ghost. Maggie has been followed by this curly haired woman in a long, white gown for years, but lately she has been following Maggie home. At school, she befriends a quirky girl, Lucy, with half a shaved head and piercings and her quiet mohawked older brother, Alistair. Eventually, Maggie confides in Lucy and Alistair about her otherwordly follower and they devise a plan to help the ghost settle her "unfinished business" and send her on her merry way. Everything comes to a head when the plan goes horribly wrong. Words are said, punches are thrown, and the cops are called.
There is a lot going on in this book and, at times, with little dialogue. Isn't that what a graphic novel is all about? Using art to tell a story. Facial expressions are all that is needed and luckily, the detail in these pages are terrific. In fact, there is an extraordinary amount of detail in the settings as well. The opening pages of Maggie waking up on that first day in her bedroom are terrific. There is so much to look at and so much we can learn about her in those opening scenes.
There are quite a few mysteries going on, some subtle and some obvious. Who is this ghost and why has she been following Maggie off and on for over 7 years? Also, why does one of Maggie's brothers don a Ghostbusters tee-shirt toward the end? What do the brothers know about the ghost, if anything? Where did the children's mother run off too? Is it as simple as her dad said - she just needed to do something for her? There are a lot of things to think about and a lot of characters come out to play. I really enjoyed reading and this story definitely kept my attention - I read in one sitting very easily. I hope there is a book two - not all of those questions above are answered. My only little tiny beef: I don't care for the book title. Personally, I think it sounds more like a first love kind of story. Regardless, I'm hoping for a book two to help wrap up some of those loose ends....more
We meet Faye as her father is dropping her off at Holbrook Academy. It was supposed to be just campus visit, but when the program director, crotchetyWe meet Faye as her father is dropping her off at Holbrook Academy. It was supposed to be just campus visit, but when the program director, crotchety old Dr. Mordoch, hands her the daily schedule and her dad drags a suitcase out of the trunk her mother secretly packed, she knows she will be stuck there for awhile. She tries to run, she tries to hide, but only ends up in solidarity confinement. Within days, Faye and other teens at the academy wake up covered in dirt and blood with strange symbols on the floor. No one remembers a single thing from the night before. Faye soon learns that the academy is not what it seems and it is no coincidence that certain people are in residence. *insert boy love*
This may sound strange, but I really enjoyed Faye's mental illness. Eeeek, that sounds terrible. The first chapter is absolutely gripping. I wasn't sure what was real and what was her imagination. Is imagination the right word when someone is mentally ill? Is Faye really mentally ill? It is convoluted and all terribly interesting. Her visions of being consumed by the ocean waves or of water pouring in through the window are spectacularly frightening. The setting itself, Holbrook Academy, is equally fascinating. The scattered building among the trees (which are rare in this world), the cliffs over looking the ocean all come to play eventually.
Harbinger is a bit reminiscent of Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Just confusing enough to keep it all interesting, and absolutely original. You're not sure who can be trusted and you aren't sure what Faye is actually experiencing. The only thing you are sure of is the girl in white with the long braids who hangs out in the woods. Wait, what?...more
This book had two things going for it from the start. One, That. Cover. Personally, that image is something that gets more and more interesting everyThis book had two things going for it from the start. One, That. Cover. Personally, that image is something that gets more and more interesting every time I see it. After reading the book, I love the cover art even more. I don't think I could ever envision anything as extroadinary, but that cover is a great depiction of what the story is about. And that leads me to number two; the synopsis. I am a huge dystopian fan and I love the description of the book. The terms 'obedient orphan' and 'The Wheel' all had me pushing this book to the top of my TBR pile.
Alenna hasn't had a picture perfect life being an orphan after her parents were arrested and never heard from again. Now at sixteen, she finds herself on Prison Island Alpha in a war between a seemingly peace loving tribe and the Drones. The Drones are ruled by a religious, mask wearing freak who guys by the name, Monk. People fear him and his Drones think he is the be all and end all. The islands views on this man and his cult following were really interesting. One group adores the man, the other absolutely loathes. These kids are smart and know when something smells fishy. Alenna is a smart girl as well. Her relationships with the other villagers, the special boy she can't stop staring at, and the special boy that throws all caution to the wind keep her on her toes.
