'If she dies, I'll die' are the words fifteen-year-old Mia Pearlman writes in her journal the night her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Twelve days l'If she dies, I'll die' are the words fifteen-year-old Mia Pearlman writes in her journal the night her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Twelve days later, Mia's mother is dead, and Mia, her older sister, and their father must find a way to live on in the face of sudden unfathomable loss.
Cures For Heartbreak has it all: humor, sadness, love, laughs, and embarrasing firsts. There are so many things I loved about this novel. Mia is a great true-to-life character. Whether she's resorted to bringing out all her stuffed animals from the closet to give her comfort, to her first date, to her obsession with romance novels, to her first experiences loving a boy, to her fears about her father's health, to her worries about normal teenage life...it's all in the details. And the details are here.
I was always daydreaming, getting a crush on some guy. Unrequited or not, during even the most awful day a crush could change everything--it could make you forget the two classes you failed last semester, and the general overall suckiness of your life. A crush removed the world, at least for a little while (139).
It was a romance novel entitled Larissa's Love Royale, which I'd bought in the gift shop. It wasn't one of those romances with a subtle cover that try to pass themselves off as ordinary books, either. No. This was all luscious bosom, gold embossed letters, and tanned male chestage, set on a Renaissance pirate ship (109)
In romance novels this would change everything. A hand holding on page fifteen and you knew for certain, no matter what, that the couple would end up together, that not even 350 pages of pirates, wars, family deception, or evil twins could keep them apart. That's what I liked about those books. I wanted to believe when I read them that that kind of love was possible and real, that it truly existed (217).
Part of me knew that it was unrealistic to hope for something, to transform our brief meeting into some whirlwind of eternal devotion...I wasn't sure what I'd do if I didn't have Richard to think about. Even if it was unrealistic for us to be together now, what was to stop us from connecting in the future, like the characters in a romance novel, meeting on page two and again on page two hundred? I could see Richard and myself at more appropriate ages...me, having graduated from college, in a job (anything but social worker), until some minor incident--a friend's baby, a sprained wrist--took me to the hospital. Years would have passed--no matter. He'd have been through girlfriends, many of them, but never married. In hours, it would happen as we'd always known it would: we'd kiss outside the hospital, a deep, shocking kiss, and the other doctors, the passengers in traffic, the visitors, the social workers--the whole world--would stop and stare in surprise(61-62)....more
CONFESSIONS OF A NOT IT GIRL follows the story of Jan Miller and her misadventures in and out of love on the high school scene. She is your typical boCONFESSIONS OF A NOT IT GIRL follows the story of Jan Miller and her misadventures in and out of love on the high school scene. She is your typical boy-crazy girl who may be more in love with love than any actual boy she meets. But then again, she is young. She has all the time in the world to mature and learn some hard lessons. I really liked Confessions of A Not It Girl. It was funny. It was entertaining. It was just so right in that light-hearted m&m's way. The book's central focus is on whether or not Jan can get the guy. The guy in question: Josh. Josh is the stepbrother of a little girl she babysits. He's also in her English class which prompts this:
Only that morning Mr. Kryle had been my favorite teacher and English my favorite subject, especially since we had just finished reading Romeo and Juliet, which, only that morning had been my favorite play. English stopped being my favorite subject, Mr. Kryle stopped being my favorite teacher, and Romeo and Juliet stopped being my favorite play at approximately 10:56 AM eastern standard time, which is when Mr. Kryle ruined my life by calling me up to the front of the room to act out the last scene in the play, the one where Romeo finds Juliet sleeping in the tomb and thinks she's dead (14).
When Josh is cast as Romeo, Jan might have looked a little too eager to be kissed. Which is why I not only need to change English classes but most enroll in the government's witness protection plan immediately (17).
After a dozen or so similar missteps, it's easy to see why Jan thinks her love life is doomed. But could love be just around the corner? Could she be misreading the signs and signals of guys in her life? Can she finally figure out this thing called love before graduating from high school?...more
While Duty and Desire is not as good as An ASsembly Such As This and These Three Remain, it is a good read. I enjoyed watching the relationship betweeWhile Duty and Desire is not as good as An ASsembly Such As This and These Three Remain, it is a good read. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Darcy and his sister develop through the course of the novel. And while Elizabeth is sadly missing, his thoughts and daydreams are filled with Miss Elizabeth....more
Miller, Sarah. 2007. Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller.
I don't quite remember when I first saw the movie The Miracle Worker, but I do remember it mMiller, Sarah. 2007. Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller.
I don't quite remember when I first saw the movie The Miracle Worker, but I do remember it making a great impact on me. I remember being fascinated with finger spelling, particularly the famous w-a-t-e-r and d-o-l-l. I do know that at some point afterwards, I learned the alphabet. It's something I still know to this day, though I don't place too much confidence on my being able to remember "x" or "z" or "q" on demand. But there is something about this story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan that has always fascinated me. So when I first read about Miss Spitfire, I was excited. Very excited. I wanted to track down a copy of this book quickly. Very quickly.
