"The mountain was calling me. I had to run away. I had to"
I was in the car on a road trip when I ha4.5 stars.
How can you not love a book that starts:
"The mountain was calling me. I had to run away. I had to"
I was in the car on a road trip when I handed this to L and said, "you might like this, it's about a kid your age who ran away." Her ears perked up and she was sold. L got so into it she stole it when she got home and finished it all on her own.
I loved this book. It's about the lies we tell each other, kids, and ourselves. It's also about working through our anger and letting it go. And it's about how life just really sucks. I think for all kids life is unfair in some way. L really identified with feeling angry at life and how unfair it is (she haaaates being an only child)....more
This book broke my heart into a million pieces. Most every character I have love/hated and everything about the symbolism of this book is top notch. TThis book broke my heart into a million pieces. Most every character I have love/hated and everything about the symbolism of this book is top notch. There are still holes and a few gaping weaknesses, (hoping more are resolved in the next book) but I was Simply blown away. God bless Patrick Ness....more
Last year a heartbreaking story where the juvenile justice system and Mormonism intersect crossed my path. Through a connection I met a bishop’s wife Last year a heartbreaking story where the juvenile justice system and Mormonism intersect crossed my path. Through a connection I met a bishop’s wife in Pennsylvania who wrote her story of befriending a young man on life without parole (LWOP). Cindy Sanford is a conservative Mormon whose art shop included some works of Ken Crawford, a local prisoner who painted wildlife portraits on fallen leaves he’d found out in the prison yard. When her shop closed she wrote Ken to let him know she could no longer sell his works. Through persistence on his behalf, a pen pal relationship was formed. Cindy was overcome by anxiety and distrust every step of the relationship – is this young man trying to get money out of her? trying to waste her time and emotional effort? was he going to turn out to be some psychopathic serial killer?
It turns out that Ken had been imprisoned as a teenager to life without parole for a double murder that occurred near Cindy’s home over a decade prior. Growing up Ken had been unloved and abused, he eventually ran away from his abusive foster homes until he found a crowd that took him in. He was with one of his new “friends” – drunk and high – when they hitchhiked with local campers. During the night Ken’s friend shot and killed the couple who had picked them up. Ken claims he was asleep until the murderer woke him up and got him to drive the getaway car. According to Pennsylvania sentencing laws, both the murderer and the accomplice are given equal sentences.
As Cindy learned Ken’s horrific story, her heart was softened. The young man she eventually went to meet in maximum security prison was nothing like the monster described in the news media she remembered. Could a murderer/accomplice actually have come to God and changed his heart? In prison Ken nurtured the prisoners around him, even from solitary confinement row. He protected the weak and mentally disabled prisoners, captured and rehabilitated injured birds from the yard, and produced such breathtaking art without ever having one art lesson. The stories she heard about life behind bars broke her heart. Could beauty grow in the ugliest of gardens?
God put Ken Crawford in Cindy’s life for a purpose. She has been changed. Her family has been changed. They now consider Ken a son and brother. Cindy has found purpose in life through prison ministry. They have watched a child of God who was treated horrifically bring hope and happiness to a place foreign to those concepts. Despite knowing he’ll never be married, have children, walk in the forest, or be free for the rest of his life – he dedicates his energy to lifting others any way he can.
Ken’s story begs the question: how do we apply the gospel principles of justice and mercy and love to our justice system? Are adolescents capable of rehabilitation? If so, should they be granted the opportunity? It is less money in the long term to rehabilitate a prisoner than to jail them for life. Are we shortchanging the atonement by advocating for capital punishment? How does this strengthen families?
As I’ve pondered these questions over the last year, I think of Paul the Christian-killer called to be the Christian-zealot. The apostles were called to support someone who helped stone their brother in Christ, Stephen; someone who killed and persecuted their family and friends. I believe it’s entirely possible that God calls the least of us to have great roles in changing others’ lives for good. The question is if we will let them.