I appreciated that Stasse didn't hold back from the violence and she didn't shy away from offing main characters. The Wheel is supposed to be the place where these prisoners die suffer and eventually die. The life expectancy is less than two years, and sugar coating prisoner life would have left this story falling short. Fortunately, that didn't happen! Several people die in horrific and unsuspecting ways. People step up as heroes and some just end up being hauled into the sky by flying robots. Yeah...I like those parts.
A little bit of The Hunger Games, and a little bit of The Maze Runner makes this an adventure/dystopian lovers top pick. And that would be me!...more
The cover of this book gives us a hint of the craziness that will ensue. Thirteen-year-old BJ's life turns upside down when a big, burly, bik3.5 Stars
The cover of this book gives us a hint of the craziness that will ensue. Thirteen-year-old BJ's life turns upside down when a big, burly, biker named Merv comes knocking on his door and gets in an argument with his father. BJ is royally confused about the fight and can't make sense of the hushed whispers and sudden outbursts between this giant stranger and his father. When Merv rides off, he drops an old notebook that turns BJ's life upside down. In it, he finds the perfect formula to become a "master in the art of rocking." He decides to ditch the boring life and become a "full-on, fire-breathing MEGALORD OF RRRRROCK!" Not so easy when you can't play an instrument and you basically have the musical talent of a seahorse.
BJ changes his name to Nigel "Hot Wings" Thunderdome, and follows the how-to-become-a-rockstar guidelines in Merv's notebook. He looks for other band members and soon, he finds himself in hot water and on the run. Out of state. Without his parents permission. Seems everyone wants a piece of "Hot Wings" and maybe, just maybe this whole let's-pretend-to-be-a-rockstar bit isn't just for fun. What if he truly is meant to be a megalord of rock?
Hilarious, wild ride full of Bon Jovi references and crazy shenanigans! A middle grade boy will love the adventure and silly song titles like "911 Emergency Toast."...more
Celeste and Brandon have to hide their relationship from the entire town. Everyone wouldn't be so understanding if they knew Celeste was dating a guyCeleste and Brandon have to hide their relationship from the entire town. Everyone wouldn't be so understanding if they knew Celeste was dating a guy from the wrong side of the tracks and a werewolf. Nash, the ex, definitely doesn't understand and he vows to get Celeste back at any cost. Brandon requests the help from his father for a cure so the two can step out as a couple. Just when things are looking up, there is another attack in the woods and Brandon might now be the only wolf in Legend's Run.
Mucho kissing scenes, tons of jealous tension, and boys without shirts on. Every teens dream. Dialogue rich that keeps the story flowing. This series is suitable for a middle grade paranormal which are hard to find for preteens....more
Chained is a story about the human spirit and a beautiful relationship between a boy and an elephant, Nandita, who are more alike than different. TheyChained is a story about the human spirit and a beautiful relationship between a boy and an elephant, Nandita, who are more alike than different. They are both homeless, alone, lonely, and longing to be with family. Both are in a situation they cannot see themselves out of, and when things take a turn for the worse, they both realize that they are all that they have. Their relationship is the cornerstone to this book. It goes beyond sweet and touching. Their friendship is pure, moving, and undeniable.
Hastin is a brave soul and although he is ten-years old when the story begins, he is wise beyond his years. Hastin has already lost his father and his sister is desperately ill staying in a hospital his family cannot pay for. Hastin hasn't had a picture-perfect childhood even by India's standards. He finds a job working as an elephant keeper to earn money for his sister's care. His time with the cruel circus owner is no picnic either. Hastin, and others, struggle with his hatred towards animals. Why would a man who depends on animals to make a living be so cruel? There is quite a mystery there and we learn what lays beyond the man's hatred.
This book tackles many themes and emotions. Love, honor, guilt, shame, loss...the list goes on and on. We, young ones included, can identify with at least one of the above. Hastin is a shining example of kindness, and when the story comes to a close we can't help but rejoice and wish we could see Hastin and Nandita with their own children.