But enough about my pre-reading activity. What did I think of Miss Spitfire? I loved it. Absolutely loved it. True, I was already interested in the story. Already compelled to love it based on my prior history, but Sarah Miller's writing was remarkable. I not only fell in love with the story. I fell in love with how she told the story.
"I'm not sure I can do this job. Yet a part of me understands Helen better than she does herself. I'm no stranger to frustration, anger, isolation. I wonder, though, how Helen can be content to deprive herself of my affection? The thought of her indifference makes my throat sting, yet I can't help feeling drawn to her. If I could only touch her heart, I know I could reach her mind. But she won't even let me hold her hand." (43)
"It seems nothing I do comes out right. But in my heart I know what's right for Helen: obedience, love, and language. Come what may and hell to pay, I'll find a way to give her all three." (64)
Annie Sullivan is a young woman on a mission. Her job? To teach a child--a six year old child--who is blind, deaf, and dumb. It won't be easy. There has only been one successful case in the past to base their hopes and dreams on: Laura Bridgman. But Annie is strong-minded and determined. She'll need every ounce of stubborness she has if she's going to master the willfullness of Helen. Used to getting her own way, Helen runs wild. And as Annie soon points out, the family expects better behavior from the dogs than they do their young daughter. Helen has never been disciplined a day in her life--at least since an illness left her blind and deaf. This journey from despair to hope, from chaos to communication, is an important one. It is full of emotion--as day by day Annie struggles to teach and love a child who fails to comprehend the meaning of words altogether. Anger. Frustration. Rage. Joy. Happiness. Fear. Hope. Despair. It's all here. Annie and Helen. This is their story.
And for the record, I loved, loved, loved the ending. It was oh-so-magical. ...more
Life is far from normal for Bella Swan during her senior year of high school. True, her life is full of drama and boy troubles, but for Bella who seesLife is far from normal for Bella Swan during her senior year of high school. True, her life is full of drama and boy troubles, but for Bella who sees herself as a danger magnet life holds much much more. Edward Cullen, her ever-handsome boyfriend who just happens to be a vampire, breaks her heart when he leaves after Bella receives a near-fatal paper cut at her eighteenth birthday party. Realizing that his family no matter how determined to avoid human blood, can within seconds be overwhelmed with tempation and violence leads him to place Bella’s safety ahead of his own desires. To say that Bella is devastated is an understatment, she becomes zombie-like in her loss, a fact which is finally realized when Bella and one of her friends are watching a Zombie movie. “It wasn’t until almost the very end, as I watched a haggard zombie shambling after the last shrieking survivor, that I realized what the problem was. The scene kept cutting between the horrified face of the heroine, and the dead emotionless face of her pursuer, back and forth as it closed the distance. And I realized which one resembled me the most. . . But it was ironic, all things considered, that, in the end, I would wind up a zombie. I hadn’t seen that one coming. Not that I hadn’t dreamed of becoming a mythical monster once--just never a grotesque, animated corpse. . . It was depressing to realize that I wasn’t the heroine anymore, that my story was over.” (106) But Bella’s story is far from over. Reintroduce into the picture, Jacob Black, the young man who first shared with Bella the fact that she was falling in love with a vampire, this new friendship re-energizes Bella’s existence and gives her a reason to continue on. But is her friendship with Jacob any safer for her than her relationship with Edward was? Or is Jacob hiding a dangerous secret of his own? Is Edward out of the picture for good, or will he make a comeback to try to reclaim her heart?
Stephenie Meyer’s novel NEW MOON, sequel to TWILIGHT, is an exciting read, and one that I highly recommend....more
Number the Stars was probably one of the first fiction books I read about the Holocaust and World War II. (I know I also read The Hiding Place and TheNumber the Stars was probably one of the first fiction books I read about the Holocaust and World War II. (I know I also read The Hiding Place and The Diary of Anne Frank, but both of those are nonfiction.) What did I remember about Number the Stars after all these years? Well, I remembered that it was about a young girl who had a Jewish best friend. I remembered that the girl's family helped the friend and her family get out of Denmark. I remembered the intense scene where German soldiers come to her house looking for hidden Jews. But most of the details had faded away. So it was definitely time for me to reread.
Annemarie is the heroine of Number the Stars. I loved her. I loved her courage and loyalty. Ellen is Annemarie's best friend. I love that readers get an opportunity to see these two be friends before it gets INTENSE. I also love Annemarie's family. I do. I don't think I properly appreciated them as a child reader. One thing that resonated with me this time around was Annemarie's older sister, her place in the story. The setting. I think the book did a great job at showing what it could have been like to grow up in wartime with enemy soldiers all around. In some ways it was the little things that I loved best. For example, how Annemarie, Ellen, and Kirsti (Annemarie's little sister) play paper dolls together, how they act out stories, in this case they are acting out scenes from Gone with The Wind. I think all the little things help bring the story to life and make it feel authentic.
For a young audience, Number the Stars has a just-right approach. It is realistic enough to be fair to history. It is certainly sad in places. But it isn't dark and heavy and unbearable. The focus is on hope: there are men and women, boys and girls, who live by their beliefs and will do what is right at great risk even. Yes, there is evil in the world, but, there is also good. ...more