For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved. Alma 42:24
I wish I could say that Ken’s story has a happy ending. The United States is the only country in the world to sentence children to die in prison. In 2012 the Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama found that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional. Each state takes their time to overturn their JLWOP policies and to decide if Miller v. Alabama should be applied retroactively. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania ruled to not to do so, which means unless CFSY can find a case to take to the Supreme Court for retroactive application, Ken will never be released. Cindy’s story was recently published as Letters to a Lifer: The Boy Never to Be Released and the royalties are being donated to MIMIC, a Philadelphia based charity for at risk kids–run by ex-offenders. If you are interested in her book click on the link above (as a library foundation member I’ll put a plug in for requesting a purchase from your local library). Cindy hopes her story will spark a conversation about the tragedy and consequences of sentencing children to die in prison. See Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth for more information about the juveniles sentenced to LWOP in the US. And for more information on Cindy, her project, or to see more of Ken’s art, click here....more
This was mind bending in a really interesting way. A teen with a dysfunctional family ends up so hopeless (due to a lot of things, but a leaked viralThis was mind bending in a really interesting way. A teen with a dysfunctional family ends up so hopeless (due to a lot of things, but a leaked viral photo of him and another boy have a lot to do with it) he commits suicide on the beach and wakes up in another place. Is this hell? Or is this real life and the other place was a dream? What makes either place worth living/fighting for?
The first third started dragging - right when the other characters showed up I wasn't sure how long I could take it. Buuuut it clipped along at a good pace after that.
Content warning: LGBT relationship, graphic descriptions of people's deaths, a little nudity description (they wake up naked in the next life, etc).
Recommendations: mature teens, LGBT teens, esp if struggling. It's a good "it gets better" message.
It's one of those political/historical/royal YA intrigue thrillers that are my Achilles heel. I think I'm leaning towards li4.5 stars - worth the hype
It's one of those political/historical/royal YA intrigue thrillers that are my Achilles heel. I think I'm leaning towards liking The Winner's Curse more because the complexity of the plot . . . but this series is only one book so far - so I'm not calling the race just yet. A little tired of the overly beautiful, irresistibly beautiful main character -- but the portrayal of men made up for it: as in the bad guys are the ones that are stereotyping all guys as thinking with only one body part and then a variety of different kinds of men proves it wrong; so, kudos. It has complicated romances of all kinds - but this one seems to focus on the family/friendship kind of love a little more; I'm sure it might get more eye-roll-inducing: but you never know. Let's just say it didn't bother me here and it usually does, so..
I've seen other people compare it to Legend: nope. That was pretty predictable and I never read past the first in the series. This? Es Mejor. Mucho mas....more
Still impressed by this indie pubbed fantasy series by someone I met online. I really love the Samoan/pacific setting and creation myths. Loved the neStill impressed by this indie pubbed fantasy series by someone I met online. I really love the Samoan/pacific setting and creation myths. Loved the new characters. Fun escape and I'm supporting an awesome person. Double whammy. ...more
I'm in an online group with the author, and she posted about this book when it was on sale for $1, so I decided to try it out. The MC was raised by heI'm in an online group with the author, and she posted about this book when it was on sale for $1, so I decided to try it out. The MC was raised by her single dad (homeschooled growing up until highschool) near DC and her dad recently passed away. She decides to spend the summer in Samoa, the land her late mother was from. Except the mom's not really dead. There's a love interest, natch. And all of a sudden we're thrown into a paranormal world based on a south pacific legend of the telesa. Welp, I was surprisingly pleased with the book. It was self-pubbed a few years ago and certainly above the level I stereotype self-pubs to be. I think I ended up really liking it, even though it's a bit rough around the edges....more
Continuation of the account of Congressman John Lewis' role in the Civil Rights movement told in graphic novel form. I love the way art can be a storyContinuation of the account of Congressman John Lewis' role in the Civil Rights movement told in graphic novel form. I love the way art can be a storytelling medium in itself; I love the way it shows the many players working on a team -- disagreeing with each other, yet supporting each other... His first hand accounts of the events are remarkable. ...more