Not just for kids; Chained is a testament of friendship and a God given right to be loved. Can't recommend enough!...more
Set in Houston, Texas, Silence of Our Friends takes place during a time where racial tensions are high and pGiving away 5 copies: http://tiny.cc/rra9o
Set in Houston, Texas, Silence of Our Friends takes place during a time where racial tensions are high and people's patience is at an all-time low - 1968. Jack is a local television newsman assigned to report on "racial news." After a police officer is shot and killed during a non-violent rally at Texas State University, the town is in an uproar and people start pointing fingers. Actually, all fingers are pointing to five innocent African-American men. Jack and Larry, an African-American professor who recently lost his job on campus, befriend each other at an unlikely time and the two gentleman try to restore hope in their community.
The illustrations in this novel are moving to say the least. If you remove every single word throughout the entire book, you would still be able to follow the story. Nearly 200 pages of striking black and white drawings are vivid and in such great detail that you will spend time pouring over the images. We are taken from the rally, to the newsroom, the rodeo, and finally the trial. The story had a shocking ending and I felt a few minutes of emptiness afterward. I questioned the timing, but it does come full circle when you think about the title of the book.
Strong language, racial slurs, and violence place this in a high school and public library. Based on actual events, younger readers might not be able to decipher what is fictional, but I promise this story will lead to additional research and readings of the time period. The Author's Note is informative and insightful, giving us a personal look at the color line in Texas.
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." ~Martin Luther King, Jr. ...more
I went into this book with high expectations. I loved A Need So Beautiful so much when I read it last July. I still remember how much I cried4.5 Stars
I went into this book with high expectations. I loved A Need So Beautiful so much when I read it last July. I still remember how much I cried after reading that book and how much my heart went out to Charlotte and Harlin. Review HERE if interested. So, when this book came up on my pile I grabbed my giant box of tissues and dove straight in. I came up for air a few hours later with a lot less tissues than I started with.
This time around, we meet Elise, a normal seventeen-year-old girl who is about to have her life turned upside down. When she looks in the mirror, she sometimes sees someone else peering back. She has visions, almost like daydreams, about other worldly people whose skin crumbles and then others who posses an unusual amount of light. Elise can't figure out what it all means, but luckily she has two hot boys hanging on her every word as a distraction. One who is new to us, Abe, and one we love so very much, Harlin. Abe is charismatic and gushes over Elise, but I started to realize that he has a touch of the crazies. Boy, that Abe is possessive. I don't know if it's my mama bear instincts, but I could see his controlling ways early on. I tell you, it doesn't get better but there is a reason for his behavior. A very, very good reason. Harlin on the other hand is hot and cold. He is torn between what he wants and his emotional past. We all know what that was.
I loved the family theme in this story. Elise and her sister Lucy lost their mother, and the relationship with their father is so real and authentic. He is present and cares for his girls. Their father tries to be up front and honest, but allow them to chose their own path. Lucy most definitely has her own life. She sneaks out, has secret friends, and even a few piercings. Elise has her "spells" and her love interest that she doesn't pay much attention to Lucy and her secrets, but when it comes to push and shove - they love each other like no other.
Without spoiling everything for you, I can honestly say that this a fantastic sequel. I wanted Charlotte to walk into a scene or pop up somewhere. It just doesn't happen, but what did happen was fantastic! Having Harlin in this story was icing on the cake for me. He is as charming and lovable as ever. This is a classic good vs evil story that you don't want to miss out on. Haven't read book one? Why don't you just go ahead and buy both and start the series. That and a box of tissues. You won't regret it! ...more
The title really says it all. Austin is a 17-year-old boy who will never see his 18th birthday. He has decided to spend one of his last weekends mending fences with others and laying his heart on the line. Sickness has taken over his body and he feels that the time to make things right is running out. Old friends, acquaintances, and family members get paid a visit. All the while, Austin works up the nerve to tell his best friend, Kaylee, that he loves her; that he has loved her since the first day they met in third grade.
You know by the synopsis that this one will be a tear jerker, but this story is wrapped in a warm blanket of hope and optimism. Austin isn't struggling to find a cure or begging God to be miraculously healed. He takes a mature approach to his impending death even when others aren't ready to face the truth. Austin is only looking to right some wrongs and find out a few answers along the way before his time runs out. Things don't always go according to plan, but Austin is steadfast and commits to seeing his plan out. Watching him go through this journey is truly inspiring. You can't help but count your blessings and question what might have gone wrong with a few relationships in your life.
His friendship with Kaylee is endearing and although you feel for Austin's parents and their soon-to-be loss of their only child, it is Kaylee who you empathize with more. They have already suffered the loss of a mutual friend, and together they seem to be able to rise above everything. Except for this one thing - Austin's illness. As the story progresses, I was anxiously awaiting for Austin to confesses his love for Kaylee. It takes him quite some time and more than one attempt before the words finally come. Not all predictable and I am pleased with how the bow was tied on at the end.
The epilogue is told in the third person as Kaylee goes through a box that Austin left her after he passes. I dare anyone not to shed a tear when you read the moving letter he writes her. "I'm so sorry we didn't have more time together. Nine years just didn't seem like enough, right?" If soul mates truly exist, surely they are a pair. Simply beautiful......more
Justina isn't the prom type, but she has promised her best friend, Ian, that she would go. Lately, Ian is looking a little fetching and Justi3.5 stars
Justina isn't the prom type, but she has promised her best friend, Ian, that she would go. Lately, Ian is looking a little fetching and Justina thinks it's about time to end her no kissing streak. They have both danced around the subject of getting together and Justina thinks the prom is the perfect opportunity to lay it all out there. Things don't exactly go her way and she ends up jumping out of a moving car and limping to 7-11 at 6am...with no date. How she gets there is a whirlwind ride full of mishaps, misunderstandings, and the wrong boys putting on the moves.
Ditched is pure entertainment and equivalent to watching a sitcom where everything under the sun goes wrong. Her story starts at the end and we learn about her crazy night one stain at a time. Literally. Each chapter points out a stain and she fills us in on how she got it. Cute! She is not only informing the reader, but listening ears at the 7E. I really enjoyed how the story was laid out through her retelling. As she is filling us in on her curry stain, she is slowly but surely learning a little bit about herself and her expectations of love. Maybe she doesn't have all the right answers and just maybe she is partly to blame for this awful night.
Towards the end I became a little frustrated with Justina and her constant missteps. That is probably the mom in me. That girl was always finding herself in a new predicament or situation where trouble would ensue. I wanted just one little thing to go right for her, but understand why they didn't. Justina and Ian put a fresh look on love. Each one has their hangups and faults alike. It was nice to see that the boy wasn't the constant jerk and the girl wasn't following the terrible advise of her dumb friends. Refreshing!
I really like this cover! I think it says so much about the book and it compliments the story. Justina looks like she has been through a rough night and that is exactly what happened. Rough is putting it mildly. Girls will flock to the cover and will enjoy a light read full of laughs and tons of talk about kissing. Win, win!...more
This book is everything you think it will be and more. Honor has suffered loss after loss. Her brother, only recently, and both of her parents when shThis book is everything you think it will be and more. Honor has suffered loss after loss. Her brother, only recently, and both of her parents when she was very young. The girl has seen her share of heartbreak. I sympathized with Honor in those first opening pages as she walks us through her brothers military funeral and as she reflects back to her parents tragic accident. She is a high school graduate and supposed to head off to he dream college and start her own life in just a matter of days. How can she do that when the people she loved the most aren't there?
When she decides to head out west to fulfill her brothers request - go meet a rock star and talk about him - she doesn't plan to bring her brothers old best friend who is basically a drunk. Honor and Rusty haven't exactly gotten along in the last few years. Rusty basically deserted Honor's brother when her brother joined the military, and has brushed off Honor ever since. Reluctantly, Honor let's Rusty join her, and the two butt heads at almost every rest stop from point A to point B. Honor almost immediately regrets her hasty decision. At first, it was hard to like Rusty. You know he is hurting and drinks to cope with the loss of his old friend. Still, his behavior towards Honor is despicable at times.
I love that somewhere in the middle, Honor's story turns into Honor and Rusty's story. We learn why he drinks, why he turned his back on Honor and her brother, and what is behind that wall of anger. I wasn't expecting to connect with Rusty, but I really did. It is easy to empathize with the girl who has lost her whole family, but Rusty was just as complicated and in the end, lovable. Rusty wasn't just a secondary character along for a free ride. His story line is important and beautiful all on its own.
In Honor will have you cherishing those little moments with family and reconsider the relationships you may take for granted. Wish I read this one when I was a teen. Big love!...more
ou is the story of a boy who is quiet, misunderstood, and eventually at wits end. The beginning of this book sets us up for heartbreak by giving us aou is the story of a boy who is quiet, misunderstood, and eventually at wits end. The beginning of this book sets us up for heartbreak by giving us a glimpse into how everything will end. The journey to that ending is a look into the life of just an average kid who is a bit restless and prone to finding trouble around every corner.
The book version is just over 200 pages. There isn't a lot of room to get off track. You has the right amount of teen angst, humor, conflict, and even mystery. We know Kyle finds himself in a situation with blood - lots of it. But, whose blood is it and how did a teen who travels down the road of mundane find himself in this situation? Told in the second-person narrative ("You run your finger down the list of homeroom assignments until you spot your name.") we get an insiders look into every emotion and thought process. It feels very intimate in this story and a welcome change from first and third person for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. The narrator, David Baker, is one of the best voice actors for audio books in my opinion. He is behind Graceling (one of my all-time fave's) and several Nicholas Sparks novels. His hauntingly tender rendition of Kyle Chase is exceptional. Although he doesn't have a particularly young voice, his acting skills are superb. Baker, and Anthony Hopkins for that matter, could read the phone book and I would think it is genius.
A poignant story about the choices one makes and the consequences that follow. Mild language and references to sex. Recommended for 13+. This one is a top audio choice for me!...more
Penelope (Lo) throws herself into solving the murder of a stripper she didn't know named Sapphire after she learns that she narrowly escaped the bullePenelope (Lo) throws herself into solving the murder of a stripper she didn't know named Sapphire after she learns that she narrowly escaped the bullet that killed her. She becomes obsessed with finding Sapphire's killer when she stumbles upon some of her personal belongings, a jeweled butterfly, at flea market she frequents. Lo frequents Neverland, the place of the shooting and no place for an innocent teenaged-girl to be, and before long, she befriends a boy, Flynt, who decides to help Lo find the killer. Lo ignores all of the warnings (dead cat on front porch, anyone?) to stop searching for clues, but Lo doesn't stop. Instead, she risks everything - school, her relationship with her parents, and even her own life - to solve the crime.
I appreciate that Lo isn't a perfect character. For me, she is the best part of this book. To say that she has issues would be an understatement. Lo suffers from OCD, is a hoarder, and her anxiety is at an all time high if she does not perform certain rituals - tapping, turning, saying certain words in a certain sequence, stealing, etc. Lo is beyond quirky, she is a sick girl. Ever since her brothers death the year prior, Lo's condition has worsened. Too bad no one in her family notices. Her mother is in a constant daze from popping pills, her own coping mechanism, and her father has immersed himself in his work to escape. Lo is literally all alone and the only way she knows how to get by is to tap tap tap, banana. Literally.
The mystery behind the murder of Sapphire has a few twists and turns. Flynt, Lo's Neverland friend, keeps secrets and just when you think the boy has come clean, a new truth is unveiled. I had a hard time deciding if I liked Flynt or not. He seemed to care for Lo one minute and the next he would go and ruin everything. I used to know a few boys in my life like that so I think it all falls in line with being a teenager. Even though we never meet Sapphire, I feel like we got to know her pretty well....considering. Through journals and even Lo's concern for her, we see that she was different from the other teenagers in Neverland. I loved the relationship between Lo and her deceased brother Oren. We also get to know him well through Lo. We hear a lot of her inner dialogue because she is often alone and even more often wrestling with her obsessive thoughts. We get little snippets of who her brother used to be and I wanted more every time I learned something new about him.
Although the ending is a bit predictable as far as the murder mystery goes, the ending for Lo herself is not. After the crime is solved, Lo doesn't wake up miraculously healed without the need for her rituals and ticks. Those tendencies are still there and frankly, possibly always will be. Lo's father is more willing to accept Lo for who she is. I love that Lo wasn't "fixed" and everything turned out unrealistically perfect. Lo's life is like anyone else's life - flawed.
There are a few curse words, references to sexual behavior, and brief talks of drug use. Because of the gentlemen's club setting and other gruesome scenes, I recommend this for 15+.
Good mystery with real characters and a great not so perfect ending!...more